What forward prospect could make the Rangers this season?

August 7, 2014, by
Will JT Miller be in the reckoning for more Broadway hat consideration? Courtesy of Blueshirts United

Will JT Miller be in the reckoning for more Broadway hat consideration? Courtesy of Blueshirts United

It’s never too early to look ahead. With the recent Q & A insight from Hartford’s Bob Crawford to fall back on, it’s worth taking a look at what Rangers forward prospects – if any – can make an impact with the Rangers this coming season.

With the significant turnover seen in New York this summer, it looked as though there were several spots for the taking but the additions of Tanner Glass, Lee Stempniak and Matt Lombardi may have impacted the chances for a rookie or younger player to make their mark. With respect to the likes of Chris Mueller it’s in the Rangers’ best interests for one or more of the younger, higher ceiling ‘bubble players’ to stake a claim for an NHL gig.

JT Miller and Oscar Lindberg

As Bob Crawford suggested, Miller is NHL ready. For him it’s about consistency, seizing an opportunity and having the right approach; something that he has been criticised for in the past. Lindberg is a less obvious situation. It seems that Rangers fans have waited forever for the Swedish pivot to get to New York but with the Rangers committing to Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard and Dom Moore for three of the center spots, Lindberg may be forced to start the year in Hartford. That’s not a disaster if it happens.

In theory, both Miller and Lindberg (both left handed shots) could make the opening roster but neither is best suited for a fourth line role while Lindberg is a pure center who, unlike Miller, won’t be considered on the wing. Both players have proven they can score in the AHL but have either dominated at that level? The Rangers mantra used to be ‘dominate before you take the next step’, so it will be interesting to see how the Rangers handle both players. Cap issues may force one or both of these players to start in the AHL but surely, if either player can beat out Matt Lombardi in camp, they have a good chance to grab an NHL roster spot.

Next in Line

With Pavel Buchnevich back in the KHL next year the Rangers don’t have an obvious purely offensive forward ready for full time duty. Jesper Fast is close to a full time gig but his ceiling is still unclear and he’ll likely be brought along the same way as Carl Hagelin and be expected to climb his way up the depth chart, assuming he starts in New York.

Fast’s inclusion will depend on a strong camp given the additions of the likes of Glass for the bottom six and Stempniak for a scoring line all of which make the Rangers veteran heavy up front. It may make more sense having Fast and Lindberg line up together on a dominant line in the AHL first as they continue to develop.

Strong camps will be needed from Ryan Bourque, Danny Kristo, Marek Hrivik and the dark horse of all prospects, Ryan Haggerty. It would take a stunning pre-season, or injury, for any of the aforementioned to force their way on the roster although all would provide the Rangers a useful skill set.

If the Rangers feel they need more size Hrivik may have a chance, skill and finishing ability and it may be Kristo. The wild card however is Haggerty. What does he bring to the table? Was his insistence on no AHL time after signing with the Rangers confidence in his own play or ill advised?

Don’t underestimate the cap ceiling in determining who gets in either. Haggerty comes in at almost a million and without a pro game to his name a guy such as Haggerty would need to stun Vigneault and Sather to make it.

In all, among the organisation’s forwards, the Rangers have six of seven prospects that have a shot at a roster spot depending on what area the Rangers feel least confident in. With a veteran heavy top six and with several players firmly entrenched in their positions (think Nash, Stepan, St Louis, Kreider etc) it’s hard to see anyone being beaten out of a spot at this stage.



"What forward prospect could make the Rangers this season?", 5 out of 5 based on 3 ratings.
Categories : Prospects


  1. TxRanger says:

    What’s the deal on Haggerty. Can we get some insight as to just who he is and why he was not in the AHL and all that?

    • Tim B says:

      He was not eligible to play in the AHL last season. I dont think he was eligible to play in the NHL last season as well. So he stayed with the team to practice, learn AV’s system etc.

      • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

        Haggerty is an interesting player. He’s got good size and offensive instincts. I think that he should get a good long look at his play away from the puck. If he can at least play like an avg defender then his right handed shot is a commodity worth taking a chance on. He was a pure scorer at RPI and if he can even shoot at a 6% or 7% scoring rate. That will help balance the rangers roster. He may even be a good fit on the 3rd line. MSL on Top line and Kreider on the 2nd line with Brass & Zuc to add some size and speed to that line.
        I expect Stepan to be the PPG player we saw in 12/13 since he will have a full camp and he’s playing for his next pay day. There’s incentive there for him to break 60 or 65 points. Very much achievable for a player that sees the ice as well as he does and the talent that will be on his wings.

        I’d like to see Hagerty and one more righty make the team. There’s a ton of veterans up front. A couple young righties won’t hurt. Be it Mueller, Fast, Kristo. Miller has a spot as long as he doesn’t dog it in camp or get hurt.

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      Has any news come out on the Traverse City Tournament? Are the Rangers sending their kids to participate? I’d like to see some of the youngsters that are now a year older and more experienced at either the pro game or just North American hockey in general. Lindberg has a great offensive skill set. If he were a righty I bet the Rangers would be all over him. Grooming him for the NHL.

      • Tim B says:

        Traverse City runs from Sept 12-16 this year

        • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

          I thought I heard the Rangers say their prospects would participate again this year but I may be wrong about that. You hear that or is it confirmed?

          I think the purely offensive prospect the Rangers don’t have access to in Buchnevich can be found in Kristo or Haggerty. Both are righties that are offensive forwards. Haggerty may be better defensively but Kristo is already an NHL skater with a deceptive wrist shot that gets in on goalies quicker than expected.
          I would like to see one of them get a chance on the top line with Nash on LW & Stepan in the middle. I expect a 60+ point season from Stepan and 35 goals from Nash. A young Haggerty and his lack of experience on defense can be made up for playing with those 2 and the top D pair. Step & Nash are very solid 2 way forwards.

  2. WilliamW says:

    Miller should make it. Sounds like the team wants him to take that open center spot but has brought in Lombardi as insurance

    Lindberg is the LT replacement for D Moore, they play similar styles. Perhaps Lindberg will have more offensive pop but D Moore was a 1st round pick so don’t sleep on his talent / hype

    Fast will have a chance to make the bottom six but is most likely 1st call up at a crowded wing position. Ideally he and Lombardi/Lindberg push Glass to the press box on that 4th line

    I don’t see Mueller, Bourque, Hrivik, Kristo or Haggerty being more than injury replacements. There are just too many entrenched players up front and both wing positions will only get more crowded as Buchnevich and Duclair come along over the next few years

    • mattimar says:

      If we push Glass to the press box then the team will be looking for another Carcillo after 30 games. This happens every year. Keep the top players on the first 3 lines and then have a line with a size that can grind a bit. A fourth line of Fast, Moore and Lombardi will be a throw back to the smurfs of the 80’s. Fast on the 4th line wont work.

  3. SalMerc says:

    The kids that will make it will show, speed, strength and play 2-way hockey. All the kids need to know this criteria and may the best 1, 2 or 3 make the club.

  4. paulronty says:

    If we are going to win the Cup, the evolution of these kids is crucial to meet that end. I see guys like Lombardi, Stempniak & Glass as temp fixes but our farm system has some terrific prospects, much better than most pundits think.

  5. NYR1979 says:

    What about Mcilrath?

    • WilliamW says:

      He’ll need to beat out Klein for the 3rd pair stay at home spot. Would be great if he could but doubtful. Girardi and Boyle aren’t going anywhere for a while

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      No room. Possibly next year if Staal leaves.

      • mattimar says:

        Maybe, but to me “no room” means not good enough and that is too bad. a first round pick going into 4th year as pro?

    • Mike K says:

      McIlrath is also a defenseman, and the article is about forwards…