Tough road ahead for Rangers’ prospectsOctober 22, 2012, by
Along with Lindberg and Fast, the Rangers have a number of potential NHL players one rung away from the big show in Hartford including J.T. Miller, Kyle Jean, Marek Hrivik, Andrew Yogan, Christian Thomas and Ryan Bourque. Not far behind them is Michael St. Croix.
It’s not that the Blueshirts have a ton of veteran forwards inked to long-term deals; only Rick Nash and Brad Richards are signed beyond next season.
Nine forwards are under contract beyond this season, but only Nash and Richards have multiple years left on their pacts.
So it’s not like New York is committed to a long list of players on paper at this point, but it also seems likely that a number of forwards will be here for the long haul. Nash, Richards, Ryan Callahan, Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin all seem set for long tenures on Broadway.
So where do all those prospects fit in?
There won’t be many jobs to steal next year, assuming the Rangers don’t opt for a major shakeup. In two years, it seems logical that Lindberg could replace Boyle, but plugging in the other guys becomes a little difficult.
Perhaps some of them will end up as third- and fourth-liners, but the top-six seems pretty set in stone.
As we shouldn’t forget; for contending teams, a solid prospect stable provides the means to obtain valuable veterans as much as it does actual NHL bodies.
So maybe that’s the best way to look at the overflowing pipeline right now. Because unless you think Callahan or Kreider are going anywhere soon, it’s just hard to envision a lot of meaningful jobs for the taking.
That’s not a bad thing by any means, it’s about time the Rangers have a group of forwards they don’t want to get rid of. It just means that if you’re a Ranger prospect, you might not want to get too comfortable with the idea of having a long career in New York and you definitely ought to realize the competition that lies ahead of you.