The 2015 NHL Draft represents the third consecutive year that the New York Rangers will go without a 1st round draft pick. Barring any trades, this year or next, it will be four years and counting come the 2016 NHL Draft as the Rangers moved that 1st rounder to the Arizona Coyotes in the Keith Yandle deal.

As a result of the Martin St. Louis-Ryan Callahan trade, the Rangers first selection in 2015 will be the Second Round with the 59th pick.

The Rangers have made the 59th overall selection four times in the history of the NHL Draft. The last time the Rangers made the 59th pick was last year when they selected goaltender Brandon Halverson.

Prior to the Halverson pick, you have to go back to the 1999 NHL Draft to find the next time the Blueshirts made the 59th overall pick. They drafted Center David Inman in the second round. Inman played four years at Notre Dame and then played a couple of years in the minors – splitting 71 AHL games with Hartford and Lowell and 69 ECHL games with Charlotte.

You have to jump 12 years to the 1978 Draft to find the Rangers exercising the 59th pick – a selection who would make history two years later as a member of the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. Fourth round pick Dave Silk made his bones in the Olympics, but he did play 249 NHL games.

The first time the Rangers made the 59th overall pick was 1969 when they spent a fifth round pick on defenseman Gord Smith – a veteran of 299 NHL games with Washington and Winnipeg.

Unless the Rangers are busy on draft day, they will make five draft picks during their time in Sunrise, Florida. The Rangers own the following picks in the Second Round (59th overall) and Third Round (89th overall).

Odds are the Rangers will be adding to that above-listed total as President/GM Glen Sather is actively shopping goaltender Cam Talbot. While the team would love to swap Talbot for Edmonton’s second 1st round pick (#16), that is highly unlikely to happen unless the Blueshirts are able to play the Oilers off the Sabres, Sharks and Flames.

Further complicating the matter is that Ottawa is making Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner available and there are talks that Dallas could be persuaded to deal Kari Lehtonen.

Talbot’s one-year deal at $1.45 million is very enticing to any team looking to acquire a goalie. It would cost at least two to three times that much if a team wanted to sign an UFA. The problem is that any team acquiring Talbot is prohibited by the CBA of extending him until after January 1, 2016.

On Thursday morning, the NY Post’s Larry Brooks reported that the Rangers have given teams permission to speak to Talbot’s representatives to judge Cam’s opinions on an eventual contract extension.

Darren Dreger of TSN reported on Tuesday that the Rangers were offered two 2nd round picks for Talbot, but the Blueshirts turned down the deal. Dreger confirmed the offer was not from Edmonton but he could not confirm if the draft picks were in the same year or not.

There was some talk that the Oilers were offering their 2nd round pick (#33) and defenseman Martin Marincin, but the Rangers were cool to the deal – and rightly so. Marincin, much like Dylan McIlrath, will need to clear waivers to be assigned to the AHL so there is no reason to bring him and run the risk of losing him on waivers.

For the purpose of my Rangers Mock Drafts, we are going to work under the presumption that Talbot remains with the Rangers – at least through the Draft. To take any other stance would be to open up too many variables. Also, the Rangers could decide to keep Talbot and look to move him prior to the 2016 Draft. The Blueshirts would not get as much at that point, but a team would probably make a deal in order to get a jump start on signing Talbot.

However, if the Rangers were able to secure the 16th overall pick from the Oilers (or another 1st round pick) I would not hesitate to use it on any of the following four players: Paul Bittner, Jake DeBrusk, Brock Boeser, and Colin White. If the Rangers were really daring, they could try and move down a couple of spots in the first round and look to add some additional picks.

As we move ahead to the Second Round and Third Round previews, I have selected three players of interest per round and they are listed in order of preference.

SECOND ROUND

NIKITA KOROSTELEV – RW
CS: # 50 NAS —– THN: # 46 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 60 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 69 (P.A. Parenteau)

The 6-1/196 Korostelev spent the last two seasons preparing himself for the NHL and North American style of hockey by playing for Sarnia (OHL). He did show some incremental offensive improvement between his first year in Sarnia (60-17-21-38) and his second year (54-24-29-53).

