The big day is tomorrow. While not entirely decisive as far as determining the shape of our team for the next decade, it’s about as decisive as a single day gets. The Rangers have tons of picks, tons of cap space, and tons of ambition, not to mention that this is arguably the most stacked draft in recent memory.
Whether they’re planning on moving up the order, making a big splash for someone like Erik Karlsson, or making a bunch of Gordie Clark classic sleeper picks, there’s going to be something to get excited about. That said, here’s some scattered thoughts.
- The first is that I am confident the Rangers are going to knock it out of the park with their first pick. There have been various different mock drafts circulating on Twitter and the like, and some of them even have Zadina and Svechnikov (!) falling several spots, so whether we stand pat or move up, we’re getting someone good. Gorton knows we need elite talent, and there’s going to be someone great available, no matter where we pick. My personal faves are Quinn Hughes, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Adam Boqvist in that order, but great gravy if Zadina or somebody like that falls all the way to 9th (or Gorton realizes that exigent circumstances means it’s time to move up), we’re in for a real treat in these coming years. The other nice thing is the golden rule of the NHL Entry Draft: teams always, always do stupid crap.
- I’ve been thinking a lot about my recent post on whether trading Buchnevich is a bad idea, and while I stand by it I realize that there are certain bases I didn’t cover. Nonetheless I think I’m still against trading him but of course if the right deal is there (say, Montreal moving that 3rd overall pick and something crazy like Svechnikov dropping a spot) then of course I’m all for it. That said if there’s one player we have to move …
- It’s Brady Skjei. Especially if we’re putting together a package for Erik Karlsson and/or a pick that would net us Quinn Hughes, the loss of Skjei would be mitigated by those acquisitions, Kevin Shattenkirk, and the presence of Libor Hajek and Yegor Rykov waiting in the wings. I’m not pro-Skjei-trade necessarily, but if push comes to shove and we have to give up someone relatively young and promising, and again, this is only in the right deal where we’re making a net gain, then I’m fine with trading him. It’d be a shame to see the second most handsome player on the team go (Hank being number one, of course), because Gord knows we’ve got some ugly mugs, but if it has to happen and it happens there’s worse things in the world.
- Semi-unrelated to the draft – how much does it suck that the Islanders walked away with the Calder Trophy and the Devils got the Hart last night? It makes killing this draft an absolute must, because if there’s one thing I’d hate to see it’d be for our fortunes to change dramatically and for us to enter into an era of constant tri-state trouble. We’ve already seen some nasty Rangers losses against our rivals (I’m thinking of Barzal’s crazy game at MSG particularly) and I’ve got to say, it doesn’t feel good. More of the same would wear on a fanbase that, knowing they won’t be winning a Stanley Cup anytime soon (although maybe sooner than it seems), would certainly like to see some nice victories, especially at home.
- Lastly, I’d like to address the Artemi Panarin hype that’s been going on on Twitter. First of all he’s made some particularly racist comments in the past and used his fame and status to brush them under the rug, so I wouldn’t want him on the team because of that. Further, it simply doesn’t make sense. Sure, he’s a top-10 forward in the league arguably, and the constant rap on the Rangers is we haven’t had a superstar forward since Jagr and before that Messier. He won’t be a top-10 winger anymore by the time the Rangers are ready to contend though, and the amount of assets we’d have to give up to get him and the contract he’d wind up demanding and likely getting makes this the four horsemen of the apocalypse in terms of reasons not to do it. Problematic in the locker room, wrong development curve for the team’s needs, a crippling trade and a cumbersome contract? No thanks. Not to mention, as Rob put it to me on Twitter, you just know that he’d come to the Rangers and top out at like 50 points. Such is life.
Anyways, there’s my scattered thoughts as we approach an exciting weekend. It’s not much, but there’s really not much to say – everything that matters is going to be cooked up in the next 48 hours. We’ll be sure to have plenty of coverage of all of the moves the Rangers make (although we might be out of pocket for the draft itself – it seems most of us are busy, although the bossman and the rest of the crew are working on it) and I’m sure you all will have lots of thoughts for us, which I’m excited to hear.
Also, just as an aside, I’m going to be at the Rangers’ silly draft party at MSG tomorrow, so if you want to say hi just shoot me an email or DM me on Twitter and we can chat. It should be a fun day no matter where you are, and I hope you’ll be celebrating a bright future ahead accordingly."Some Pre-Draft Thoughts",