Rangers at the Draft: What to Watch For

If the status quo holds, the 2015 NHL draft has the potential to be a somewhat uneventful one for the Rangers. With nothing until the 59th overall pick in the second round, Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton could be sitting on their hands for the beginning portion of this year’s draft.

Glen Sather, N.Y. Rangers General Manager(photo courtesy/wikipedia)
Glen Sather, N.Y. Rangers General Manager(photo courtesy/wikipedia)

But with Cam Talbot rumours thrown into the mix, things could get interesting in a hurry. With the draft now just hours away, here’s what to watch for from the Rangers at the NHL draft.

If All Things Hold

Barring any trades, the Rangers’ first selection in the draft would come in the second round at 59th overall. Sather would then have the 89th overall pick in round three, the 119th selection in round four, the 179th in round six, and the 209th in round seven, leaving the Blueshirts without draft selections in the first and fifth rounds.

While the Rangers are known for their talent and speed up front, they could still use some size and grit at forward, something that was highlighted by their inability to consistently get in front of Ben Bishop during the Conference Final.

In round two, the Rangers could have the opportunity to pick up a big, gritty winger in Alexander Dergachyov.

At 6’4”, and 226 pounds, the 18-year-old from Russia could be what the Rangers have their sights set on.

In THW’s 4th Annual Mock Draft, Larry Fisher writes of Dergachyov:

“Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton have a long wait to make their first pick, but they go for the home run with this big Russian who scored more goals in the playoffs than he did in the regular season. The Rangers aren’t afraid of Russians, selecting Pavel Buchnevich in the third round in 2013 and world-junior goaltender Igor Shesterkin in the fourth round in 2014. Both those prospects are looking like potential steals and the Rangers hope to have another in Dergachyov, whose game resembles Nik Antropov to some degree.” – Larry Fisher, THW

In the third round with pick number 89, Fisher again has the Rangers going with another right-winger, this time in the form of the 5’11”, 163 pound Deven Sideroff of the WHL.

In his rookie campaign with the Kamloops Blazers, the 18-year-old posted 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 points. Of Sideroff, Fisher writes:

“The Rangers keep close tabs on Western Canada for potential late bloomers and landed a good one in Adam Tambellini (third-rounder in 2013). But they have also had their share of misses such as Shane McColgan and, to a lesser degree, Michael St. Croix. Sideroff could still go either way, boom or bust, but he had an impressive rookie season on a team that was offensively challenged. It’ll be interesting to see where he actually goes in the draft and how he follows it up next season, but I could see the Rangers having interest.” – Larry Fisher, THW

Following the 89th pick, the Rangers will have three more selections in the draft, one in round four with the 119th pick, the 179th overall pick in round six, and the 209th choice in the seventh round.

With the prospect of life without Lundqvist slowly approaching in the years ahead, look for one of those three picks to possibly be a goaltender, while one of the other two to be a defenseman. While the Blueshirts are still strong at the blue line for the foreseeable future with Brady Skjei also on the up and up, selecting a defenseman to breed in the minors would be a smart move for the long-term sustainability of the team.

While fourth, sixth, and seventh-round picks don’t typically pan out to become NHL studs, you never know when you could stumble upon gold. Just look at that seventh rounder who’s been in the Rangers’ crease for the past decade.

Talbot, Talbot, Talbot…

Yes, I wrote the above section with the possibility that everything will stay as is come draft time. That said, don’t expect everything to remain as is. Look for a trade involving Cam Talbot to go down.

Edmonton, Calgary, San Jose and Dallas have all been rumored to be interested in Talbot, and seeing as Sather reportedly turned down two second-round picks for the backup goaltender, it will probably take a second-rounder-plus, or a first-round pick to land the 27-year-old.

As being reported this morning, however, with Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli saying that they will not trade the 16th pick for a goaltender, San Jose and Calgary are the team’s most interested. Both of those teams have first round picks to offer; San Jose the 9th pick and Calgary the 15th pick.

While it’s hard to imagine Doug Wilson giving away the 9th overall pick for just Talbot, perhaps adding Kevin Klein into the mix could make things a little more interesting. As far as I’m concerned, though, that would be a big mistake on the part of the Rangers and there are many other scenarios more likely than that.

As far as Calgary is concerned, it’s again hard to see GM Brad Treliving giving away the 15th overall pick for Talbot, but what’s interesting about them is that they have three picks in the second round. With two second-round picks not being enough for Sather earlier in the week, could adding a prospect or a third pick in the second round from Calgary sweeten the deal enough to do the trick?

It’s possible.

With Robin Lehner having just been dealt to Buffalo, the Talbot talks are about to heat up significantly. If I’m Sather, the trigger doesn’t get pulled unless a first-round pick, or two-plus second rounders come back in return.

Whatever happens though, look for a trade involving Cam Talbot to go down either before or during the draft this evening, as life in Rangerstown could get quite a bit more interesting over the next several hours.

While there are endless possibilities as to what could happen in the lead-up to the draft, those are just some of the things to keep an eye on for the Rangers at this year’s NHL draft.