Quick hits on the Rangers’ first round selections

vitali kravtsov

The Rangers made three selections last night as the full rebuild continues. Much of the focus was on selecting Vitali Kravtsov over Oliver Wahlstrom. But before Day Two starts, I have some quick thoughts on the picks:

  • Last year, we all killed the Rangers for selecting Lias Andersson because he was the “safe” pick and you want to swing for the fences. This year, I see a bunch of people killing the Rangers for taking Kravtsov over Wahlstrom for the exact opposite reason. I would have loved Wahlstrom at 9, but Kravtsov has possibly the highest non-Svechnikov ceiling in the draft. He’s an elite talent. A bit of a project, but his ceiling is higher than Wahlstrom’s.

  • The Rangers really liked K’Andre Miller, moving up four spots to grab him at 22 overall. The price to move up four spots was high, at least to me, with the 26th and 48th picks heading to Ottawa, but they got their man. Miller is just a pure specimen. He’s a kid with size (6’3:, 200 lbs) and it’s all muscle. The kid is a natural athlete, a converted forward to defenseman and he’s already a first round pick at that level.
  • At 28th, the Rangers took Nils Lundkvist, and I am going to call him Lundqvist at least 500 times. He’s another strong skating defenseman. I love that he’s a Swedish defenseman, because you know my feeling on Swedes. Just draft them.
  • The Blueshirts did very well last night. There’s a bit of disappointment surrounding Wahlstrom, but it’s not like the Rangers swung and missed. This was a solid first round, and something we should be happy with.

Show More
  • After we all calm down, including me, we will see that the Rangers did well in the first round.

    Love the upside on these picks, which is what fans have been clamoring for.

    One negative? Did Jeff need to use the 48th pick to move up 4 spots when STL used the 79th pick to move up 4 spots later on in the round. I think that’s a lgit argument, but not terrible.

    • That just depends on how much the Sens wanted to keep that pick versus Toronto … the bottom line will be how good Miller turns out.

      • Yeah, it doesn’t make that much difference if the player works out.

        But as Ranger fans, we insist on being negative about something, so I can up with it, lol.

        • I noticed the same thing with StL paying less. But if it helps, since the 2013 draft, the second leading goal scorer among players picked 48th and higher is Anthony Duclair. (Braydon Point is 1st).

          • I didn’t think it a big deal, if Miller is the player they wanted and another team was going to get him then you have to trade up. It’s fine.

            Miller is a beast. Called best athlete in the draft. He’s ranked late 1st round because he hasn’t played his current position for too long. Wisconsin will teach him his craft and become a very good player.

            Potential future fan favorite.

        • when the team you support delivers championships at the rate that the rangers do, you can complain about them whatever you want, whenever you want 🙂

    • As noted widely by all the experts and non-experts alike this was a draft deep in talent. With that comes marginal differences in talent across a wide population of players.

      At that point it comes down to talent evaluation and upside projections and with the Rangers track record on these points this is where it gets scary for me.

      However, picking Kratsov does not seem to be a reach for me. There is a lot of good info out there on this kid including the bit I posted yesterday from the Hockey Writers blog that he could be the steal of the draft. McKenzie had him in the top 12 and even called the pick as the Rangers were heading to the podium.

      I think the noise is more about knowledge than anything. Yeah it sucks that the Isles made some good picks right behind us but they had #11 & #12 so of course they were going to make noise. But we need to focus on what we do not what they do.

      As for Miller – he is a gifted athlete who is just now making the transition to defense from forward. He is heading to Wisconsin the breeding ground for upside D-men. Did we need to lose a 2nd rounder to move up? Who knows – could be that they had intel on another team who was ready to pounce on him.

      As it stands today I am very good with the first two picks and as for the 3rd – can you really have too many Lundqvist’s or Lundkvist’s or whatever variation that there is….

      • I am very happy with the first round pal, though I did not know much about the Swedish D man (my friend told me he has high end skills).

        I think it was just the shock of not picking Wally when he dropped to the Rangers.

        Love the Miller pick.

    • Sure, Shadow GM/Anthony. We did, keying on your adverb choice, “well”. “Well”. Not brilliant.

