There are a few reasons why missing the playoffs by one point was bad for the New York Rangers. For starters they didn’t make the playoffs, but in the long run it was the way that they didn’t make the playoffs that may cause some problems.
The Rangers finished in ninth place, earning them the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft. A pick that may very well be one or two away from seeing the Rangers grab some of the premier names in this draft.
On nearly any Ranger forum or website you go on one name will stand tall: Nino Niederreiter. The Portland Winterhawks star put up nearly a point per game in his 65 WHL games this year, but more importantly than that he put up six goals and four assists in his seven World Junior Championship games.
Just to prove that point we had Jess Rubenstein from the Prospect Park as a guest for a live chat last night at Blueshirt Banter. Visit the story here, and see how many questions were about Niederreiter.
But the Rangers may not have a shot at Niederreiter, mainly because of that late -- not good enough for the playoffs but still pretty good -- surge that the Rangers went through at the end of the year. So, who do the Rangers go after?
Well the Rangers need a scoring winger.
They have a few centers in Derek Stepan, Ethan Werek and Evgeny Grachev.
On defense they have prospects like Bobby Sanguinetti, Ryan McDonagh, Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto.
But it’s the wings that seem to be barren, with only Chris Kreider and Dane Byers making increasing strides at their respective levels.
There are many different names that the Rangers draft brass has been looking into aside from El Nino, knowing that he might not be on the board. Brett Connolly -- a player many think would have been a top-2 pick if it were not for his injuries this past season -- might fall due to his injury ridden season. Connolly is regarded as a risk because of his injuries but there is no doubt that he is one of the most talented players in this draft class. Other names that the Rangers have been rumored to be looking into are Derek Forbort and Mikael Granlund.
Trading up to secure a higher spot has also been rumored for the Rangers, who have not kept their longing for El Nino a secret. What does remain to be unknown is whether or not the Rangers will be willing to give up a kings ransom for a higher pick. Only time will tell.
At the end of the day whether it comes from a center or a wing the Rangers need a scoring touch and they should be drafting for it in the first round. Make sure to check out Blueshirt Banter for your full New York Rangers' draft coverage, and all of your New York Rangers needs.