New York Rangers: Why drafting Lindbom might have been a good idea

Olof Lindbom #1 of the Sweden Nationals (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Olof Lindbom #1 of the Sweden Nationals (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) /

The New York Rangers drafted Swedish goalie Olof Lindbom in the second round of the 2018 Entry Draft.

To say that the New York Rangers using the 39th pick to select goalie Olof Lindbom was not well received is an understatement. The negativity around the pick was completely overblown.

First, let’s get one thing clear: The NHL Entry Draft is a crapshoot after the first five picks.

As much as advanced analytics have improved talent assessment, the vast majority of players drafted do not make it to the NHL.

Agreed, it is quite possible that there were OTHER players the Rangers could have drafted who have a great upside, this argument is that drafting Lindbom wasn’t that crazy.

When the Rangers selected Lindbom, the reaction was almost universal:

Blue Line Station:

"“The New York Rangers really go off the board and select goaltender Olof Lindbom while leaving a handful of remaining project first round picks on the board.”"

New York Post:

"“That started with a bit of a surprising pick for their second-rounder, taking Swedish goalie Olof Lindbom at No. 39.”"


"“The Rangers continued to confound observers and confuse their fans on Day 2 of the NHL Draft Saturday. With their second round pick, No. 39 overall, they chose goaltender Olof Lindbom, the fifth-rated European goaltender according to the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau rankings, and a player many had not heard of in the leadup to the draft.”"

The Athletic (Corey Pronman): 

"“Nils Lundkvist at No. 29 was high for me, as was the goalie Olof Lindbom at No. 38, despite the fact I thought he was a top tier goalie prospect in the class.”"

The reaction from fans was even more vehement as the Rangers passed on Bode Wilde and Ryan McLeod among others. While there was frustration over passing on these players, many were angry as Lindbom was not even ranked among the top three European goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting.

Some positives

On the positive side, Rick Carpiniello tweeted that “Rangers goalie whisperer Benoit Allaire was thrilled with the selection.”

You have to admit to having some faith that Allaire knows goalie talent. Also, Lindbom has shown that he has some outstanding ability.

He was named top goalie at the World U18 tournament in April, backstopping Sweden to a bronze medal while allowing only five even strength goals in six games. He did make some pre-draft lists as a top prospect and Bob McKenzie had him as the second best goalie available.

Why it makes sense

Here’s why drafting a 17-year old goalie prospect makes perfect sense. First, he cannot be expected to be NHL ready for at least 4-5 years so assume that he won’t make his debut until 2022 when he is 22 years old.

By that time, Henrik Lundqvist will be awaiting his Hall of Fame selection and hopefully, Igor Shestyorkin will be in his prime at age 27, firmly ensconced as one of the NHL’s best.

The other goalies currently in the New York Rangers system include Alexandar Georgiev, Brandon Halverson, Adam Huska and Tyler Wall.  With Georgiev the heir apparent to the back-up role, it’s very possible he will follow in the footsteps of Antti Raanta and Cam Talbot.

That means valuable minutes backing up Henrik and Shestyorkin followed by a trade to a team that believes he is ready to take on #1 goalie responsibilities.

If not Georgiev, it could be Huska, Halverson or Wall.  At any rate, the timing would be perfect for Lindbom to succeed any of them.

The Rangers have made a habit of developing prospective number one goalies and getting good return for them. Raanta was teamed with Derek Stepan and netted the seventh overall draft pick and Tony Deangelo.

The Rangers got three draft picks for Cam Talbot. If Lindbom is as good as the Rangers believe he is, he will either be a top backup, outstanding trade bait or a viable number one goaltender.

Next. The ideal defense partner for Brady Skjei is.... dark

If Bode Wilde becomes a star, there will a lot of “I told you so’s” on social media.  However, the goalie position is the most important position in hockey and no organization can have too many good goalies.  A surplus of quality netminders can only be positive for the Rangers.