Rangers’ 1st-round pick reportedly fell in the draft due to medical concerns

Jun 28, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Eric (EJ) Emery is selected by the New York Rangers with the 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2024 NHL Draft at The Sphere. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers added an exciting defenseman prospect with their first-round pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, selecting EJ Emery with the No. 30 overall selection. Emery is an 18-year-old defenseman who skates well and plays with precision on the ice.

Many viewed this selection as a draft day steal where Emery’s value far exceeded his draft positioning. However, there is reportedly a concerning reason why so many teams passed on Emery in the draft, causing him to fall to the Rangers at the back end of the first round.

It was a surprise to see EJ Emery on the board with the No. 30 pick

When the Rangers selected Emery with the No. 30 overall pick, it was immediately labeled a draft-day steal. According to Elite Prospects, many teams had Emery ranked in the teens on their respective draft boards.

Emery is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound defenseman from British Columbia, Canada. He has been a member of the US17 and US18 National Teams for the past couple of years and totaled six points in seven games for the US during the World Cup Juniors last year.

When speaking to the media following the draft, Emery shared his excitement for being drafted by the Rangers and compared his playing style to one of the team’s top defensemen:

“I would say I’m really good at being a lockdown guy, someone who can shut down plays, get the puck up the ice and make plays,” Emery said via NHL.com. “I model my game after K’Andre Miller, so I’m not complaining about wearing this jersey.”

K’Andre Miller is a fan-favorite Rangers player and one of the team’s best defensemen. If Emery can develop into a similar player, he will have a successful career on Broadway.

With so much excitement surrounding Emery as a prospect, it’s hard to conceptualize why he was on the board with the No. 30 overall pick. However, a report from Elite Prospects shed some light on the factor that caused Emery to fall in the draft.

Emery reportedly fell to the Rangers due to a medical issue discovered at the combine

According to Elite Prospects analysts Sean Shapiro and Cam Robinson, Emery fell in the draft due to a medical issue that was uncovered during the NHL Draft Combine:

“According to multiple sources, teams that had EJ Emery higher on their rankings passed on the defender after learning about a medical issue at the draft combine in Buffalo,” Shapiro and Robinson reported.

Despite the medical issue scaring away some teams, the value for the Rangers was too good to pass up. Selecting Emery with the No. 30 overall pick was an opportunity that could not be turned down. His talent far surpasses the position in which the Blueshirts drafted him. As long as he stays healthy, Emery should develop into a top player for the Rangers in the near future.

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