      After the revulsion-disgust and heartache of last night’s takeaway wore off–Let’s Make The Isles Great Again–I’m committing to your counseled patience.

      Yes, I’ll endeavor not to invoke the awful specter of Pavel Brendl and Evgeny Grachev when this reach of a selection turns into Val Nichushkin/2022.

      All the hype, size, all the tools. Not to mention great hair. Tears up The KHL, and…giant sucking sound from Yaroslavl.

      Nope, I trust you, Anthony. I’ll suspend belief, and apologies to Edmund Burke, will totally sketch on history; for instance, passing on Mike Bossy. Yeah, no man.

      All that said, how do you walk back our passing–Second Round–on Joe Veleno for… Lundkvist?

      Or saying sayonara to Ryan McLeod and Bode Wilde for… a Lindbom?

      Bro, we’ve been here before. Context counts.

      As Original Rob so aptly put it before vanquishing a bottle of 18-year old McCallan’s and a handful of Xanax, we went “cute”.

      Me, I way prefer solid. In other words: You take The North American kid.

      • Bro, I will say that there is zero justification for taking a goalie in the 2nd round, none. That was assinine. I will give you that.

        And I will even say that cornering the market on D men like the Dukes cornering the market on frozen concentrated OJ is a bit befuddling as well.

        I mean, where are the elite forwards in the system? I do not understand the thinking.

        But I thought that, after getting over thew shock of not picking Wally, that they did well in the first round. So that is the saving grace.

        Kovy got his 3 years, which the Rangers were never doing (the Rangers offered employment after hockey as a sweetner, but it didn’t fly). So now what? Nash again? Something else?

        They CANNOT go into next year not thinking playoffs. Tix sales are plummeting, as there no longer is a “waiting list” and lost revenues are not acceptable.

        We will know where we are by August 1, for good or for bad. Rangers on Trouba big time, like it or not. Hayes would be the main asset going back as Jets looking for LH C if Stastny does not re-sign (from what I hear).

        Sigh, this is exhausting, lol.

        • Yes to Jacob Trouba. Absolutely, Paisan.

          No way we’re a playoff team.

          Devils, Isles ascending. We’re in rebuild mode. Not retool.

          Forasmuch, I’m okay with that. Like you, I’ll be patient; so long as the plan forward and commitment/buy-in, similar to the culture and mindset Winnipeg shaped is clear.

      • It’s a tough one Fotiu – I am rationalizing this as a Russian flying under the radar that has huuuuuge upside potential.

        For better or worse, this pick is going to be analyzed for years to come because of what was on the menu prior to ordering. Let’s hope history smiles on us all and we will not be evoking dreams of Brendl, Sanguinetti, Halverson, and God forbid Bossy,

        Definitely like the Miler pick – he has the potential to be the real deal.

        Now – picking a goalie at #39 with what was still available is ludicrous and I hope Richter candid up some intel on how the $%*%^$ that happened.

        Gordie is getting pretty long in the tooth guys – is he still the right guy for NHL Hockey in 2018????

        • Swarty, my friend, the Rangers liked the goalie and Benoit liked the pick, simple as that.

          Huska and Halverson had bad years, while Wall did well. So, really, the Rangers have Hank, Georgiev, and Shesty as NHL ready goalies, and not much after that.

          To me, Halverson is a big disappointment, overall.

    • Agree again Richter – I believe the Rangers did well and time will tell for all the teams in how this draft panned out. I do love the K’Andre pick! He will be attending school (Wisconsin?) and I get the move up 4 spots to get him, especially when you get word that he is about to go to the team(s) right before you. Im just glad we filled our system a bit – and the fun is just about to begin next week!

      • yep my friend, after getting past the initial “betrayal” of the Rangers not selecting Wally, I believe that the Rangers got the better player.

        Krav’s ranking was based on his KHL contract and his availability in the future to the NHL, so it was lower than it should have been. He was ranked 3rd in European skating rankings.

        I am very excited about Miller an what he can be.

  • I was a bit disappointed as well, but sort of like last year when I was originally scratching my head at Chytil. After having time to digest that pick it was a very good choice.

