As if you don't already know, tonight is the first round of the NHL Draft out in Los Angeles. Thanks to the mediocre season that they had and the near-miss of the playoffs, the Rangers have the 10th overall selection.
There are dozens of mock drafts out there, I'm not about to do one. As always, I turn towards Jess at Prospect Park when looking for scouting info and he recommends we take Emerson Etem, a former roller hockey player who had a Fotiu-esque travel schedule to get to training. Jess' first choice was the young Swiss sensation Nino Niederreiter but prevailing thought has him going before 10. If Etem is as dedicated to his craft and is as good as Jess has raved, I don't see why he would still be on the board but we will have to see.
Kitchener Rangers kid Jeff Skinner put up great numbers in the O last season but all accounts say his skating leaves much to be desired and he is a bit undersized. Vladimir Tarasenko may be a better all-around talent but, no matter what Dmitry says about Russians, given our track record I wouldn't waste the pick.
Instead, I would rather see the Rangers trade down. Let them get back a third round pick - they wasted theirs on Brian Boyle - and use a late first round selection on defenseman Dylan McIlrath. I saw McIlrath when I was out west and, as I was trying to root for the home teams in Seattle and Everett, instantly hated him. He was big, he was mean and he seemed dirty. Pretty much everything we need on our blueline. His skating is suspect, but so was Zdeno Chara's when he came into the league (and as a defender it is more forgiving a sin than up front like with Skinner). At best, McIlrath is another Jeff Beukeboom. Beuk sets a high bar so perhaps he could at least be a sane(r) version of Dale Purinton. At worst he is a bust, but there have been plenty of them over the last 20 years - and unlike back then there are actually good, young players in the system already.
Until Glen trades them away.