New York Rangers: Best Draft Picks Since 2000

Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers left wing J.T. Miller (10) skates with the puck alongside right wing Chris Kreider (20) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have built a lot of their current roster through the NHL Entry draft. Ex-Rangers GM Glen Sather did a great job finding prospects that panned out to be excellent NHL players.

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Glen Sather is no longer the man in charge with the New York Rangers. However, a lot of his draft selections are still making an impact with the Rangers today. Blue Line Station recently looked at the Rangers’ worst five draft picks since 2000. Now, let’s take a look at the best five.

Feb 4, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Ryan Callahan (24) acknowledges the crowd after being names the star of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 4, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Ryan Callahan (24) acknowledges the crowd after being names the star of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

#5 – 2004: Ryan Callahan

Ryan Callahan was drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to play with the Rangers from 2006 until the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline. Callahan was traded at the deadline for future Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis over contract disputes.

During Callahan’s stint with the Rangers, he was the heart and soul of the team. He worked very hard every night, and left every inch on himself on the ice. His relentless hustle and shot-blocking made him one of the most respected players in the franchise. The New York Rangers even named Ryan Callahan their 26th captain in 2011.

His numbers as a New York Ranger were great. He had 254 points through 450 games. That doesn’t not include the 24 postseason points Callahan tallied in five playoff appearances. Callahan’s presence was always felt throughout his time as a Ranger. Glen Sather was wise to select him. 

Oct 24, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers center J.T. Miller (10) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period against Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (35) at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 24, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers center J.T. Miller (10) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period against Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (35) at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

#4 – 2011: J.T. Miller

J.T. Miller was selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The 23-year-old winger has grown up quickly and has made a huge impact thus far. Miller has 49 goals and 57 assists through 238 career games. His role has only increased over his first few seasons.

Last season, Miller played in all 82 regular season games and five playoff games. He registered 43 points in the regular season, and three more in the postseason. This year, Miller has played in 42 games, and already has 30 points. He is well on his way to exceeding last years totals, and doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon.

Miller’s production could certainly plateau in the next couple of years. For now, Miller seems to be trending up. He is considered one of the most valuable youngsters in the organization. 

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

#3 – 2008: Derek Stepan

Derek Stepan was chosen in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Stepan entered the league with a bang in 2010; scoring a hat trick in his first NHL game. Things have only gotten better for the Minnesota-born, University of Wisconsin product.

In 476 career NHL games, Stepan has 336 points. This season started slow, but Stepan has caught fire recently. He is on pace to finish around his career high in points. His defense is not to be overlooked either. Stepan is a career +103, being a +13 this season. He is an excellent two-way forward and he does a lot for the Rangers on both ends of the ice.

Stepan is currently an alternate captain for the Rangers. He centers the top-line and plays a huge role for the team. The Rangers would look a lot different without Stepan involved on a nightly basis. 

Feb 27, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Rangers defeat the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 27, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Rangers defeat the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

#2 – 2009: Chris Kreider

Chris Kreider was taken in the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. This was an especially great draft pick because Kreider was snagged out of high school. For Glen Sather to be able to see Kreider’s potential at such a young age says a lot about the selection.

Kreider has been a prize through his first few seasons in the NHL. Through 284 career games, Kreider has logged 154 points. He has been especially efficient in the playoffs, with 33 points through 65 games.

This season, Kreider is on pace to put up his best numbers yet. Through 36 games, Kreider has 16 goals and 14 assists. His career high came in 2014-2015, when he put up 21 goals and 25 assists through 80 games. Barring any major setbacks, Kreider will continue to wow critics and show why he was the second best Rangers draft pick since 2000. 

Dec 9, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) stands before the start of the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 9, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) stands before the start of the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

#1 – 2000: Henrik Lundqvist

One of the greatest Rangers of all-time and one of the greatest goalies to ever play the game. Henrik Lundqvist was selected 205th overall in the 7th round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Since then, Lundqvist has far exceeded the expectations of a 7th round pick; let alone any goaltender.

Lundqvist has over 700 games played as a New York Ranger. He boasts a career 2.29 goals against average and a 92% save percentage. Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league’s top goaltender, for the 2010-2011 NHL season. Henrik is expected to win his 400th game this season.

Since 2005, Lundqvist has been the backbone for the Rangers. Even as he has grown older, he has been one of the league’s best goalies. His selection is especially great considering how late the Rangers took Lundqvist. If Glen Sather had gone with someone else with that pick, the last 11 years would have gone a lot differently.

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