Now that the Seattle Expansion draft is over it is time to turn out attention to the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. The New York Rangers currently have nine total draft picks and the 15th overall pick. After their first-round pick the Rangers will make two third-round picks (65th and 80th), three fourth-round picks (104th, 106th, and 112th), then one pick in the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds each (144th, 176th, and 208th). It will be interesting to see if New York Rangers President/GM Chris Drury uses all nine picks or if he will package those extra mid-round picks to move up in the draft.
While I follow junior hockey I am nowhere near an NHL Draft expert. In light of that, I enlisted the help of two of the best draft analysts in Adam Kimelman, NHL.com, and Steve Kournianos, TheDraftAnalyst.com. Both of these guys are so knowledgeable and on my podcast, The Broadway Hat Podcast, the two of them shared their insight on some of the top prospects in this year’s draft that could hear their name called by the New York Rangers.
With all the excellent defensive prospects in the Rangers system, all three of us agreed that the Rangers most likely will select an offensive player with their first-round pick. With that in mind here are nine offensive prospects that could be the newest member of the New York Rangers Friday night.
Matthew Coronato, RW, Chicago (USHL)
Great clip from this weeks #NHLDraft Preview show of @TheDraftAnalyst breaking down Matthew Coronato. Coronato had a huge year with the @ChicagoSteel scoring 48 goals in 51 games. Check out the full episode with breakdowns from @NHLAdamK as well #NYR #NHL https://t.co/HQeV5oOh2F pic.twitter.com/vWa0iFWo3m— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) July 21, 2021
Nicknamed “The Bison” by Steel announcer extraordinaire Mark Citron, Matthew Coronato is one of the hardest workers at getting the puck, keeping the puck, and shooting the puck. Always moving in a zillion directions, the Long Island native and Harvard recruit scored a USHL-best 48 goals but is versatile and creative enough to dominate as a center or wing. – Steve Kournianos
Brennan Othmann, LW, EHC Olten (SL)
Is Brennan Othmann an option for the @NYRangers at 15? Check out @NHLAdamK break down of the extremely talented forward. He performed well with @HockeyCanada at the U18 WJC & with @EHCOlten. Link below with full interview & breakdowns #NHL #NYR #NHLDraft https://t.co/HQeV5oOh2F pic.twitter.com/jdQqTv5taP— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) July 22, 2021
Othman (6’0″, 175) is a strong forechecker who is able to create scoring chances because of his speed and willingness to play physically and has a quick release on a strong shot. The 18-year-old was able to showcase those skills against older professionals, scoring 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 34 games with Olten on loan in the Swiss League. The New York Rangers have a number of talented young forwards, including Alexis Lafreniere (Number One, 2020), Kaapo Kakko (Number Two, 2019) and Vitali Kravtsov (Number Nine, 2018); Othmann’s hard-nosed play and strong forechecking would bring a different element that could give them more open ice to work with. – Adam Kimelman
Chaz Lucius, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)
Top Prospect Chaz Lucius battled through a knee injury this season & still put up great numbers for @USAHockeyNTDP. @NHLAdamK gave his insight on a possible top 15 pick in the #NHLDraft. Check out the full episode here #nyr #nhl #NHLDraft2021 @GopherHockeyhttps://t.co/HQeV5oOh2F pic.twitter.com/R96YyKwGu2— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) July 22, 2021
Lucius (6’1″, 185) had surgery to remove a bone lesion in his left knee and missed the first four months of the season, but the 18-year-old returned pain-free and feels his skating is better than it has been in years. Lucius is strong around the net in the offensive zone and has an NHL-caliber shot that he used to score 13 goals in 13 games this season. – Adam Kimelman
Aatu Raty, C, Karpat (FIN)
Very interesting name to watch on draft day is Aatu Raty. Raty was the number 1 overall prospect coming into the season but has dropped down the draft rankings. @NHLAdamK shared his thoughts on the Finnish center #NYR #NHLDraft #NHLDraft2021 #HockeyTwitterhttps://t.co/HQeV5oOh2F pic.twitter.com/HxuwFVzj4Q— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) July 22, 2021
Expectations were high for Raty entering the season after he played for Finland as a 17-year-old at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, but he never quite met those expectations this season. Raty does have all the tools to be a high-end playmaker, with great hands and puck management skills, and his size helps him win battles along the boards. He needs to find more consistency in his game, but with further maturity and development, he could grow into a solid middle-six center. – Adam Kimelman
Francesco Pinelli, C, Kitchener (OHL)
