So the draft lottery results are in and in typical New York Ranger fashion, the team fell backward. From eighth down one spot to ninth. Already Jeff Gorton is reportedly looking to move up but the reality is that will be very hard to do. The 2018 NHL Entry Draft looks to be one of the weakest drafts in recent years. Once you get past the first five project picks there is a huge talent dropoff.
How weak you ask? This draft is so weak that I would rather see the Rangers package a pair of the first round picks to bring back an NHL ready player. This draft is full of smallish defenseman and project forwards.
What this draft does really lack are prospects who the Rangers would feel comfortable using as top-line talent. Most of the projected prospects in the area of slots six to ten are defensemen. Of those six four are 5’11 at best. Guess what area the Rangers have the most prospects in? The Rangers already have five promising defensive prospects. Ryan Lindgren, Libor Hajek, Sean Day, Vince Pedrie and Yegor Rykov are better than what is being offered.
Sure forwards would be nice but even our original suggestion of Oliver Wahlstrom will be gone by the time the Rangers pick at nine. So what the heck if the Rangers are serious about addressing major needs then offer Ottawa the ninth, 30th and 48th picks in return for Erik Karlsson. But on one condition which is being granted permission to first talk to Karlsson about signing a contract extension. Either Karlsson signs a five-year extension or walk away and look elsewhere.
Now while the long-time readers of this spot are recovering from the idea of Prospect Park actually suggesting trading three draft picks, it is a reasonable idea. At 27, you are getting a legit top level NHL defenseman who is still just reaching his prime. You are also getting someone who you can put the “C” and know he can handle the role.
Karlsson gives you a guy who the younger defenders can look to as they develop into NHL players. I would rather see the Rangers spend the money on an Erik Karlsson who you can get several years out of than 36-year-old Ilya Kovalchuk. It is about spending your money wisely and I would like to see someone tell me they would rather spend seven million on Kovalchuk instead of a Karlsson.
You still will have a first and second round pick along with two more in the third round. If you need to sub a player for a pick then give them their choice of any of the Ranger restricted free agents. The Rangers can’t sign all seven so if it helps improve the defense go for.
Really a Rangers defense that looks like this:
Does not look bad at all. It allows the Rangers to not have to rush Hajek, Lindgren, or Day to the NHL.
It takes the chaos out of the Ranger’s defensive corps and ensures that the Rangers get value for what they gave up at the trading deadline.