New York Rangers 2017 Draft Recap

lias andersson

The 2017 NHL Draft has come and gone, with the Rangers making seven picks. They picked just one North American player, with the rest coming from the various European leagues. That’s a bit of a deviation from prior drafts, and likely has to do with the lack of North American talent in this draft. The Rangers also went heavy with the over-agers (20+ year olds), another deviation from the norm. But if there’s one person who has earned the trust of the fans, it’s Gordie Clark. So let’s recap.

First Round (#7) Lias Andersson

Lias Andersson is a really interesting pick. At one end of the spectrum it may be upsetting because he likely doesn’t have that really high potential that we may have wanted after trading Derek Stepan, but he is the kind of player that I think everyone who loves hockey will love him on the Rangers. He does everything well and is known as a super intelligent 200 foot player with a quick release on his shot.

The thing about him that needs to be pointed out is how he is an solid puck possession center. he not only gets the puck because of his intelligence –being able to read plays– but he also is so good at protecting the puck with his body. The other great thing about him is that he played against grown men as a 2nd line center for HV71’s championship team. Hey when a kid is 18 years old and is a 2nd line center playing against former NHLers, that is usually a good sign. When he goes ahead and produces as well as he did that is even better.

When we see a draftee, we love to compare him to other draftees and NHLers. That poses a big problem as comparing players of varying ages and leagues is an inaccurate science and very subjective. For that reason Garret Hohl made SEAL adjustments which factors accounts for all these variables to give a true objective ranking. Based on this tool, Andersson ranks 12th in the entire league (note: not just the draft, the full league), so maybe there is more potential to this player than we are expecting. That would be a pretty good thing to hope for, especially given the talent the Rangers left on the board. I compare him to Mikeal Backlund and Alex Steen, just a really responsible two way guy who also can add offense while controlling the puck possession.

filip chytil

First Round (#21) –  Filip Chytil

My only problem with Chytil is that I really wanted Kailer Yamamoto or Klim Kostin, but I can’t hold that against him, especially what kind of prospect he is. Chytil is one of the youngest players in the draft, just 10 days away from the 2018 draft, where he possibly could have been a top pick. Chytil, similar to Andersson, is a puck possession center. He loves when the puck is on his stick and doesn’t give it up to the other team. If he doesn’t see anything he will skate back regroup.

Chytil uses his speed to his advantage and his quick hands to be a really good playmaker. My favorite thing about how he sets plays up is his patience, whether it is entering the zone, or the in zone and on the offensive. He is patient and draws players to him so he can immediately thread the needle to an open teammate for a great chance. Similar to Andersson, Chytil knows how to use his frame to protect the puck, but I would like to see him drive the net more. Also he, like Andersson, played against grown men this season as a 17 year old, scoring 8 points in the Czech league. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s impressive as a kid.

When Chytil played for the U-18s, he recorded 13 points in 19 games for the Czechs, definitely signaling some serious offensive potential. Chytil works hard and definitely isn’t a slouch defensively, which seems to be a theme for the Rangers. In Chytil and Andersson they got a pair of strong centers that are extremely responsible and play pro type hockey more than just trying to dangle through everyone.

Chytil needs to work on his shot. There is no question that the accuracy can be improved. His game compares to Alex Galchenyuk, but if he ends up a winger a lot of people compare him to Ondrej Palat because of his puck protection abilities. I also have a feeling that he may grow a bit, but he’s 17 years old. That’s a given.

Fourth Round (#123) – Brandon Crawley

I personally am not a fan of this pick at all, but prospect guru Corey Pronman considers him a sleeper. The Rangers had the opportunity to draft a lot of dynamic forwards like Igor Shvyryov, but settled on the already 20-year-old defenseman Crawley. I just find the pick really odd because honestly I wasn’t expecting him to be drafted at all, but the Rangers clearly see something in him.

