The Rangers have the 10th overall pick in the upcoming draft which is low enough to get a decent pick, but typically all of the really stand-out talent is already taken by then. Unfortunately this is what defines the Rangers lately, they have been drafting well, but have never been able to obtain the really elite talent.
However there is something that in the past the Rangers have been willing to do that ,while it’s a little risky, it would have worked out for them in the past if not for a freak accident. I’m talking about drafting a player who falls down the draft board because of signability issues.
The Rangers did it with Alexei Cherepanov a few years back. At the time Cherepanov was considered a talent worth of being drafted with the first few picks. The problem was that teams were weary of him being able to come to America because of a lack of transfer agreement between the United States and Russia. The Rangers picked him anyway and it would have really worked out for them had it not been for Cherepanov’s untimely death.
Now, according to Kirk Luedeke of The New England Hockey Journal , there is a similar case with the 18-year-old Russian-born Vladimir Tarasenko .
"Now, if not for the 'Russian factor' Vladimir Tarasenko would give [Mikael] Granlund a run for the money, but the lack of a transfer agreement is a game-changer for a lot of NHL clubs. Some have gone so far as to completely remove Russian players from their draft lists. Tarasenko deserves to be No. 2 on the list, but he’ll go much lower because of concerns about his signability and some uneven performances/concerns about the compete level from him at times. A pure shooter who can score at will, the talent is something to behold. He’s very fast, elusive and has that killer instinct around the net. At 5-10 and under 180, he’s another one of those prototypical small guys who can really scoot and shoot and get things done on offense, but he’s going to fall victim to the Russia bias that has become a reality at the NHL draft. Some team will take him, but where it might have landed him in the top-five or seven as the No. 2 Euro, it will now likely happen outside of the top-15 or 20 if not lower."
Thoughts : With the Rangers coming off a disappointing season, possibly even a pair of disappointing seasons depending on how you look at it, they may look to make a splash in the draft and Tarasenko might be right up their alley.
The biggest issue I’m seeing here though is that at 5′10″ and 165 lbs. Tarasenko is too similar to the recently signed Mats Zuccarello-Aasen in body type. Zuccarello-Aasen is slightly shorter and about the same weight and they are both right wingers with a lefty shot. Coming off this free agent signing the Rangers might not want to draft another player so similar in stature. The one reason why this might not matter though, the Rangers have almost no right wings in their system.
The bottom line is that it is almost impossible to completely predict the draft, but with the Rangers past history with taking risks on Russian players Tarasenko is somebody to keep an eye on.