How Much are the Rangers Going to Miss not Having a First and Second Round Pick in 2013

Jamie Sabau

A look at the team's recent draft history and what it means to not have a first and second round pick going into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

This upcoming offseason the Rangers are going to the NHL Entry Draft in Newark, New Jersey without a first or second round pick. The Rangers dealt those picks for in blockbuster trades for current Rangers Rick Nash and Ryane Clowe. According to our own Michael Rappaport the Rangers current draft picks for the2013 NHL Entry Draft are:


Three third round picks (one of them being conditional), a fourth, and a sixth round pick. It looks like we'll all be crossing our fingers that the hidden gems in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft will be in the third round. It is important to note that what picks the club has can change drastically before or during the draft itself. Sather has been known to move picks around and thoroughly confuse and excite people on draft day. The question I found myself asking after seeing Michael's tweet was just how big of a deal it was that we didn't have a first and second round pick. Conventional wisdom will tell us that teams build through the draft and that early draft picks are immense assets that should not be undervalued... but we also know that they shouldn't be overvalued.

What is the NHL Entry Draft? Just like any draft in any sport, it is more or less a crapshoot where everyone is making educated guesses with a whole lot of money and future success on the line. Just how successful have the Rangers been in the first two rounds of the draft in recent history? Well, let's take a look at the team's draft history from 1999 to 2008 and see just how often the team drafted players that would play over 150 NHL games. According to Quanthockey.com over half of NHL players play less than 100 NHL games so I think that 150 games is a pretty fair guide to see what kind of success (if any) these draft picks had.

Obviously it is a little early to determine whether or not some of these guys are busts or not (especially for the more recent drafts) but we are going to make some educated assumptions so that we get to discuss players that are relevant in today's game and are still fresh in our collective memories. We are also going to focus primarily on what they did for the Rangers but if they have found a regular roster spot elsewhere (i.e. Lauri Korpikoski) we are going to go ahead and call that player a good draft pick. The names in bold are what I would deem "successful" draft picks.

DRAFT YEAR

FIRST ROUND

SECOND ROUND

1999

4th overall Pavel Brendl

9th overall Jamie Lundmark

59th overall David Inman

2000

n/a

64th overall Filip Novak

2001

10th overall Dan Blackburn

40th overall Fedor Tyutin

2002

n/a

33rd overall Lee Falardeau

2003

12th overall Hugh Jessiman

50th overall Ivan Baranka

2004

6th overall Al Montoya

19th overall Lauri Korpikoski

36th overall Darin Oliver

48th overall Dane Byers

51st overall Bruce Graham

60th overall Brandon Dubinsky

2005

12th overall Marc Staal

40th overall Mike Sauer

56th overall Marc-Andre Cliche

2006

21st overall Bobby Sanguinetti

54th overall Artem Anisimov

2007

17th overall Alexei Cherepanov

48th overall Antoine Lafleur

2008

20th overall Michael Del Zotto

51st overall Derek Stepan

In the first five year block we see a hell of a lot of players that I would call busts. The lone second-round success story is stalwart Russian blueliner Fedor Tyutin who currently plays important minutes for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Although Jamie Lundmark played 256 games as an NHLer I would classify him as a bust given how high of a draft pick he was and how much he bounced around between the AHL and the NHL during his career. It is important to note that the Rangers traded their first round picks in 2000 and 2002 and that calling Dan Blackburn a bust isn't very fair because of his career-ending injury but we can see that the Rangers didn't do a lot with the picks they had from 1999 to 2003. With eight picks in the first two rounds (omitting Dan Blackburn) the Rangers found one player that went on to be a NHL regular, Fedor Tyutin.

The second five year block sure looks a lot better than the first. We are going to omit Alexei Cherepanov from the analysis due to his tragically premature death and we're going to call Mike Sauer a successful pick despite the small sample size and his uncertain future because it was clear that he was a regular on the Rangers second defensive pairing before his struggles with post-concussion syndrome. In this second five year block we see a lot more efficacy with draft picks and several prominent Rangers that currently play for the team.

Seven of the thirteen (Cherepanov omitted) first and second round picks are either on the path to successful NHL careers or can already safely be called successful draft picks. There is an also an argument to be made regarding Bobby Sanguinetti, currently a depth defenseman for the Carolina Hurricanes, but I didn't include him based on where he is at this point of his professional career. Seven of the thirteen is still, more or less, a coin flip but when the coin lands the way you want it to it sure makes a big difference for the success of the hockey team that gets it right in the draft.

So what does this walk down memory lane tell us? It tells us that the Rangers have been a great deal more successful with draft picks in recent history than they were just ten or so years ago. There is no denying that the core of the current Rangers team are homegrown players that joined the team through the draft. Earlier I said that at best the NHL Entry Draft was more or less a crapshoot where everyone was making educated guesses, although we are dealing with relatively small sample sizes I think it is safe to say that in recent history the Rangers educated guesses have looked pretty damn good.

If the team was drafting like it was ten years ago I wouldn't miss the first and second round picks nearly as much as I miss them after taking a deeper look into the recent draft history of the Rangers. It is obvious that the Nash and Clowe trades were made to make the team better in the here and now but it always stings to pay that price at the expense of the future. I am sure as fans and students of the game we'll look at the draft picks that Columbus and San Jose now control and wonder what they do with the picks and directly compare those players to what Nash and Clowe do in New York but let's try to remember just how badly this team needed a shake-up and how they've responded to it thus far.

The Rangers still have five (four if they make it to the Stanley Cup Finals) draft picks going into draft day. We'll just have to wait and see if Sather and company make any moves to move up in the draft or try to play the numbers game and bring in some more picks but whatever they do on draft day all most of us will be able to think about is how nice it would be to still have our first and second round picks. Rick Nash and Ryane Clowe are impact players that have looked fantastic in New York (obviously we are dealing with a small sample size with Clowe) and will hopefully continue to be an important part of the team's success in the immediate future. The price of having a better chance of making it to the playoffs or adding a superstar still in his prime certainly is a lofty one. Let's just hope that we don't find ourselves regretting these moves two or three years from now. Until then we'll all have to do what a lot of anxious general managers and executives are going to be doing sitting at a table in Newark on June 30th, play the waiting game.

So what do you guys think- are the Rangers going to miss their first and second round picks on June 30th? Are teams too careless when it comes to trading draft picks? Do you think there is enough youth currently in the system and on the current team that we might not feel the impact of not having the picks we will be without in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft? Do you hate me for reminding you about Hugh Jessiman again?

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