    Kravtsov was a curious choice with Dobson and Walhstrom still on the Board. Of course the Isles end up landing both. So kill me now. He was KHL rookie of the year and he had quite a play off this past season. He’s bigger and gritter(so they say) than Walhstrom.

    Miller was a good choice. He’s only played D for 2 years, but he seems to have picked it up pretty well. Great physical condition, great skater and good hockey sense. Brett Burns and Dustin Byfuglien play D and Forward. This was a good future pick up but Miller most likely is 2 to 3 years away.With everyone taking 5’11” 175 lb D men I am ok with a 6’4″ 195 player who can skate.With the players available the trade up was an interesting choice. Especially with who you consider was still available.

    Nils Lundkvist was not a bad selection. But like the other 2 selections there appeared to be other options that may have been better. I was hoping we would be able to select Rasmus Sandin with that pick. We could have. but let him go to Toronto. Similar type of player to Lundkvist, but further along in his development. I was also thinking Samuelsson would have been a good choice here.

    My wish was Walhstrom, Denisenko and Sandin as our 3 picks. We could have had 2 of those 3 but passed them up. So what do I know.

    In fairness we talk a lot about them needing to reach to find elite talent. I think it’s fair to say they did that here. Was that the right reach? Only time will tell.

    I think Detroit(Zadina and Veleno) and I hate to say it the Isles(Wahlstrom and Dobson) had the best round 1. After Buffalo and Carolina of course. Minnesota I would say had the worst round 1.

    Let’s hope we use #39 well. Plenty of first round talent slipped to the secon so there’s some good choices.

    Do agree with you on the C grade. Hopefully time will prove us wrong…

    • Dobson is probably 2nd pair D as he just hammers pucks from the point like Ryan Graves did, but is a much better backwards skater.

    • Truth: Andy.

      You said it, man. A solid C. Gorts all but set the table for The Isles and Flyers.

      Us? Well. (To use Anthony/Richter’s descriptor.)

      Even Kenny Holland, sans any discernible sentience or tactical vision outdid our braintrust.

      It could’ve been 1) Wahlstrom, Miller 2) Veleno and Bode Wilde…

      Instead it’s a Russian reach and Per Djoos squared.

      • well first round looking more like a B after the next few rounds. Did we need another goalie at 39? If we have one strength it’s signing undrafted goalies and making them into something. Thank you Benoit Allaire. With all the players who slipped from round 1 this does not seem like a good use of pick #39. At all.

        The rest of the picks were ok. I think Nico Gross was a good value pick and Ragnarrson is interesting. Keane seems like a stretch to me.I get the importance and value of D men, but with all the D and center prospects we have now maybe a winger at #39 would have made better sense?

        I think Kravtsov is going to be a very good player and definitely has an elite ceiling. I was hoping for Walhstrom or Dobson, so i think I was more disappointed we let them go. And the Isles took them.

        I also really like Miller. size, skill, smarts and compete level. I can see him replacing(and improving upon) Shattenkirk when Kevin’s contract expires. His time line is probably 2 to 3 years away. He was a good pick on a lot of levels for us. Did we need to give up #48? I won’t hold that against Miller.

        Agree Veleno would have been a good pick too. I know we have a lot of centers, but we have a lot of D too.He was just very good value at that spot. Which makes you wonder if we really went with the best player available?

        Well, no Kovalchuk, No Taveres. And no Hamilton, Fox(yet) or Lindholm, or Hanafin. I think we may sign Van Riemsdyk as a UFA. If we trade Hayes I would like to see us target Trouba.(we would need more than Hayes, but a starting point) Not sure he’s available, but he’s just what we need defensively and Hayes would slot in pretty nicely between Laine and Ehlers. and behind Scheifele. There’s defintely a match up there. Maybe we offer up Gilmour or Vesey as an adder. Maybe even something bigger with Gilmour and Vesey going and Roslovic comes back our way.

        The thing I gleaned most is don’t expect to make the play offs next year. The best players we got(Kravtsov and Miller) are not NHL ready. Kravtsov may slot in late next season for an 8 game try out like Chytil and Andersson did. All that said they did follow the blue print laid out in February. They did draft some high ceiling players in round 1. And they will largely avoid the big names in the UFA market like it or not. So we still have lots of assets and lots of cap space.

  • I love that the point totals the Rangers have on Kravtsov were playoffs only: that’s good spin.

    Needs to put on 10lbs, but that’s manageable. The only question is where he gets to put it on. I hope it’s in Hartford.

    Miller had sneaky good analytical stats if not the box car numbers.

    Lundkvist is a stretch for me, not seeing elite upside.

  • Too cold/Too hot: As Dave said, last year fans went nuts because JG went the safe route with Andersson. This year he’s criticized for not going safe with Wahlstrom and taking Kravstov with what may be the higher potential. (BTW, I think it was going safe at #7 that enabled JG to go off the board with Chtyl, who may be the steal of the 2017 draft.)

    Too hot/Too cold: Most of us wanted no part of the undersized D’s like Hughes/Boqvist. And many have been saying for years we need a physical, crease-clearing D. So we avoid the smurfs and trade up to take a type of player that’s very hard to find. But for some, we didn’t need to move up and Miller is raw.

    Just right: Both Kravstov and Miller are big and can skate. The word on Kravstov is he’s a solid, all-around, two-way player with tremendous potential. Miller may be a total beast. JG didn’t play it safe. He went for what I think we need — elite talent. How is this a bad thing? How is this not reason to be optimistic? Especially when the draft is such a crap-shoot to begin with.

  • We should be ecstatic about our 1st round, in my view. It’s all just opinion today, right, but I am of the view both Kravtsov and Miller have high odds of hitting their targeted top-end ceiling. I think these two may prove to be some of the best picks our organization have had since Leetch and Lundqvist. The Swedish defenseman Lunkvist looks like a very talented RHD as well. Very good day yesterday for our organization; I haven’t said that in a long while after first day of our draft.

  • Kravtsov is bigger than Wahlstrom has a higher skill level and is faster. The kid plays withs edge goes to the tough areas. He showed all these skills not against boys but men. In the playoffs when things are tougher and time and space lessen. This teenage against men showed up and showed out big time.
    K’Andre Miller the big 6’4 tough defenseman everyone has been calling for. He’s a great skater has a big shot and one report stated is a beast.
    Nils is a smaller guy who also is a great skater who plays both ends and very nifty with the puck. The Rangers did really well picking up elite players two who are big with a very high skill level.
    Look at all the guys who were supposed to go high fell. Joe fell and jay went to Philly at what 14. He was ranked to go in the second round.
    Let’s calm down the Rangers did really well last night. Elite talent, size and speed. All of them are tough to play against.

  • This morning I posted on the other thread about last night’s picks, and expressed some disappointment, well let’s start over again.

    Vitali Kravtsov over Oliver Wahlstrom was my biggest beef, and after reading some more on Kravtsov, it appears that the upside could be greater. If he plays a 200 foot game, plays like a power forward, plays with an edge, and skates like the wind, makes his own space because he didn’t have near the talent around him like Oliver did, well “I could be wrong”. He may prove that to be the case. Someone also posted he, Wahlstrom, had some off ice baggage, so that could also explain why they stayed away from Oliver?

    Miller is a pure athlete, played football, and is quick. Was a forward at first, can score, strong as a BULL, can skate, played defense for only two years and still picked in the first round. I like this choice more, and more, and am pulling for the kid. I loved his interview, was upset seeing his mom crying, even if the tears were of joy, this kid has class, and charterer, what’s not to like??????

    Nils Lundkvist is a smooth skater, a bit undersized for me, but that’s OK, we got Miller for that department, LOL! I won’t say anything else, don’t know much more.

    We still have a shot at some quality players in the second round, and hope we do the right thing!!!!!!

    • I read that Wally “may” have some off ice baggage which caused him to fall. Rangers were not the only ones to pass on him.

      Again, not to beat a dead horse, but you cannot discount who Wally played with, Jack Hughes and Joel Farabee, to create an unbelievable line. Wally’s strength is one-timers so he needs to be set up. Not saying he’s not a very good player but maybe his stats are padded, similar to Gropp playing with Barzal?

      Krav creates his own chances. Elite skill. Plus he’s huge and can skate.

        • as Brooks said, 55 years without an allstar forward in the first round. there’s a reason for that.

          and by what the Rangers have said, they had Krav over Zadina, which I have a problem with that. top 10 picks are supposed to put the puck in the net.

  • There’s chatter on the net that Kravtsov was an excellent pick, some of us had Wahlstrom going 4th. Why the drop? Miller is IMO, is the pick of the first round. My only disappointment is he is left handed, no biggie. And there was a curious run on undersized defenseman, we got one who is talented AND he is right handed. He may prove to be a winner in this year’s draft. I have absolutely no complaints.

  • My only concern is that all these guys are several years from even competing for a roster spot and how they fit in to this whole “rebuild” thing.

    On a side note did anyone watch the pre draft thing the Rangers had on Facebook? Chytil was asked about how he tries to be a leader and he said no that’s Lias. He’s the leader in the locker room.

    Anderson will be the captain of the Rangers within 3 years.

    • Why is that a concern? All these guys are probably 1-3 years away — once teams use to draft kids 4-5 years away, it didn’t concern them as much as their upside down the line. The Rangers drafted the players they thought had the highest upside, you have to be fine with that. Besides, Kravtsov is probably just 1 year away (hopefully they bring him to Hartford).

      The goal here isn’t to have the sexiest draft, it’s to have the most effective draft. Between these guys and the prospects we picked up you can see the type of team they’re forming.

  • I liked all the players selected, It’s not the player that gets an F it is Clark.

    Ahhh….quite a few people scratched their heads with how we selected. Again, not the player but the strategy. Kravtzov would’ve been there at 14 if this the player you want

    Then you trade up to get Miller with the names still available? I have news for you there is not much separating Miller from McIssacs or Wilde. so we give a 2nd? 25 then trades for 4 spots and a third? We lost on that deal, again not the player

    I watched the U 18 and no I was not impressed with Wilde or Miller we will have to see, if we have not gotten better on the developmental side of things then Miller will have a very short career as a Ranger. This is a player to keep tabs on.

    I have no faith left in Gordie Clark. Islanders and Buffalo will win the Cup before us and it’s not anyone else but our own fault. This is my opinion. Our management team is showing tremendous amount of incompetence.

    Again not the players as good players the staff. We went to the plate expecting a home run from a home run hitter and instead he bunted.

    • You were just as hostile and harsh with your immediate assessment of last year’s draft. I think you’re opinion was wrong then and I think it’s wrong now. But it’s your rhetoric that’s totally over the top, disproportionate, and unreasonable.

      • That’s because Andersson could have been had at 10 with Tippet, Vilardi and Middlestat still available. Trade down get an asset and draft a player you want and same is true this year…this is awful…rhetoric to you…to me that’s a pattern.

        I didn’t need to be at the draft table to see what unfolded on TV, This is not smart, wise and shows lack of flexibility. Yeah I love the Andersson pick now but I still can’t justify it at 7 when those players were available. They could’ve traded to 10 and still got tremendous value and quite possible Andersson would’ve been there. 90% probability and if someone got him before you, you still score big with one of Vilardi, Tippett or Middlestat.

        Kravtsov would have been there at 13/14…Miller would’ve been there at 26 and if not… too many players with high value still there. Only 2 players should’ve been selected at 22 after a trade, Veleno or Bokk not Miller. So we lose an asset…don’t gain any and I can not defend Clark. He now has a pattern….Let’s not forget drafting Del Zotto over Carlson too….
        eh…. fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me….Well Clark is going on 4 now.

        Kravtsov, Miller and Lindkvist are good players…I like the picks, I have issue with how the draft was managed. They sold themselves short. Detroit showed you what to do, I assure you they did a bit of homework on Zadina…put a check mark…he drops to us we get him…then they went all out on Hughes, Kotkeniemi, Wahlstrom, Dobson, Bovqist. We had Wahlstrom Dobson AND Bouchard fall which no one could’ve predicted that and what happens? Just shaking my head

        • The fact is that the harshness and hostility of your opinions is wholly disproportionate to your actual knowledge. When it comes to moving down to get Andersson/Kravtsov you simply don’t know:
          * at what pick will they still be available?
          * how do you know they’ll still be available at that slot?
          * is there a team with a pick between #7/#9 and the pick when they are available who’s willing to move up? at what price?

