With a new coach on board, the next order of business this offseason will be the NHL Draft, coming up on June 30th. The Rangers don’t have first or second round choices thanks to trades for Rick Nash and Ryane Clowe, but they do have three third round picks. The good news is that the 2013 draft is considered extremely deep, but by the third round there won’t be any sure things. Here’s a look at three guys that could interest the Rangers, but are definitely high-risk, high reward players.
- Keaton Thompson
Position: D Height: 6-0 Weight: 187
Thompson is one of the youngest players in this year’s draft – in fact, he’s only two days away from being ineligible and having to wait another year. He doesn’t excel in any one area, but he’s a solid all-around player and plays a pretty smart game for his age. Thompson’s greatest strength is his skating; a must-have for Rangers defensive prospects over the last few years. Thompson is adept at moving the puck out of his own end and shows poise with it, but he’s also demonstrated some greater offensive potential. Thompson is good positionally in his own end and uses his quick stick effectively. He is not a very aggressive player and has drawn criticism for his hesitancy to clear the front of the net.
Thompson is scheduled to attend the University of North Dakota next year and is a very long way from a potential shot at the NHL. Given that Dylan McIlrath is the only blueline prospect close to joining the big club and Brady Skjei is clearly a long-term project, New York might prefer a defender out of the Canadian juniors over Thompson. Still, he has that skating which the Rangers value above all else, so he might draw their attention.
Position: C Height: 6-0 Weight: 175
Roy is older than most of his classmates, but he still has a long way to go to fill out his frame. Roy has shown nice progression in his first two QMJHL seasons, jumping from 39 points to 67 last season with Blainville. Scouts seem torn on his offensive potential, but there are some that believe he could go high in the second round. Roy’s greatest plus is his skating. He has a very smooth stride and can move efficiently with the puck in tight quarters. He’s not a very physical guy, but Roy is something of a puck magnet.
Bulking up while maintaining that skating ability and improving his puck skills will be the biggest challenge for Roy. He’s a competitive guy, but there are serious concerns that Roy will continue his upward progression. Roy is one of the classic boom or bust guys in this draft.
Position: D Height: 6-2 Weight: 180
Roy was very impressive in 2011-2012, racking up 52 points from the blueline including 10 goals. Coming into last year he was regarded as a potential first-round pick, but his production dipped this year to 39 points with 17 goals. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of offensive upside here. Like Thompson, Roy is a very strong skater, especially for his size. The bad news is that Roy is not great in his own end and lacks physicality. It’s not a stat we like here, but Roy’s -32 this season sticks out like a sore thumb. A lot of that was due to his presence on the last-place Brandon Wheat Kings, but there aren’t many scouts that are fond of Roy’s work in his own zone.
His offensive ability may bump Roy up in this draft, but his inconsistency could be his undoing. Roy’s decision making is often puzzling and his hockey sense is barely adequate. The reason he’s rated highly is clearly a direct result of his production and pure talent, but as with all young players, Roy will need more than that to become an impact player. As with Thompson, Roy’s skating could make him intriguing to the Rangers, but will need a lot of coaching and development.