The Rangers stole an elite defenseman prospect with their 1st-round pick

EJ Emery, Rangers
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers ultimately chose to stick with their 30th overall pick in the 2024 NHL entry draft despite numerous rumors saying GM Chris Drury was working hard to trade up. This year’s draft class was not particularly deep, with many picks outaside of the top 15 not projected to become stars. But still, Drury managed to land a solid defenseman at No. 30 that has tremendous upside and could potentially become a top player in a few years.

Rangers draft EJ Emery at No. 30

EJ Emery, Rangers
Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

After many fan favorite prospects were snagged by other franchises, fans waited to see how Drury would react as the Blueshirts were on the clock. To their surprise, the general manager still found a way to make a pick that met the team’s needs.

The Rangers drafted EJ Emery, a 6-foot-3 defenseman from British Columbia, Canada. Emery, 18, is a solid defensive defenseman who has an elite skating ability. He’s also known for his skills on the penalty kill.

“Emery absorbs and erases opposing rushes with smooth backward strides and a stable, perfect posture. Stick in front of him, extended but not overreaching, he pushes opponents wide and pivots onto them, knocking the puck away with a precise pokecheck.”

via EliteProspects 2024 NHL Draft Guide

Emery may be a defensive defenseman, but he’s proven that he can produce in the offensize zone as well if given the oppurtunity. He went nearly a point per game on the USA U18 team during the WJC this year. However, he produced just six points in 27 games with the USNTDP Juniors of the USHL this season as well. His offensive play is a bit inconsistent, but the Rangers could develop him into a more well-rounded player.

Emery’s size could be a massive help to the Rangers whenever he is able to make the roster. At 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, he could benefit from gaining more weigh — but if he could use his height and size to his advantage, he could become a dominant physical force that the Blueshirts have been lacking for years.

Current roster comparisons to Emery

Apr 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) skates with the puck against the Washington Capitals during the first period in game two of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Based on his initial draft descriptions, Emery seems like a combination of K’Andre Miller and Jacob Trouba — but only if you took their best player qualities. He’s got the size and physicality of Trouba, and the speed and agility of Miller. With the Rangers likely trying to trade Trouba, and Miller becoming a free agent after next season, having Emery in the system will serve as a phenomenal backup in case the Rangers are without either player in the future.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: