Prospect Park: Time To Be The Draft Expert

In Blueshirt Bulletin Main Blog, News by Jess Rubenstein

Barrett Hayton (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

OK, I will be honest this is the time of the year that I dread the most, everyone becomes a draft expert it seems. Yes, there are several very good sites out there that rank the prospects but most are generic. They tend to pick the best player for the slot and not team needs. The Rangers are going to change how they draft versus how they drafted in previous years.

For years the Rangers drafted “Best Player Available” but that stopped last year. Now they are trying to build a team to fit their coach’s system, not just draft players. Expect to see some picks that will not fit the ideal “draft model”. If the rebuild is real then the players picked are ones who fit David Quinn’s system.

At 9 we start with Barrett Hayton of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Hayton is a solid two-way center who will be an impact player in the NHL. He was used as the checking center and did a very good job of it. He should have been on the first or second line but played his role.

Hayton wins his faceoffs, he has a very high hockey IQ, and best of all wants to always improve on his last performance. He was still able to score 21 goals despite his checking line status. No matter what was asked of him, Hayton got the job done whether it was on the power-play or penalty kill. Hayton plays the entire 200 feet and will be perfect for the system.

Google “Barrett Hayton scouting report” (never mind I will do it for you here) and read what others are saying about this young man.

Isac Lundestrom (Lulea Hockey/ SHL)

At 26, let’s throw a wildcard and select Isac Lundestrom. Lundestrom is a 6 ft. center/left wing playing for Lulea in the Swedish Elite League. Take Lias Andersson and Jesper Fast and you get Lundestrom. For the Rangers, this is a player who can play any of the forward positions and is ideal for the puck possession system that David Quinn wants to use.

If the name sound familiar it should as he is the player who stepped up when Andersson got hurt at the 2018 World Juniors. Another prospect with a very high hockey IQ who has played for the last two years in the SHL. The upside on him is very high because of his versatility.

With the 28th pick, this one will come out of left field. Call it a hunch but Sampo Ranta another prospect who fits a need. Ranta is a 6’2 left wing born in Finland but plays in the USHL. Hard not to like a kid who models his game after Jack Eichel.

Sampo Ranta (Sioux City Musketeers)

Yes, I know this is not one of those “sexy” picks but he is ideal for the David Quinn system. Ranta is going to go play at Wisconsin for Tony Granato. Granato is trying to rebuild Wisconsin so seriously doubt he would give away a scholarship. He had a breakout season for Sioux City in the USHL playing in all zones and on all units.

This one is a worthwhile gamble as he has size and skill and has represented Finland in the Under-18 tournaments the last couple of years. Expect him to be on Finland’s Under-20 team in 2019.

We will look at the second and third rounds tomorrow. (Ranta goals stat at the 2 minute mark)