Yesterday, the Rangers got back to work for the remaining six rounds of the 2019 NHL Draft. While they couldn’t hit a home run like with second overall pick Kaapo Kakko on Friday night, GM Jeff Gorton was pleased with what they accomplished on Day Two.
Even though they parted with the number 20 and number 37 in shrewd deals for right defensemen Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox, the Blueshirts still had eight total draft picks. Seven of which were selected on Saturday in Vancouver.
It’s important to note that each player counts just as much as first round consolation prize Kakko. Of course, they won’t have the same lofty expectations or pressure the 18-year old NHL ready Finnish right wing will have. However, you never know which of the remaining seven will become gems.
Let’s meet the seven picks taken on Saturday:
No. 45 D Matthew Robertson- In the final North American Skaters rankings, he finished 26th. A 6-3, 201 pound left shooting defenseman who’s played in the Western Hockey League (WHL) for the Edmonton Oil Kings, Robertson sounds like a solid overall player, who is agile for his size and fully capable of contributing offensively due to a good shot. He can pass the puck as evidenced by his 26 assists in Year Two with the Oil Kings. In 52 games, he had 33 points (7-26-33). It sounds like the Rangers got good value too. Robertson could’ve gone late in the first round. Perhaps they got a steal in an unpredictable draft that saw first round talents Arthur Kaliyev and Raphael Lajoie to the second round.
No. 58 C Karl Henriksson- Not the biggest in stature due to his smallish 5-9, 176 pound frame, the TSN panel loved the pick of the 18-year old playmaking Swede. For those familiar with where Henrik Lundqvist started before coming over, Henriksson played for Frolunda where he’ll likely stay to further develop his skills. A competitive player who isn’t the best skater, he makes up for it by winning puck battles and having the patience to find em teammates. In the World Junior Championships U18, he paced Sweden with nine points (3-6-9) in seven games. He was the 23rd ranked European Skater entering the Draft. If you heard Pierre McGuire, he thinks Henriksson could make the NHL before a lot of players taken before him. High praise. We’ll see.
No. 68 D Zachary Jones- Ranked 70th among North American Skaters, the USHL (United States Hockey League) Tri-City Storm product is a left shooting offensive defenseman with good hockey sense. Listed at 5-10, 176 pounds, Jones had a superb season to take home USHL Rookie of the Year honors. In 56 games, he put up 52 points including 45 assists (led all USHL defensemen) and seven goals while going plus-38 with 38 penalty minutes. He will attend UMass Amherst this Fall.
No. 112 D Hunter Skinner- The 120th rated North American Skater is a bigger, more physical right shooting defenseman who can deliver big hits. The 6-2, 176 pound Skinner played 28 games for the Lincoln Stars following a trade from Muskegon. He was their most productive blueliner registering five go.als and 19 assists for 24 points. He describes himself as someone who likes to make plays. Skinner will attend Western Michigan University in the Fall.
No. 130 RW Leevi Altonen- Believe it or not, the undersized forward was the 29th ranked European Skater. Approximately 5-9, 177 pounds, Altonen is listed as a left shooting right wing on Central Scouting. I’ve also seen him listed as a left wing. He sounds like a fast skater who can both score and set up while killing penalties. After tallying two assists in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup for Finland, he spent most of his time with SM-lliga Jr. where he went 12-24-36 in 29 games. He had a goal and two assists with 31 penalty minutes in six postseason contests. Next year, he’ll play for Liiga in Kalpa where he had a helper in seven games.
No. 161 C Adam Edstrom- The 73rd ranked European Skater is a big 6-6, 209 pound center who played for Mora in the SuperElit League in Sweden. In 20 games, Edstrom had 11 goals and five assists for 16 points with 12 penalty minutes. He’s a physical player with skill.
No. 205 RW Eric Ciccolini- A 6-0, 170 pound right wing who finished ranked 108th among North American Skaters, Ciccolini played for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the Ontario Hockey Association (OJHL). In 48 games, the right wing registered 27 goals with 35 assists for 62 points and 58 penalty minutes. Voted the OJHL’s Top Prospect, he’s considered a hard worker with scoring capabilities. He’ll attend Michigan this Fall.
Overall, it sounds like a solid draft that continued to improve the team’s depth at key positions. Most notably, they didn’t take a goalie. They have plenty in the system. It should be fun to follow their career paths.