New York Rangers draft preview: Late first round wingers

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Tyson Foerster #71 of the Barrie Colts (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)

Continuing our look at prospects who could be available when the New York Rangers make their second pick in the first round, it’s time to see which wingers are worth monitoring.

The New York Rangers have two first round picks and that pick will depend on how deep the Carolina Hurricanes or Toronto Maple Leafs can get in the playoffs.   Ranger fans should be hoping for first round knockouts so it will be a higher pick, unless the NHL decides on some other way of determining the order of selection.

The Rangers are still in dire need of depth at forward.  They have a handful of prospects who stand a chance of a whiff of NHL action and this pick is perfect for building up that depth.

The one factor this year is the wide disparity of opinions.  One expert will see a prospect as a first rounder while others disagree.  We picked the players highlighted here based on the opinions of ten top hockey websites.  A full list is at the end of this article with links if you want to see their complete lists.  Here’s a look at the wingers who may be around.

Tyson Foerster:  Right wing/center – OHL

Tyson Foerster is on the radar of some experts and gets no consideration from many others.  The 18 year old is 6’2″, 195 pounds and has finished two full seasons with the Barrie Colts of the OHL.

This season he broke out offensively, potting 36 goals and 80 points in 62 games.  The Ontario native was ranked the 21st best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.

Foerster has a fan in TSN’s Craig Button who ranks him 15th overall in the first round.  Chris Peters of ESPN also has him going in the first round, but  later at 28th overall.  Peters says Foerster has “a quick release and good puck skills to make plays.”    Peters says that Foerster’s stock had been rising as he plays in all situations for Barrie.

He’s a right handed shot who led the OHL with 18 power play goals and his excellent season led him to being a late first rounder in NHL.com’s latest mock draft.  He also starred at the Kubota Top Prospects Game in January with two goals and an assist in the premier showcase for CHL prospects.

Jean-Luc Foudy: Wing/Center – OHL

Most experts see Jean-Luc Foudy going in the second round and NHL Central Scouting has him ranked the 33rd  best North American skater, falling off from a 20th overall ranking before this season.

Foudy finished his second year with the Windsor Spitfires where he doubled his goal output to 15 to go along with 28 assists.  He is 5’11” and 177 pounds and turned 18 today (May 13).  Happy birthday Jean-Luc.   FYI, his older brother Liam was a first round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2018. .

Foudy has a big fan in Steve Kournianos of the Sporting News who ranked him 15th overall.  Kournianos says he plays with “an aggressive style predicated on speed and smarts. He also unloads a deadly shot that forces the most competent of goalies to put rebounds into the low slot.”  He also cites his “quickness to the inside” that sets him apart.

Chris Peters of ESPN also has him going in the first round at 26th and calls him “One of the best skaters in the draft, if not the best” and believe his “incredible speed” puts him on an “upward trajectory.”

Ozzy Wiesblatt :  Right wing – WHL

Ozzy Wiesblatt is the 19th best North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting.  The Alberta native also sports one of the better names in the draft.  He’d be a natural in New York.

He’s an offensive force with 25 goals and 70 points in 64 games and he led the Prince Albert Raiders in power play points.. He is 5’10” and 183 pounds and just turned 18 in March.   Chris Peters of ESPN ranks him 22nd overall, saying he has some “excellent puck skills and plays the game at a quick pace.”

He was also a first round selection in the NHL.com mock draft, where he was compared to Justin Williams as an emotional leader on the team.  They called him smart and tenacious and pointed out that he excelled after being moved to right wing from center.

Lukas Reichel:  Left wing – DEL (Germany)

Lukas Reichel was ranked the 11th best European skater by NHL Central Scouting, but didn’t find his way into many top rankings.  Most experts see him going in the second round.

Reichel turns 18 this month and has played one year with the Berlin Polar Bears in the top German pro league.   He gained some notoriety playing on the same line with Tim Stutzle and John-Jason Peterka for Germany at the WJC though in the relegation round.  Stutzle is a projected top ten pick and Peterka is also destined for the first round.

It’s important to remember that Reichel had a solid season playing as a 17 year old in a men’s professional league.  He finished with 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points in 42 games. He added three goals and five points in seven games at the WJC.

Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet ranks him 22nd overall and says he “Plays a very aware offensive game, knowing where his linemates are at all times. Possesses the skill to make plays to open space for himself, or create lanes to distribute.”

Jake Neighbours:  Left wing – WHL

Jake Neighbours is a left winger for the Edmonton Oil Kings where is a teammate of Rangers prospect Matthew Robertson.  In his second full season with Edmonton, Neighbours scored 23 goals and 70 points in 64 games as a 17 year old.

Neighbours is six feet, 195 pounds and is unusual among the experts in that practically everyone sees him going very late in the first round. ISS Hockey ranked him 26th, McKeen’s Hockey has him at 30th, and both ESPN and the Sporting News pegs him at 31st.  NHL Central Scouting ranks him the 26th North American skater.

Steve Kournianos had this to say about Neighbours, calling him a “rugged winger with a hunched skating style and good speed…Neighbours is a difficult opponent to match up against, and he has been known to drop the gloves when necessary.”  ESPN’s Peters sees Neighbours as a rising prospect who has  “really stepped up this season…while playing with just enough edge.”

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