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New York Rangers 2012 NHL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

Alex DavidowContributor IIIJune 19, 2012

New York Rangers 2012 NHL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

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    With the 28th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, the New York Rangers selected Brady Skjei, an 18-year-old defenseman about to start his collegiate career at the University of Minnesota

    Just because the Rangers picked late doesn't mean they didn't get an exceptional talent.

    In recent years, the Rangers have used their low draft picks very well, selecting Chris Kreider in 2009 (19th overall), Michael Del Zotto and Derek Stepan in 2008 (20th and 51st overall, respectively) and team captain Ryan Callahan in 2004 (127th overall).

    The steal of them all was 2011-12 Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist in 2000 with the 205th overall pick. 

    General Manager Glen Sather and Coach John Tortorella have earned the benefit of the doubt both for past draft steals and the team's excellent 2011-12 season. 

    The Rangers have made two trades on day two of the draft but the trades only involve future draft picks.

    Read on to learn all about the Rangers 2012 Draft Class.

Rangers 1st Round Pick: Brady Skjei, D

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    The New York Rangers have proudly selected Brady Skjei, a 6'2", 203 pound defenseman from Lakeville, Minnesota

    Skjei has been a leader and impact player for the US National Team Development Program, co-captaining the U17 team and helping the U18 team earn a gold medal with a team high plus-10 rating.

    The 18-year-old Skjei has committed to play for Don Lucia at the University of Minnesota for the 2012-13 season. 

    Skjei will develop well under Lucia and his early experience at the international level will pay dividends in Duluth and help him eventually make the leap to the NHL. 

    The Rangers are looking to add to their core of talented young players and Skjei is a big-bodied two-way defenseman that seems to enjoy setting up his teammates. 

    Grade: A

Rangers 2nd Round Pick: Cristoval "Boo" Nieves, C/LW

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    Update: Boo Nieves was selected 59th overall by the New York Rangers. 

    Cristoval "Boo" Nieves is a 6'2", 176-pound, 18-year-old from Baldwinsville, New York. 

    Given his height and weight, he probably needs to add some bulk before he's ready for NHL competition, but that should get addressed this fall as he's slated to start his freshman year at the University of Michigan. 

    Nieves played his last two years of high school hockey at the Kent School in Connecticut where he put up good— but not great—numbers, considering the level of play. 

    No telling what Nieves' NHL future may be, but he should mature and develop immensely under Michigan head coach Red Berenson.

    Grade: A-

Rangers 4th Round Pick: Calle Andersson, D

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    With the 119th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, the Rangers selected another big-bodied defenseman. 

    Calle Andersson is a 6'2", 212 pound two-way defenseman that has put up some impressive numbers playing in the SuperElit league in his native Sweden and also turned some heads playing for Sweden's U18 team at the World Junior Championships. 

    The 18-year-old participated in 49 games in 2011-12 season and recorded 12 goals and 24 assists before contributing five more points over six playoff games for Farjestads in the SuperElit (U20 league).

    Andersson clearly has the size, skating ability and soft hands necessary to one day protect the Rangers blue line. It looks he will stay in Sweden at least one more year and make the leap up to the Elitserien where he will compete against seasoned professionals, rather than just players his age. 

    If Andersson can replicate the numbers he's produced so far, but against better competition, then it looks like the Rangers made a very smart choice with their fourth round draft selection. 

    Grade: A-

Rangers 5th Round Pick: Thomas Spelling, RW

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    The Rangers didn't select in the third round because they traded their pick to Nashville for Nashville's 2013 third round pick. Nashville used the pick to select Brendan Leipsic, a Canadian winger. 

    The Rangers and Preds traded again in the fifth round; this time the Rangers acquired Nashville's fifth round pick in exchange for the Rangers 2013 fifth round pick. 

    The Rangers used the 142nd overall pick to take Thomas Spelling from Denmark.

    Spelling is 19 years old and plays for his hometown team in Herning, Denmark. Spelling is coming off a productive season for Herning, contributing 37 points over 33 regular season games before adding 10 goals and 10 assists over 17 playoff games.  

    At 6'1" and 176 pounds, Spelling still has to develop quite a bit before he's ready for the NHL. 

    Grade: B

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