(Photo of Brandon Halverson courtesy of ca.sports.yahoo.com)
New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather, along with Director of Player Personnel, Gordie Clark, oversaw the club’s activity in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The team, which held seven picks in the draft, selected two forwards, three defensemen, and two goalies.
The Rangers made all seven of their selections on Saturday, starting with goaltender Brandon Halverson in the second round (59th overall). Halverson appeared in 19 games with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this past season, posting a 12-6-1 record, along with a 2.96 GAA, a .904 SV%, and two shutouts as a rookie. The Traverse City, Michigan native recorded a shutout in his OHL debut on October 5 at Belleville, stopping all 32 shots he faced. Halverson also posted a personal four-game winning streak from March 1 vs. Kitchener to March 16 vs. London, registering a 1.75 GAA, a .947 SV%, and one shutout over the span.
With the third round pick the Blueshirts acquired yesterday from Vancouver (85th overall), the team selected right wing Keegan Iverson. The St. Louis Park, Minnesota native established career-highs in games played (67), goals (22), assists (20), points (42), and plus/minus rating (plus-16) with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this past season. Iverson tallied a four-game goal streak from October 19 at Tri-City to October 25 at Kitchener (four goals over the span), and tied a single-game career-high with three points (one goal, two assists) on February 7 at Tri-City. He also registered four goals and four assists for eight points, along with 12 penalty minutes in 21 playoff games.
The Rangers’ traded their own third round pick (89th overall) to Washington in exchange for two picks in the fourth round (104th overall and 118th overall). With the first of the two fourth round selections, New York drafted defenseman Ryan Mantha. The Clarkson, Michigan native split this past season between the Sioux City Musketeers and the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League (USHL), registering a total of three goals and 12 assists for 15 points, along with 71 penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating in 53 games. Mantha added three assists in 10 playoff games with Indiana.
The Blueshirts selected goaltender Igor Shesterkin with the 118th overall pick. Shesterkin split this past season between MHK Spartak of the Junior Hockey League (MHL) and Spartak Moskva of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). In 23 appearances with MHK Spartak, the Moscow, Russia native posted a 14-5-4 record, along with a 1.42 GAA, a .947 SV%, and five shutouts. Shesterkin also registered a 12-7 record in 19 playoff games, along with a 1.75 GAA, a .937 SV%, and four shutouts to help MHK Spartak win the MHL Championship.
New York traded its own fourth-round pick (119th overall) to Tampa Bay in exchange for two picks in the fifth round (140th overall and 142nd overall). With their three fifth round picks, the Rangers selected left wing Richard Nejezchleb (122nd overall), defenseman Daniel Walcott (140th overall), and defenseman Tyler Nanne (142nd overall).
Nejezchleb established career-highs in games played (66), goals (32), assists (25), and points (57) with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this past season. The Prague, Czech Republic native led the team in goals and ranked fifth on the team in points. Nejezchleb added nine points (five goals, four assists) in nine playoff games.
Walcott registered 10 goals and 29 assists for 39 points, along with 71 penalty minutes and a plus-15 rating with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) this past season. In his first season in the league, the Ile Perrot, Quebec native ranked second among team defensemen in goals, assists, and points. In 19 playoff games, Walcott tallied four goals and six assists for 10 points, along with 18 penalty minutes. He led all defensemen on Blainville-Boisbriand in goals and points, and ranked second among team defensemen in assists in postseason action.
Nanne tallied seven goals and 20 assists for 27 points, along with 41 penalty minutes in 25 games with Edina High School in Minnesota. The Edina, Minnesota native also added five goals and six assists for 11 points in five playoff games. Nanne tied for the team lead in goals and ranked second on the team in points in postseason play.
New York Rangers 2014 NHL Entry Draft Selections
Name Round Ov. 2013-14 Team Pos. Ht. Wt. Born Birthplace
Brandon Halverson 2 59 Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) G 6-3 176 3/29/96 Traverse City, MI
Keegan Iverson 3 85 Portland (WHL) RW 6-0 219 4/5/96 St. Louis Park, MN
Ryan Mantha 4 104 S. City/Ind. (USHL) D 6-4 225 6/8/96 Clarkson, MI
Igor Shesterkin 4 118 MHK Spartak (Rus.-Jr.) G 6-1 187 12/30/95 Moscow, Russia
Richard Nejezchleb 5 122 Brandon (WHL) LW 6-2 203 5/2/94 Prague, Czech Rep.
Daniel Walcott 5 140 Blain.-Bois. (QMJHL) D 5-11 161 2/19/94 Ile Perrot, QC
Tyler Nanne 5 142 Edina (MN) HS D 5-10 174 3/17/96 Edina, MN