New York Rangers 2018 Draft Review and Development Camp Updates

Michael

2018-07-20

New York Rangers logo courtesy of oboitut.com

31 in 31 Series, July: New York Rangers

 

Draft Review

 

The window to win for the Rangers was wide open back in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. The team went all-in on the veterans, Brad Richards, Marty St. Louis, Rick Nash, and it nearly worked. The greybeards took them all the way to the Stanley Cup Final but ultimately fell short. No one can fault the Rangers management for the effort, they had it in their grasp, but after every high there is an inevitable low. The money was spent, the effort was made, and in 2017-2018 with a disappointing 77 point finish the window of opportunity slammed firmly shut in NYC. Recognizing this, the Rangers signaled the rebuild with the trades of Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh, garnering two additional first-round picks for their keystone players.

 

Entering the draft in 2018 the Rangers obviously had a plan and threw caution to the wind gambling their highest picks on raw talent. Searching for franchise players outside the top five, the Rangers drafted a crafty young Russian who dazzled in the KHL playoffs and a forward-to-defense convert with just two years of experience. In passing on the safer choices at the draft table only time will tell if the risk was worth the reward.

 

Round 1 (9th overall) – Vitali Kravtsov, RW

A player that some analysts were calling the “steal of the draft”, Vitali Kravtsov oozes fantasy potential. While some think that the Rangers reached for Kravtsov here, it’s clear that the Rangers got their guy at number nine. Many are likening Kravtsov to Washington superstar Evgeny Kuznetzov and for good reason. No player at his age has scored in the KHL at the rate Kravtsov since Kuznetzov and no player has scored as many times in the KHL playoffs at his age since former DobberProspects darling Valeri Nichushkin. At 6-4, 186 lbs, he’s got the speed, the shot, the hands and the size to be a force in the NHL. Kravtsov will likely need some time to develop on the defensive side of the puck but he is already a dynamic scorer in Russia’s top league.

 

Round 1 (22nd overall) – K’Andre Miller, D

A forward until just two years ago K’Andre Miller was the eighth defenseman off the board in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Not bad for someone with minimal experience. It’s hard to find downsides to the imposing defender’s tool-set. Coming in at 6-4, 205 lbs, Miller is a big boy and he’s got room to fill out further. Miller is a strong two-way defender with an above average transition game. While a hulking young man, Miller also has high level skating and good top speed for his size. The young defender needs some time to adapt to his new position and needs to work on his shot from the point. With only two years experience and plenty of room to grow, Miller is definitely a prospect to keep an eye on.

 

Round 1 (28th overall) – Nils Lundkvist, D

Not just a familiar-sounding name in New York, Lundkvist is a very promising young Swedish defender who was leaned on heavily for the Lulea HF club this season in the SHL. Winner of the U20 Best Defenseman Award for the U20 SuperElit league with just a half season of work, Lundkvist signifies a much safe