A look at who might be available at the #15 pick for the Rangers

Luck wasn’t in our favor last night. The Rangers will pick at #15 in the 2021 NHL Draft. While I still don’t think the Rangers will actually make a selection in the first round, I’ve been wrong many times before. There’s always that high probability that no real trades materialize, and the Rangers do make their pick. So let’s take a look at who the Rangers might be picking from at #15, using –for now– Sportsnet’s rankings. Naturally, all sites will have different rankings.

One thing that is difficult this year with prospects is the 2020 season was a train wreck. The OHL didn’t play. The WHL got maybe 25% of a season. Only the KHL had a full year overseas. The SHL and Liiga both had pauses, and many teams had their own pauses as well. This draft is a weird one.

As an aside, all 2021 Draft coverage will be under the tag 2021 NHL Draft. I’ll be adding a link to the menu over the weekend. These also aren’t going to be full reviews, just a preview. I will go into full reports of some guys that might be available throughout the next month or so. As a reminder, I am not a prospect guy. I am doing my best based off information from people I trust and video highlights.

Aatu Raty – C, Liiga

Aatu Raty is the first name that came up once the Rangers were confirmed at the #15 spot. He’s a strong center, but he did have a relatively poor 2021 season in Liiga. That is balanced out by strong international competition performances. He seems to be the highest ceiling of who might be available in this range.

That said, with a potential new direction in scouting and drafting, will the Rangers go for a Euro in the first round? They will most certainly grab the best player available, and some have Raty as a top-ten pick. Personally, I think Finns and Swedes play the game the right way in all three zones. They are taught skill in addition to forechecking and backchecking, rounding them out and making them difficult to play against.

Raty isn’t a kid that would enter the NHL immediately. He’s going to need a few more years in Liiga and get used to playing against grown men.

Cole Sillinger – LW, USHL

Cole Sillinger’s name has been anywhere from top-five to middle of the first round. Sportsnet has him right at #15, and I think that’s a slide for Sillinger. The WHL barely played, so Sillinger spent the season in the USHL where he absolutely dominated the league. He’s probably the purest goal scorer in the draft.

For the Rangers, drafting another LW might seem short sighted given the organizational strength, but cheap talent wins. At some point, the Rangers won’t have their current trio of Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, and Alexis Lafreniere on the left side. Either by trade, injury, or moving to RW, things will change.

Sillinger fits that bill of a North American skater, but he isn’t a Kreider-lite power forward. He’s more of a skill guy.

Zachary Bolduc – C, QMJHL

Bolduc was injured for most of the 2021 season, but he’s another great skill player in a position of need for the Rangers. You can never have enough skill centers, especially those that can skate like Bolduc. He’s very shifty with high end offensive potential.

If you’re a size person, he and Sillinger are the same height, but Sillinger has filled out more earlier on in his life. Bolduc could use some weight/strength. Another area for improvement is his hockey IQ, as he can rush plays sometimes. Both are fixed with time and development.

Some Reminders

A few pieces to keep in mind as the Rangers prepare for the #15 selection in the 2021 NHL Draft:

  • Size isn’t as important right now. These kids are 18 years old and will fill out over time. I was 135 lbs (5’11”) at 18 years old. By the time I was 25 I was 185 lbs. And no, it wasn’t all beer weight.
  • At #15, the Rangers aren’t getting an immediately impactful player. The best player available, even if its on defense, is the best route.
  • This isn’t the NFL, you don’t draft for positional need. I mention it briefly above, but it isn’t a big factor when drafting for 3-4 years in the future.
  • All of these rankings go out the window if someone ranked high keeps falling.

With the draft order set, we might start getting a glimpse as to what the Rangers are thinking. I’d expect to hear many rumors that the Rangers are willing to dangle the #15 pick for immediate help. As for the actual direction of the team, I wouldn’t expect much movement until after the expansion draft.

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  • i dont know why certain outlets keep saying theyll trade this pick. imo they need to boost the center column in their prospect pool even more than dealing for oft injured eichel (would 15th overall even cut it?)

    • Reason is to win while key guys like Panarin are in their prime. At 15, that player will take 2 years before turning pro and another 2-3 years before establishing themselves. Basically 3-4 years to produce at the NHL level. They won’t trade for Eichel unless he is considered healed from injury. Would not make any sense for them to make a deal for an injured player.

  • Interesting note that I watched on TSN (think it was Mackenzie’s mid year ranking): except for Beniers and Raty, most of the other top ranked centers are projected to move to the wing so don’t select by position…BPA….at 15, I like Chaz Lucius, Bolduc, Mactavish and L’Heureux (Marchand comparison).

