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Rangers Make Seven Selections at 2015 NHL Entry Draft

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

NEW YORK, June 27, 2015 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather, along with Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark, oversaw the club’s activity at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft on Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Blueshirts, who held seven picks in the draft, selected five forwards, one defenseman, and one goaltender.

The Rangers made all seven of their selections on Saturday. After acquiring a second-round pick (41st overall) in a trade they made with Anaheim on Saturday, the Rangers used the pick to select forward Ryan Gropp. Gropp, 18, skated in 67 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this past season, registering 30 goals and 28 assists for 58 points, along with a plus-nine rating and 44 penalty minutes. Gropp established WHL career-highs in games played, goals, assists, points, and plus/minus rating in 2014-15. The 6-2, 187-pounder led Seattle in goals and points, ranked third in assists, and tied for fifth in plus/minus rating. In addition, Gropp led Seattle with seven assists and tied for second on the team with eight points in six playoff games this past season.

With three selections in the third round, the Rangers selected forward Robin Kovacs (62nd overall), defenseman Sergey Zborovskiy (79th overall), and forward Aleksi Saarela (89th overall).

Kovacs, 18, skated in 52 games with AIK in Allsvenskan in Sweden this past season, registering 17 goals and 11 assists for 28 points, along with 63 penalty minutes. Kovacs’ 17 goals and 28 points were the most by a Junior player in Allsvenskan during the season.

Zborovskiy, 18, skated in 71 games with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this past season, registering three goals and 16 assists for 19 points, along with a plus-15 rating and 70 penalty minutes. The 6-3, 198-pounder ranked third among team defensemen – and tied for third among team rookies – in points this season.

Saarela, 18, skated in 51 games with Assat of Liiga in Finland this past season, registering six goals and six assists for 12 points, along with 18 penalty minutes. The 5-10, 198-pounder also helped Finland capture a silver medal at the IIHF U-18 World Junior Championship by tallying eight points (three goals, five assists) and posting a plus-six rating in seven games.

The Rangers used their two selections in the fourth round to draft forwards Brad Morrison (113th overall) and Daniel Bernhardt (119th overall).

Morrison, 18, skated in 67 games with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2014-15, registering 23 goals and 27 assists for 50 points, along with 30 penalty minutes. The Prince George, British Columbia native established WHL career-highs in games played, goals, assists, and points this past season. Morrison ranked second on Prince George in goals and ranked third on the team in points.

Bernhardt, 19, skated in 44 games with Djurgarden J20 in the SuperElit league in Sweden, registering 26 goals and 35 assists for 61 points, along with a plus-23 rating and 22 penalty minutes. The 6-3, 191-pounder led SuperElit league in goals and points and ranked second in the league in assists.

The Blueshirts selected goaltender Adam Huska in the seventh round (184th overall). Huska, 18, appeared in five games with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) this past season. In addition, the 6-3, 189-pounder was named one of the Top 3 Players on his team while representing Slovakia at the 2015 IIHF U-18 World Junior Championship.

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