The Rangers are set to make their first splash in the undrafted free agent pool, targeting RW Jake Elmer of the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes.
In other words, Elmer is as young a junior hockey free agent as you can get. Had he been born a day later, Jan. 1, 1999, he would have been draft eligible this year. He’s eligible to sign a three-year entry-level NHL contract.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 15, 2019
Elmer has thrived with Dylan Cozens, as McKenzie noted, putting up 38-40-78 in 66 games. That’s a huge improvement on his 18-19-37 in 70 games last season. What I wonder is how high he would go if he were born one day later, as McKenzie noted. He certainly wouldn’t be taken in the first round, or else he would have been drafted last season. It is worth noting that per our own Josh Khalfin (private Twitter), Elmer has more primary points this year than Dylan Cozens, a projected top-ten pick.
Yeah, Jake Elmer (expected NYR UFA signing) got lots of points this season with Dylan Cozens, but it doesn't look like Elmer's scoring was an Anson Carter/Sedins situation by any means. pic.twitter.com/RRODutODoi
— Evan Oppenheimer (@OppenheimerEvan) March 15, 2019
What Evan here is saying is that despite the fact that Elmer does get a lot of points with Cozens, he’s not riding Cozens’ coattails. He can generate offense on his own. That bodes well, although there are still legitimate concerns that he may be in a Ryan Gropp situation, who was a product of Matt Barzal in his draft year
I don't mind the player. Stood out a bit when watched Lethbridge. Nice AHL depth I think.
— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 15, 2019
Corey Pronman notes that he’s likely going to be AHL depth, which is fine for an undrafted free agent. The Pack need skill, and Elmer is certainly a skill type player. Since he’s coming to the Rangers without the cost of a draft pick, anything that provides value is good for the Rangers.
Late birthdays are always hard to project, since they are physically behind the guys who are almost a year older than him but still in his draft. The question that hasn’t yet been answered is whether or not he is truly a product of Cozens. The scoring map doesn’t show that he is, but you never know. This is a good, smart signing to start off the undrafted free agency season."Rangers close to signing undrafted free agent Jake Elmer",