Look I will get straight to the point, I do understand why people are not happy with the New York Rangers trading to move up to 19 and then selecting defenseman Braden Schneider. Why Schneider you ask? I have this gut feeling that the Rangers took a hard look at their defensive prospects and didn’t like what they saw.
Is there talent there? Yes, very much so in Nils Lundkvist, Matthew Robertson, Hunter Skinner, Yegor Rykov, Libor Hajek, Zac Jones, and K’Andre Miller but only Rykov or Lundkvist are ones that I would trust on the ice in the last minute of a close game.
All the others are pretty much one-way talents who specialize in offense and are very suspect on defense. And sorry to have to point this out but the position is called defense because they are supposed to help prevent the other teams from scoring.
I am not wanting to gloat since I wanted Braden Schneider to begin with, but it had to do with seeing a solid two-way defender who was also right-handed which seems to be rather rare in today’s NHL. I also remember being in Los Angeles back in 2010 when the Rangers selected Dylan McIlrath and Gordie Clark the Ranger’s Director of Player Personnel defending the selection by saying “it was because Michael Del Zotto was so bad defensively”.
I have known Clark since 2005, meeting him at the Vancouver draft and he has always been brutally honest about those he has drafted. I also know that K’Andre Miller is still a very inexperienced defenseman having only converting to the position about four years ago.
Miller is an awesome offensive talent, but he is highly suspect on defense. Having a Schneider to partner with would make Miller that much more dangerous on offense. Miller would be able to go on the attack knowing that his partner was protecting him if he got caught pinching on offense.
There is more to Schneider than just that, how many times did you the reader get angry when the other teams could freely setup in the crease and no Ranger defender would clear it? Think of Schneider as a smaller but just as snarly Jeff Beukeboom who will empty the crease physically.
Schneider also can jumpstart the offense with the kind of first-pass that David Quinn wants of his defenseman. Toss in a lethal and accurate point shot and Schneider does become worthy of the third-round pick the Rangers gave up jumping past New Jersey in the draft to pick him.
Now you guys wanted a center to have an insurance policy if Mika Zibanejad decides to become a free agent after the 2020-2021 season. Sorry folks that player wasn’t in this draft as none of the centers available at that spot will come close to being another Mika.
Mika was the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NHL draft and while there aren’t any centers who can replace him in this draft, there is a player who might replace his scoring in Alexis Lafreniere. He may be a left-wing, but he might be the best player the Rangers have drafted not named Henrik Lundqvist since Brian Leetch.
If the Rangers are smart and don’t spend to the salary cap, they should have enough money to either keep Mika or find a replacement on the free-agent market.
But in the meantime, give Braden Schneider a chance, pretty sure the first time you get to see him knock a Crosby into next week you will love him.
I already do.