With the first round of cuts made, the attention now turns to trimming the roster down even further from those who will either serve as AHL call ups or rookies who might get their first cuppas this season. With news that Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin might miss the season opener, the Rangers are going to be looking for two extra forwards to break camp. There is a chance that these forwards might be Arron Asham and Darroll Powe, but there is also a chance that the coaching staff will want to take a longer look at some of the kids who impress at camp.
Lindberg is one prospect who we have talked about extensively at this blog since the Rangers acquired him from Phoenix for Ethan Werek. Lindberg was top-ten in the SHL in scoring last season. Upon arrival in the US, he promptly dismantled the competition at the Traverse City Tournament scoring five goals and seven points in the four game tournament. Lindberg has already had a strong camp, which just adds to the intrigue for the young Swede. Throw in his ability to win face offs and his play without the puck (the SHL is a notoriously defensive league), and he is someone who could force his way on to the roster.
2. Danny Kristo
A relative unknown before being acquired from Montreal for Christian Thomas, Kristo forced his name into the picture with a stellar Traverse City Tournament (2-5-7). To be fair to Kristo, his name was likely in the picture before TC, but his strong performance cemented his spot in the discussion. Kristo has an unbelievable amount of potential, and has looked good so far in camp. The fact that he’s a right-handed shot helps his cause too.
3. Marek Hrivik
Hrivik was supposed to get a long look last season, but a lockout and a concussion threw a wrench into those plans. This year, AV is already on record stating that he likes Hrivik and wants to see more of him. Hrivik has been playing very well in Hartford, and has had a strong camp thus far. He looks like he could be the next undrafted free agency gem, in the mold of Dan Girardi. He doesn’t have the sexy name like Lindberg or Kristo (or even Fast), but he’s got a solid skill set with a good head on his shoulders.
4. Jesper Fast
I put Hrivik ahead of Fast because I believe Fast will spend the year in the AHL, but the young Swedish winger has one thing that no one else on this list has: pure speed. Fast is probably the fastest skater in camp, and is on a Hagelin level when it comes to foot speed. He has shown solid chemistry with Lindberg and Kristo, and since he has played in the SHL for a few years, is pretty solid defensively too. He’s one of those guys that floats under the radar, but if he’s given the chance, he will excel.
5. Chris Kreider/JT Miller
I’m cheating here a bit, but both players are still considered rookies. Both played in the NHL in some shape or form last season, but neither hit the games played threshold to graduate from rookie status. Both have great potential, but both have their own roadblocks (inconsistency, health) to get past. These kids are likely future Rangers, but this is a big year for both of them.