The Rangers entered the 2010 NHL draft with five selections, including the 10th overall pick in the draft. Although not considered a draft particularly deep in high-end talent, with the 10th overall selection, it was expected that the Rangers would select a player that fit its organizational needs.
There is a need for a first-line center in the organization, and it was expected that one would be available when the Rangers first-round selected a prospect. As it unfolded, there was a run on the high-end centers prior to New York’s pick. But it is not clear that the Rangers would have taken any of them anyway, as surprisingly, management was looking in a totally different direction. According to Gordie Clark, Rangers Director of Player Personnel, the Blueshirts were seeking a high potential clear-the-crease blueliner.
Clark stated that the Rangers are really happy with the development of their recent picks, so that, at the draft, New York was looking to complement their already very talented offensive prospects with their first pick.
A draft-day trade, which sent Bobby Sanguinetti to the Carolina Hurricanes, gave the Rangers an extra sixth round selection in 2010 (as well as the Washington Capitals‘ second-round pick in 2011). The Blueshirts made a total of six selections, including five forwards and a defenseman. All but one of the draftees played in the CHL during the 2009-10 season.
The Rangers surprised almost everyone by picking McIlrath at the tenth selection overall in the draft. Not only were the Bluehirts expected to pick a forward, but there were two offensive defenseman that had dropped and were still available, so there were more than a few gasps when McIrath’s name was called.
A big blueliner, who is not afraid to challenge opponents, either by taking away the puck or with his fists, McIlrath does have good speed and some offensive upside to go with his excellent play in his own zone. He is still maturing, registering 24 points (7 goals, 17 assists) in 65 games with Moose Jaw, while accumulating 169 PIM and a plus-20 ratio. Voted the most improved player on the Warriors’ squad, McIlrath will strike fear into the hearts of opponents. The question that remains, however, is whether this was the best use of the 10th overall selection in the draft.
A winger with smooth, soft hands, an excellent shot, good speed, and a tremendous work ethic, Thomas showed himself to be a great offensive threat in Oshawa this past season. In 64 games, he posted 66 points (41 goals, 25 assists), while accumulating 27 PIM and a minus-10 rating. He led the Generals in goals and points scored for the 2009-10 season.
The diminutive winger, who is the son of former NHLer Steve Thomas, had been expected to be a third round selection, but the Rangers liked what they saw of Thomas during the 2009-10 season, showing both offensive skill and leadership potential. The Rangers expect Thomas to stay in the CHL for two more years and grow into an excellent two-way professional three or four years down the road.
With great size,physicality, and skating skills, as well as excellent offensive potential, the Rangers grabbed Yogan with the 100th overall selection. Once thought to have the potential to be a first-round selection, Yogan’s career started slowly with the Windsor Spits. A trade to Erie during the 2008-09 season however has helped Yogan to produce offensively and to learn more of the team game. During the 2009-10 season, Yogan posted 55 points (25 goals, 30 assists) in 63 games. He also accumulated 97 PIM and a minus-10 rating. Yogan continues to refine his game and has the frame to be a power forward. He will most likely be converted to the wing full-time in the coming years.
Jason Wilson, LW – Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Drafted: 5th round, 130th overall
Height: 6’2, Weight: 205
Wilson is an older draftee, who recently completed his overage season with Owen Sound. A big body, who is not afraid to engage physically with opposing skaters, Wilson had attended the Boston Bruins training camp last summer, but was not signed. During the 2009-10 season, Wilson recorded 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 46 games, including one game-winning goal. He also accumulated 101 PIM-with nine fights-while maintaining a minus-11.
Wilson is expected to join the Hartford Wolf Pack this coming fall.
The Rangers obtained the 157th overall selection in the trade that sent Bobby Sanguinetti to Carolina. With the pick, New York selected the very offensively talented Fasth. With good hands and excellent hockey sense, Fasth posted 49 points (23 goals, 26 assists) in 37 games, and accumulating 10 PIM. The young Swede was tied for first in goals, second in points, and third in assists on the HV71 Jr. team. Fasth also appeared in two games for the Swedish Elite team HV71 Jonkoping.
With their last selection, the Rangers picked their third "tough guy" in the draft. Another former CHL overager, McNaught played for both the Chilliwack Bruins and the Blades during the 2009-10 season. In 65 regular season games, the winger posted 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists), a -6 plus/minus ratio, as well as 163 PIM. McNaught, who is known not to back down from anyone, engaged in 20 fights during the regular season. He is expected to join the Hartford Wolf Pack this fall.