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,, and Steve Kournianos, 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)

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)

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)

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)

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 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)

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)

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)

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)

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: @KHallNYYou 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.

About Author

Kyle Hall

Kyle is a lifelong diehard New York Rangers fan and in 2020 took over as the teams beat writer for Belly Up Sports. Kyle hosts a NY Rangers podcast on the Belly Up Podcast Network called The Broadway Hat Podcast. Kyle also covers USA Hockey and is a credentialed media member of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

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