Going into the 2001 Draft the needs were on the table plain and simple, toughness and size up front. The Rangers picked a goaltender in the by the name of Don Blackburn out of Kootenay of the WHL. Although Blackburn is and was rated as one of the top overall players in the draft the nets in NY have greater “short” term problems and than long term. With Johan Holmqvist, Jason Labarbera, Henrik Lundqvist, Johan Asplund and Vitali Yeremeyev in the pipeline one has to wonder why add another? Regardless of whether he is better than those, the Rangers needs in the nets are immediate. Mike Richter will be unavailable for sometime and Kirk McLean is not the answer. Guy Hebert has been given his walking papers so who is available in the short term?
The Rangers next pick was 6-3 200 pound defender out of St. Petersburg in the Russian Elite League. While the second round pick, he could turn out to be a nice addition to this club in 3 years or so. While the likes of Mottau & Aufiero and now a slew of free agent / traded defenders St.Croix, Kinch join up… there are question marks about what to do with the excess baggage on defense.
The Rangers did not find a “need player” until the 3rd round when they selected Garth Murray. The 6-1 205 pounder tallied 44 points on 28 goals in 2000-01 and amassed 183 penalty minutes for his hard work.
The next pick the Rangers went back to what they do not need, another defenseman. They took Bryce Lampman at 19 year old 6-3 195 pounder out of Omaha in the USHL. Lampman as he has developed into a solid defense first skater.
The latter rounds saw the Rangers pick…(Shawn Collymore Right Wing Quebec 5 139) -(Marek Zidlicky Defense IFK 6 176) -(Petr Preucil Center Quebec 7 206) -(Pontus Petterstrom Forward Tingsryd 7 226)
-(Leonid Zhvachin Defense Podolsk Jr 8 230)
-(Ryan Hollweg Center Medicine Hat 8 238)
-(Juris Stals Center Lukko 9 269).
Of this group the Czech Marek Zidlicky appears to be the most ready to step in. He is another under-sized defender who played well in Finland he is under the listed 6 feet tall adding to a group of already smallish defenders.