The Rangers finally have a first round pick, but won’t have a second or third round pick this year. If they choose to trade for a pick, is it worth it? Let’s explore.
In recent years, the New York Rangers have traded away a lot of first round picks. Since Brady Skjei in 2012, they have not had a selection in round one, stunting the growth of their prospect pool. Now, they have the opportunity to make a top 31 pick.
However, in years past, the Rangers have made their mark with smart, high risk high reward picks in the middle rounds. This has been an area of strength, finding talent with prospects like Pavel Buchnevich, Anthony Duclair, Ryan Graves, Igor Shestyorkin and others.
This year, there is a lack of top end talent in the draft. That is not to say it is a weak draft, though; the depth is there and there are good mid round picks to be made. The Rangers, who have a decent reputation for this, would be smart to tap into that market again.
On top of this, sometimes it isn’t about the spots you make your selections in. The more picks you have, the more likely you are to obtain a good player. The likelihood of finding a bust is higher with less picks, even if one of your only picks is in round one.
Scenarios To Obtain Middle Round Picks
With all this in mind, it can be inferred that finding a way to trade into the middle rounds can be beneficial for the Rangers. With this, though, they will need to do so in a way that doesn’t hurt the team’s current build.
Therein lies the problem: while they’d like to make a move up into rounds two and three, the Rangers don’t have much by way of assets to give up. Perhaps a defenseman, like Kevin Klein with salary retention, or Nick Holden alone, can bring back a second or third round pick.
Another possibility is the Rangers trading out of the first round for multiple selections in the second. Pick 21 is valuable, certainly, but the gap in talent available in that area vs the talent around picks 30 through 50 isn’t that wide. Making two picks in the 30s and 40s is potentially more valuable than one pick in the 20s.
Lastly, the Rangers can look to make a blockbuster deal involving a forward. The plausibility of this is low, but Gorton managed to recoup a second round pick in the Brassard for Zibanejad deal. If the Rangers make another surprise deal with their forwards, its possible they can sneak a pick into it as well.
If the Rangers decide to make one of these scenarios a reality, they can find a number of talented players dropping into the middle rounds. Depth is a necessity, and while having a first round pick is nice, making multiple selections in the top 60 might just prove to be better.
Stay tuned for part two: prospect targets the Rangers can acquire in rounds two and three!