UNB! Sports New York

Rangers Make Eight Selections in 2019 NHL Entry Draft

During the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, which was held at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22, the Rangers selected eight players. With their eight picks in the Draft, the Blueshirts selected five forwards and three defensemen.

The Rangers entered the 2019 NHL Entry Draft with the second overall pick. The Blueshirts selected second or higher in the Draft for only the third time since the NHL Amateur/Entry Draft’s inception in 1963 and for the first time since 1966, when the team chose Brad Park with the second overall pick.

On Friday, the Rangers used the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft to select forward Kaapo Kakko. Kakko, 18, skated in 45 games with TPS of Liiga (Finnish Elite League) this past season, registering 22 goals and 16 assists for 38 points, along with a plus-one rating and 10 penalty minutes. Kakko’s 22 goals in 2018-19 were the most any U18 player has registered in one season in the history of Finland’s top league, breaking the record of 21 set by Aleksander Barkov in 2012-13. The 6-2, 194-pounder was named the Rookie of the Year in Liiga in 2018-19.

Internationally, the Turku, Finland native has represented his country in several tournaments. In a 13-month span from April of 2018 to May of 2019, Kakko helped Finland win a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship, the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, and the 2019 IIHF World Championship. He became the first player in hockey history to win a gold medal at the IIHF World Championship in his U18 season. In addition, Kakko became the youngest player in hockey history to win gold medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship, the IIHF World Junior Championship, and the IIHF World Championship (18 years, 102 days old; Connor McDavid was previously the youngest player to win a gold medal in all three tournaments – 19 years, 130 days old).

The Rangers selected seven players on Saturday. The Blueshirts made two selections in the second round – defenseman Matthew Robertson with the 49th overall pick and forward Karl Henriksson with the 58th overall pick.

Robertson, 18, skated in 52 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this past season, registering seven goals and 26 assists for 33 points, along with a plus-18 rating and 26 penalty minutes. He established WHL career-highs in several categories in 2018-19, including assists, points, and plus/minus rating, and he tied his WHL career-high in goals. Robertson ranked second among Edmonton defensemen in points during the past season. He also served as an alternate captain for the Oil Kings in 2018-19. Robertson helped Edmonton advance to the 2019 WHL Playoffs, and he tallied eight points (four goals, four assists) in 16 games.

The 6-3, 200-pounder has skated in 126 career WHL games over parts of three seasons (2016-17 – 2018-19), all with Edmonton, registering 14 goals and 44 assists for 58 points, along with a plus-two rating and 72 penalty minutes. Internationally, the Edmonton, Alberta native has represented Canada in several tournaments. Robertson helped Canada win a gold medal at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, as he registered four points (two goals, two assists) in five games. He tallied six points (two goals, four assists) in five games with Canada-Black at the 2017 World U17 Hockey Challenge, and he was named to the Tournament All-Star Team, as he led all defensemen in the tournament in points. In addition, Robertson recorded two assists and posted a plus-five rating in five games while representing Canada at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship.

Entering the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Robertson was ranked No. 26 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters eligible for this year’s Draft.

Henriksson, 18, skated in 45 games with Frolunda’s junior (J20) team in SuperElit this past season, registering 13 goals and 36 assists for 49 points, along with a plus-35 rating and 26 penalty minutes. He led SuperElit in assists and plus/minus rating, and tied for the league lead in points, and he also led all players in their U18 season or younger in points during the season. Henriksson recorded nine points (two goals, seven assists) in six playoff games in SuperElit, as he tied for the league lead in assists and tied for second in the league in points during the playoffs. In addition, he helped Frolunda’s U18 team win the gold medal in 2018-19 by recording seven points (two goals, five assists) and a plus-eight rating in seven playoff games. Henriksson skated in two SHL games with Frolunda this past season, and he was one of 17 players in their U18 season or younger who played at least one game in the SHL during the season.

The 5-9, 176-pounder has played in Frolunda’s organization for the last two seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19). Henriksson tallied 50 points (20 goals, 30 assists) and posted a plus-42 rating in 38 games with Frolunda’s U18 team in 2017-18, and helped the team win a bronze medal by notching six points (two goals, four assists) in seven games during the playoffs.

Internationally, the Malmo, Sweden native has represented his country in several tournaments. Most recently, Henriksson registered nine points (three goals, six assists) in seven games while helping Sweden win a gold medal at the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. He was named one of the Top Three Players on his Team in the tournament, as he led Sweden in assists and points. Henriksson also helped Sweden earn a silver medal at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, as he registered two goals in five games during the tournament.

Entering the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Henriksson was ranked No. 23 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of European skaters eligible for this year’s Draft.

With their third-round pick (68th overall), the Rangers selected defenseman Zachary Jones. Jones, 18, skated in 56 games with the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League (USHL) this past season, registering seven goals and 45 assists for 52 points, along with a plus-38 rating and 38 penalty minutes. He was named the USHL Rookie of the Year in 2018-19, and he was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team, as well as the USHL Second All-Star Team, this past season. Jones led the USHL in power play assists (25) and ranked fourth in the USHL in assists and plus/minus rating in 2018-19, and he led USHL rookies in all three categories. He also led all USHL defensemen in assists and tied for second among USHL defensemen in points during the season.

