2015 nhl draft

As we start getting deeper into the draft, it becomes slightly more difficult to predict when a certain player will be drafted. However, in round 3 there should be a few players that the Rangers should absolutely try to draft, whether he is there at their pick or if a trade happens on draft weekend will give them another pick.

Conor Garland, RW- How many of you really hate Tyler Johnson right now? How many of you want him on the Rangers? Conor Garland could be just like him. Garland is a right handed forward that hasn’t been lucky in terms of the draft. He was eligible last season and put up 54 points in 51 games, but wasn’t drafted due to size (5’8). If there is one thing that really frustrates me about the draft, especially in the new NHL where speed and skill are everything, it is that some teams would rather draft a bigger, less skilled player over one with a boat load of talent just because he is small.

Garland is easily one of the best offensive players in the draft that you have not heard about, scoring 129 points in 67 games, which was 27 more points than anyone else in the QMJHL. Part of the reason he isn’t ranked higher is once again his size. Garland has the speed and skill that should make him a target for the New York Rangers, and if he continues to develop, he looks like he can be a pretty dynamic top-six playmaker. He is strong on his skates, which helps him be an offensive threat even when going up against a much larger defenseman.

Over the course of this year he has been working on his defensive game as well, which was considered one of his weaknesses. For a player with this much skill he is not only worth the risk, but is a value pick. Conor skates well, is shifty, has an accurate shot, and even at his size has no problem going to the dirty areas of the ice to make a play. At the position that the Rangers are in with their prospects, they must absolutely bet on skill and Conor Garland is probably their best option in the middle of the draft. He can also probably be had in the beginning of the 4th round but if he is there at the Rangers pick they should absolutely go after him.

Jesper Lindgren, D –  The right handed, offensive defenseman Jesper Lindgren is without a doubt one of my favorite defensemen in this draft and I really do hope we find a way to end up with him AND Garland. Lindgren is not the biggest defenseman at 6’0, 161 lbs, but he could be one of the bigger steals of this draft. He is incredibly intelligent and a wonderful skater. Those two things together are essentially how he styles his game.

Lindgren is one of the best puck moving defensemen that I have seen of his age group, he is just so swift and nimble that he not only gets the puck out of the zone, but also leads rushes that end up as scoring chances. He reads the play very well and seemingly always makes the right moves even at his young age. The first few times I saw him, I was really surprised that he is just 18, I thought with the kind of plays that he makes that he was surely 20.

He isn’t a liability in the defensive zone either. Even though he isn’t the biggest player, he works extremely hard along the boards when he needs to. His best asset defensively is that he can get to the puck before the forechecker and get it out of the zone before a board battle even happens. He is the kind of defenseman that the new age NHL will be coveting. The Rangers have an affinity towards European players that play an intelligent game so I am sure Lindgren was on their radar.  Fun fact: his agent is current Rangers’ prospect Pavel Buchnevich’s and former New York Ranger Artem Anisimov’s agent.

Blake Speers, RW-  I am sure the New York Rangers have seen a lot of this 5’11 offensive player, as he is a teammate of last years 2nd round pick Brandon Halverson. Speers is a nice player that would be a fine pick in the 3rd round. He is by no means an extremely dynamic player, but is definitely someone that is nice to have in the system. The kid is really fast with hands keep up. He has a nice, strong snapshot that he loves to use while on the rush and can be a playmaker as well giving him some nice options in the offensive zone.

That said, he needs to work on strength, otherwise he will be another talented forward that will end up in Europe by 25. He gets knocked off the puck easily but hopefully, as he continues to get older and eventually play professionally, he should have some strength and conditioning coaches help him out. Another issue he has is defensive positioning, but that too can be taught. All in all Speers would be a nice player that can end up as a pretty good 3rd liner that can shift up to play on the 2nd line.

Dmytro Timashov, W-  This is another small winger but he is surely on the Rangers’ radar. The teammate of former NYR prospect Anthony Duclair is a a dangerously creative offensive player. He is a swift skater which gets him into open ice, he has an accurate shot and his puck handling skills are incredible. This is the kind of player that gets fans excited when he is on the ice and will be on countless highlights videos. He may drop in the draft due to defense and his size but if he is at the Rangers pick I’m sure he will be considered, and if picked will make me pretty happy.

Chaz Reddekopp, D –  This kid is a sleeper. I was struggling whether to put him here or in the next round because he may be available then too, but I thought I may as well add a defenseman. Reddekopp is a 6’3 218 lbs defenseman oozing with potential. Reddekopp is a physical defenseman that is also capable of jumping into the play when needed. He isn’t flashy and that may cause him to slide, but the thing is he will be getting an increased role next season and will be a key member to his Royal’s team. That can possibly lead him to take his game to the next level. The 3rd round may be a little high because of the lack of point production right now, but if he is available in the latter part of the round, he should be worth the risk.

Jeremy Bracco RW-  Look I don’t care that he is ranked so low by Central Scouting, I don’t think he will be available here or the 2nd round. But theoretically, if he is the Rangers should trade up to get a pick to draft him, he is that good of a prospect. The diminutive Boston College commit shattered Patrick Kane’s record for most points in a single season in the USHL,and the offensive dynamo should be a target for every team. If he does in fact slide, his boom value shoots up exponentially because it isn’t often that you can draft a possible 1st line winger at these portions of the draft.


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