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The New York Rangers had four second-round picks in the 2004 NHL draft. That represented a rare opportunity to improve their roster.
Of the four picks, only Brandon Dubinsky has had a respectable NHL career. Dubinsky scored 81 goals with the Rangers before being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The other three Rangers' selections—Darin Olver, Dane Byers and Bruce Graham—have played a total of 14 games in the NHL. All 14 games were played by Byers , five of which were with the Rangers.
To make matters worse, there were also a number of quality players selected in the second round. The Rangers could have had, among others:
- Bryan Bickell
- Carl Soderberg
- David Booth
- Nicklas Grossman
- Alex Goligoski
- David Krejci
That's not to mention some talented players selected in the rest of the draft like Alex Edler, Johan Franzen, Kris Versteeg, Mikhail Grabovski, Troy Brouwer, Pekka Rinne and Mark Streit.
The Rangers were able to select Ryan Callahan in the fourth round, which salvaged that draft a bit.
The second round, outside of Dubinsky, was an epic fail. Imagine if the Rangers have even one of the other top players selected in that round. They would be a much better team now.
The early parts of the past decade were rough for the Rangers, and this is a major reason why. With four picks in the second round, the Rangers could have changed the course of their franchise. Instead, it set the franchise back a few years.
A roster that would have included Bickell or Krejci, or both, would instantly have made the Rangers one of the best teams in hockey.
Instead, they looked anemic in the playoffs and are starting a new era with a new coach.