The Rangers probably won't find an NHL-ready prospect in the latter rounds, but there are some players with enough potential to eventually become consistent offensive producers.
Who should the Rangers target to help improve an offense that converted on just 9.1 percent of their power-play opportunities in the playoffs?
Read on to find out.
Anthony Louis is an 18-year-old forward prospect playing for the U.S. National Development Team. The 5'7" forward scored 10 goals and had 15 assists in 24 games this season.
While he is on the smaller side and will need to improve his strength if wants to stick in the league, he does offer a ton of talent.
He is very creative with the puck, has top speed and has exceptional vision. Louis is, in many ways, very similar to Mats Zuccarello.
Now, do the Rangers need another player like Zuccarello, who, while exceptionally creative, has struggled to produce on a consistent basis? Maybe not. But the good thing about Louis is that he is a relatively blank slate. Attending Miami University in the fall, Louis can develop his upper-body strength, and there's always a possibility that he has one last growth spurt.
He's a risk, because of his size and because smaller players generally have a harder time sticking in the league. But the talent is certainly there, and in the third and fourth round, it has the potential to be a high-reward pick.
Emile Poirier is a high-end offensive prospect who is beginning to come into his own. Playing with the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL, Poirier scored 32 goals and had 38 assists in 65 games.
Poirier has good hands, a nice shot and is pretty physical.
The biggest knock on Poirier is that he's not the best skater. That is obviously going to hinder him at the next level.
Still, at only 18, there is plenty of time for Poirier to improve his skating. His production on a bad team is impressive, and he has potential as a two-way forward.
Because of his skating, he'll probably slide to the later rounds. That's fine, because with some work and development, Poirier has a chance to be a valuable top-six forward.
Lucas Wallmark is young, but he is a center with a lot of upside.
The 17-year-old has had a lot of success in the Swedish junior leagues, including 10 points in 16 games with HockeyAllsvenskan. In addition, he scored five points in five games at the World Junior Championships.
Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News reported that Wallmark dominated at the Ivan Hlinka tournament:
The Swedes took bronze at the Ivan Hlinka and it was Wallmark driving the bus offensively the whole tourney. The gifted pivot led the team in scoring with four goals and seven points in five games, including the game-tying goal in the final victory over the Czechs. No surprise then that vision is one of his strengths, not to mention special teams.
Obviously, his age means that he won't be ready to enter the NHL for some time. But he has shown great two-way potential and projects as a top-six forward who can play in every situation.
His youth may see him slide down the draft board, but a third-round selection is definitely warranted. The Rangers have three third-round selections, and spending one on Wallmark would be wise.
Nick Moutrey is a big forward who could eventually develop a nice power game. The 6'2", 208-pound winger scored 16 goals and had 27 assists with the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL.
He doesn't have a lot of high-end offensive skill—he won't skate around or deke defenders. He will, however, charge hard down the ice, play the body, bang in the corners and use his very effective wrist shot to wreak havoc.
He's strong with a dynamic one-timer. Moutrey is still developing a defensive game, as his only real defensive skill is his body.
But he has potential as a strong, physical forward in the Taylor Pyatt mold. With improved defensive skill, Moutrey could turn into a valuable two-way, third-line forward.