NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The waiting truly proved to be the hardest part for the New York Rangers on NHL draft Sunday.
Without a pick in the first and second rounds, the Rangers were left to sit somewhat patiently until it was their turn to dip into the deep talent pool of young players.READ MORE: Suspected Human Remains Found In Florida Wildlife Preserve Where Authorities Are Searching For Brian Laundrie
“I just never sat there and watched so much talent just walk through the tables to get to the podium,” said Gordie Clark, the Rangers’ director of player personnel. “Even in the second, there were a lot of real good names.”
The Rangers gave up their first-round pick — No. 19 — in the big trade that brought star forward Rick Nash to New York. Their second-rounder — No. 49 overall — went to San Jose in the deal that landed rugged forward Ryane Clowe down the stretch of last season.
That move helped the Rangers climb into a playoff spot, and New York reached the Eastern Conference semifinals after eliminating Washington.
“I would never give Nash back for the first, and Ryane Clowe was such a big part of our march after the trade deadline from ninth to sixth,” Clark said. “I wouldn’t have done a different thing.”
New York explored trying to move up into the second round, and even considered moving back to pick up more picks, but nothing to their liking worked out.
The Rangers acquired defenseman Justin Falk from the Minnesota Wild on Sunday before the draft began for the rights to forward Benn Ferriero and a sixth-round pick in next year’s draft.
The 24-year-old Falk had three assists and 40 penalty minutes in 36 games last season with the Wild. He posted a plus or even rating 27 times and skated in his 100th NHL game on March 27 against Phoenix. Falk also played in four playoff games, making his postseason debut May 3 at Chicago in Game 2 of the first-round series.
In 108 regular-season games over four seasons, the 6-foot-5 Falk has one goal, 14 assists and 100 penalty minutes.
The 26-year-old Ferriero is a restricted free agent. He had one assist in four games with the Rangers last season after being acquired from Pittsburgh on Jan. 24. The draft choice going to the Wild originally belonged to Columbus.
Clark said the Rangers weren’t close to trading for any other established NHL players, although some clubs tried to “help us” (sarcastically) with offers that they weren’t interested in.READ MORE: Mayor De Blasio Announces Vaccine Mandate For All New York City Municipal Workers, Including First Responders
So the Rangers crossed back over the river into New York with five drafted players.
They took center Adam Tambellini, the son of former NHLer Steve Tambellini, with the No. 65 pick — their first of three third-round selections — left wing Pavel Buchnevich, and fellow forward Anthony Duclair out of the QMJHL.
“I think a lot of Steve Tambellini,” Clark said of Adam’s lineage. “His other son was shorter and faster. This one is taller and more of a playmaker. Both of them have Steve’s shot — an NHL shot. He needs to put a little bit of weight on and he is going to have time to put that on at North Dakota.”
Buchnevich is committed to playing in Russia’s KHL, and Tambellini is still several years away from making a difference with the Rangers.
“It was interesting how it went because you just have to wait and watch them all go off the board,” Clark said. “In the end, we really liked Adam Tambellini and the skill of Buchnevich.
“When you are looking at those guys after the third round, you’re looking for things that stood out.”
Ryan Graves, a defenseman, was chosen at No. 110 in the fourth round, and goalie Mackenzie Skapski came off the board at No. 170.
“I tried to come into today with no expectations, and everyone had told me it’d be a day to remember for the rest of your life, and it’s definitely going to be that,” Graves said. “It’s a dream to be a part of this organization.”
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