The draft is almost upon us, and we must apologize for the lack of draftee reviews this year. The run to the Stanley Cup Final threw off our offseason plans, and we have a lot of topics to cover in a short amount of time. This will be the first of three posts previewing some prospects the Rangers could land in the second round with the 59th overall pick in the draft. The Rangers traded their first rounder this year in the Martin St. Louis trade, so this will mark the second straight year without a pick in the first round.

Connor Chatham

Connor Chatham

Connor Chatham

Position: RW Height: 6-1 Weight: 225

Chatham is an interesting prospect, as he dropped from #30 in the midterm rankings to #46 by the time these rankings came out. It’s possible he might drop even further to the Rangers at #59, Chatham is currently with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL, where he just finished his rookie year with a line of 13-18-31 in 54 games. Chatham’s fall in the rankings has to do with his lack of production in the first half of the season, putting up just five goals in 33 games. He’s a big kid that knows how to use his body, as his physical game was still there during the slump. It’s worth noting that his skating ability is pretty good for a kid his size, but his quickness needs to be worked on. He has a decent head on his shoulders, making safe passes instead of homerun passes. He’s also not really a “sniper” per-say, but he will go to the net and look for garbage goals.

Richard Nejezchleb

Richard Nejezchleb

Richard Nejezchleb

Position: RW Height: 6-2 Weight: 187

Unlike Chatham, Nejezchleb is a kid who is rocketing up the rankings. Initially ranked #114 in the midterm rankings, the Czech winger is now ranked at #50, following an impressive sophomore year with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. In 66 games, Nejezchleb put up a line of 32-25-57, leading the team in scoring. It is possible that his low ranking to start the year was due to a shoulder injury and a lacerated finger the year before, costing him the majority of the year. Central Scouting’s David Gregory had this to say about him:

“He was really dynamic when I saw him; I don’t know why he wasn’t selected but sometimes it takes a while for these young kids to learn the ropes,” Gregory said. “He showed quick feet on every shift, created chances and played at a good pace with good instincts. Because the draft is a bit thinner this year maybe he’ll draw some interest in the later rounds.”

There’s not much else out there on Nejezchleb, but it appears he’s a bit of a late bloomer. Like Chatham, I’d assume he struggles a bit defensively, but what kid doesn’t struggle defensively at that age?

Gavin Bayreuther

Gavin Bayreuther

Gavin Bayreuther

Position: Height: 6-1 Weight: 175

Bayreuther is another one who shot up the rankings, ranking one spot behind Nejezchleb at #115 before finishing up at #48. He might be gone by the time the Rangers draft, and for good reason. He just finished his freshman year at St. Lawrence in the ECAC with a line of 9-27-36, finishing third in defensive scoring in the entire NCAA. Most of his points come via his lethal one-timer from the point and incredible offensive instincts. He’s not without his flaws, as skating and conditioning are areas where he will need to improve. David Gregory from Central Scouting had a nice quote about him: 

“From seeing him as a high school player [at Holderness School in New Hampshire] and his progression, he’s always had a great sense of the whole game in front of him. He really manages the ice well all the time. You add to that his skating ability with and without the puck and you have a solid prospect. He’s an excellent passer and can quarterback the power play.”

Must be rough for all 30 NHL teams who passed on him last year.

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