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Category: Draft

Columbus might be willing to part with the second pick in the draft in addition to Rick Nash

In USA Today, Kevin Allen suggests that in addition to shopping Rick Nash, Columbus is willing to deal the second overall pick in the draft.  Allen writes that though it’s highly unlikely, it would be quite the blockbuster if Nash and the second pick were packaged in the same deal.

The current asking price for Nash according to Allen is, “a premium young prospect, a first-round draft pick and a couple of players who can play immediately.”  There are various other reports of Columbus GM Scott Howson demanding a king’s ransom for Nash and unless Howson laments and is willing to accept a lesser package, the Rangers won’t be acquiring the big power forward.

However, would the combination of young assets New York would be willing to part with increase dramatically if the second pick is involved too?

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Draft Watch: Tim Bozon, Henrik Samuelsson, Mark Jankowski

The draft is creeping ever closer and so far there have been no clues as to whom the Rangers will pick.  In typical Gordie Clark fashion, the Blueshirts have kept things close to the vest, so it’s hard to say who is on their radar.  These three forwards are consistently rated in the 20-to-35 range, so they could be realistic targets with the 28th pick.

Just a reminder, all 2012 draft prospect reviews can be found on our Draft Coverage page.

Tim Bozon

Position: LW Height: 6’0″ Weight: 183

To some, Bozon is the best pure goal-scorer in the draft.  The son of former St. Louis Blues forward Philippe Bozon put up lofty totals in 2011-2012, but for rookie that tallied a point-per-game (36-35-71) in his debut season with the Kamloops Blazers, Bozon has gotten relatively little attention.  Perhaps Bozon’s Swiss/French background has something to do with that, but Bozon could just be one of those under the radar guys.  He’s got the ability to control the puck at impressive speeds and possesses strong offensive tools and playmaking ability.  Though Bozon stands at a reasonable 6-0, 183 lbs he is currently more of a perimeter player.  Bozon is unafraid to launch his wicked wrist shot from the circles, but he’s not a guy that will be found in traffic often at this point.  Bozon has plenty of work to do on his defensive game, but he certainly has the ability to become a big producer at the NHL level.  Speed and skating have been coveted traits by the Blueshirts at the draft in recent years, so Bozon could hold some appeal.

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Draft Watch: Tom Wilson, Tanner Pearson, Phil Di Giuseppe

One position the Rangers might like to improve on is their wing depth, specifically in the form of power forwards.  New York boasts a handful of gnat-sized forwards that possess bundles of talent, but could struggle to match up against bigger NHL players.  There are a few players that could be available at pick #28 that bring size and skill and may catch the Rangers’ eyes.

Just a reminder, all 2012 draft prospect reviews can be found on our Draft Coverage page.

Tom Wilson

Position: RW Height: 6’4″ Weight: 200

The book on J.T. Miller’s Plymouth teammate is pretty simply: scouts are pretty much unanimously convinced that he’ll make it to the NHL, the question is whether he’ll be a bottom-six role player, or a stud power forward.  Wilson’s physical game is tremendous, he’s one of the most ferocious hitters available in the draft and he has a fairly well rounded game.  He’s battled through some serious adversity in coming back from various injuries over the last couple of seasons.  The big question lies in his offensive game.  Wilson only produced sparingly for Plymouth, just 33 points in 77 games over the last two seasons.  He cranked it up during the playoffs this year, when he posted seven goals and six assists in 13 playoff games.  However, there’s simply not enough evidence that he has the tools to be a big scorer at the NHL level.  A fitness freak, Wilson is a relatively safe pick in that he’s extremely likely to help a team in some fashion, there’s just huge debate over whether he can produce enough to justify a first-round pick.  There seem to be teams that are convinced that Wilson will mature offensively, making it less likely that he’ll be available at pick #28, but he could be the type of high-risk, high-reward pick that makes sense for New York this year.

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If Nash becomes an auction Sather needs to step away

According to reports there are as many as seven teams who have had serious discussions regarding Rick Nash. This is exactly the kind of market Scott Howson and the Columbus Blue Jackets will have hoped for and exactly what the Rangers will not have wanted.

With Zach Parise apparently ruling himself out of a free agency switch to New York, Nash likely becomes the most realistic target for the Rangers as they have both the assets and financial ability to trade for Nash and can appeal to his desire to play for a competitive team. If Nash wants to play for a playoff team then the Rangers are a major player for the power forward.

The problem is, should the Rangers give up too much to acquire Nash (becoming increasingly likely if the market is genuinely competitive for his acquisition) he not only becomes the well documented cap concern (especially with Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist’s contracts already on board) but his acquisition may set the club back in terms of depth depending on what goes the other way.

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A unique opportunity to move up in the draft

Glen Sather is renowned for his usually small circle of trading partners. That circle often includes clubs where a connection to either former staff (Maloney, Phoenix) or teams where Sather has history such as Edmonton. Perhaps there is an opportunity for Sather to revisit his former club once again.

The Oilers are crying out for defensive help while the Rangers need an injection of pure skill. Clearly, there is at least the opportunity to feel each other out to help one another. While it is highly unlikely the Rangers would trade one of their core defenseman – and it is equally unlikely the Oilers would want to trade down too far in the upcoming draft – the Rangers do have significant resources on the blueline. Resources that could perhaps prize the first overall pick from the Alberta club.

