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Rangers Analysis: Looking At The Rangers 15th Pick In The 2011 NHL Entry Draft

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My favorite time of the year in the NHL, aside from the playoffs, is the Entry Draft. I love analyzing the prospects, crunching the numbers and reading the scouting reports. Call me crazy, go ahead, but it's exciting. 

Now, thanks to the Rangers early exit from this year's playoffs, New York will be picking in the 15th slot. This is good for a variety of reasons. 

It starts with flexibility. Holding the 15th pick makes it much easier for the Rangers to trade up in the draft, if they so choose. They would still have to give a hefty return to move into the top-five picks, but they wouldn't have to give up as much if they tried to grab the ninth or 10th pick. 

Now, just to be clear, I'm not saying the Rangers are going to move up in the draft. I have no idea if that's their intention, and, in reality, at this point and time they don't either. Glen Sather plays the draft game well, it's one of his biggest strengths, and to trade a pick before the dominoes start falling doesn't make any sense. 

You can, however, bet your bottom dollar Sather and Gordie Clark have their eyes on a few players right now who they are hoping might fall just enough to swing a move. 

Join me after the jump for more. 

So what happens if the Rangers stick with the 15th pick? 

In my preparations for our upcoming "Draft Prospect Previews," I've noticed a good group of players in this year's pool. Even if the Rangers stand pat and stick with the 15th pick there will be a solid prospect on the table for them to grab. 

In all honestly, the Rangers could go in a few different directions this year. 

There are a few playmakers, power forwards, a goalie and a couple of defensive defensemen who might find themselves on the board at 15 when it's the Rangers turn to call out a name. 

There are a few extremely talented puck-moving defensemen in this draft pool, but it seems highly unlikely any of them will get out of the top 10, and slip to the Rangers. 

So what type of player do you guys want to see the Rangers go after? 

Personally, and we'll obviously go into more details about this when we start doing our previews, I see the Rangers taking a forward.

When the Rangers took Dylan McIlrath last year they were already filling the stay-at-home defenseman role. McIlrath might end up adding some offense as well, but the main goal for this pick was to get a hulking, nasty guy on the back end of the ice, who will make other forwards think twice before they drive to the net. 

I've pinpointed a few very intriguing forwards that have fallen to the Rangers or past the Rangers in a variety of mock drafts, they will be the first guys to get previewed. At least one of them will get a preview before the weekend. 

But for now, what do you want to see the Rangers do with the 15th pick? The floor if yours.