Prospects with a chance to make the team

August 6, 2012, by

As the offseason turns to August, and the rosters begin to take shape, the attention turns away from those with guaranteed roster spots and towards the many prospects within the system that are all competing to be that sleeper in camp. Last year Stu Bickel was that sleeper, and Carl Hagelin was the mid-season call up that many expected he would be. This year there aren’t as many spots open for kids, but there is still a spot or two available for a kid who impresses.

With Tim Erixon traded to Columbus, the prospects on defense with a real chance to make the club are few in numbers. In fact, you can really say that only Dylan McIlrath has a legitimate shot at making the club, although he likely needs a full season at the AHL level.

As for forwards, the list is significantly longer. That said, it is a certainty that the Rangers will not rush their prospects just for the sake of saying they have a rookie on the club (outside of Chris Kreider of course). There are a few kids that will need to turn in fantastic camps in order to even have a longer look come the preseason.

Michael St. Croix is one of the first names that comes to mind as a forward that will get a long look at camp. After a spectacular season in the WHL which saw him finish in the top ten in scoring, St. Croix burst onto the scene amongst Ranger fans. Although the numbers are flashy, St. Croix still has some overall aspects of his game that he will need to work out –likely in the WHL– before he turns pro. Hockey is more than numbers.

J.T. Miller, the Rangers first round pick in 2011, is another name that jumps off the page for most fans. Miller is my personal dark horse to make the team out of camp, but it wouldn’t shock me to see him spend one more year in the OHL (or the AHL) before he contends for a roster spot. Unlike St. Croix, Miller can play in the AHL next season, which may accelerate his growth process.

Steven Fogarty, Jespser Fast (formerly Fasth) and Oscar Lindberg are three guys that may not have the fancy stats that Miller or St. Croix possess, but have all managed to have fairly solid seasons in their respective leagues. Lindberg and Fast may have the inside track, as they have played professionally in Sweden prior to signing their entry-level deals, but Fogarty is not a name that fans should forget.

The others that will likely come up in the conversation (i.e.: Christian Thomas, Marek Hrivik, Ryan Bourque) all need more seasoning, and even a strong camp may not convince the coaching staff to give them a shot right out of the gate. That said, all three will be with the AHL (Thomas can play in the OHL if necessary), and if they impress, would be mid-season call ups.

The Rangers are in a great situation where they don’t need to rush their kids to fill out their roster. They have scoring and depth, but they also have the option to sit a veteran in favor of a kid that impresses. My money is on Miller, but there are plenty others who have the ability to turn heads in September.


  1. SalMerc says:

    All the players mentioned indeed have a shot at coming out with the club. I think Torts and Sather should take the player that fits a need. Someone who is a mucker (if needed), a sniper or a 2-way forward or possible a speedster. Add a player that either fills a hole or adds a dimension tht can counter another teams threat. I do not think we need a rookie to score 25 at this point, but rather be a player that can add either depth or a role that is missing. I like J.T. Miller myself.

  2. facewash says:

    So, what’s the knock on Yogan? He plays well when not injured and is a big kid yet I never really hear him mentioned as a possibility to make the team.

    • Walt says:

      I believe he is going to colleg, but I could be wrong!

      • Chris says:

        Yogan isn’t going to college. He’ll be in the AHL next year. One knock was his attitude in junior. He clashed with coaches and got benched but he certainly had skill.

    • Zen says:

      He had been very inconsistent throughout his amateur career, often fighting through injuries. I could be wrong, but after reading many articles about the kid, it seems that he has a tendency to get in his own way, a la Eric Christensen. He has all the tools though.

  3. Walt says:

    I mentioned Miller last week, and agree, he is solid, and may be the nearest quality player in the system to be NHL ready.

    That stated, he may spend the first half of the season in the AHL, but the kid can muck it up, solid two way player, and has a mean streak in him. He could be a great 3rd line player, who could score as well. Can you see a possible 3rd line of Boyle, Hags, and Miller, not too shabby!!!!!

  4. Chris says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing Fogarty and St Croix develop next year.
    Will be nice to see Fast get a full year of health under his belt too. He’s an intriguing prospect.

  5. Zen says:

    Good write-up. What I have gathered from my research:
    -McIlrath: injured and out awhile. He had a shot at the big club, but injury has ended that for now.
    -St. Croix: at least a year away; will play in OHL
    -Fogarty: several years away
    -Fast: one more year overseas
    -Lindberg: a possibility but needs to outplay Halpern
    -Thomas: will get a LONG look but probably needs a year in the AHL.
    -Hrivik: the truth is… nobody knows. If he continues to score in camp, he might force himself on the team. Most likely AHL bound though.
    -Bourque: stock down after last year. Probably will never make it unless something changes fast.
    -Miller: along with Thomas, probably has best shot of making the club. Can return to OHL or play in AHL. For him, it is ALL about training camp. If he fails to impress, he goes to OHL. If he plays decent, it will be AHL and possible mid-season call-up. If he plays lights out, could be NHL… although it is unlikely.

    In general, the team doesn’t have expectations that a kid will make it this year. Erixon was THAT guy, but he is gone obviously. That is why most spots on the team appear to be filled (unlike previous seasons) and Doan is still on the radar.

    • Rickyrants13 says:

      I thin your wrong about Bourque. I think he played the roll he was asked to play just the way they wanted him too. Then came into his own in the short playoffs. I think like all other young players that come into our org. That he was asked to play a Def roll first. And he did that rather well.

    • Jess says:


      St. Croix plays for Edmonton of the WHL

      Fogarty 2-3 years depending on when he earns his degree from Notre Dame.

      Fast is under contract with HV71 for 2 more years.

      Lindberg- needs to first adapt to North American game, maybe at mid-season but not sooner.

      Thomas will not pass Tortorella’s height test.

      Hrivik had good run in playoffs but now needs to prove he can sustain effort during regular season.

      Bourque never found his grove after suffering an injury early in season. If the NYR had soured on him he would have been moved already.

      Miller is not close to NHL ready, was inconsistent down the finish of season. His fate will be decided on Sept 15th when the CBA expires.

      If there is a CBA then NYR will keep him, if the NHL locks out players then they will not waste year of ELC.

      Rangers do have a prospect making the team by the name of Chris Kreider. People are not realizing that no prospects this year is because too many prospects developed before they were expected to.

      Stepan, Del Zotto, Kreider and Hagelin are all with the NYR before they were expected to be.

      It is no big deal that no prospect makes the team this season.

      • Zen says:


        I didn’t know you trolled BSB to proofread posters’ work. Read your posts and listen to you on Blueshirt Underground.

        Meant juniors for St. Croix.

        Wasn’t it said that Fast might possibly head to NA in one year?

        If Thomas doesn’t pass the height test being a natural goal-scorer, then how does Bourque being a checking forward? Bourque is not ‘done’ with the organization, but he has a quite a steep path to the NHL while Torts is there.

  6. upstate tom says:

    st. croix will be in the WHL w/ edmonton oil kings w/another shot at the memorial cup, fogerty will probably go his first year to college @ notre dame but could surprise many, hrivik might have a chance after some ahl seasoning, lindberg & miller have the only legit chances out of camp. after re-hab mcilrath might have a call up if neccesary. actually unless injuries come to play the kids with the exception of miller will probably need seasoning.

  7. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I think Thomas has the most to prove to the organization. His skill set are rare among 2nd round picks and with that ability he has a great chance to make it to the parent club. He will be a turbo sized Zuke. He comes into camp in shape and confident then dont be surprised if he gains a roster spot.
    Lindberg and Miller are also key prospects as well up front. Let’s go Rangers