There is a concern that skating will hold him back, but that his skill set still points to him being a solid PP specialist.

ISS Scout: “Exceptional shot, quick release. Can score and make plays, although sometimes makes blind passes [See, he already sounds like a Ranger]. Speed is not great, but he has good sense and not afraid to play in traffic.”

AUSTIN WAGNER – LW
CS: # 35 NAS —– THN: # 67 (Not Available)
ISS: # 43 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 64 (Dwight King)

The 6-1/178 Wagner works equally as hard in all three zones on the ice. He continues the Rangers plan of adding speed and strong skaters to the lineup. In 61 games with Regina (WHL), Wagner scored 20 goals and 19 assists – not too bad for a youngster who just turned 18. He could turn out to be a little bigger and quicker version of Ryan Callahan.

ISS: “Funnels everything to the net and skates to the slot with ease. Works hard 200 feet and shows strong discipline to take care of one zone at a time, doesn’t force the game. Expect his level of play and production to rise next year as he takes on a bigger role in the offense.”

SEBASTIAN AHO – LW
CS: # 18 ES —– TSN: # HM (Patrik Elias)
ISS: # 61 (Not Available) —– THN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

It should be interesting come draft day because there are two prospects named Sebastian Aho who are draft-eligible. This Aho is born in Finland and is a winger while the other Aho is a Swedish defenseman who, interestingly enough, is rated as the 13th best European skater.

Aho is one of those players in this year’s draft who will owe Tyler Johnson some props for opening up scouts eyes to players who are six-feet tall. Of course, the Rangers have experience with such players (Martin St. Louis and Mats Zuccarello).

While it won’t make sense to play Aho on one wing and Zucc on the other, it would be equally as foolish to pass on the 5-11/172 based just on his size. With limited draft picks available, the Rangers have to take the best players they can and sort out the rest.

ISS Skill: “Creative, intelligent winger who reads the game extremely well and has strong offensive tools.

ISS NHL Potential: “Second line offensive winger who can bring a high-tempo, creative game.”

THIRD ROUND

A.J. GREER – LW
CS: # 57 —– THN: # 60 (Power Forward)
ISS: # 57 (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

Truth be told, I am very high on the 6-3/203 Greer that I would give every consideration of drafting him the second round – which is why I would like to see the Rangers add some extra draft picks.

The Quebec native spent his freshman year as a teammate of Jack Eichel at Boston University. It was a rollercoaster ride of a season as Greer battled early season benching, to a “promotion” to the fourth line before seeing action on the Terriers second line during the Frozen Four’s final two games.

While he tallied just three goals and four assists in 37 games, much is expected of Greer. His game is based on his size and strength and a solid skating game for someone of his size.

Could you imagine the havoc the Beantown Line of Greer, Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes could wreak on the NHL?

CHRISTIAN JAROS – D
CS: # 40 ES (Not Available) —- THN: Not Rated (Not Available)
ISS: 69 (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

The 6-3/201 right-handed shooting defenseman has extra motivation during the 2014/15 season as he went undrafted during the 2014 NHL Draft. While known for being a physical defensive d-man, Jaros has good skating and puck-handling skills and might merit some PP in the future because he has a pretty good shot from the point.

ISS: “A strong two-way figure on the backend [who] brings it on both sides of the puck, defensively intelligent, attention to detail and active, while offensively showing good vision and good decisions on the first pass and ability to generate from the point on the PP.”

KEEGAN KOLESAR – RW
CS: # 65 NAS —– THN: # Not Rated (Not Available)
ISS: 65 (Not Available) — TSN: # HM (Matt Martin)

ISS sees the 6-1/217 Kolesar as a “3rd line, two-way, power forward” who can play on the PK. He is the type of player who is going to bring a physical presence to whatever line he is on. He can add valuable defensive play to a scoring second line and much-needed offensive spark to the checking third line.

ISS: “Big winger with above average hands and puck control, heads up and carries the puck with confidence. North-south type but has good upside [potential].”

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