Is Marek Hrivik the prospect most likely to make the team?

Marek Hrivik has an NHL-ready body

The battle for forward positions has been the talk of training camp thus far, and several of New York’s youngsters have made strong cases to be on the opening night roster.  Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast, Danny Kristo and Marek Hrivik have all impressed, while 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller hasn’t gotten the opportunity due to injuries.  With Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan out for the first chunk of the season, one or more of these players will likely be thrust into significant roles come October 3rd.

Chris Kreider has been skating with Brad Richards and Rick Nash for much of camp and it seems like a foregone conclusion that he’ll be locked into a top-six role at the start of the season.  But after Kreider, the roster battle is still ongoing.

Lindberg was the breakout star of the Traverse City Tournament, Fast has demonstrated instant chemistry with Lindberg and was buzzing around the ice last night and Kristo was singled out by coach Alain Vigneault for his efforts in Monday’s game.  The prospect that continues to fly a bit under the radar is Hrivik.

Hrivik comes with a little less hoopla than the others – he doesn’t have blazing speed, wasn’t drafted and missed much of last season with a concussion.  What he does have is professional experience and success, as well as an NHL-ready body and a strong ability to protect the puck.

Fans are understandably anxious to see Lindberg win a spot following his sensational 2012-2013 campaign in the Swedish Elite League, but Lindberg is a natural center, and the Rangers are well stocked at that position.  Lindberg is obviously a part of the team’s long-term plans, but does it make sense to leapfrog him over Dominic Moore (who has been tremendous in his own right this preseason) and Brian Boyle?  Derek Stepan (yes, he’ll be signed), Derick Brassard and Brad Richards aren’t going anywhere, so where does Lindberg fit?  It just doesn’t make any sense to force a 21-year-old into a fourth-line role when the Blueshirts already have other capable options.  Lindberg has a bright future, but in the end it’s very likely that he’ll be given some AHL seasoning before a spot is made for him on Broadway.

As for Fast – the speedy Swedish winger has been very impressive, no doubt.  But, like Lindberg, Fast is adapting to the smaller North American rink on the fly.  That’s not always an easy transition, and even less so for a player that weighs 170 pounds after Thanksgiving dinner.  Fast has shown a willingness to battle in the dirty areas, but can he really be expected to hold up when the opposition’s top defenders are treating the game for real?  Kristo has the same problem.  He’s a little older, but he is also built like a twig.

Given New York’s injuries, Fast or Kristo might indeed get a cameo.  But the best, and perhaps most likely solution is Hrivik.  He probably won’t wow us with scoring or speed the way New York’s other top prospects might in spurts, but Hrivik boasts a 6’1″, 197 lb. power forward’s frame that is tailor-made for the NHL.  Hrivik doesn’t have the same ceiling as his competition, but given the circumstances, he’s probably the best solution to the forward conundrum among the prospects.

13 Responses to “Is Marek Hrivik the prospect most likely to make the team?”

  1. WilliamW says:

    One tnice thng about the set of prospects is they provide a variety of options depending on what AV needs. Hrivik fits that 3rd line puck possession role and with 2 forwards out that may be what is called for

    Spot on about Linberg. He’s the 3C next year, not this one

    Fast needs to put on some muscle and will be in Hartford all year

    Kristo will be given every opportunity to prove himself worthy. His hands and skill in the offensive zone are tops among the 5 youngsters competing for spots

    Miller appears to be the forgotten one with all the attention on the swedes. He can play a grinding role but also has top 6 skill. Hope he shakes off the hamstring issue and gets a chance next week

  2. Dave says:

    It will certainly be interesting to see which rookies make the cut. Hrivik has the most experience, but it depends on the role the coach wants the kids to play while Cally/Hags heal.

  3. Matt Josephs says:

    So many spots are up for grabs. Really crazy when you think about it. So many skilled forwards. It’s a good problem to have for sure, but Vigneault has his work cut out for him trying to make the best decisions.

  4. Ray says:

    Since Hrivik didn’t excel in Hartford last year, the jump to the NHL seems premature. The guys who may be ready are Lindberg and Kristo. Personally, I have no problem carrying 12 centers – centers are versatile. OTOH, Kristo’s salary cap hit is a problem — not an absolute killer, but when you are fighting to stay under the line, …

    • Dave says:

      Hrivik had a concussion for most of last season. 7-19-26 in 40 games on a bad team last year.

      • Kevin says:

        Keeping up that pace would have put him in the top 30 in the AHL, FYI

        • Ray says:

          To be fair, there were 117 players in the AHL last year who scored at least 26 points and at least 2/3 point per game (above Hrivik’s pace). The top 30 reflects the fact that so few good players actually play a full AHL season.

          I’d give him a solid year, but not excellent. Hopefully a legitimate prospect (a good signing in my view), but not there yet.

  5. Chet says:

    When Hagelin and Callahan return do you think players like Boyle, Moore, or Pyatt become trade bait to make room for the likes of Kristo or Lindberg?

  6. The same “expert” talking about Hrivik is probably the same guy who tried to build up Kyle Jean as a prospect last season. I said Jean was a career AHL type player. Now the focus is Hrivik-a young, journeyman, finesse player who can’t finish.

    Put Hrivik in there with Bourque, another concussed guy.

    Benoit Pouliot should displace Pyatt.
    Mashinter should displace Asham or Dorsett.
    JT Miller, a 3rd liner type, goes to Hartford
    Kreider still struggling offensively & defensively, and in the 3rd year of his ELC.
    Kristo, a finesse player, and already 23 & his 3rd year of his ELC
    Dorsett, takes a lot of PM, poor fighter, and could be replaced by Haley or Mashinter

    Would be interesting to see Rangers move Kreider,Kristo before season is out.

  7. John says:

    Stepan needs to step up and sign his bridge. This is not a no cap Rangers. You want to help us win? Sign! And then raise the cup with us! Then get paid! This is the new NHL, deal with it. The rest of us are, in the world of the middle class and the republican attack we have to deal with less every day. Sign buddy! Or let him go!