The right year to make a high-risk, high-reward pick

The New York Rangers are scheduled to select 28th overall in the June draft (barring a trade for Rick Nash) meaning they will make their first pick later than they have since 2002, when New York selected center Lee Falardeau 33rd overall out of Michigan State.

By pick number 28, all of the “can’t miss” prospects will be long gone and there won’t be a whole lot of top talent still available, which leaves the Rangers in an interesting position.

The organization has done a tremendous job assembling prospect depth in recent years and currently boasts an embarrassment of riches.

On defense, the Blueshirts have three All-Star caliber players under the age of 29 and top prospects Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath on the way as well.

Up front New York has supplemented a rugged young core with an infusion of skill in the form of Chris Kreider and value picks that could pay major dividends like Michael St. Croix and Steven Fogarty.

The only position that truly lacks depth in the pipeline is in goal, where the team has spent little energy since unearthing franchise keeper Henrik Lundqvist.  But, it’s rare for teams to draft goaltenders in the first round, and would be completely nonsensical for a team that boasts a Vezina Trophy candidate that’s just 30-years-old, so it’s a safe bet that New York won’t burn the 28th pick on a netminder.

There are no sure things that deep into the draft and given the Rangers’ current prospect depth, the team’s first-round pick this year might represent a good opportunity to swing for the fences.  This would be a perfect time to select a high-risk, high-reward player, one that the scouting staff believes has high-end talent but may come with major question marks.

Not all teams are in position to make such a pick, but the Blueshirts have the luxury of an existing nucleus of very solid young talent and a team that has already proven itself as a viable contender.

While GM Glen Sather, Director of Personnel Gordie Clark and company have had tremendous success lately drafting players of a specific mindset – and they deserve kudos for following such a unique blueprint – the playoffs showed us that New York does need another elite level talent or two.

One may be obtained via free agency or trade this summer, but this would also be a golden chance for the Blueshirts to snap up a player that has legitimate concerns, but that they believe has the potential to turn into a truly special player down the road.  Someone like, say, Tom Wilson of the Plymouth Whalers, a pure power forward that stands out for his physical play but may or may not have the offensive ceiling to become a true top-six forward.

8 Responses to “The right year to make a high-risk, high-reward pick”

  1. Zen says:

    Best player available.

    • Justin says:

      With respect Zen, I think that’s the point of the post. Is the best player available defined by present or future value? Would you roll the dice on a raw player with big upside and risk that he busts? Or do you take the more polished player, who may be the better player right now, but with a lower ceiling?

  2. Leatherneckinlv says:

    My opinion is that the signing of Justin Schultz is like picking a top ten player and must be considered a high priority for our organization. With our top two picks we should be able to keep the pipeline going. If we can net Wilson with our pick it will be a coup as I think he will be gone by then. However there are still some good players available. As I look into the depth of the team what I see us needing is a good goal scorer with size that is a right handed shot. For that matter any solid forward with a right hand shot must be picked.
    In the 2nd round if Phil Di Giuseppe is available still this would be the high risk high reward pick for our club. I also liked the defenseman Patrick Sieloff that youse had mentioned. I had not heard of him but after my read from your blog I looked him up and liked what I read about him.
    So the year going forward will be considered tremendous in my opinion if we can sign Schultz, draft two of these players with our 1st and 2nd pick; Tom Wilson, Dalton Thrower, Brendan Gaunce, Colton Scissions, Henrik Samuelsson, Nick Kerdiles, Phil Di Giuseppe, Patrick Sieloff and Mark Jankowski. I see this as a great year in adding to the depth and core of the team. Signing Gaustaad would be great as well.
    Our time to make the news in FA will be in 2013. I would stay clear of any major trades where we subtract 3 or more of our assets to gain one. No to Nash, Ryan, Stastny et al.

  3. Mikeyyy says:

    Gordie and Glen will do what’s right.

  4. Sioux-per-man says:

    Rangers should take a hard look at Jordan Schmaltz. He is coming in as the Defenseman of the Year for the USHL, and is going to play for the Fighting Sioux for the next couple of years. Looks to be like another McDonagh in the making, and will be available in the Rangers position.