New York Rangers Pick Defenseman EJ Emery 30th Overall in the Draft

2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits / Candice Ward/GettyImages

Your New York Rangers found their way back into the fray of the NHL draft in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their first-round pick, James Dolan, made the executive decision not to move since the draft was going to be held in a facility he owns; the Rangers picked EJ Emery. A tall but skinny defenseman, Emery was projected to go anywhere from 16th overall to late in round two, so it's hard to gauge the value of this pick off the face of it.

It fits the Drury mantra of recent times in taking giants, as the 6'3, 185 lbs defenseman from the United States National Team Development Programme will offer a unique weapon in the defensive side of his game, which is his stick. Very few defensemen can physically force an attack away with their size and then use the stick to take the puck back with a poke check. The only one coming to my mind when writing is Jaccob Slavin of the Hurricanes. This doesn't mean he'll be that good, but it's a good comparison.

Emery has already committed to the NCAA next year, where he will take his talents to the University of North Dakota. There's a robust development program there, so there's a good chance he can start to bring his play to the next level. However, not everything regarding this player is as rosy as we would like. He has detractors, and for a very valid reason.

Emery's scoring is nowhere near where it should be in the development program. 61 games and just 16 points, all of them assists, must be better. In the USHL, he played 27 games for six assists and no goals in either competition. For someone who wants to make the NHL, this is not acceptable. He has many areas to work on if he's going to become an NHL player, but he is a Ranger and a part of the Blueshirts organization now.