Crawley is definitely seen as more of a defensive defenseman. With all of that said, at 20 you would expect even defensive defensemen to put points up, especially on great teams like the London Knights who always score a lot. But Crawley just didn’t do that. He can skate with the puck but prefers to play more of a physical game. I do wonder what the Rangers plan on doing with Crawley. Physically he is developed at 6’2, 203 pounds, and he has played top pair minutes in London. Is there really a point for Crawley to go back to the OHL? It doesn’t look like he will be doing anything offensively, so I wonder if the Rangers plan on just signing him to an AHL deal and let him play in the ECHL/AHL.

Fifth Round (#145) – Calle Sjalin

Sjalin is a pick that I am sure the European Rangers fans would like to keep an eye on over the next few years. He is definitely many years away because he needs to develop physically, but he is one of the youngest players in the draft, similar to Chytil. He just made the cut by 15 days. Sjalin is considered a reliable two way defenseman that uses his skating to be a transitional defenseman. He constantly looks like one of the steadier defensemen when he plays for the U-18 team.

He does need to work on his physical play along the boards and improve on his shot, but he seems like one of those stereotypical calm puck moving defensemen who you rarely see make a mistake (typical Swede – so good and so smooth). He will be playing for Leksands, which is a better league than his current one. In the last 30 years, Sjalin ranks 14th in points by U-18 Swedish defensemen, with similar points per game to another two way defenseman that we know: Anton Stralman. He also produced better than another well known two way defenseman Alex Edler, so there is potential with this pick.

Sixth Round (#157) – Dominik Lakatos

Lakatos is another interesting pick given his age. He is a 20 year old, so an overager similar to Crawley. The thing with Lakatos is that he was a player who really came into his own at the end of the year. Lakatos won the rookie of the year award in the Czech Extraliga, but before that he was probably one of the dominant forwards for Liberec. His regular season stats were respectable with 22 points in 41 games, but then he absolutely exploded with 13 points in 16 games in the playoffs. That was good for third in the playoffs and tops on his team.

Lakatos is a player that is coached by Filip Pesan, someone who the Rangers have been reported to have a significant interest in as a coaching staff addition. Pesan is a new age coach who puts an emphasis on analytics, and will be a member of the Rangers development camp in the next coming days. I wonder if Lakatos is a player that signifies Pesan’s eventual addition.

Update: I spoke with someone who works on Lakatos’ team, and he had this to say about the agitator:

“”He is really good and he improved his game a lot in last season. He became one of the best player for Liberec (and we aren’t a bad team – 1st in regular season, 2nd in play-offs). Smooth hands, has a strong net drive, tries to do something extra in 1-on-1 situations (which looks superb when he’s successful and creates heart attacks for coaches when not), but apart from that he likes to create plays from behind the net, was one of the playmakers in PP2 (kinda like Foligno spot in PP of CBJ). Lakatos should have been one of the key players for CZ in WJC2017 unfortunately he missed the event because of an injury in practice game. Can’t disclose his precise stats numbers but he would get a lot of love from analytical community: good possession numbers, solid in zone entries etc.”

Sixth Round (#174) – Morgan Barron

Barron is an interesting pick. There really is no other way to define him other than a long term project. Barron is a big kid who can skate really well but the knock on him is that he played for a Canadian prep school, which doesn’t have exactly a good reputation of a competitive league. Barron was the captain of his team and while he did pretty well point wise, you would like a player to utterly dominate a league if it isn’t that strong.

Long term, Barron is poised to go to Cornell University, so we will likely be seeing him taking three or four years to develop. Some bad news though, he played 5 games in the USHL and scored 0 points and was a -3 after scoring 50 points in 46 games while playing in the prep school league. It is a small sample size but I do wonder how he would do with a D1 school in Cornell when he had a little difficulty in 5 games while in the USHL.