          As for staying at #26 to get Miller, how do you know that he’d still be there?

          And at each decision point you believe that there’s a margin of error where there are other available players just as good if not better.

          You think you’re judgment is better than Gorton/Clarke. You think you’re privy to the same inside info that guides ALL of their decisions. You’re very wrong on both counts. You’re entitled to your opinions. It’s the rhetoric that I think is totally unreasonable given your lack of knowledge.

    • You weren’t at the draft, you were sitting at home —- the day you sit down at the draft table and mull around the draft floor and get the inside scoop on who covets who is the day you can talk intelligently about whether or not they could have waited or whether or not they needed to move up. For all you know Minnie might have coveted Miller at 24 … for all you know maybe the Islanders would have grabbed Kravtsov instead of Wahlstrom if we had grabbed Wahlstrom.

  • Can’t judge the draft right now, wait at least 2 years. If you look back at the NYR draft records for the last 10 yrs, they did pretty well on their 1st round draft choices, not much after that.

  • Anyone else just happy that we had 1st round picks again this year? Too many years of watching the NYR trade away their picks. It is nice to have a piece of the action!

  • Kravtsov gives the Rangers another high end talent to add to their stable of young Russia hockey players. But will they ever make their way to North America is the question. The KHL wants to keep their homegrown hockey allstars and prying them away is not a gimmie.

    • Krav has an out clause and can come this coming year. If not, then he plays one more year there and comes here after his KHL season.

      Not an issue at all.

    • Ha, that’s the most often used comment about Russian prospects ….. and it’s literally NEVER true. Besides, Bobrov does his homework! He knows.

  • Shouldn’t we have traded one of our many left handed ‘D’ prospects to get a Dobson or Bouchard? Seems like a solid Righty ‘D’ is still our biggest need. Dobson and Bouchard could play in the NHL this season. We can’t say that for our picks in the 1st round.

    • your left side on the big club currently consists of:


      It sucks. I would not be trading guys like Lindgren and Hajek right now. And Staal and Smith are not tradeable.

        • No, no, not at all, love Brady, but the other 2…

          Was just saying that we DO NOT have LH depth because the younger guys are unproven at this point.

    • A key point of the “rebuild” is that the Rangers do no sacrifice the future for the present. That means not caring about “ready to play in the NHL this season”. So if you believe that Kravtsov projects as a better player in the long run, you take him over more ready players.

  • No problem with the Lundkvist pick – RH defensemen are disproportionately valuable. BUT don’t agree with you about Swedes. Recent history of failure suggests that the Rangers have been too willing to grab Swedes of late and that enthusiasm should be tempered. Not saying don’t draft them – but perhaps draft fewer.

    • I can’t think of any impact Swedish hockey players that have led their team to a Stanley Cup since Forsberg and Lindstrom.

  • Under Clark
    Jessiman over take your pick
    Al Montoya Korpikoski debacle over
    Staal good pick
    Sanguenetti over Giroux
    Del Zotto over Carlson
    Kreider good pick
    McIlrath take your pick
    Miller good pick but could be debated
    Skjei good pick
    Andersson over Middlestat/Tippet/Vilardi
    This years debacle

    Can’t say it’s a winning track record

    • Of course there have been mistakes. But this isn’t just 20-20 hindsight. This is like seeing the rings of Saturn and believing you didn’t really need the telescope.

    • Now I know you’re BIASED as f … to blame Clark for Jessiman, Montoya and Korpikoski just proves you have it out for him. He did not run the draft back then, not even close.

  • Larry Brooks wrote an interesting stat in today’s Post: ” Over the previous 55 sweepstakes, the Rangers had selected 514 players. Not once — not once — have they selected a forward who would be named to an NHL first All-Star team. ”

  • Kravtsov appears to be that power forward for whom Rangers fans have been clamoring. Seems to be a consensus that he has a very high upside. Miller might be a stud on D because he is rather huge and fast. We won’t know of course until later how they will fare, but I am not at all disappointed once I read up on these kids. Wahlstrom may turn out to be a very good player. Kavtsov may turn out to be an elite one.

  • Back to top button