by Patrick Hoffman on 06/18/12 at 09:00 AM ET
With the 2012 NHL Entry Draft right around the corner, I figured now would be the perfect time to get the pulse of what the New York Rangers need to do this year.
PH: What do you think the Rangers’ overall goal should be at this year’s NHL Entry Draft? Why?
JR: Increased depth. 28 is really a 2nd rd pick so the Rangers ought to be looking for the best player no matter which position. This draft is full of good solid defenders, which in turn would mean some good forwards will fall down in the draft as well. The biggest thing I see is that those I really like, Tanner Pearson of Barrie, Nicolas Kerdiles of USNTDP, Cristoval Nieves of Kent HS and Ludvig Bystrom of Sweden are all guys who I see slipping down into the middle of the 2nd round.
PH: Based on where the team is picking this year, who do you think the team should target? Why?
JR: I actually want to see them either trade down to try to regain the lost picks (3 of them) or use the pick as part of a trade package. It is not the Rangers who will be picking a franchise player. If they did keep the pick, I believe they will wind up looking on defense because depth there is now a problem not only because of Sauer’s status, but also the failures of Valentenko and a couple of others defensive prospects failing to show they are NHL material.
PH: Anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers regarding prospects?
JR: With only four picks, the Rangers have to get value for each pick they select. I would like to see them add a goalie in the 3rd or 4th rd because I am not seeing any of the prospect goalies as long term solutions should something happen to Henrik. I know people are not going to understand the thinking here because Henrik is 30 and has a lot of good years ahead of him.
The logic behind it is that you are looking down four to five years from now now. It lets the team pick a goalie, have him play two years in the juniors or college, then turn him pro where he can spend a couple more years in the AHL and slide into the Ranger backup spot in the fifth year. The Rangers have been lucky that Henrik has not suffered a serious injury. Think back to when Mike Richter got injured and the endless parade of goalies the Rangers went through and you will see why a goalie is huge sooner not later.
As for the state of the Ranger prospect pipeline, they are coming off a fantastic season which saw 3 prospects win championships, and several led their respective teams in scoring. The Rangers also signed, for the first time, an entire draft class to contracts (2010). If you like today, you are so going to love tomorrow.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.