Five prospects to watch in camp

September 16, 2013, by
via Blueshirts United

via Blueshirts United

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.

1. Oscar Lindberg

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.


  1. Mikeyyy says:

    Would be nice if all 6 made the squad.

    Surround them with some good vets.

    Dump the rest for prospects and picks.

    I rather play the kids and deal with growing pains vs Asham and Powe. Would be nice to roll 4 decent scoring lines

    • Stevo says:

      Prospects are nice and some of these guys are legit, but don’t get too enamored with their potential. Most/all of them will take time to establish their NHL game. Think of the inconsistency issues Kreider and Miller have had.

      As this post suggests, the team will likely take 1-2 of these guys with them to start the season, but taking all would be crazy. With Nash/Lundqvist in their primes, this team is a cup contender and can ill afford a lost season due to prospect growing pains.

      • Evan M says:

        I don’t think a prospect growing into his game is going to cost the season, especially if guys like Asham/Powe aren’t performing. With that said, if a guy is completely out of his depth, then I fully agree.

      • Mikeyyy says:

        Talent has no age.

        I blame the previous coach for the mass inconsistency of our prospects.

        Clean Slate. Your past is your past. Put it all out there and field the most talented team you can.

        • rangerinexile says:

          Thing is, prospects are always inconsistent. I’m not saying Torts was perfect, but you can’t pin all the prospects on him. Lots of moving pieces in development and it’s hard to pan out.

    • Dave says:

      So…you want to dump Nash?

      • Mikeyyy says:

        No just the spare parts we don’t need.

        Talent has no age right?

        • Dave says:

          Which people do you think are spare parts?

          • Evan M says:

            Well, probably Step since he obviously hates NY. Callahan is injured, so him. Can’t have any cry babies with fake injuries. Boyle and Powe since we don’t need good defensive centers for the PK and a shutdown line. Asham since the rest of roster can beat up the whole league. Zucc since he’s obviously too small to play in the NHL. Richards since our center depth is amazing with zero question marks.

            Might as well give us the cup now.

          • Mikeyyy says:

            Depends on preseason.

            In my eyes. Boyle. Richards, Staal, Powe Asham.


            • Dave says:

              Richards is a critical piece, and since he is unmoveable, there’s no point in harping on it. If he returns to form, then he’s at least a 2C.

              Teams need players like Boyle and Powe for defensive matchups. Not everything is offense. Same goes for Asham, since this team is very vanilla at the moment.

              Don’t see why you have a problem with Biron.

              • Mikeyyy says:

                The real question is. With the current lineup do I feel we have a legit chance at silver. No.

                Taking br out that still leaves some dead weight to move. And I feel having a young lineup now is better than stunting growth for our egos.

                And your not going to sign stepan without moving someone.

                Boyle and Birpn clear the most cap space for the money.

              • Dave says:

                There’s no harm in letting the kids develop in Hartford. I trust the scouting staff and the internal development team to do right by these kids.

                There are a lot of spots next year for them. I’m not concerned with them not getting chances.

                They have plenty of cap room to get Stepan under contract. It’s something I’ve covered here.

      • Evan M says:

        I think he means dump the players whose places these prospects take… It’s good to have untested rookies as 1/3 of your on-ice team. What could go wrong?

    • Puck Luck (@Centerman21) says:

      Can’t have 4 decent scoring lines in this league. At some point Boston and Detroit would run you over. There has to be a checking line. Nice to see the NY fans not knowing hockey.

  2. Walt says:

    Of all the players mentioned, Kreider, and maybe Kristo will get the green light this year. Lindberg is wonderful, but with the center position taken care of at this time, he would be served better with a year in the AHL. I wouldn’t be suprised if he gets a call up, this kid is as good as he was made out to be!

    As much as everyone is on the Hrivik band wagon, the kid needs some meat on that frame. He is over six feet tall, and comes in at I believe 185 lbs, that my friends is too skinny. I also fear for his concussion history, but with that skill set, maybe next season would be better for him. In time he may put some muscle mass on his frame.

    Isn’t it great, we have so much talent to work with, can’t think when the team had this much to work with in over 40 years, dating back to the days of the GAG line!!

    • Dave says:

      Wow…I actually agree with you on all counts. I think that’s a first.

      Kristo will probably get the first few games while Cally is out, and I think Kreider makes the team outright. Hrivik needs some meat on his bones, and there just aren’t enough spots for the other kids yet.

  3. WilliamW says:

    With the depth on the team this year think they spend the season in Hartford / injury call ups

    Kreider has a spot to lose – apparently alongside Nash and Richards

    Kristo will be the first scoring wing call up and could challenge Zuc for the undersized offensive talent

    Lindberg will be the top center call up but his spot is replacing Richards after the buyout

    Fast will spend the year in Hartford. Just a numbers game for him in the top 9

    Hrivik will be a call up to the bottom 6

    Miller? Being hurt during camp is a major blow to his chances this year. He ends up in NY at some point, just don’t see where at this point

  4. Evan M says:

    I could see Lindberg making the team if he keeps on impressing AND if it takes a while too long for Step to sign on the dotted line. Kreider should be up and probably Kristo while Cally and Haglin are out. This team isn’t going to throw others around, but I like the skill. Asham might take Kristo’s place if we need someone to throw down.

    I’m normally not big on prospects until they prove something over at least half of a season, but Lindberg seems as advertised so far.

  5. AD says:

    I am looking for early signs from AV as to whether veterans have a lower threshold to meet than rookies. That was a very poor dynamic which defined this organization pre-Tortorella and the notion of Ashem and Powe getting opportunities to make this club is a concern to me.

    Stepan, Brassard, Lindberg, Boyle, Moore and Richards, all at center? And Richards is the one getting 1st line minutes with Nash? Really?

    • Evan M says:

      Clean Slate.

    • Centerman21 says:

      Why wouldn’t Richards get 1st line Mins with Nash and Kreider. If Stepan doesn’t sign by the time the season starts, Richards will need to be the #1C. I think if he doesn’t re-sign, it makes the team weaker up the middle. Guys move up and it leaves less room for error, injuries, or under performers.

  6. Ray says:

    Lindberg looks like an NHLer and I just don’t see him getting bypassed. Centers can always play wing if they have to, so I don’t see the problem. Fast and Hrivik will start in Hartford. Miller is two years away at this point. Kristo and Kreider are the interesting cases – guessing Kreider yes and Kristo no at this point.

  7. Jeff P says:

    Lindberg looks better against similar competition than Kreider ever did. He deserves to be on the team (we’ll see how he does in the preseason games, but I would bet he takes the bull by the horns, Stepan style).
    Your 4 centers to start the season are Richards, Stepan (he will not hold out into regular season), Brassard and Lindberg. Both Boyle and Moore can play on the wings. I think Kristo gets a look while Cally/Hagelin are out, but he also has a great chance to stick.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      I don’t like Lindberg on the 4th line. I’d rather he play top minutes in the AHL over 4th line minutes in the NHL. The 4th line should be a defensive/checking line and I’m not sure that’s the best role for Lindberg.

      • Ray says:

        I think this depends on the coach. Torts really never wanted his fourth line on the ice, so it’s a bad place to put a kid. If AV regularly gives the fourth line 8-11 minutes a game, it might be a better place to learn than Hartford. And Lindberg is good defensively.