A player to watch out for to jump into the top 15 is Francesco Pinelli. High skilled center that can play in both ends. @TheDraftAnalyst is high on him and gives some great insight on the @OHLRangers star #NYR #NHL #NHLDraft #NHLDraft2021 #HockeyTwitter https://t.co/HQeV5oOh2F pic.twitter.com/G6Ns2gQTAV— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) July 22, 2021
A jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none kind of player, Pinelli is a versatile center who succeeded no matter where he played, including a 13-game sample in Slovenia with Jesenice in the Alps Hockey League. Kitchener will continue to lean on Pinelli for his smart and effective 200-foot play and scoring abilities from close ranges. – Steve Kournianos
Fedor Svechkov, C, Togliatti (RUS-2)
Is Fyodor Svechkov the best defensive center in the draft? Check out this clip and insight from both @NHLAdamK and @TheDraftAnalyst about the standout Russian U18 WJC star. For the full episode check out the link below #NYR #NHL #NHLDraft #hockeytwitter https://t.co/HQeV5oOh2F pic.twitter.com/kpS3cP1euR— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) July 22, 2021
Svechkov (6’0″, 187) was a standout at the U-18 Worlds, centering Russia’s top line and scoring 10 points (four goals, six assists) in seven games. The 18-year-old also is regarded as one of the better defensive forwards available in the draft. – Adam Kimelman
Dominant league play? Check. Productive international tournaments? Check. High hockey IQ? Creativity? Strong two-way play? Check, check, and another check. There simply isn’t enough room in this space to detail how good a center Svechkov is, but don’t take our word for it. Just ask Russia’s vaunted SKA program, which paid a hefty price to acquire him from lowly Lada Togliatti. – Steve Kournianos
Xavier Bourgault, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
Xavier Bourgault is a talent center who has put up big numbers with @Cataractes_Shaw in the @QMJHL the past two seasons 53 goals, 111 points in 92 games. @NHLAdamK gave us some insight on his game. Click the link for the full episode #NYR #NHL #NHLDraft https://t.co/HQeV5oOh2F pic.twitter.com/QyW6KcWxaP— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) July 22, 2021
Bourgault has a high ceiling. His skating and speed are standout qualities and he showed a knack for finding the soft spots in defensive coverages to create scoring chances for himself and his teammates. – Adam Kimelman
Prokhor Poltapov, LW, Krasnaya Armiya (MHL)
When I asked @TheDraftAnalyst for a kid that would make him come out of his seat he said Prokhor Poltapov. Steve even said the young Russian had some Pavel Datsyuk in him. Definitely someone to keep an eye on. Full episode link below #NYR #NHL #NHLDraft https://t.co/HQeV5oOh2F pic.twitter.com/hQzabWHrXz— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) July 22, 2021
Just call Poltapov Russia’s latest versions of the Human Highlight Reel, and he also wears No. 13 to boot. His dazzles, dangles, and dipsy-doodles are quite Datsyukian, and Poltapov’s penchant for sneak-attack takeaways on the backcheck are commonplace no matter the opponent. – Steve Kournianos
Nikita Chibrikov, RW, St. Petersburg (RUS)
Nikita Chibrikov put up big stats at the U18 WJC for Russia. He also saw some time in the KHL with @hcSKA. @NHLAdamK shared some great insights about the Russian forward. Full episode link below #NYR #NHL #NHLDraft #NHLDraft2021 #hockeytwitter https://t.co/HQeV5oOh2F pic.twitter.com/86yBuB6gma— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) July 22, 2021
Scouts have been impressed by his playmaking, skating, and hockey sense, and the 18-year-old led NHL Draft-eligible players at the U-18 Worlds with 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in seven games for Russia. – Adam Kimelman
Draft Day Predictions
Like I said before I am not a draft expert but here are a few predictions:
- The Rangers will not trade their First Round Pick. I think the Rangers hold on to the pick and select an offensive prospect.
- The Rangers will trade back into the Second Round. They traded their Second Round pick to Detroit last year in the Marc Staal trade. I can see a player that the Rangers had high on their board drop into the second and the Rangers use their extra third and fourth round picks to move up.
- The Rangers will make a trade on day two and move one of their late round picks for an established NHLer. Look for the Rangers to target a veteran defenseman to acquire during the draft.
- The Rangers will target European prospects in the later rounds. The Rangers have seen some recent success with drafting and stashing prospects overseas. I can also see them drafting another European goalie that can develop for a few years in Europe.
Be sure to bookmark our hockey page for hockey coverage and follow Belly Up Hockey on Twitter: @BellyUpHockey. Follow me on Twitter for more takes on the New York Rangers and USA Hockey: @KHallNY. You can also listen to my NY Rangers podcast The Broadway Hat Podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify for Rangers news and interviews with past and current players.