By Warren Kozireski —
After taking Brennan Othmann in the first round, the New York Rangers entered the second day of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft with eight selections including two in the third round and three more in the fourth round.
With the first of the third-round choices (65th overall) acquired from Buffalo, new General Manager Chris Drury selected Jayden Grubbe from Red Deer in the Western Hockey League. 6’2”, 200 lb. at center, he missed all but five games this past season with a torn ACL, but had 23 assists in 57 games the year prior.
“It’s (the knee) getting there,” Grubbe said to the Red Deer website. “I’m back on the ice now so that’s nice. It feels pretty normal actually, it’s just a matter of getting that strength back. Just getting that bit of quad muscle back to normal is the biggest thing right now. His rehab has included mobility exercises in an attempt to restore a full range of motion and weight training to build the hamstring and quad muscles. Now I’m working out in the pool and running and biking with my trainer. I’m just doing what I can to rebuild muscle.”
They traded up to get the 75th overall pick in the third round and took Ryder Korczak from Moose Jaw in the WHL. The 5’10”, 159 lb. center was almost a point-per-game player in the shortened season with 16 points in 17 games. He was always had more assists 5than goals. In his last full season, he registered 49 assists and 67 points in 62 games. His brother Kaeden was a Vegas selection in 2019.
“I would say that I’m a playmaking forward, I see the ice well, I have good agility…and can make a good first pass,” Korczak said. “I broke my jaw, but I’m back from injury and feeling good,”
In the busy fourth round the Rangers chose 104th and 106th overall. They chose right wing Brody Lamb from the Green Bay Gamblers in the United States Hockey League. The Minnesota native is committed to the University of Minnesota in 2022-23. 6’1”and 161 lb. he averaged more than two goals per game playing high school hockey this past season and played ten games with Green Bay.
106th it was Finnish left wing Kalle Vaisanen, who registered 30 points in 27 games with the U-20 program at SM-sarja and was part of Team Finland at the U-18 tournament. He will play with Liiga this coming season.
112th overall and their third pick of the fourth round, the Rangers went goaltending in 6’8”, 201 lb. Talyn Boyko from Tr-City in the WHL. In the short season, the Alberta native sported a 3.02 goals against average. If he makes the NHL one day, he would be the tallest goaltender in league history.
Czech right-wing Jaroslav Chmelar was their fifth rounder taken 144th overall. 6’4”, 198 lbs. he had 13 points in 15 games with Jokerit U-18 and played for Team Czech Republic in two international tournaments last season.
With the sixth-round pick, their final selection 208th overall in the seventh round was 6’2”, 190 lb. defenseman Hank Kempf who is heading to Cornell University this fall. He scored four goals with ten points in 26 games with Muskegon in the USHL this past season and had 17 assists in 49 games the year before.
“I know we’ve talked about trying to be harder to play against and you watch these playoffs and see how big and physical things are in the spring,” General Manager Chris Drury said about the tendency to draft players with size his first draft.
“We’re excited to get both those centers where we did (referring to their two third round elections). Two different types of players—one big and more rugged, the other one smaller and more craftier.”