Rangers 2000 Draft Preview

By Michael Theodore
When the 1999 NHL draft came and went everyone seemed excited with the idea that the Rangers had managed to reel in two blue chip prospects. One fact that was ignored however, was that the cost of adding these players was the loss of a first round pick in the 2000 draft. The Rangers would have drafted 8th overall and they may have ended up with a solid player, but the fact of the matter is the 1999 draft was far superior to the 2000 version in both depth and initial talent levels. A year later the Rangers have two kids who should fight for an NHL spot while it appears Tampa Bay will merely get a “good” player with a chance at the NHL. While nothing is for certain the Rangers should end up with the better end of the stick on this one. With a new GM in the fold the team attempts to pull off the feat of drafting a solid NHL prospect in the second round, something they have had very limited success with in the past 4 years.

The Rangers are actually dealing from a point of strength at this draft. They have no immediate need that they really need to fill. Center is stocked nicely with Nedved in his prime, and York, Malhotra and Lundmark all developing. Defense actually has prospects, granted there really doesn’t appear to be anyone who is a capable number one, but then again how many do you see in the NHL nowadays anyway with expansion. Nonetheless with Mottau, Kloucek, Doig, Johnsson and Henry in the fold and guys like Dessner and Karlsson in the pipeline, there is no real need to draft a defenseman either. In goal the Rangers have a list of potential guys who could emerge someday as the goalie of the Rangers future. Holmqvist is the front runner if he leaves Europe but Asplund has reached a new star level as well across the Atlantic. Over in North America you’ve got LaBarbera, and Wandler waiting to join the system. Role players like Dale Purinton are waiting to get a chance as well. So the Rangers can essentially draft whoever they want in this draft.

In the past 3 years the Rangers have had success in the first round. Only a fluke injury kept Cherneski from reaching the NHL as a second line power winger. While no longer seen as an offensive threat he still could be a solid banger on the third line. The Rangers have also found success from rounds 3 and up, but there second round record is less then stellar. Wes Jarvis couldn’t make the Wolfpack, Randy Copley was a bust, and David Inman has yet to reach his full potential. The possibilities the Rangers are eyeing this year however could be interesting. Assuming the Rangers draft from 38-42 here are some options they have to look at:

Ben Knopp: Big 6’2 winger played on the same team as Ranger blue chipper Jamie Lundmark. Has good reach and looks like a solid up and down winger. Not a superstar but could be an effective power forward in time. Rangers would be delighted if he is still around.

Carl Mallette: Not too big but puts up points and wasn’t afraid to mix it up. Though the Rangers are stacked at center it might come down to taking the best player available. Lacks an extra gear but that hasn’t stopped many a player from making it to the show.

David Morisset: Another big winger, with a scoring touch. Needs to be more physical but looks like an another up and down winger.

Scott Balan: A 6’3 defenseman who loves to mix it up. Rangers like a kid on the blue line who can move the puck and drop the gloves.

Agris Saviels: Not overly big but moves the puck well. Not overly physical. Looks a little smaller then his listed size but if he is the best man the Rangers should grab him.

Steve Crampton: A sleeper but another Moose Jaw product who was victim of a bad year for the team in general. Like Ben Knopp his stock could rise over the next year or so. Nice size and he uses it.

Editors Note: There are no Europeans on here because I don’t see the Rangers taking a gamble on one with their only top 100 pick. The Rangers will attempt to gain a first round pick, though I doubt it is possible. If I had my pick and he was still there I’d go with Ben Knopp, but it comes down to who is there at that time. I hope I’ve cleared up some of the clutter going into the Rangers 2000 draft.

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