  • SNY is reporting on their Ranger page, that Rick Tocchet has had a 2nd interview for the coaching position.

  • You take the best available and ranked player available at 15, no matter the position. I believe they dangle this pick (if the trade is right) or possibly trade this to move down a few spots and pick up a 2nd round pick. If you can trade the 15th for say the 21st and 40th, do you do it?

    • No, not for our situation. To move down like that would make sense for a team like the redwings who are dab-smacked in the middle of a rebuild and need all the youth they can get. For us, it would be better used to
      A.) Trade up (Example- Nils Lundqvist, 15th pick and 2022 3rd rounder to Columbus for #5 and selecting Matt Beniers).
      B.) Include in a package for an already established NHL star
      (Example- #15 pick, 2022 1st rounder, 2022 3rd rounder to SJS for Center Tomas Hertl).

        • Never said I was for it. Though imagine the future line combo, LW Lafraneire (1st overall), C Beniers 5th overall, RW Kakko 2nd overall. And we would still have Schneider in the pipes at RHD

        • And I hpenstly doubt Nils is better than Beniers will be. I think you’re just a typical Rangers fan who knows nothing about players other than your own, and overvalue your own while undervaluing everyone else

  • Maybe Rangers send some players Gauthier or Howden to Ottava or Calgary to change the pick.

    • Or maybe we try and pry Elias Lindholm and the 12th pick from them for Strome, our 15th and Jones) … but that assumes they would have ANY interest whatsoever in Strome.

  • I have a feeling that unless they love Raty, or similar player sitting at #15, they might try to deal the pick. However, the crop doesn’t seem to be too strong, so dealing it for immediate help means it would be included in a package. The draft doesn’t seem to be that strong once we get to #15 so the pick is unlikely to be more than some window dressing. They’d have to move a decent player to get someone worth getting in return. Otherwise just dealing the pick by itself doesn’t seem to likely to bring much in return. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  • First off Europeans do not have a monopoly on hockey skills training.

    Youth and junior hockey programs in North American focus squarely on developing youth hockey and skating skills. And they continue to produce the best hockey players in the world by far. Yes there are some great European players in the NHL, but many are washouts who can play at the same pace and on the smaller ice surface.

    The Rangers need to draft accordingly to a players ability and potential, not by their nationality.

    • The one thing that Europe does well that NA doesn’t is that they routinely have elite talent play up in order to face resistance, rather than tearing up a league they’re too good for.

  • Raty’s redemption tour has just started, Scott Wheeler just ran a piece in the Athletic explaining how he worked *too* hard the last two years. He should’ve tore up U20 in Finland, was just okay. Just doesn’t think the game well.

    *Size *is* important. The mean, median & mode for NHL draft eligibles is 6’1,185. The average NHLer is 6’1” 195lbs

    At 5’11, your weight at 18 going into the draft should’ve been around 170-176lbs. The farther away you are from the height/weight ratio, the greater the scoring rate would need to be. You would have had to been scoring at Mario Lemieux rates to get drafted at all. There’s 20 years of draft data that back this.

    At 25 you would have been looking for a job in Denmark after bouncing around the ECHL after finishing your NCAA eligibility.

    Buchnevich took 5 years to fill out and become an effective player at evens. It’s paying off now, but you only got 3 years of quality in his prime. Draft position priced him accordingly.

    *You can draft for immediate impact at 15, you’re just guaranteeing a low ceiling, physically mature prospect. Not saying you should, but you can.

    *Teams routinely draft for positional weakness in the system, but not on the current roster.

    • For a player who could be an immediate impact player that could be available at 15, Cole Sillinger fills the bill. Productive, physically mature even with a May birthday.

  • Just read that apparently Owen Power only looking to play for one team, sending letters to the other 31 teams of his intent.

    I’m assuming the one team isn’t Buffalo.

    So how does this play out? Power stays in school, graduates on time and in 3 years is a UFA. Buffalo can’t risk that, especially for a guy who’s good, but not great.

    So who’s the one team? Is he a Leafs baby?

    • It appears that the guy who reported that Power would only play for one team has pulled that tweet.


  • I would be shocked if they go anything but Center with first 2 picks. There are a bunch of good centers. Craif Button sees us going after Chad Lucius

  • With the The way it is it would be tough to buy the center help that we need so the only other avenues I trade for it or draft it at this point we might be better off putting Baron back at center and maybe even trying one or two of the other kids at center that are in the minors now

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