While it might seem that the New York Rangers will be making a first round pick for the first time in the 21st century, it has only been since 2012 (which is long enough) when they selected Brady Skjei with the 28th overall pick.

In 2017, the Rangers will be making the 21st overall pick in the NHL Draft for just the third time since the NHL Draft began in 1963. The franchise met with diminishing returns during that history.

In 1964, the Rangers selected center Syl Apps, Jr. in the fourth round – two years after his father Syl Apps Sr. was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Apps Sr. was also named one of the NHL’s Greatest 100 Players as part of the league’s centennial celebration.

Syl Jr. played 727 NHL games (11 with the Rangers, the rest with Pittsburgh and Los Angeles). He scored 183 goals and 423 assists with his best season coming in 1975-76 when he posted career highs in goals (32), assists (67) and points (99).

The Rangers traded Apps and defenseman Sheldon Kannegiesser to Pittsburgh in exchange for Glen Sather in January 1971. The Penguins traded Apps and former Ranger (for all of six games) Hartland Monahan to Los Angeles for former Ranger Gene Carr, Dave Schultz and a 1976 4th round pick.

In 1972, the Rangers made the 21st overall pick again – this time in the 2nd round – and drafted Lawrence Sacharuk. The defenseman played a total of 151 NHL games, splitting them between the Rangers (75) and St. Louis (76). In his career, he scored 29 goals and 33 assists – the majority of those coming in his one year with the Blues in 1974-75 (76-20-22-42).

In August 1974, the Rangers sent Sacharuk and the Rangers 1st round pick in 1977 to St. Louis for Greg Polis. The Rangers reacquired when they sent Derek Sanderson to St. Louis. The Rangers eventually drafted Lucien DeBlois (while passing on Mike Bossy for the first of two times). In September 1975, Rangers brought Sacharuk back while sending Bob Macmillan to the Blues.

If you think you might be noticing a pattern with the Rangers and Blues, you are correct. Rangers GM Emile Francis used the Blues as an NHL-version of a minor league affiliate. From 1967-68 (the year St. Louis joined the NHL) until January 1976 (when Francis was fired by the Rangers), the two teams made 23 trades during those nine seasons.

During all of the trade machinations, Francis sent Red Berenson to St. Louis and in three separate deals he traded all three Plager brothers (Barclay, Bob and Bill) to the Blues.

Winger Jack Egers probably learned to rent on short-term leases thanks to the Rangers and the Blues. He spent 1969-70 and 1970-71 with the Rangers before being traded to St. Louis. He split the 71-72 season with the Blues and the Rangers. He spent the whole season with St. Louis in 1972-73 and probably thought his moving days were over. After starting the 1973-74 season with the Blues he got traded back to the Rangers. Egers was on the move again as the Capitals drafted him in the 1974 Expansion Draft and played 26 games split over the next two seasons before his NHL career came to an end.

Amid all of the deals Francis made with the Blues, the one that really paid off was in May 1971 when “The Cat” out-foxed St. Louis by sending Rangers third goalie Peter McDuffe to the Blues in exchange for their 1971 first round draft pick – which Francis used to select Steve Vickers.

In 2006, the Rangers exercised the 21st overall pick when they drafted defenseman Bob Sanguinetti with the 1st round selection. Sanguinetti played just five games with the Rangers before they traded him to Carolina in June 2010 as the Rangers acquired a 6th round pick in 2010 and Washington’s 2nd round pick in 2011.

The Rangers traded that Caps pick, along with the Rangers 2nd round pick and prospect Roman Horak to Calgary in exchange for Tim Erixon and 2011 5th round pick (the Rangers took Shane McColgan).

What became of that 6th round pick in 2010? Well, the Rangers used that to draft Jesper Fasth (as he was known as then).
Sanguinetti played 40 games over the next two season for the Hurricanes scoring two goals and 4 assists. He played last season with Kloten in the Swiss Elite League.

The Rangers had one more foray into the 21st pick in 1991 during the NHL’s Supplemental Draft. From 1986-1994, the NHL held a special draft for collegiate player who were not eligible for the NHL Entry Draft. John Cullen and former Rangers Cory Cross and Steve Rucchin are just three of the 12 players who were selected in the Supplemental Draft and then went to play more than 100 games in the NHL.

In 1991, they drafted winger Steven King who played 24 games in the 1992-93 season (7-5-12). King was claimed by Anaheim in the 1993 Expansion Draft. In parts of two seasons, King played 43 games with the then Mighty Ducks, scoring 10 goals and three assists.

Since this article is historical (or hysterical depending on your point of view) in nature, I came across an interesting piece of recent Draft history researched by The International Scouting Service.

ISS reviewed the NHL Drafts from 2007 through 2016 featuring players selected in all seven rounds. During those years, the Rangers drafted only 61 players – one better than the last place team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The least amount of players drafted dovetailed nicely with the Rangers having the least number of players play in the NHL (18) and their 29.5% success rate was the worst in the NHL, just ahead of the Washington Capitals at 29.90%. In the Rangers defense, no adjustment was made to reflect the tragic death of 2007 1st round draft pick Alexei Cherepanov.

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