Tonight is Round One of the 2018 NHL Entry draft, and a very pivotal evening for the New York Rangers as they take the next big step in their rebuild. The trade deadline saw familiar faces such as Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash and Michael Grabner leave the organization in exchange for a bevy of draft picks and prospects.
Tonight the Rangers are scheduled to pick at No. 9, No. 26 and No. 28 overall, but the unpredictability of a draft floor could result in the team moving up or down depending on what is available.
#NYR GM Jeff Gorton on the team's three first-round picks: “Yes, we intend to use them but they are in play. As of right now, we’re going to use them, but if something comes up, that’ll change.”— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) June 22, 2018
There’s also the possibility that the Rangers will make some moves via trade to acquire some younger players or draft picks. Kevin Hayes, Ryan Spooner and Vlad Namestnikov are all restricted free agents who need a new deal, and it is unlikely that all return to the team next season. Hayes has drawn the most interest of the three, but according to Larry Brooks it would require a substantial return for the Blueshirts to deal him.
If the Rangers were to stand pat, they will have the opportunity to add a number of good players to the prospect pool.
There's a good chance this will change, but here's how New York stands right now heading into the 2018 NHL Draft. Only round they currently don't have a pick in is the seventh. pic.twitter.com/ECDLJlBqTF— Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) June 16, 2018
The three first rounders certainly stand out, but having two second rounders and two third rounders is also very beneficial. With all of that said, it should be an eventful two days, and let me be the first to welcome Erik Karlsson to the New York Rangers. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
In all seriousness, the Rangers have an opportunity to gain some serious ground in their rebuild. Five picks in the top 50 and seven in the top 100 is nothing to sneeze at, and that doesn’t even factor potential trades.
With that said, now is as good a time as any to take a look at the Blueshirt Banter’s top 31 ranking of draft prospects.
Blueshirt Banter 2018 NHL Draft Rankings
Enjoy night one of the draft, and make sure to refresh the page throughout the evening for a breakdown on the picks the Rangers make.