The “hits” are obvious. Late round gems like Brandon Dubinsky, Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan along with ’05 first rounder Marc Staal have made their mark in New York.
But what about the missed opportunities? The coulda, shoulda, wouldas if you will. At the 2010 NHL draft this summer in Los Angeles the Rangers selected tough guy D-man Dylan McIlrath 10th overall. This left many scratching their head as the seemingly NHL ready offensive defenseman Cam Fowler was still on the market. Time will tell if this was the best move, (which I highly doubt it was).
The Rangers face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, a team whose success is owed to their superstar draft picks ( see Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeny Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal) after long years of sitting in the basement. No pain, no gain.
The Rangers had some dark days without playoff berths and losing records. Lots of pain, but where’s the first round glory gains? By now the Rangers could have had a squad that consisted of Mike Green on the blue line and Zach Parise on the left wing.
Below are some Blueshirt draft pick flops. Where are they now:
Dan Blackburn, G 10th overall
- When Mike Richter went down, Blackburn was leaned on. He was 20-32-11 and had one shutout in 63 games.
- The quiet, nice guy burned out and was never able to develop into a number one netminder.
- A nerve injury in his left shoulder forced him to retire at the tender age of 22 in 2005.
Other options: Ales Hemsky 13th, Derek Roy 32nd, Mike Cammarelli 49th, Craig Anderson 73rd.
Hugh Jessiman, RW 12th overall
- Never pulled on a Ranger jersey or any NHL jersey yet for that matter.With disappointing showings while on the Hartford WolfPack, he was twice demoted to the ECHL for development.
- He’s the only first rounder from the 2003 draft to never play in an NHL game yet.
- In 2008 The Rangers traded him to the Nashville Predators in exchange for future considerations. He signed a one year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks this summer but the Hawks waived him and assigned him to the Rockford IceDogs in September.
Missed out on: Dustin Brown 13th, Zach Parise 17th, Ryan Getzlaf 19th, Ryan Kesler 23rd, Corey Perry 28th.
Al Montoya, G, 6th overall
- Never started in net for the Rangers.
Traded by the Rangers along with Marcel Hossa to the Phoenix Coyotes for D-listers Josh Gratton, Fredrik Sjostrom, David LeNeveu and a conditional pick in the 2009 draft.
- 3 wins in only 5 NHL games played.
Missed out on: Mike Green 29th, Travis Zajac 20th, Wojtek Wolski 21st, David Krecji 63rd
Sure, it may be easy to scroll down the draft pick lists and think what could have been. Scouts and general managers don’t have a magic crystal ball. But one can’t help but wonder, what if?
About the Author
Written by Margaret DeJesus
I'm a recent college graduate looking for a dream job covering hockey. I've been watching the New York Rangers since my grade school days of VHS and Gordon Bombay's "ducks fly together" speech. While studying journalism at Boston University (COM '10), I wrote for the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper. I worked two summers at the Staten Island Advance, my hometown newspaper, writing city news and features. I've also written CD reviews for Music-Reviewer.com. One of my favorite gigs was interning for hockey analyst extraordinaire Stan Fischler covering the Boston Bruins and attending all their home games in the 2009-2010 season. (Yes, including the crushing defeat against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.)