Tough road ahead for Rangers’ prospects

October 22, 2012, by

Oscar Lindberg could replace Brian Boyle, but where will other prospects fit in?

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the hot starts by Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast, and their futures raises an interesting question for the Blueshirts.

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.


  1. MBN says:

    I hope the Ranger brass is not too quick to pull the trigger on trades of youth and speed for a vet. Although that may be the way to go for a short-term fix, it does not work in the long run.

  2. Mikeyyy says:

    Interesting thing is two seasons ago we were saying the talent was all up at the NHL level and we needed to restock.

    Looks like we have some players now.

  3. Walt says:

    The current make up of the team today will not be the same next year, or the year after. We are still developing these kids now, and they may not be ready for the “SHOW” for another few years!

    That stated, we are in the drivers seat, a load of young talent in the pipeline, this can only push the existing players to bust their hump that much harder, in order to keep their jobs.

    If one really thinks this thru, the NHL is trying to do away with fighting, and this could do away with the likes of Rupp, Asham, or the Bickels of the world. If that were indeed to happen, we would fill the gaps with speedy young talent that plays both ways, and can score, WOW!

    In all the years that I’ve followed this team, I can’t ever recall this much young tallent in the system, knocking on the door, waiting for their chances to play in the Garden. NICE!!

  4. Paul Jay says:

    Nice young prospects but I am not in a hurry to cast off Gaborik either. Should keep and sign to extension.

  5. Jess says:

    First off most of the top prospects are 20 or younger so most are 2-3 years away from even being seriously thought of as possibly making the team.

    Lindberg might have an out clause but at last check Fast signed a 2 year extension with HV71 before he signed his Ranger contract.

    And if the NHL even settles for the 50/50 split with the NHLPA then the salary cap will go down making the kids with their cheaper salary and lack of leverage that more attractive.

  6. TxRanger says:

    Isn’t his name Jesper Fasth? With an “H”?

  7. Kevin says:

    @TXRanger No, changed earlier this year