Three bold Rangers predictions heading into the 2021 draft
The expansion draft was a bit of a bust in terms of actual activity around the league. That didn’t stop the rumor mill, but actual active trades were few and far between. The Rangers only made one move, and that was the confirmed signing of Barclay Goodrow to his six year contract. Everything seems to be waiting for that first domino to fall, both for the Rangers and around the league. Since nothing major has happened yet, we can make three bold predictions for the Rangers at the 2021 NHL Draft.
1. The Rangers will not pick at #15
In terms of bold Rangers predictions at the 2021 draft, this probably has the least weight. We know the #15 is in play, and we know that the Rangers are looking to make a significant deal. Frank Seravalli has also mentioned that the Rangers have a ton of balls in the air, and no one really knows what their plan is. Chris Drury is playing things very close to the vest.
It’s not really a major leap to say that the Rangers aren’t going to pick at #15. There are too many rumors linking them to basically every possible available player. Usually, though, when involved in this many rumors, nothing actually happens. The only constant seems to be Jack Eichel, which has been around since last year.
2. The Rangers will make two trades at the draft
I’m going to hedge a little bit here. Instead of saying the Rangers are going to make two trades on the first day, I’m saying they will make two trades throughout the full draft. And I’m not including trades to move up or down. While Eichel is on everyone’s radar, the fact that the Rangers don’t have access to his health records is a problem. When paying for a $10 million center, you want to see what his health records are.
I expect the Rangers to make at least one trade on the first day. This is going to be tied to #1 above, where they won’t pick at #15. Drury will be active, and he will make his splashes at the draft.
3. Two current roster players will not survive the draft
If there’s one thing we’ve seen with Drury, it’s that when he finds his targets, he goes after them. He may not pull the trigger, as with Zach Hyman, but he moved quickly on Barclay Goodrow. In order for him to make room for those big deals we are expecting, he will need to move salary. That comes from Ryan Strome, Alex Georgiev, and Pavel Buchnevich.
It is highly unlikely all three are with the Rangers to start next season. Maybe one will be, or maybe none will be. But all three have value, and this is where the Rangers will subtract from their current roster to make improvements.
I’ll up the ante too. Zac Jones and Vitali Kravtsov don’t count. I’m talking players that were either on the roster for the full season, or played at least half the games.