Look as far as I am concerned the 2019 NHL Entry Draft was a winner for the Ranger fans. Kaapo Kakko, Jacob Trouba, and Adam Fox improved the quality and quantity of talent that the franchise needed. What I am not going to do is say the Rangers made mistakes on day two of the draft but some picks were head-scratchers
Time will tell if the Rangers got the best use out of their 2019 draft picks.
I was jacked that they were able to grab defenseman Matthew Robertson of the Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round.
Robertson was someone I would have grabbed at 20 had the Rangers not used that pick as part of the Jacob Trouba trade. The 6’3 200 lb. defender is someone who will make an ideal partner for Adam Fox. Stick taps to the draft team for grabbing him.
But see once we get past Robertson then the questions begin for the Rangers and the draft picks. Center Karl Henriksson of Frolunda taken with the 58th pick is just a 5’9 176 player. Why take such a smallish center as he is going to have trouble defending against the bigger players of the Metro Division?
Maybe I would have felt better if Hendriksson had played for the main Frolunda team instead of just the junior teams. Or if he is willing to come over to North America and play in the CHL for the next couple of years to help prepare him for the NHL.
If he stays in Sweden then the learning curve for him just might be higher and harder.
The only issue I have with selecting defenseman Zachary Jones of the Tri-City Storm with the 68th pick is the Rangers could have taken John Ludvig (Portland WHL), Daniil Misyul (Yaroslavl2) or even his teammate Ronald Attard (Tri-City USHL). All were bigger than the 5’10 Jones but were also better defenders.
With the Rangers adding Robertson, K’Ander Miller, and Nils Lundkvist then the selection of Jones becomes a headscratcher. But at the same time earning the USHL Rookie of the Year award after a 7-45-52 and breaking Jaden Schwartz’s power-play assist record (25) earns him some serious points on the positive side.
Other than why three defensemen, I don’t have any questions about defenseman Hunter Skinner (Lincoln USHL) who the Rangers took at 112. Skinner is a big skinny kid (6’3 174) who by the time he grows into his body should be around 210-215. Besides a great name, Skinner was a defensive-minded dman who uses his body quite well.
Not much on offense which he will need to improve on, I project him at best as a third pair defender/penalty killer. Skating needs work as does positioning but he is heading to Western Michigan and former Los Angeles Kings head coach Andy Murray. Murray is very much the right coach to help shape what really is a raw project player.
Sorry, no video on Hunter but if I find some I will post it.
At 130 the Rangers drafted a friend of Kaapo Kakko’s Right Wing Leevi Aaltonen (Kalpa Jr.). Since I don’t know him myself, I will give you over to one of my twitter followers Finnprospects.com (the link leads you to Kaapo Kakko’s profile) who wrote this on Aaltonen.
The main thing everyone points out is that Aaltonen is a speed merchant which is nice but when you are just 5’9 168 then you better be fast. Look most NHLers are smaller than they are listed as being so if this prospect can develop his body then he has a chance. The one thing I do really like is that Aaltonen has never met a shot he would not take.
Now that is one thing the Rangers could use more of, someone who will look to shoot first and pass second especially on the power play. If Aaltonen will do that then I don’t care what his size is, he can play for me any day.
I like this clip of Aaltonen as he scores on a shorthanded breakaway. I like how he gathers the puck then puts his speed to good use.
The Rangers stayed in Europe for their sixth-round pick taking center Adam Edstrom (Rogle SHL). Edstrom is 6’6 209 at 18 so it is going to be interesting to see what he matures his body to. This is very much a prospect I would want to have the Rangers convince to come over and play in the CHL.
The skinny on Edstrom is that he uses his size to his advantage and that he could develop into a scorer. I think he is more than likely going to develop into a defensive forward but given his size that is not a bad thing.
Sorry no video on Edstrom either but the stuff I got from those who follow Swedish hockey speak well of him.
Finally, the Rangers used their seventh-round pick on right wing Eric Ciccolini (Toronto Jr. Canadians) who is headed to play at Michigan. Since I knew nothing of Ciccolini I had some friends in the GTA (what they call the Toronto Metro area) do some digging for me.
The best information I got names Ciccolini the top prospect in the OJHL, He has an average size (6′ 170), also seen as a speed merchant but his skill set is supposed to Top Six potential.