Why the Rangers should go after Adam Mascherin

The Panthers’ 38th overall pick in 2016 is refusing to sign in Florida, which means he is on the market.

The Athletic’s Craig Custance first reported that Panthers’ prospect Adam Mascherin informed Florida that he will not sign on March 22. The 20-year-old could re-enter the draft this June, or the more likely scenario, as Elliotte Friedman pointed out in his 31 Thoughts column — the Panthers could deal him.

The Panthers are trying to trade 2016 second-rounder Adam Mascherin of OHL Kitchener. A 40-goal scorer for the Rangers, he informed Florida he would not sign there before he can re-enter the draft in June. It’s unfortunate, as it appears there was some broken telephone that made things worse than they needed to be. This will not be easy for the  Panthers, since interested teams won’t want to give up something if they think they can just draft him in three months. Their best hope is that someone who lacks draft choices where Mascherin might be taken decides it really wants him.

It’s in Florida’s best interest to get something for Mascherin as opposed to letting him walk for nothing. Remember, just two years ago the Nashville Predators squeezed a third round pick out of the Sabres for the rights to Jimmy Vesey after they realized the Hobey Baker winner wasn’t going to sign. Of course, this situation is different because Mascherin would be re-entering the draft instead of hitting free agency, but Florida would still be left empty-handed.

So, who is Mascherin?

The Kitchener Rangers star was the Panthers’ second round pick (38th overall) in the 2016 Draft. A natural goal scorer, Mascherin is a left-handed shot who was named to Canada’s World Juniors roster back in June, but he didn’t crack the roster when the tournament arrived.

Over at Habs Eyes on the Prize David St-Louis put together some intriguing video analysis on what Mascherin brings to the table as a prospect — it’s well worth a read if you’re intrigued by the concept of the Rangers taking a swing at Mascherin. The scouting reports tell us that what the winger lacks in size (he’s 5-foot-9 ) and skating ability he makes up for with his shot and offensive instincts. It should also be mentioned that although he’s undersized, one scout described Mascherin as having the build of a fire hydrant — stout and solid.

The trick here for the Rangers will be giving up as little as possible for Mascherin. A mid-round conditional pick might be all it takes, but Gorton won’t know until he asks. The Rangers are heading into the 2018 Draft with three first round picks, two second round picks, two third round picks, and their fourth, fifth, and sixth round picks. Having all of those early picks would make risking a mid-round pick for Mascherin sting a lot less if it doesn’t work out. Again, this is all conjecture. There’s no way to know what Panthers’ general manager Dale Tallon wants in return for Mascherin’s rights.

With all of that being said, Mascherin hitting the market represents an opportunity for the Rangers to add a young scoring winger to the prospect pool. We know that the Blueshirts have some promising young centers in the pipeline with NHL potential, but the same cannot be said for the organization’s prospects who play wing. Gorton needs to inquire about the youngster and see if he can put together an offer that Tallon will be able to live with.

Are there risks involved? Absolutely. But the rewards of adding a prospect like Mascherin should be hard to turn away from for a team that is going through a rebuild and trying to infuse more youth into its roster. Besides, we already know that Mascherin looks good in Rangers colors.