The 5-10, 175-pounder established a single-season Tri-City record for assists by a defenseman in 2018-19, and his 45 assists were the second-most by any Tri-City player in one season in the team’s history (Jaden Schwartz registered 50 assists in 2009-10). Jones also played in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game during the 2018-19 season. He skated in six playoff games Tri-City during the past season and recorded five assists.

Prior to playing in the USHL, Jones played with Selects Hockey Academy in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) for three seasons (2015-16 – 2017-18). He helped Selects Hockey Academy win the USPHL 16U Championship in 2015-16 and the USPHL 18U Championship in 2017-18, and he served as the captain of the Selects 18U Team in 2017-18. Internationally, the Richmond, Virginia native helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge, and he recorded four points (one goal, three assists) in six games in the tournament.

Jones has committed to play collegiate hockey at UMass-Amherst beginning with the 2019-20 season.

The Rangers used a fourth-round pick (112th overall) to select defenseman Hunter Skinner. Skinner, 18, split this past season between the Muskegon Lumberjacks and the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League (USHL). He skated in 52 USHL games during the 2018-19 season, registering five goals and 19 assists for 24 points, along with 81 penalty minutes. Skinner established USHL career-highs in several categories this past season, including games played, goals, assists, and points.

The 6-2, 176-pounder has skated in 83 career USHL games over parts of two seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19) with Muskegon and Lincoln, registering five goals and 19 assists for 24 points, along with 85 penalty minutes. Prior to beginning his USHL career, Skinner played with Honeybaked U16 in the High Performance Hockey League (HPHL).

The Wyndotte, Michigan native has committed to play collegiate hockey at Western Michigan University beginning with the 2020-21 season.

The Blueshirts used their fifth-round pick (130th overall) to select forward Leevi Aaltonen. Aaltonen, 18, skated in 29 games with KalPa’s U20 team in Jr. A SM-liiga this past season, registering 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points, along with a plus-nine rating and 28 penalty minutes. Among players in their U18 season or younger in Jr. A SM-liiga, he ranked third in points per game (1.24) in 2018-19. Aaltonen also recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in six playoff games during the season. He tallied one assist in seven games with KalPa in Liiga during the past season, and he was one of 12 players in their U18 season or younger who notched at least one point in Liiga in 2018-19.

The 5-9, 177-pounder has played in KalPa’s organization for four seasons (2015-16 – 2018-19). Aaltonen helped KalPa’s U20 team win the Jr. A SM-liiga Championship in 2017-18 and KalPa’s U18 team win the Jr. B SM-sarja Championship in 2016-17. In 2015-16, Aaltonen won the Timo Jutila Award as the Jr. C SM-sarja (Finland’s U16 league) Rookie of the Year, and he led the league in points during the season (70; 26 goals and 44 assists in 27 games).

Internationally, the Mikkeli, Finland native has represented his country in several tournaments. Most recently, Aaltonen registered five points (one goal, four assists) and a plus-four rating in five games while representing Finland at the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. He led Finland in assists and tied for the team lead in points in the tournament. Aaltonen recorded two assists in five games at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and he also registered five points (three goals, two assists) in four games at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He helped Finland win a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship, as he tallied two goals and posted a plus-two rating in seven games during the tournament. In addition, Aaltonen was teammates with Kaapo Kakko at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship.

Entering the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Aaltonen was ranked No. 29 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of European skaters eligible for this year’s Draft.

New York used its sixth-round pick (161st overall) to select forward Adam Edstrom. Edstrom, 18, split this past season between Mora in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and Mora’s junior (J20) team in SuperElit. He tallied 16 points (11 goals, five assists) in 20 games in SuperElit with Mora’s junior team during the season, and he also registered four points (two goals, two assists) in two relegation games. In addition, Edstrom recorded one assist in 15 SHL games with Mora in 2018-19. He also notched two goals in two games with Malungs IF in Division 1 (Sweden’s third-highest pro league).

The 6-6, 209-pounder played in Mora’s organization for three seasons (2016-17 – 2018-19). Edstrom registered 47 points (27 goals, 20 assists) in 40 games while playing with Mora’s J18 team and 27 points (19 goals, eight assists) in 69 games with Mora’s J20 team in SuperElit. He is expected to play in Rogle’s organization in the 2019-20 season.

The Rangers used a seventh-round pick (205th overall) to select Eric Ciccolini. Ciccolini, 18, skated in 48 games with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) this past season, registering 27 goals and 35 assists for 62 points, along with 58 penalty minutes. Ciccolini won the B.J. Monro Memorial Trophy as the OHA’s Top Prospect. He received the OJHL Top Prospect Award, was named an OJHL First Team All-Prospect, and was named to the OJHL Second All-Star Team. Ciccolini also notched five points (one goal, four assists) in five playoff games.

The 5-11, 170-pounder played parts of two seasons in the OJHL (2017-18 and 2018-19). A native of Vaughan, Ontario, Ciccolini played with Canada-East at the 2018 World Junior A Hockey Challenge. Ciccolini is committed to begin his collegiate career at the University of Michigan in 2019-20.

— New York Rangers Communications

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