In a surprising turn of events, the New York Rangers did in fact make a trade and sent the 26th and 48th overall picks to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the 22nd overall pick. With the acquired pick and their second selection of the 2018 NHL Draft, the Rangers selected K’Andre Miller out of the US National Team Development Program.
Miller is an interesting and intriguing player in the sense that he was forward who transitioned into a full-time defenseman a couple of years back. Adam touched on this a bit in Miller’s draft profile:
K’Andre Miller comes from the school of Brent Burns in that he was a forward who was converted to defenseman. He’s been on the blue-line for a couple of years now, and the results have started to pay dividends.
What stands out about Miller is his sheer athleticism. At 6’3.25 and 198 pounds - and most of that is pure muscle - he is in a class of his own at the junior level. He has a long reach that he uses to break up zone entry attempts. His strength shows on the ice. He doesn’t exactly have a tough time knocking players off the puck. Among U18 defensemen, he is probably the one I imagine players would least like to engage with in a physical battle.
The Rangers were obviously impressed enough with Miller’s game to jump up four spots to select him, and will have one more pick remaining at 28th overall. Again, assuming nothing changes via trade, the 28th pick will be the Rangers’ final selection of the first round.