Seventh Round (#207) – Patrik Virta

Another overage pick by the Rangers –suggesting that they were going for NHL ready or close to pro ready prospects in this draft– Virta is similar to Lakatos in the sense that he is a winger who showed his stuff in the playoffs this year. Liiga is one of the leagues in Europe that actually publicly has newer stats, and Virta had a Corsi For % of 59.7% last year (8th in the league, 2nd on his team). Virta is a possession driving forward and had done so even throughout the playoffs. His CF% actually increases when the game is tied to over 60%, and I wonder if the Rangers are planning on bringing him over soon. Virta’s best asset is his speed and accurate shot, but he is a small forward that can play both the center and wing. He will be a teammate of last year’s draft pick Tarmo Reunanen.


While I am upset some of the guys I was interested in didn’t get picked, the Rangers did well by adding another 6th round pick with the San Jose trade. I really wanted guys like Minulin, who were falling, and the Russians that the Sharks took in the 6th and 7th rounds, but with many of the picks actually going undrafted, I wonder if there were more issues that teams saw. Overall, it seemed like after the first round the Rangers went for nearly pro ready prospects or players who have already shown success in pro leagues. Honestly, you can even add our two first rounders to the group as well.

Barron and Sjalin are picks that are likely ways away from the NHL, Barron definitely at least four years while Sjalin might be a little quicker. The Rangers did not add a right handed defenseman, and I find that a little odd. They obviously think highly of Neal Pionk and Anthony Deangelo, who should be manning the right side. Honestly outside of Minulin and Smart, there weren’t many right handed defensemen available for the Rangers. The good news is they are still available as development camp invites.

Lakatos and Virta are players who seem to be not only big time playoff performers but also possession driving forwards. I think that is really interesting as Andersson and Chytil are also possession driving centers, so the Rangers are definitely putting emphasis on speed and keeping the puck on their stick. I would’ve really liked some more boom or bust type players, but in a draft that is seen as weak, the Rangers played it safe and got guys who have played pro level.

Crawley is player I am still confused about for the reasons I mentioned, but I plan on asking Pronman what made him such a sleeper for him.

The Rangers deviated from their prior draft strategy this year, drafting more Euros and more overage guys. It could be because of the lack of talent in the draft. Or maybe they saw more in these guys than others.

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  • Thanks Josh, I (we) were waiting for your usual great analysis. Thank you.

    Do you think that Andersson starts in Hartford next year? It seems like he starts in Frolunda but there are whispers that the Rangers feel like he is close to NHL ready and with some North American ice experience can make the jump to the Rangers this year. BTW, saw Andersson “hands” around the net via highlights, and he definitely has a good scoring touch. One highlight batting the puck in mid air on a bang/bang play into the net for a goal. Good stuff.

    I am totally excited for Chytil. Probably a top 5 pick in next year’s draft and a possible steal at 21 this year. Maybe the most elite skilled player (forward) the team has drafted since Kovalev.

    • BTW, it’s great to see the Rangers getting possession players. This was a big issue for Stepan who needed a guy like Nash on his line to make up for his lack of possession ability.

      For those thinking the Rangers missed out on an elite scorer at #7, I remind you of Pavel Brendl at #4 many years ago. A complete bust who put up unreal offensive #s before coming to the NHL.

      It’s about how the player’s game translates to the NHL as to how successful they are.

      • Brendl is the ultimate mystery.

        He had it all, but didn’t give a shit. By the time he started to figure out he had to work in Carolina, almost everybody in NA had given up on him. Then he went back to being the floater who could score at will.

        All world skill, no hustle. It happens.

        • 100% effort issues. He did have all the tools, but just a reminder that talent isn’t everything and doesn’t guarantee results. Right Chris Washburn?

  • I’m only upset about the andersson pick because Vilardi was sitting right there. But it seems like his skating is a sore spot, so who knows.

    I Hope they push andersson to the pros next year since.. we did use a 7th on him. Not a great reason but reality. If they wont put him in NA next year whats the point of taking the more ready prospect with lower ceiling?

    • Yep, been reading that Vilardi’s skating is suspect, not a good thing for the current speed of the NHL. I wonder if Andersson starts in Hartford and not Frolunda this coming year.

      • Anyone and I repeat ANYONE will help the Pack. A sad statement of poor asset (draft picks) management over the past 5+ years.

        • I would agree except that we have moved so many kids up so fast that it’s a testament to our picks and signings.

          It’s very hard to field a competitive team for 10 years in a row unless you have good asset mgmt.

        • My God, how bad is Hartford? How many players would you even think of calling up next season? One, Graves. Boo stinks, I don’t know what the love is for that guy.

          Kovacs and Mort-whatever down the road, maybe.

          • I saw him on Michigan against Penn St. not impressive at all even though he scored a goal. Played on the perimeter the whole night. Maybe that’s what the Rangers like about him, lol.

          • One player who wasn’t to blame for the Pack last year was Nieves. He went out with a concussion and missed most of the season. He’s had concussion issues in the past and I am not optimistic long term, but had he not had these problems, he looked like a future NHLer.

            OTOH, the fact that Graves was not called up in April perhaps tells us all we need to know about his season. Certainly, he is not now under consideration for the opening day roster.

          • I was saying Graves as the only one, maybe. Not blaming Boo for Hartford, he’s just not good enough, period.

    • Yeah, I don’t understand how people who hated Stepan would want a guy like Vilardi.

  • Wouldn’t this be akin to drafting college players? We did that for years. With a weak NA list of prospects, this would be kinda the same thing but just going to the Euro pool.

    I trust Gordo to turn these lemons into beef stew.

  • Crowley never played 1st pair minutes unless during WJC. Hartford is gonna need a physical guy who can chip in on O considering all the dwarves on the roster. This whole summer, from prospect camp to Traverse City to 1st 2 weeks of camp in Tarrytown before they head down to Hartford is gonna be a war. A whole lot of bodies for a nasty game of musical chairs.

    As for Barron, talk about making a judgement on a small sample size for his USHL games. Just a guy to fill the roster during WJC, was never getting a fair shake. USHL very parochial when it comes to guys they recruit vs guys coming in from outside.

    As for his prep stats; at least they have them. Gonna be impossible to project from that. His goal rate would’ve made him the leading goal scorer for his prep team which includes kids going to play in the BCHL before going NCAA. Was dominant 2 years ago.

    Is Cornell even good at hockey? He’s got the size to compete at NCAA level, will be fun to road trip to see him.

    • The thing about Ivy-League hockey is that you typically don’t see all-world talent there because there are no athletic scholarships. You actually have to get into the school to play for them. So you tend to get more cerebral players like Dommy Moore, Lee Stempniak, Darrel Powe, and so on. Guys who think the game well, even if they’re not dynamic scorers.

      Barron says he loves the way Kreider plays, so if we can get a huge hockey IQ kid who can think the game as well as Dom Moore or Lee Stempniak, and likes to throw his body and charge the net like Chris Kreider, I’ll be happy, even if he’s not putting up huge points.

      Hopefully he finds himself as our 4C in a few years, capable of eating huge defensive minutes.

      • The other issue with the Ivy League (if there is one) is that they typically play a shorter schedule than most other NCAA D1 leagues. They start their season(s) about 3 weeks later.

  • If it’s turns out to be true that Chytil would have been a top pick in the 2018 draft if he had been born just 10 days earlier then this is a great choice, and the mark of a organization that is stable, patient and confident.

  • I think we all wanted to get potential 1st line talent with the pick we got from Arizona. Thats where the initial disappointment came from the pick. And then the morons on NBC said he’s another Jesper Fast and alarms started going off.

  • Can we get a post on Deangelo? I know he has attitude issues. But what about his talent? I’m reading that he’s great offensively but not so much defensively. Gorton said he can run a power play. NBC referred to him as a prospect but he has played 39 NHL games. Do we pencil him in to the lineup to start the season? Obviously signing Shatty and Smith would shake up the defense. But is he an NHLer next season?

    • I would think that DeAngelo plays 2nd or 3rd pair this season, depending on who is here.

      You really cannot assess his defense playing only 39 games for the Yutes, but he has high end skills and I have read in various places that he’s a potential star. But it’s all speculation because of his lack of NHL experience.

