The Rangers made the expected splash in selecting Alexis Lafreniere with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft on Tuesday, but that wasn’t their only big move in the first round.
Fearing the Devils would take defenseman Braden Schneider, the Rangers struck a deal with the Calgary Flames to leapfrog New Jersey and take the 19-year-old with the 19th pick, The Post’s Larry Brooks reported.
The Rangers dealt the 22nd and 72nd overall picks for the 6-foot-2 Schneider, who plays an aggressive style and isn’t afraid to get involved offensively.
“It shows that I left a good impression on them and they think I’m a guy who can come in and help their organization,” Schneider said of the Rangers trading up to select him. “I’ll give my best effort every day to them and they got my everything, I’m excited and I’m looking forward to the pressure.”
Schneider is coming off a breakout year in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings, collecting 42 points (seven goals, 35 assists) in 60 games.
“The way I describe myself, I’m a two-way physical defenseman that takes a lot of pride in my own end and being a guy that’s hard to play against and in your face,” he said. “The opportunity comes to make a good pass or jump up in the play or get a shot on net, I’m more than willing to take it.”
Schneider also is a strong skater and effective puck-handler.
As for Lafreniere, the Rangers’ top pick said he’s excited to be playing at Madison Square Garden.
“Hi Rangers fans, I’m really excited to be a part of the Rangers and to meet you,” Lafreniere said moments after being drafted. “I hope you have a great night and can’t wait to see you.”