Hartnett: No. 1 is settled, but what do the Rangers do at No. 22?

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Given the spectacle that comes with the certainty of the Rangers drafting Alexis Lafreniere first overall, it’s easy for fans to overlook the value in their No.
22 overall pick.

In a center-heavy first round, there will no shortage of options for the Blueshirts to improve their depth down the middle.

Here are five prospects who the Rangers could target at pick number 22:

MAVRIK BOURQUE – CENTER (SHAWINIGAN CATARACTES)

If the Rangers are looking for a pure playmaker, Bourque is their guy. His incredible smarts and off-the-charts vision allowed him to register 71 points (29 goals, 42 assists) in 49 games for Shawinigan of the QMJHL.

At 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, he does not possess ideal center size and he is not blessed blazing foot speed. Those perceived weaknesses shouldn’t stop the Rangers from drafting a talent who sees the ice like few in his age group and thrives in the two-way game.

HENDRIX LAPIERRE – CENTER (CHICOUTIMI SAGUENEENS)

Injuries played havoc with Lapierre’s 2019-20 season. Though limited to 19 QMJHL games, the 6-foot center still was able to tally 17 points (two goals, 15 assists).
Keep in mind, he recorded 45 points in 48 games a season earlier almost entirely as a 16-year-old.

Similar to Bourque, his greatest strength is his playmaking, and he is projected to develop into a power play wizard. He’s a better skater than Bourque, though not quite an equal back-checker.

RIDLY GREIG – CENTER/WING (BRANDON WHEAT KINGS)

An energetic and versatile forward, Greig fits David Quinn’s desire to play an in-your-face brand of hockey. Despite having a smallish 5-foot-11, 162-pound frame, he plays a physical game larger than his size. Greig flexes two-way smarts, scoring upside, and the ability to play center or wing.

Greig recorded 60 points (26 goals, 34 assists) in 56 games for Brandon, and his play saw him rise on Central Scouting’s North America skaters list, from 25 to 14.

JACOB PERREAULT – WING/CENTER (SARNIA STING)

Any team that selects Perreault will be gaining a true sniper. In 57 games for Sarnia, he totaled 39 goals and 31 assists. Scouts love his silky hands, wicked one-timer, and accurate release.

He’s the kind of player who divides opinion and probably needs plenty of development time. Not known to be a great skater or fleet-footed, Perreault must improve his play without the puck. Yet, some team will come away with a surefire goal-getter if he’s still around in the latter portion of the first-round.

BRENDAN BRISSON – CENTER/WING (CHICAGO STEEL)

If the Rangers desire an all-rounder, Brisson is a solid bet to one day become a top-six NHL forward. He’s an elite-level skater, he can finish, he excels in transition, and he is versatile.

Brisson finished the 2019-20 season as the USHL’s Rookie of the Year, notching 24 goals and 35 assists in 45 games. Like Bourque and Lapierre, he’s a slightly undersized center at 5-foot-11 and 177 pounds, so some scouts have suggested he’s better suited to the wing. But, anything he lacks in size is made up for with a hounding effort and intelligent positioning.

Follow Sean Hartnett on Twitter: @HartnettHockey

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