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A look at former Rangers draft picks

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NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Since the 2006 Draft the Rangers have drafted 68 prospects and 22 of those players have appeared in an NHL game. Of that group of 22 players, 14 have played in 40 or more games and of those 14 only six are still Blueshirts: J.T. Miller, Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei, Jesper Fast, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider.

What do those numbers tell us?

  • Developing prospects into NHL-caliber players is not easy. And a team that regularly trades away early picks is not doing itself in any favors. It’s also important to note the untimely death of Alexei Cherepanov who was the Rangers first round pick in 2007.
  • Excluding Cherepanov the Rangers have taken five first round picks after the 2005 Draft. We can safely call Bobby Sanguinetti, Michael Del Zotto and Dylan McIlrath “busts” in terms of what they were expected or projected to do by the organization.
  • It’s worth noting that the three aforementioned players are all defensemen. However, it’s also worth noting that Brady Skjei is New York’s most recent first round pick and is likely the team’s most promising young skater.
  • Obviously the jury is still out on players who were selected in the last several drafts. Goaltender Igor Shestyorkin has yet to play in an NHL game, but he is anything but a bust.
  • This excludes the draft picks that the Rangers traded to other teams.

With the 2017 NHL Draft approaching it’s a good time to take a look at some noteworthy former Rangers draft picks who are no longer playing in New York. For this particular article we’ll be going back to the 2006 Draft and focusing on players who have played over 40 games in the NHL.

In other words, we’re mostly focusing on players who have gained a foothold in the NHL. That means excluding players like Sanguinetti who is making a living playing in the Swiss League or players like Christian Thomas who can’t seem to escape the ranks of the AHL.

Artem Anisimov | Chicago Blackhawks

Contract: $4.55 million for the next four seasons.

How he left New York: Traded with Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon and a 1st round pick (2013) to the Blue Jackets for Rick Nash, Steven Delisle and a 2013 conditional 3rd round pick (condition met, pick became Pavel Buchnevich).

The Rangers selected Anisimov with the 54th overall (in the 2nd round) of the 2006 Draft. After three seasons with the big club the Rangers moved him in a deal to bring Nash to New York. He has 279 points in 553 NHL games.

Anisimov is now a 29-year-old center who has posted back-to-back 40-point seasons with the Blackhawks. He’s carved out a nice role for himself in Chicago’s lineup and was rewarded for his two-way play with a five-year, $22,750,00 contract in the 2015 offseason.

Michael Del Zotto | Philadelphia Flyers

Contract: UFA

How he left New York: Traded to the Predators for Kevin Klein on Jan. 22nd, 2014.

The Rangers selected Del Zotto 20th overall in the 2008 NHL Draft. After hitting 37 points in two of his first three seasons his production dropped and the Rangers decided to move on from the flashy young defenseman.

After a short stint in Nashville Del Zotto has played three years for the Flyers where he has piled up 63 points over three seasons. He, Al Montoya (2004 Draft) and arguably Dylan McIlrath are the only Rangers former 1st round picks still active in the NHL.

NHL: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Dale Weise | Philadelphia Flyers

Contract: $2.35 million for three more seasons.

How he left New York: Claimed off waivers by the Canucks Oct. 4th, 2011.

Since being drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 Draft Weise has piled up 101 points in 393 NHL games. The 6-foot-2 Weise has established himself as a depth power forward. His best NHL season was in 2015-16 when he scored 26 points in 56 games with Montreal before being dealt to the Blackhawks.

Weise turns 29-years-old in August. He had 15 points in 64 games last season with the Flyers.

Carl Hagelin | Pittsburgh Penguins

Contract: $4 million for two more seasons.

How he left New York: Traded to Anaheim with a 2nd round pick and 6th round pick for Emerson Etem and a 2nd round pick.

The Rangers drafted Hagelin in the 6th round of the 2007 Draft. New York traded Hagelin when he was restricted free agent after determining that he would be too expensive to keep in New York.

Hagelin has 191 points in 407 career games and has won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016. He had six goals and 16 assists in 61 games with Pittsburgh in the 2016-17 season. Hagelin has yet to score 20 goals in an NHL season.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Duclair | Arizona Coyotes

Contract: RFA

How he left New York: Traded to the Coyotes with a 1st round pick (2016) a 2nd round pick (2015) and John Moore for Keith Yandle, Chris Summers and Arizona’s 4th round pick in 2015.

After a 20-goal rookie season that had Rangers fans groaning at what might have been, Duclair unraveled in his sophomore year in Arizona. He struggled to find a role and ice time on a roster that desperately needed offense.

Duclair played 16 games in the AHL this year where he put together only eight points. He is still just 21-years-old, so it’s very premature to write Duclair off, but his stock is not what it was a year ago.

Dylan McIlrath | Detroit Red Wings

Contract: RFA

How he left New York: Traded to the Florida Panthers for Steven Kampfer and a 7th round pick (2018).

The Rangers drafted McIlrath (controversially) with the 10th pick of the 2010 Draft. Jeff Gorton dealt the hulking blueliner to the Panthers this year for very little. In the 2016-17 season McIlrath played for three different AHL teams.

McIlrath is by no means a lock for being an NHL player next year, but it felt right to include him on this list given how recently he was a Ranger and when he was taken in the draft. As of the moment his future in the NHL is murky.

NHL: Florida Panthers at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports


Cam Talbot | Edmonton Oilers

Contract: $4,166,667 for two more seasons.

How he left New York: Traded to Oilers with a 7th round pick for a 2nd, 3rd and 7th round pick (all 2015).

In March 2010 Talbot signed with the Rangers as an undrafted free agent. Today he’s one of the best goaltenders in the league. Needless to say he’s done well for himself in Edmonton. He was tied with Braden Holtby for the league-lead in wins (42) this season and posted a .919 save percentage.

Jonathan Marchessault | Florida Panthers

Contract: $750k for one more season.

How he left New York: CBJ signed him to an ELC

After going undrafted (which had a lot to do with being 5-foot-8) in the 2011 Draft Marchessault signed his first professional contract with the Connecticut Whale. In the 2011-12 AHL season he scored 64 points in 76 games and earned an entry-level deal from the Columbus Blue Jackets. He chose to leave the Rangers organization because he felt that he had a more direct path to the NHL elsewhere.

Last season the 26-year-old Marchessault scored 30 goals for Florida in 75 games. It looks like the Rangers might have missed out on something special, but the same thing can be said of Tampa Bay and Columbus.

NHL: New York Rangers at Florida Panthers Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports