While the Rangers will not be drafting in the first two rounds of the draft, this draft is still important. The team is going through a rebuilding phase now and will likely make some trades during the draft.
It’s impossible to say what the Rangers could bring back with these trades because it seems as if almost everyone is on the block. However, with the six picks that the New York Rangers currently have, they may still be able to pick up some quality talent in the 3rd round and later.
In the past five years, the Rangers have picked up names such as Mackenzie Skapski, Anthony Duclair, Ryan Mantha, Adam Tambellini, and of course Pavel Buchnevich. These are all quality players who may not become all-stars but will likely play key roles in the league in the next 10 years. The question remaining is, who will the Rangers decide to draft?
New York Rangers Draft Projections
Sokolov is not a household name. He played for the Sudbury Wolves this past year after moving from Russia in 2015. He accounted for 52 points in 68 games with Sudbury, which is respectable. His high paced speed and quick hands have helped him become a natural goal scorer in whatever league or tournament he is playing in.
He has however been known to over carry the puck which leads to an ungodly amount of turnovers. Sokolov is also relatively quiet when he does not have the puck. He accounts for a lower amount of assists than goals and is selfish with the puck. This is why he is projected to drop to the late third round.
The positive on him is that his negative traits can be fixed with the right coaching and support. Having a welcoming environment around a new Eastern European playercan make the difference between a successful career and mediocre one. Pavel Datsyuk is a prime example. He was brought into the league with several players who were of Russian decent such as Yuri Butsayev, Maxim Kutznetsov, Igor Larionov, and of course, Sergei Fedorov. With the addition of Buchnevich to the roster and Chris Krieder speaking Russian, it could help Sokolov transition well into the Rangers system.
If the Rangers decide to pass on Sokolov due to his high risk/high reward style of play, Wells may be another solid option. He is one of the best goaltenders in the draft and is known to be able to carry his defense while his team plays poorly (sound familiar?).
The Rangers brought in Antti Raanta to back up Henrik Lundqvist while Skapski was hurt and never looked back to bring him up. If the Rangers truly do not see Skapski as Lundqvist’s successor, it may be time to bring in a new goalie.
While goaltending is virtually nonexistent from the OHL, Wells has still proven to play well. He’s averaged a save percentage just below .900 safter two years in the OHL. However, Wells does shine in other ways than the OHL, especially in tournaments. In the Canada U-18 tournament this year, he averaged a .971 SV%.
His size in goal will also help in the NHL. He stands at 6’3″ now and could possibly grow another inch or two before he is called up. Wells is still a work in progress but with a 3rd round pick, getting one of the best goalies in the draft may prove beneficial for the Rangers.
Watching film on Tuulola will make you question how he is projected to fall so far. Most mock drafts have him in either the 5th or 6th round of the draft. He has the size to be a strong power forward in the draft. Tuulola has excelled in U-16, U-17, U-18, and started playing in U-20 this year despite only being 17 years old.
One of the only downsides found in his style of play is his lack of being a strong defensive wing. Tuulola has the size to do it, but typically will be offensively-minded first and wants to blow the zone to make a play on the puck. His skating and ability to find open ice would make him invaluable to the Rangers when we they someone to help support Buchnevich or Ryan Gropp on the wing. While the Rangers should obviously look to fill other needed holes in the roster with their earlier picks, using a 5th or 6th rounder to pick up Tuulola could be beneficial.