For a team that used to hand out first-round picks like they were candy, the New York Rangers find themselves with an incredible abundance of draft assets, including three first-rounders in 2018. Should the Rangers hang on to all of them, they’ll have five first-round picks over the last two seasons, one more than they had in the four previous drafts combined. It’s a position of strength in a year of good depth to the first round.
On top of the three first rounders, the Rangers have two second-round picks and two third-rounders. Seven picks in the first three rounds gives GM Jeff Gorton so many options, and the most top-three round assets of any team in the NHL. There’s the trade option, of course, but they have a chance to make a significant upgrade to their prospect pool after a strong first-round performance last year. This team is rebuilding and is right where it wants to be heading into the draft.
So with such a significant opportunity for one of the league’s marquee franchises, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at what an ideal first half of the draft might look like for the Rangers. Based on what we know from various chatter about which players will go where, we can make some reasonable guesses as to what players will be available when New York makes any of their first seven picks, should they hold onto all of them.
For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll also have to estimate out the Rangers’ last two first-round picks and the third-rounder the team received from the Boston Bruins, as those spots won’t be decided until the completion of the second round of the playoffs Thursday, or in the case of the Tampa Bay Lightning pick, until at least the conclusion of the conference finals.
No. 9 pick: Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
Age: 18 | Shoot: R | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 180
67 GP | 17 G | 52 A