There had been plenty of speculation that the Rangers would use their first round pick - the 16th (really the 15th because of the Coyotes forfeiting the 11th) as part of a trade for a center, probably Jack Eichel. As it turned out, the Rangers kept the pick and used it to select the 18 year old left winger who played in the Swiss tier two league last season after the OHL cancelled their season.
A power forward of sorts who says he models his game after MatthewTkachuk, the 6-0 175lb Canadian is certainly more in the type of player the Rangers are looking to get more of, even if his future is still probably 3-4 years off at least.
Perhaps a little surprising is that they chose to take him ahead of a couple of centers that were still on the board, though with COVID impacting play for many last year, it was much harder to gauge talent of some of these prospects than years past, leading to a greater divergence of rankings.
For Othmann, many of those ranking had him a little lower and one wonders whether the Rangers could have perhaps traded down a few picks and added some additional selections later in the draft. As it turned out, the Red Wings traded three picks: 23rd, 48th and 138th to Dallas, who picked one ahead of the Rangers for their first round pick. Whether Othmann would have been available at 23 probably the deal breaker.
Overall it looks to be a solid pick, and the general theory is you pick the best player available because it's difficult to predict the future. Still with the Rangers depth on defense and wing, it would have been perhaps a little more exciting to see a center in the mix.
Here's what some had to say on Othmann:
The Hockey Writers
Othmann is an offensive force as he’s classified as having one of the best shots and being one of the top goal scorers in this draft class. The way he angles his body and positioning when he gets his shot off is already at an NHL level. He has great accuracy, his release is lightning quick and he gets a lot of power in his shot when he winds up. He’s always scanning the ice for the open areas just waiting to be teed up for a one-timer. As a result of that vision, he always seems to be in the right spot at the right time.
Sports Illustrated (The Hockey News)
On loan from the OHL, Othmann headed over to Switzerland to play against men in the nation’s second-best pro league. And the kid didn’t mind his manners – he threw his body around and fought opponents. There's so much to like about the tough forward. “I like him a lot, he’s a good kid,” one scout said. “He has the potential to play anywhere in your lineup. His skill and hockey sense are underrated, and when he plays with good players, he’s going to be fine. And he competes. When he was playing against men in Switzerland, he was an agitator, guys were going after him. He’s a really grounded, dedicated kid. He’s going to make it. I have no doubt.” Other talent hawks are still trying to get a beat on Othmann’s upside, especially after fellow OHLer Mason McTavish joined him in Switzerland. “He was actually better before McTavish got there, then McTavish took some of his ice time,” another scout said. “Othmann is a scorer first, and he works hard. He’s a tough one for me to wrap my head around at the next level. He has elements that will allow him to contribute in the middle six.”
Othmann loves nothing more than to collect the puck on the breakout, lead the charge into the offensive zone, and turn the corner on opposing defenders. He always attacks at full speed, playing a high-pace style, and pressuring with that same level of intensity. He pressures on the forecheck, plays the body, and takes good routes to cut off the opposition’s attempts at a breakout. -EliteProspects 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Not the best forward available here -- that honor probably goes to Chaz Lucius, Fabian Lysell or Fedor Svechkov -- but Othmann fits a particular need for the Rangers. He plays with speed, loves to get on the forecheck and was an impressive member of the Canadian World Junior team this season. He played professionally in the Swiss League, too. He could be a little closer to making an NHL impact than some of the other forwards in the first round, which is good for a Rangers team that's just about ready to turn the corner to contention.