New York Rangers: How important is a top five pick?

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TORONTO, ON – APRIL 29: Lottery ball is placed in the machine during the NHL Draft Lottery at the CBC Studios in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on April 29, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)

The New York Rangers will end up with a pick in the top ten this June, but unless the ping pong balls fall in their favor, the pick will not be in the top five.  How much does it matter?

Based on the current standings and the future schedule, the odds are overwhelming that the New York Rangers will finish with the sixth or seventh worst record in the NHL this season.  The closer to the bottom, the better the odds of getting a top five pick, but considering where the Blueshirts are, it’s likely they will get a pick between the sixth and tenth position. .

So, how important is a top five pick?  Naysayers point to Ryan Strome as a fifth overall pick failure, a player with high expectations who didn’t live up to the hype. They point to Mark Scheifele or Jeff Skinner as picks in the second five who outdid players picked before them. It’s true, in 2011, when Strome went fifth, later selections included Scheifele, Mika Zibanejad, Sean Couturier and Dougie Hamilton.

To see how important a top five pick is, I took a deeper look in the the top 100 picks over the ten years from 2007 to 2016.  There were 50 top five picks and 50 picks from six to ten.   How do they compare?

As a criteria, I also tried to pinpoint the truly elite players in the NHL.  Here are the criteria to be classified as elite:

Forwards:  A forward would have to have finished in the top 20 in points  and goals at least once in the last six seasons (2013-18) and gotten top ten Hart Trophy votes and to balance out defensive ability I included the top five Selke Trophy vote getters in those five years.  There were 94 forwards that qualified for this list.  23 of the 94 hit the criteria five times or more and they are what I would call NHL  superstars.

Defensemen:  To qualify as elite, a defenseman would have to have finished in the top ten in scoring among defensemen in the years 2013-18,  been a top ten Hart and Norris Trophy vote getter and been a top six all star selection from 2013-18.   35 defensemen made the list and I would characterize them as elite NHL defensemen.  Five made the list ten times and they are the superstars.

Superstars are game changers and possible Hall of Fame players.  I will list the superstars at the end of this article in case you are interested.

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