At the very least, Sather should ring Edmonton and ask what the cost of acquiring the pick is. It can’t do any harm to ask. If rumours of Edmonton’s long standing fondness for Toronto’s Luke Schenn are true, then the Rangers could certainly better any offer centering around Schenn.

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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.

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Draft/Prospect Q&A w/ Jess from Prospect Park

In an effort to bring you all the best and the brightest opinions on Rangers prospects and the coming NHL draft, we decided to reach out to friend of the blog Jess Rubenstein. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Jess runs a highly regarded draft/prospect analysis website called The Prospect Park. Unlike most websites that track this aspect of hockey, Jess actually writes his own scouting reports and takes the time to go watch many of these young men play. I know, what a concept!

Anyway, we asked him about the Rangers farm system and the upcoming draft. See what Jess had to say and don’t forget to check out his site!

Q. Do you think the Rangers trade up/down at the draft, or do they stay where they’re at?

Jess: I would be shocked if they traded up, but I would actually urge them to trade down from 28. Once you get past the 10th spot in the 1st rd then there really is not much difference in talent level. NYR only have 4 picks (28, 59th, 89th and 119th) as of right now, so trade down because you will find strong prospects even at the end of the 2nd rd. You could drop 10 spots and still get someone like a Henrik Samuelsson or a Jordan Schmaltz.

Q. With Kreider likely on the roster next season and prospect tag removed, who do you think the next Rangers prospect is to make the roster (lets exclude Erixon)?

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Draft Watch: Patrick Sieloff, Jordan Schmaltz, Derrick Pouliot

It may seem like the Rangers have been growing young defensemen on trees, but Mike Sauer’s uncertain future is proof that you can never have enough blueliners in the pipeline.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few D-men that could interest New York at the draft later this month.

Just a reminder, all 2012 draft prospect reviews can be found on our Draft Coverage page.

Patrick Sieloff

Position: D Height: 6’0″ Weight: 194

Sieloff is a guy that stands out on tape for one reason – he’s a monster hitter.  The man packs a wallop akin to Dylan McIlrath, the only difference is that he stands just 6-0, 194 lbs. while McIlrath is 6-5, 215 lbs.  Sieloff is currently projected to be a mid-second round pick, but he does have one quality the Rangers covet above all others – the willingness to do whatever it takes to win, including sacrificing his body.  Sieloff has benefitted from playing alongside projected top-10 pick Jacob Trouba on defense for the better part of the last six years, so it will be interesting to see how he fares on his own next season, when he’ll play for the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL after decommitting from the University of Miami (Ohio) in May.  Sieloff is merely an average skater and brings nothing to the table offensively – his Twitter profile bio reads “Offensive defenseman in practice but come game time slightly change my role!”  Someone is likely to fall in love with the stay at home defenseman’s heart and character.

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Draft Watch: Ludvig Bystrom, Zemgus Girgensons, Scott Laughton

It’s official, the New York Rangers will draft at #28 on June 22. Sure, all the top talent will be gone, but there are always gems to find in the late rounds. After all Chris Kreider was drafted in the early 20s, and the Rangers organization has proven time and time again that they are great at finding players who are talented and intelligent. Don’t forget that all our draft analysis can be found on our Draft Coverage page.

Ludvig Bystrom

Position: D Height: 5’11″ Weight: 187

Bystrom is another product of the great Swedish hockey system. Like most Swedes, Bystrom is a tremendous skater. Considering the large ice surface in the Euro leagues, the top Euro prospects usually are great skaters. It just comes with the territory. Offensively, Bystrom is a solid puck carrier and creates plays in the offensive zone. His hockey IQ is above average, which helps with his decision making when it comes to carrying the puck or running the offense. Defensively, he isn’t a bruiser, and will generally use that skating ability and hockey IQ to be in solid position. He’s not going to be the guy that plays a physical game, but he’s not going to shy away from contact either.

Like most youngsters, Bystrom can be caught out of position a couple of times. With the bruisers it is generally because they are going for the big hit, but the biggest concern with Bystrom –as he is not a bruiser– is that he sometimes gets caught chasing the puck too much. He is still a very raw talent, and a team picking Bystrom would be in it for the long haul. He will need several years to fine tune his game.

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Draft Watch: Getting to know those ranked in the late 20s

It’s official, the New York Rangers will draft at #28 on June 22. Sure, all the top talent will be gone, but there are always gems to find in the late rounds. After all Chris Kreider was drafted in the early 20s, and the Rangers organization has proven time and time again that they are great at finding players who are talented and intelligent. Don’t forget that all our draft analysis can be found on our Draft Coverage page.

Olli Maatta

Position: D Height: 6’2″ Weight: 198

The first thing that most scouts say about Maatta is that he is very well rounded. He doesn’t necessarily excel at any facet of the game, but he has no real weaknesses either. Basically, he’s just one of your well rounded defensemen who has tremendous hockey IQ and positioning skills. Generally those go hand-in-hand, but for a guy like Maatta, it’s his greatest strength. He is capable of carrying the puck up the ice and starting the rush, and is also capable of getting back and playing solid defense in his own zone.

Maatta is not the guy that’s going to throw a big hit to remove player from puck, but he does use his body enough to stymie the rush. I hate making comparisons, but his overall game is reminiscent of Dan Girardi’s game, without the 5,000 blocked shots.

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