With the 2011 NHL Entry Draft just a few weeks away, and the Rangers with just four picks in this year's draft it's reasonable to speculate Glen Sather might swing a move to get back into the second round.
There have been talks about Sather thinking about trading down (a sensible rumor) and then whispers of the Rangers potentially trading Brandon Dubinsky to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first round pick, a prospect and a player (not credible).
But Dubinsky rumors aside, it would make sense for there to be some moves before draft day. Especially since on the defensive side of things, something simply has to give.
If the Rangers want to keep around Steve Eminger as a seventh defenseman, or if Sather wants to bring in a veteran on a tryout contract (he loves that strategy), then maybe Matt Gilroy's rights get moved for a pick. Maybe there's another defensive prospect the Rangers aren't too high on after their acquisition of Tim Erixon.
Join me after the jump for more analysis.
I'm just speculating, but a trade to get another pick int he draft makes sense. Even Newsday's Steve Zipay has the same thought process (subscription required to read the entire article):
As you know, the Rangers have just four selections at this point (15, 105, 133, 135). That's the fewest since the draft was cut to seven rounds in 2005. They had nine picks that year and either 6 or 7 since. I suspect they will land at least one more. If you're a handicapper, figure the Blueshirts selecting an OHL player: Seven of last 13 picks have been from the O.
And although 5 of the 6 picks last year were North American, there have been plenty of others since 2006: Four Russians (Anisimov, Cherepanov, Grachev, Pashnin), four Czechs (Kveton, Horak, Kundratek, Zeleska) and two Swedes (Hagelin, Fasth). Reports are that the Czech talent pool has dropped off, but there are some intriguing Swedes and Russians available. Of course, defense prospect Tim Erixon, acquired from Calgary in the recent Horak plus No. 2 picks deal, is Swedish, so...
After the Rangers got Erixon they lost both of their picks in the second round. And while I am not at all saying the trade was a mistake (you make that deal every day of the week and twice on Sunday) the Rangers would probably like to get back into the second round anyway.
There is a lot of talent that will be available after the first round, and Sather and Gordie Clark thrive on finding premiere talent in the later rounds of the draft. Look no further than Ryan Callahan (fourth round), Dubinsky (second round), Mike Sauer (second round), Henrik Lundqvist (seventh round), Artem Anisimov (second round), Derek Stepan (second round) and we can even throw Christian Thomas (second round) into that mix too.
So it makes sense for the Rangers to attempt to get an early-to-mid second round pick if they can. Like I said in my Erixon analysis piece, the Rangers already got a top-flight prospect who is ready for the NHL right now and has star potential with their two second round picks. So if the Rangers only take four players in this draft so be it, because Erixon, added to whomever the Rangers take in the first round, will make this a hell of a draft.