After all, was said and done, the Rangers left many of their fans wondering about the three prospects selected in the first round. Many a fan was trying to figure out the motives of the Rangers with the three players selected. None of the three appear like they will enter the system within the next two years adding to the mystery of the “rebuild”
The Rangers used their first pick the ninth selection to take Vitali Kravtsov, a 6’4 185 lb. right wing who plays for Traktor Chelyabinsk in the KHL. Ranked third by the NHL’s Central Scouting for European skaters, this pick in many ways disappointed Ranger fans who saw Oliver Wahlstrom available.
Elite Prospects wrote this about Kravtsov:
A big, skilled winger that can play up and down the lineup and provide scoring in a number of roles. He brings grit and physical size but could be more assertive in throwing his weight around more. Displays excellent speed on the rush and in zone entry, but could backcheck quicker. Plays well in his own end and takes away lanes. Very good hands and awareness. Kravtsov has the potential to develop into a staple top six forward that can produce at the next level. [EP]
Yahoo Sports wrote this about Kravtsov while the Hockey Writers said: “Kravtsov could be the steal of the draft”. Draft in Europe listed Kravstov as a “Top 15 pick based on his postseason where he exploded for 11 points in 16 games which were a first for a player his age.
I think with this pick my biggest issue is if this is a rebuild when do they plan on starting it? Kravstov’s contract is supposed to end after next season but it is very unlikely that he comes to North America for at least two years.
The Rangers then swapped the 26th and 48th picks to move up to 22nd so they could draft defenseman K’Andre Miller of U-18 United States National Training And Development program. Now I am very happy to see this pick I just don’t understand why the Rangers felt they needed to give up a second-round pick. The trend with this draft was going for smallish defensemen and Miller at 6’3 was not small.
Miller models his game after the Nashville Predators Roman Josi and Columbus’s Seth Jones. Miller has already been invited to attend the USA World Junior Summer Showcase in Kamloops BC July 28-August 4th.
At 28 the Rangers selected Nils Lundkvist a 5’11 172 righthanded defenseman playing for Lulea in Sweden. I must admit this pick caught me off-guard and after looking at tape of Lindkvist, I still don’t understand this choice.
The best scouting report I could find was by the Draft Analyst who said this about Lundkvist:
Lundqvist is a speedy puck mover with a lot of flair to his game, and the risks he takes make sense when you consider how many defensively-responsible forwards Sweden had. He’s an excellent skater and playmaker who takes multiple ventures deep into opposing territory, but the overwhelming majority of them are timely. His defensive play is decent at best when you consider how often the puck is on his stick, but Lundkvist can be guilty of wandering too far from the slot and overcommitting to the strong side. He’ll improve his play in the corners when he bulks up, but his few shortcomings are minor when you factor in his speed and puck skills. Is he the Swedish version of Ryan Merkley? I would venture to say the two are closer than I had initially thought.
Dobber Prospects said this:
June 2018 – Lundkvist finished his rookie season in the SHL with two goals and five points in 28 games. He played 16 minutes per game with about one minute of that on the power play but all five of his points were scored at even strength. He also won the Best Defenseman award at the U20 league SuperElit even though he spent just half a season there. At the U18 World Championship tournament, Lundkvist scored two points in seven games. He played big minutes in all situations and won a bronze medal with Team Sweden. Jokke Nevalainen
Let’s hope that the Rangers made good solid picks with these three prospects. Just not liking that these three might not be ready for quite some time.
The Rangers will start with the 39th pick in the second round due to the trade with Ottawa. If you are thinking that the Rangers will move some of their RFAs to regain the lost second-round pick sorry seriously doubt it. Most likely they will get back in any deals lower round picks.
As for 39, the Rangers should be able to still find some top level talent. If still on the board when the Rangers pick then Bode Wilde (RHD), Ryan McLeod (C), Serron Noel (RW), and Jared McIsaac (LHD).