New York Rangers: Who we want selected in the first round of the Draft

Oct 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view outside of the United Center before the preseason game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view outside of the United Center before the preseason game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /
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Josh Lipman

Timothy Liljegren/Elias Pettersson

The New York Rangers should trade up for Timothy Liljegren or Elias Pettersson

Despite publications knocking the 2017 Draft as “uninspiring” and “short on big names,” mock drafts place defenseman Timothy Liljegren and center Elias Pettersson outside the top ten with surprising frequency. This is especially shocking considering both Swedes are arguably top-five talents.

Liljegren shoots right-handed and would fill a big hole in a Rangers system lacking righty blue liners from the big club on down. He entered this season as a possible contender for first overall, before a bout of mononucleosis derailed his campaign. Publications describe the 6’2” defender as an “elite skater” with a “high hockey IQ.”

Pettersson absolutely exploded this season playing center in Allsvenskan, the second best Swedish pro league. The pivot posted 41 points in 43 games. He only weighs 165 pounds, but the teenager has time to fill out.

If selected, either player would instantly become the Rangers’ top prospect by a wide margin. The Rangers’ farm system has few right defensemen and even fewer centers.

Next: New York Rangers lose Oscar Lindberg in Expansion Draft: What now?

Moving up could prove costly, but nabbing either player in the teens would be a coup. Chances to draft potential impact talents don’t come around often. New York can’t afford to play it safe with its first selection in the first round since 2012.