By Alex Weinstein on March 24, 2014
While the New York Rangers have had some draft success, there have also been utter failures. The team currently boasts homegrown draft picks such as Derek Stepan, Marc Staal and Henrik Lundqvist. Yet in the grand scheme of things, teams such as the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks built their cores from the draft and have had much more success in doing so. Here's a look back on what could've been for the Rangers.
Michael Del Zotto was the team's first-round pick in 2008. An offensive defenseman, he surprised as a 19-year old and made the NHL squad to provide an immediate offensive impact. After that, he struggled with consistency and effort in his own zone. That lead to his demotion and it was all downhill from there. While he continued to put up offensive numbers, he was not reliable enough and was traded away this season.
The Rangers selected Bobby Sanguinetti 21st overall in 2006 with the hopes that he would develop into an offensive defenseman. Sanguinetti produced at a decent clip in the AHL with the Hartford Wolfpack, but only played five games for the Rangers. It hurts more that Flyers superstar Claude Giroux was taken with the next pick in the draft.
Evgeny Grachev is the only non-first rounder on this list, and expectations were skewed for the 6-foot-4 Russian forward. Putting up 80 points in his only season in Canadian juniors while on a line with superstar Matt Duchene put big expectations on Grachev, yet he was not able to deliver. Inconsistent at the AHL level and having no impact in a brief eight-game NHL cup of coffee, Grachev was dealt away for the pick used to take Steven Fogarty.
Drafting a goaltender is never easy. This is a great example of that, as the Rangers' supposed goaltender of the future never had an impact for the team that drafted him. He was moved to Phoenix in the trade that sent Fredrik Sjostrom to the Rangers, and Montoya worked hard in San Antonio of the AHL to improve his game. He finally found an NHL opportunity with the New York Islanders, where he proved his worth as a quality backup.
Just looking at the rest of the first round in 2003 is painful. 11 years later, the sting of drafting Hugh Jessiman hasn't gone away. Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler are just some of the names to be called after Jessiman's during the draft. He was the last player taken in the first round to play in the NHL, and is only one of three players to play in less than 200 NHL games. Jessiman is easily the biggest Rangers draft disappointment.
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