Earlier this week, I openly wondered if the New York Rangers should consider trading up in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in order to get a higher quality talent to increase the chances of getting a game changing type player. Now that the Rangers included both of their 2011 second round picks in the trade to acquire potential top-10 pick Tim Erixon, we have to consider whether the organization should consider moving down in the first round in order to add more picks in the draft.
Obviously this would depend on how the draft unfolds because you don’t move down if the player they are targeting with the #15 pick is still on the board, then they will stay and take the player they want with the pick. Also, if a player who was expected to go earlier in the draft falls for some reason, they should consider selecting him, if it is a forward. Beyond that trading down might not be a bad idea as it helps to continue stocking the system with assets and the more forwards they can add to the system, the better chance they have of finding the scoring they need down the line. Other than the top few selections in this draft many of the players are of a similar talent level with differing question marks, so the drop in moving down into the 20’s is not as significant as it might initially appear. The Rangers could potentially use their #15 selection and one of the many defensive prospects (Valentenko, Kundratek) to secure a later first round selection and a second rounder in return and use those picks to select multiple forward prospects.
The two main players that I would stay at #15 to select as the consensus projections go, if they are on the board, would be centers Mark McNeill and Mark Scheifele. Both players are expected to go in the area surrounding the Rangers selection and for different reasons would be excellent fits for the organization. Check out the scouting reports on both.