The NY Rangers currently have a second 1st round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft that will be in the 21-24 range. There are a lot of good targets for the Rangers in that range. None will be Alexis Lafreniere, but the Rangers will land talent given the depth of the draft. Noel Gunler is a player getting a lot of positive reviews, and he could be a good fit if available in this range.
It’s worth noting that I am no draft expert. I did a lot of Googling and Youtubing. You should be checking out sites like Future Considerations, Elite Prospects, Dobber Hockey, and others on Twitter (@SternScouting, @ManUtdTobbe, @aj_ranger, and I’m sure I missed a bunch).
Gunler’s SHL Usage and Skill Set
Gunler is a guy who is viewed anywhere from top-five in talent to top-20 in results. He’s a kid that has a high ceiling, perhaps the highest outside of the bigger names in the draft, yet he seems to be slipping in draft rankings. He has one of the best shots in the draft. His 4-9-13 line this year doesn’t seem overly impressive, but that is more about his lack of usage than his skill set. Remember, he’s an 18 year old playing in the SHL, an incredible feat. If anything, that helps the Rangers out, as he may slide to a reachable point where they can trade up.
Gunler, at 6′ and 170 lbs, is an offensive force. He creates offense by driving the net, has superb skating and passing skills, and good vision to go along with that lethal shot.
The talent is there, but he’s not perfect. Like most kids playing up in the SHL, he has some struggles without the puck. Gunler sometimes coasts or looks lost, but that should eventually be worked out as he gains more pro experience. Same with his tendencies to sometimes force a pass.
Gunler’s NHL Projections
Gunler is a bit of a project, but one with a very high ceiling. He’s not going to jump to the NHL immediately. He may even take longer than some of the other top-20 prospects in this draft. But his ceiling, if he hits it, is a top line winger with an elite level shot.
Noel Gunler could be one of those homerun picks that could set up a team for years to come. He needs to get stronger and needs to work on his game outside of his offensive skills.