Which Rangers Prospect Has Greatest Expectancy Next Season

August 3, 2011, by

While Evgeny Grachev wasn’t the top rated Rangers prospect last season he was perhaps, given all the circumstances surrounding him (and his career progression – or lack of it) the one player with the most eyes on him among media and fans alike. Grachev was (and still is, until the new season draws closer) our recent most ‘Prospect Watch’ player on the website – see the Grachev Watch box.

From being drafted to dominating in the OHL to making a quick ascent to the pro ranks many, many fans expected Grachev to quickly establish himself in the system and indeed, as a Ranger. Prospect websites were touting him a blue chip prospect and he was routinely expected to firm up a place in the NHL, but that never happened. Today, Grachev is no longer a Ranger and perhaps a victim of the burden of expectancy.

Next season the Rangers have numerous prospects potentially taking the next step. Where those next steps take them however – at this stage – is anyone’s guess. Among the prospects with a ton of expectancy surrounding them are Swedish pair Carl Hagelin and Tim Erixon (straight to NYC?), as well as prospects JT Miller (given the controversy surrounding his league move), Oscar Lindberg, AHL mainstay Dale Weise (last chance saloon?) and WJC stars Jesper Fasth and Chris Kreider.

Which player will be most closely watched? Which prospect do you want Blue Seat Blogs to follow the most? –using the prospect watch section. You may be most intrigued by recent draftees like Shane McColgan (can he get back to the level which had him tabbed as a first rounder) or Mike St Croix and/or Steve Fogarty.

The Rangers are in a great situation these days. The above named group of prospects are just a small handful of Rangers prospects worth monitoring over the coming season. The Rangers are blessed with depth in almost every position both at the NHL level and below. We’ll be keeping tabs on all the Rangers prospects including Dylan McIlrath and Ryan Bourque as well. Just let us know who you’re most interested in the comments section. Have at it, we’ll check in a few times ahead of training camp.


  1. Dave says:

    Christian Thomas. End of discussion.

    • Mikeyyyy says:

      I agree with Dave. Want to see this guy on the roster right out of camp.

      • Zen says:

        He definitely has the highest scoring upside of the group. It would be fun to watch his stats increase so fast during the course of the season.

      • Leatherneckinlv says:

        I want to see Thomas succeed as well…and have still high hopes for Dale Weise as well…I think Weise has a chance to do well if put with Stepan and Krieder and also I think Thomas will do well with Anisimov and Dubinsky and move Callahan to the top line with Gabby and Richards..just seems like excellent fits in my opinion

  2. voidoid says:

    Christian Thomas.

    In the outside chance that he makes the team out of training camp, either McIlrath or JT Miller.

  3. Trueblue24 says:

    if not Thomas, Hagelin

  4. Matt J says:

    I’m glad everyone likes Thomas, because he’s definitely a big part of our future. Him on a line with Richards and Gaborik would be awesome.

    Here’s my idea: Move down Wolski and Christensen to the AHL, and then put in Hagelin and Thomas in their spots. Sheds a lot of cap, and if it doesn’t work out it’s no big deal.

    Also, I think Erixon has the most expectancy. For a kid that’s NHL ready, and if he went back into the draft this year he would have been a top 10 pick i’d say he has a lot of pressure on himself to do great things with the Rangers this year.

    • voidoid says:

      Hagelin in Christensen’s spot would be excellent. EC clearly isn’t a top 6 player, and outside of shootout prowess he doesn’t bring a thing to the lineup. I saw a number of Michigan games the past couple seasons and Hagelin kills penalties, he’s fast, good 2-way skillset, plays smart – he fits the Tortorella 3rd/4th line role to a T.

    • cosmo says:

      I like the idea but it’s risky if you send them down and they get claimed off of waivors the rangers would be on the hook for the full contract it’s only reentry waivors do the teams split the difference

    • Dave says:

      Don’t you think they should be forced to make the team instead of just handing them spots? Don’t rush the kids.

      • Matt J says:

        Well yeah I do think that but based on what they do at Traverse City and and pre-season, should my idea occur.

        Also, do you honestly want to sit through another year of Christensen not doing anything, and Wolski hanging back 30 ft ahead of the play, and still manage to not to put up points when doing so?

        Also, what’s this about MSG coming to HD for Fios apparently? My friend said something like that he heard but anyone know anything about it? Being a Fios customer i’m pretty screwed by Dolan.

  5. IsaiahD says:

    agree with the above. I expect Thomas to become the most prolific NHL player of all the current Ranger prospects. I think if he has a camp like Stepan did last year we will see him on the Blueshirt roster to start the season. Its unfortunate that The Whale is not an option for him this season…can’t see him benefiting from another year in juniors. I expect Erixon to make the team…so that would put McIlrath at the top of the list of prospects that I would keep on an eye on this season. Not sure that numbers will tell the story with him as much as how he looks on the ice. Following JT Miller and his progression would appeal to me more in the case that Thomas and Erixon are not options.

  6. Colorado Mark says:

    A few notes on the above comments. Sending a guy down who is subject to waivers: if he is claimed, the other team takes on the whole salary (and they have to keep him on the NHL roster). It’s the reason why nobody claims a guy outright. They want the split salary deal, which with Wolski would be a problem. I don’t think the Rangers would mind splitting Christensen’s, but Wolski would be a lot of wasted cap space.

    If Christian Thomas isn’t going to play on the top line, your wasting a year of his contract to play on the 4th line and bounce in and out of the lineup rather than scoring and being a superstar in Junior. He’ll also probably play in the World Juniors (I think he’s Rangers only prospect to be invited to the tryouts for the Canadian team).

    My vote for “greatest expectancy” depends on whether we are talking players who we expect to make the team, or just who we hope do great things. For me, if it is for a player on the Rangers it is Tim Erixon. If it is for overall development, I’m hoping Chris Kreider dominates the NCAA this year. The only other guy I think has a shot at making the Rangers this year is Hagelin. McIlrath and Thomas will have a stud year. Weise will probably make the squad, but probably at the expense of a guy who can be sent down like Zuccarello.

  7. ranger17 says:

    Thomas and Mcilrath

  8. Section 121 says:

    I vote Kreider

  9. Al says:

    I vote Kreider too. It will be intresting to see if he can improve his pointproduction this year.