New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather, along with Director of Player Personnel, Gordie Clark, oversaw the club’s activity in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The club, which held four picks in the draft, selected two forwards and two defensemen.
The Rangers began the draft Friday by selecting defenseman Brady Skjei with the 28th overall pick. The 6-3, 200-pounder helped Team USA capture the gold medal at the IIHF Under-18 World Junior Championship, recording one assist, 10 shots on goal and a plus-10 rating in six tournament contests. His plus-10 rating led all tournament skaters.
The Lakeville, Minnesota native skated in 60 games with the U.S. National Under-18 Team (USHL) last season, registering four goals and 19 assists for 23 points, along with 36 penalty minutes. He established USHL career-highs in games played, assists, points, and penalty minutes. Skjei tied for seventh on the team overall in assists, and tied for third among team defensemen in points and ranked fourth in assists.
It is the third time in the last four years New York selected an American-born player with their first round pick.
The Rangers began the second day of the draft by selecting Kent School (High-CT) forward, Cristoval “Boo” Nieves, with their second round pick (59th overall). Nieves led the team with a career-high in assists (32), and ranked first on Kent in points (39). His 39 points also tied his career-high, while he established a career-high in games played (26).
The Syracuse, New York native also skated in 13 games with the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League (USHL), registering two goals and eight assists for 10 points, along with two penalty minutes. He posted three multi-assist efforts with the Ice, including a three-assist performance that began a four-game point streak from March 24 at Youngstown to April 4 vs. Chicago (two goals, five assists over the span). Nieves, who has committed to playing at the University of Michigan for Fall 2012, collected three assists in four games with Team USA at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament.
The Blueshirts tabbed Swedish defenseman Calle Andersson of Farjestad JR. of the SuperElit league (Swe-JR.) with their fourth round pick (119th overall). Andersson established SuperElit career-highs in games played (49), goals (12), assists (24), points (36), and penalty minutes (56). The Malmo, Sweden native ranked second in the league among defensemen in points, third in goals and fourth in assists. He also tied for the league lead among defensemen in goals (two), and fourth in assists (three) and points (five) in six playoff contests with Farjestad JR.
In addition, Andersson captured a silver medal with Sweden at the IIHF Under-18 World Junior Championship, tallying three assists and 13 shots on goal in six tournament contests.
New York completed two separate trades with the Nashville Predators on the second day of the draft, receiving a third round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and a fifth round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for a third round pick in the 2012 Draft (Brendan Leipsic) and a fifth round pick in the 2013 Draft.
The Rangers closed out their 2012 draft by selecting Danish forward Thomas Spelling of the Herning Blue Fox in the AL-Bank Ligaen (Denmark) with the fifth round pick (142nd overall) acquired from Nashville. Spelling ranked sixth in the league with a career-high, 21 goals, and tied for second on Herning with a career-high, 37 points in 33 games. He also represented Denmark at the IIHF U-20 World Junior Championship, ranking third on the team in assists (three) and tied for third in points (four) in six tournament contests.
Overall, the Rangers selected two forwards and two defensemen, two from U.S. hockey leagues
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