Ahead of the 2022 NHL Draft, the New York Rangers traded Alexandar Georgiev to the Colorado Avalanche. In return, the Rangers will receive a third and fifth-round selection in the 2022 draft and a third-round pick in the 2023 draft. Not a bad start to the offseason for general manager Chris Drury. This brought the number of selections to six for this year’s draft.
Drury and his team ended up taking three centers, two wingers, and a defenseman. Not a bad haul, considering they didn’t have a round-one pick, thanks to the Andrew Copp trade. With free agency around the corner, it will be interesting to see how the six chosen players this year will fit into an ever-changing dynamic off and on the ice. New York has a long way to go, but they appear ready to take on the challenge again this fall.
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Welcome to the Rangers
Forward (LW), Nitra (Slovakia)
Sykora has the tools needed to play in the NHL; it will be a matter of developing them. He has the speed, and poise with the puck, even when under pressure. If the Rangers want to have all four lines contribute, then Sykora will fit nicely into the bottom six. He is not afraid of going to the dirty areas and has the ability to create chaos around the net. In addition, the Rangers will benefit from his high compete level and willingness to help his team whenever possible.
Center, Soo Greyhounds (OHL)
McConnell-Barker may not be the best skater in terms of speed, but he can make up for it in other ways. The Rangers need someone at center who is dependable and will be able to make plays, and he will be able to be that player for the Rangers. He will need some time in Hartford to improve his skating and other skills, but he would be a good bottom-six player for New York.
Center, Lincoln Stars (USHL)
There have been concerns raised about his skating; however, he is competitive and would also benefit from some time in Hartford once his collegiate career with Colorado College is through. With the Lincoln Stars, you can see an improvement from the 19 points in 49 games of his first season with them to his second season, where he had 39 points over 50 games.
Defense, Univ. of Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)
Mancini has the ability to read the game off the puck, enabling him to adapt and chance to make a play. The main issue with Mancini is his ability to handle the puck without causing turnovers or allowing takeaways. Despite his experience playing with Frölunda HC J18 and J20, he will need time in the AHL after finishing college. The Rangers have a plethora of defensemen right now. However, if Mancini is able to improve his puck handling ability and get it up to par with his ability to read the game, he would be great in a third-pairing role.
Forward (LW), Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Barbashev has good handling skills, size, and physicality, but there have been some questions about his decision-making ability. In addition, he will need to work on his skating skills; he has a long way to go before becoming a power forward the rangers could use. Nevertheless, the Rangers have a project in Barbashev and like what they have seen from him so far.
Center, Harvard Univ. (NCAA)
Karpa is looked upon as a highly competitive player and a physical forward, but there are some concerns about his speed and if his skills will translate into the NHL. This past season with Harvard, he has 12 points in 33 games. Bear in mind that he was a freshman; he will have time to develop in college and perhaps overcome some of the issues.
Win, Lose, and Flying Under the Radar
If you were to give the Rangers a grade for their choices in this year’s draft, a “B” would be given. Grading how well the team performed their job in choosing players is always subjective but should be based on how well the player will fit into the lines and the organization. While the players differ in many ways, one thing that appears to be similar is their level of tenacity and the physicality they have in their game. It seems the Rangers were looking for a specific type of player, based on how the draft was going and chose the player that met the Rangers’ needs.
Best Pick: Adam Sykora
Not So Great Pick: Maxim Barbashev
Sleeper Pick: Vittorio Mancini
- Rangers development camp begins tomorrow, July 11
- Free Agency begins July 13 at noon (ET)
- Rumors are running wild for players like J.T. Miller and Patrick Kane to wear the blue
- The 2022-23 season schedule is out
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images