    • D’Angelo played out the last half of the season for AZ with sheltered minutes and split time on the PP(got minutes over Murphy.) Still a bit of an adventure in his own end, but much improved by the end of the season. Saw him a few times in February & March: nothing that turned my head, but also nothing that made me shake it. More than willing to jump in to the play, but under control.

  • Thanks Josh – personally I was hoping to get a high ceiling Russian skater or two just so Buch has some comrades working their way through the system.

  • Considering that both 1st round picks are years away and by no means a sure thing and the projected ceiling is not that high…….
    In hind sight….
    I think I would rather have kept Lindberg who is a sure thing, in fact scored a bunch of goals before he got hurt and seems poised to have a real good year after a terrific playoffs….
    Maybe Vegas would have agreed to take Raanta instead for the #7 or #21 pick?
    A bird in the hand thing……
    And its time we sign Smith……before we have another Strallman situation!!!!!
    Again a sure thing….we know what he can do…….

        • He’d chip in on O like Lindberg, that’s for sure. If you do the NHL coefficient translation, he’s worth 32 points right now. He’s roughly the height of Fast, has 10-12lbs of muscle on him.

          He’d be better off in Frolunda, but he could go.

          Do they show the prospect scrimmages on the website?

  • Hi..agree, it’s too early to tell on draft picks so lets see down the road on these guys. With that said, Gorton was fleeced by adding Raanta to the mix. So we gave up a potential starting goalie and a 1st/2nd line center who is 27 and came out of it with DeAngelo who could only end up on our 3rd line and 2 organizations have given up on him with reports of his attitude.
    Another GM would have done far better for us. Now, we need a #1 center and a #1 defenseman. So, we we probably need to trade a winger since we have no prospects left to trade. Getting Thornton seems like another Marcel Dionne disaster at age 37 and Shattenkirk could end up being a Staal/Giradi contract mistake. So, do we now trade Hayes, Vesey? I do not understand this. NJ and Philly are getting better. Not impressed with Gorton at all. Why this deal after losing Lindberg is a mystery. We seem worse off and the UFA pool is very average this year. The Coyotes got the better of this deal for sure. We went backwards.

    • IV ….luv Stepan all you want……he was not regarded as a #1 C throughout the league. That plus his $6.5 mil NMC resulted in Gorton getting what he could. I think great trade….a kid with possession numbers and a bit of an issue with Deangelo plus $6.5 million in todays NHL is a home run.
      Trust in Gordy!
      Gorton not done yet. Give it some time and keep your powder dry….you might like opening night roster.
      And for everyone who buys into skating away from stuff look at who the Penguins acquired from St Louis….another Lady Byng Candidate. Guess they’re going for #3. I know Walt and Bobby B would’ve been drooling.
      But wait! Would AV have given him ice with the IceCapades that we call the NYR?

      • ides,

        Yep took note. Ryan Reaves. Guess some management feels their skilled players warrant protection.

      • ides

        Yes your right about Reaves!!!!!! The guy can play the game reasonably well, and may well be the toughest SOB in the NHL. The only reason the Pens went after him is for protection of Cindy, and Igor. In spite of all the nay sayers, there is still a place in this game for players who can indeed drop the gloves, while contributing on the ice.
        Anyone on this site be willing to turn their backs on Wayne Simmons? Didn’t think so!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • ides, the truth hurts, this NYR team is a reflection of their coach, he preaches turn the other cheek philosophy. I would have loved a Ryan Reeves, Matt Martin, Patrick Maroon, type player on this roster. But even if we acquired such a player, AV would never play them. Myself,Walt, Rich S, Jerry, Fotiu and many others realize the need for toughness is so desired on this team. I hope D’angelo is the real goods?? I do believe Gorton is not done ( he better not be!! ) . I do have more faith in Gorton than I do AV, and luv that Lindy Ruff has been hired. The better sign Smith on the D end, go after Evander Kane and Josh Manson.

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