New Kids on the Block
It has been almost two months since the NHL Draft took place when the Rangers took Alexis Lafrienere with the first overall selection. However, the Rangers also made 8 other selections over the course of the two day draft period and possibly came away with a few more good prospects to add to their already deep pipeline. Here's a little overview of all of them.
Alexis Lafreniere (Round 1, 1st Overall):
We all know about how good Lafreniere is and that he should be on the opening night roster for the 2020-21 season (whenever that starts). We already wrote an article about him, but I’ll give a brief summary: he’s a smart, creative, and physical scorer that plays on the left wing. I completely agree with the notion that he should be on the opening night roster, maybe not in the top 6, but in the top 9 for sure. Another bonus to having Lafreniere is that it slightly takes the spotlight off Kaapo Kakko. We talked about this in our interview with Tony DeAngelo (seriously check that out), and I said that if Lafreniere was not in the top 6, then Kakko should slot in on the second line. Hopefully now with some of the weight off his shoulders, Kakko can settle in and have a breakout season.
Braden Schneider (Round 1, 19th Overall):
The Rangers traded up from their second first rounder to jump ahead of their rivals, the New Jersey Devils, and grabbed right handed defenseman Braden Schneider with the 19th pick. This decision received mixed reviews from fans. I, for one, questioned the decision to take yet another defenseman, right handed even, over a center like Hendrix Lapierre, which is a position we are very weak at on the organizational depth chart. Despite my criticism I do think this was a good pick. There have been lots of good reports and comments on Schneider’s play. At 19 years old he is 6’2” weighing 209 lbs and according to EliteProspects, “he is an absolute behemoth of a dude at this level, imposing his will with thunderous hits, overpowering one-hand pushes, and crosschecks”. Just looking at this information tempts me to think about Dylan McIlrath...but I think Schneider could be a good player for us in the future, and if not, then a valuable trade asset. After all, the Devils picked some no-name Russian defenseman.
William Cuylle (Round 2, 60th Overall):
On Day 2 of the draft the Rangers traded Lias Andersson to the Kings for the 60th overall pick and selected William Cuylle (pronounced Cool-Lee). In 62 games for the Windsor Spitfires, Cuylle put up 42 points on 22 goals and 20 assists. From EliteProspects’ scouting report it seems that Cuylle’s biggest strength is scoring goals. Although the Rangers have lots of options on the wing for many years to come, the 18 year old left winger still fits in nicely in the pipeline.
Oliver Tarnstrom (Round 3, 92nd Overall):
Oliver Tarnstrom was the next player the Rangers picked in the 3rd round, and the European Rangers scouts loved this guy. Tarnstrom got off to a hot start this season with AIK J20 as he has 8 points in 12 games after scoring 34 points in 41 games last season. The thing that stands out to me is that he’s a center, maybe not the best center but still probably someone you can use to fill in a hole in the lineup in like four or five years.
Dylan Garland (Round 4, 103rd Overall):
The Rangers selected a goalie named Dylan Garand in the 4th round, adding to the plethora of netminders they have in the system. Garand played in the WHL for the Kamloops Blazers in the 2019-20 season and posted solid numbers. In 42 games, considered a high workload according to The Hockey Writers, he had a 2.21 GAA and a .921 SV%, which was in the top 5 for starters in his league. With so many goalies already on board for the Rangers it's tough to see where he fits in, no matter how good he is, but he can be a trade asset of the future which is a good thing.
Evan Vierling (Round 5, 127th Overall):
Another center, Evan Vierling, was taken in the 5th round by New York. Vierling played with the Flint Firebirds and the Barrie Colts in the OHL last season. All together he had 44 points in 43 games with 14 goals and 30 assists. EliteProspects describes him as “a defensively reliable, high-motor, two-way player, and a credible dual-threat scorer in the offensive zone.” In the future, he could possibly fit in on the third or fourth line and log some penalty kill minutes.
Brett Berard (Round 5, 134th Overall):
Left winger Brett Berard was also taken in the 5th round with the 134th overall selection. Berard is only 5’9” but possesses “high-octane offensive talent,” according to EliteProspects. He split time in the USDP and USHL last season, recording 34 and 18 points, respectively. Lots of people on discussion boards and social media believed Berard should have been taken higher because of his skill and hockey IQ. Hopefully Berard ends up becoming a steal for the Rangers.
Matthew Rempe (Round 6, 165th Overall):
Matthew Rempe, a Canadian center, was selected in the 6th round and my goodness he is huge. 6’8”, 236 lbs; I wouldn’t want to fight this guy. Statistically, Rempe had decent offensive numbers with the Seattle Thunderbirds last season with 31 points. But with that big frame, I could see him being used as a screen on the power play somewhere in the future or a big body in front of the net in general. However, I don’t expect to see him on the roster anytime soon, it’ll probably take at least three years for him to develop completely.
Hugo Ollas (Round 7, 197th Overall):
The Rangers final pick was Hugo Ollas...a Swedish goaltender, wait a minute….All joking aside Ollas is 6’8”, 238 lbs, which is insanely identical to Rempe’s frame, and maybe he can use that frame to his advantage like other successful NHL goalies have such as Braden Holtby and Ben Bishop. Regardless, just hand this guy over to Benoit Allaire and let him do the rest. History repeats itself.