Entering the second day of the NHL entry draft with four selections, the New York Rangers would ultimately select five players. We take a look at the picks below.
The New York Rangers sat out the second and third rounds of the drafts after having traded those picks away in the Eric Staal and Brendan Smith deals, respectively. Then the Rangers opted to flip their fourth round pick to the San Jose Sharks for their fourth and a sixth.
Finally, at 123 overall, the Rangers made their first pick of the day in Brandon Crawley.
Brandon Crawley, D, Round Four, Pick 30 (123 overall)
Brandon Crawley is a left shot defenseman who has played for the OHL’s London Knights for the past three seasons. He is an older player at 20 but has “NHL ready” size as he’s listed at 6’1″ and 205lbs. Crawley is a local boy, a native of Glen Rock, New Jersey which about 25 miles from Madison Square Garden. He is not an offensive defenseman, only totaling 16, 18 and 27 points in his three seasons in London.
"Crawley is a tenacious defensive defenceman who also showed the ability to move the puck well as the season went on in London. He loves the physical play although he is not overly big. He adjusted well during his OHL rookie season to the speed of the gameCrawley will likely play for the London Knights ne"
Crawley will likely play for the London Knights next year as an overager. Although at 20, could play in the AHL for the Hartford Wolfpack.
Calle Själin, D, Round Five, Pick 21 (145 overall)
Calle Sjalin is a left shot Swedish-born defenseman who played for Östersunds IK in the Sweden’s Division-1, their third tier league. Like Chytil, Sjalin is one of the youngest players in the draft, he will not turn 18 until September 2nd.
Sjalin was ranked 44th among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting. At 6’1″ but only 176lbs, he will have to bulk up if he is to play in the NHL.
Sjalin missed the entirety of the 2015-16 season with a back injury which likely affected his development. In his return to the ice last season, he scored five goals and 15 points in 34 games.
Sjalin is expected to play for Leksands IF of the Allsvenskan (second tier Swedish league) next season.
Dominik Lakatoš, C, Round Six, Pick 2 (157 overall)
Dominik Lakatos is a left shot center/wing from the Czech Republic. For the last two seasons, he has played for Bili Tygri Liberec of the Czech Extraliga, their top tier league. Lakatos is listed at 6’0″ and 179 lbs, so his weight is bit of a concern there, especially at age 20.
Last season, he scored 10 goals and 22 points in 41 games. Although this was accomplished in a top tier men’s league, Lakatos isn’t a teenager, so it’s a little less impressive. Lakatos’ team Bili Tygri Liberec captured the Czech Extraliga Championship last season where he scored eight goals and 13 points in 16 games.
For team Czech Republic in the 2016 World Junior Championship, he had two goals in five games.Like Crawley, Lakatos is old enough to play in the AHL if he decides not to play in the Czech Republic or elsewhere in Europe next season.
Morgan Barron, C, Round Six, Pick 19 (174 overall)
Morgan Barron is a left shot center from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has played the last two seasons for St. Andrew’s College, a high school in Ontario. Barron was ranked 98th overall by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters.
Barron, like Andersson and Crawley, has NHL size already, standing at 6’2″ and 201lbs. He touts himself as a big two-way centerman who plays a good 200-foot game.
Barron, who tries to model his game after Chris Kreider, is going the college route like him. He is committed to attending Cornell University next season. If he opts not to go to school before the season starts, his CHL rights are held by the QMJHL’s Saint John’s Sea Dogs.
Patrik Virta, C, Round Seven, Pick 21 (207 overall)
Patrik Virta is a right shot center/wing from Finland. Virta has played the last two seasons for TPS in the Finnish Liiga, their top tier league. Virta is a smaller player at 5’9″ but filled out at 180lbs.
Like Crawley and Lakatos, Virta is an older player at 21 and was passed over in previous drafts already. Playing for TPS, Virta posted 14 goals and 26 points in 49 games. This was a marked improvement from his rookie season in 2015-16 where he only had two goals and two assists in 33 games.
Vitra, like Crawley and Lakatos, is eligible to play in the AHL next season, should he decide not to return to Finland.
The Rangers heavily scouted the European leagues. In addition to their day one selections of Andersson and Chytil, the Rangers added three more European skaters.
Overall, the Rangers selected two Swedes (Andersson, Sjalin), two Czechs (Chytil, Lakatos), one Finn (Virta), one American (Crawley) and one Canadian (Barron).
The Rangers selected five centers and two defensemen, no pure wingers. For the first time since 2012, the Rangers did not select a goalie. However, with Igor Shesterkin, Adam Huska and Tyler Wall in the pipeline, goaltending is one of the strengths of the Rangers’ prospect pool.
Also in a shift in recent draft strategy, the Rangers selected several older players. Crawley and Lakatos are both 20 and Virta is 21. Like their selection of Andersson, the Rangers took players likely to be able to play in the NHL sooner rather than later.
With Henrik Lundqvist not getting any younger, the Rangers are in “win-now mode”. Their drafting strategy seems to reflect that as they selected players who look like they could make the jump sooner rather than later. The Rangers will get a better look at each of them when they hold their annual Prospect Development Camp next week.