With the 7th overall pick, the Rangers selected Lias Andersson from HV71 in Sweden.
He was ranked:
He is 5-11, 210 and Craig Button said "he can play LW, RW, C, he can play up the lineup or throughout the lineup, he can PK, he can play on the PP, he reminds me of a lot in style and temperament of Chris Kunitz. Lias Andersson is really smart and he is a big time competitor who is weighty and doesn't get pushed out of the important areas."
Button added, "NYR assistant GM Chris Drury was that player. Whatever you needed, he was going to give you and at a high level of competitiveness. Lias Andersson has some similarities to Chris Drury."
Bob McKenzie said, "the Rangers believe that this is a kid that you can win with, that he has those traits that make him special in that regard even though he is not an elite offensive player. He did play extremely well in the SEL playoffs. As an underage in Grand Forks a couple of years ago, at the World Under 18s he was exceptional and it's where people really started to take notice of him."
McKenzie added, "assuming he signs right away with the Rangers, he is signed with Frolunda, but being a first round pick he can come and play in the NHL. If he does sign with the Rangers he could be a guy that is able to compete. You don't want to put too much pressure on these kids because it's more a futures draft than the NFL or NBA but he has a chance to play pro hockey next year."
Pierre McGuire said "he has a chance to play in the NHL."
His strength is being listed as "versatility" and needs to improve his "offense."
Andersson met with the media and responded to the following questions (Via the NHL):
Q. Is there anyone you pattern your game after? "I mean, I love watching those good centermen, Toews. I love watching Claude Giroux for the Flyers. I think they can play a little bit tough and score big goals. And, yeah, I think they're game changers. And Toews is a big winner. He's won everything, and I want to win everything, too.
Q. What would you say is your best asset on the ice?, "I don't know, I think I want to be like a full-package player. I want to have the full package. So I'll say my work ethic and just being around those hot situations. And I like scoring important goals.
Q. Where will you play next year?, "I don't know yet. I have a contract back home with Frolunda, so we'll see what's happening, see what the Rangers want. Obviously my goal is to play in the NHL. I know it's tough, and if I don't make it, maybe play in the American League or play back home in Sweden. I don't know yet. We'll figure something good out."
From the Rangers:
- Andersson, 18, skated in 42 games with HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) this past season, registering nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points, along with a plus-21 rating and 18 penalty minutes.
- He established SHL career-highs in several categories in 2016-17, including games played, goals, assists, points, and plus/minus rating.
- Andersson ranked eighth in the SHL - and led all junior players (younger than 20 years old) in the league - in plus/minus rating this past season.
- He also ranked second among all junior players in the SHL in goals and assists, and tied for second among all junior players in the SHL in points in 2016-17.
- The 6-0, 200-pounder registered five points (four goals, one assist) and 18 penalty minutes in 16 playoff games while helping HV71 win the Le Mat Trophy as Swedish Hockey League Champions this past season.
- He tied for fifth on HV71 in goals in the playoffs, and he also ranked second among all junior players in the SHL in playoff goals this past season.
- Andersson played seven games in the Champions Hockey League with HV71 in 2016-17, recording one assist and two penalty minutes.
- He has skated in 64 career SHL games over parts of two seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17), registering 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists), along with a plus-14 rating and 24 penalty minutes.
- Internationally, the Smogen, Sweden, native has represented his country at several tournaments. Most recently, Andersson registered three goals and posted a plus-two rating in seven games while representing Sweden at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Adam Rotter: This pick is going to immediately scare people off with the talk that he isn't high end offensively, most rankings have him 5-10 places lower than he was picked, and because comparisons to Lindberg, Fast, Chris Kunitz and Chris Drury were thrown around. With the 7th pick you hope that you will get a high end type of offensive player and this guy seems like someone who is more destined to be a really good NHLer but a 2nd or 3rd liner who plays in all situations. I'm not sure if you intend to draft someone like Chris Drury with the 7th pick, but if Andersson turned into someone who was like Chris Drury before his knees went out, that will be a solid addition to the Rangers. Hie ability to play in all different areas and aspects of the game is also somewhat reminiscent of the center the Rangers traded today.
There is definitely some throwback to when the Rangers drafted Lauri Korpikoski in 2004 and while that was #19 and not #7, I remember a draft show on MSG where Don Maloney talked about how the Rangers liked him so much they would have taken him at #6, when they took Al Montoya. I have a lot of trust in Gordie Clark, Jeff Gorton and the scouting staff and they have done fairly well in picking or acquiring Swedes who become regular NHLers. Maybe Andersson develops more offense in his game but at the very least he seems like someone who will be able to play a few different roles with the Rangers.
Overall this isn't a sexy pick, but he seems like a guy who could possibly play for the Rangers next season and definitely bring a level of competitiveness and hopefully a work ethic that can be an example.