What about Ryan Graves?

January 23, 2017, by

ryan graves

There aren’t many bright spots on the blue line for the Rangers this year, nor are there NHL ready prospects in the system that can offer much of an improvement without significant development cost. The only prospect that is really worth mentioning in terms of being ready for the NHL is Ryan Graves.

Graves, by most accounts, is having a solid year in Hartford. Playing on the top pair and in all situations, Graves has a line of 5-14-19 in 42 games. That leaves him two points shy of last year’s full season totals. The 6’4″, 220 lb left handed defenseman is a smooth skater and puck mover, and has been defensively sound and one of the few bright spots on a pretty bad Hartford Wolf Pack team.

Prospect guru Corey Pronman recently commented on Graves’ play this season, with positive things to say:

That kind of comment makes you wonder. If you recall the 2010-2011 season, when the Rangers were struggling on defense, they recalled a highly touted prospect and shifted some contracts around to make room. That prospect is now the captain of the team.

I’m not saying Graves has the same career arc as Ryan McDonagh, but the 21-year-old has shown significant improvements year after year since the Rangers took him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. Those improvements have led him to be a rock on defense for the Pack, and perhaps a player that could be a solution to the Rangers’ defensive woes.

As a lefty, it makes it difficult to fit him in at the moment. But if Marc Staal is out long-term and if Alain Vigneault decides enough is enough with Kevin Klein, then perhaps there is a spot for Graves. Dan Girardi, Adam Clendening, and Nick Holden can play on the right side, with McDonagh, Graves, and Brady Skjei on the left side. But those are two major ifs.

"What about Ryan Graves?", 4 out of 5 based on 11 ratings.
Categories : Prospects


  1. Richter1994 says:

    Yes Dave, exactly, what’s up with this?

  2. Chris A says:

    Agree wholeheartedly Dave.

    If Staal can’t play long term, bring up Graves!

  3. Richter1994 says:

    2 to 3 weeks for Hayes

  4. Joe says:

    I agree!! Bring up Graves, at least he brings some physicality to the team and he can’t be any worse than Giradi,Klein or Clendenning…

  5. Reenavipul says:

    If AV trusted a D under 25, he’d be a perennial Adams finalist, not a guy who coaches teams down.

    22-w5/8 rotating

    4 plays PP2


    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Uhh, he’s been in the Adams conversation quite often. As for the facts….

      McDonagh as an under 25 defenseman blossomed under AV.

      AV took an immediate liking to Skjei and has played him quite a bit. Even in last year’s playoffs. He’s allowing him to work through the growing pains.

      He has passed on young defensemen that thus far haven’t proven to be very good or in some cases barely NHL caliber.

      As for Graves, why would this have anything to do with AV? He’s not watching Hartford. The front office decides when mine leaguers are ready.

      I know you watch a lot of minor league games, and that’s great. But as I said the other day, it’s like Sarah Palin being an expert on Russia because she can see it up close from Alaska.

      Torts was the one who said it takes a while for young defensemen to figure it out. Graves will be ready when he’s ready. And if he were ready now, I’d suspect they would bring him up.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Minor leaguers I meant to say.

      • orangemike says:

        There you go, Eddie, talking sense again. It’s always good to hear your perspective. It seems to me that the Rangers are missing Staal more than most would admit, especially on this board. As usual, AV is to blame for every goal against, and is a raging fool.

        Here’s the bottom line as I see it. At the present time there are exactly two teams in the league with more wins than the Rangers. Two. It seems like every other day someone else is sustaining an injury, which requires lineup juggling. The world-class goalie has been somewhat less than world-class this season. Overall I think this coach is doing a pretty good job of keeping the team relevant under the circumstances. The other teams in the division are taking turns winning ten games in a row, and still a division title is not out of the question. More realistic is a first-round date with Montreal, which is do-able and would be fun in any case.

        The team is in pretty good position, and if they can get everyone back healthy it should be an interesting spring. Now you can all go ahead and attack me. Have a good week everyone.

        Regards- orange

        • Ranger 11 says:

          There should be no reason to attack. The other day I said the same thing you just said only in different words. You forgot to add that he’s got a very questionable defense to work with and that’s putting it kindly. He does some things that I didn’t think were the right move but I’m not a coach, he is so I try to have faith and sit back and watch the game. I don’t know exactly what he is supposed to do with this defense really but I really hope whenever Graves does come up that he’s gonna be as good or better then he expected to be.

      • Reenavipul says:

        Last I checked McDonagh was logging major minutes for the team well before AV stepped into the home locker room.

        AV played Skjei because he had no other choice.

        As for everything else, whatever. I saw 9 games in the last 10 days(3 Rangers, 6 OHL) and have as many looks at our prospects as guys who get paid to do it. My opinion isn’t uninformed: I’ve been doing this for 20 years as a hobby, learned from Max McNab when I worked for the Devils. This isn’t rocket science, except for goalies.


        • orangemike says:

          Good for you, Reena. You have a hobby you like, and we get it. You know more than everyone else, including the present coach of the Rangers. Thank you for your expertise. Two more points last night. Press ahead.

          Regards- orange

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Re: McDonagh, you said, and I quote, “if AV trusted a defenseman under 25…” You said nothing about the minutes played under a prior coach. McDonagh was 24 in AV’s first year as HC (and had easily the best year of his career playing for the new coach). AV trusted him so much that he made him captain the next year. So there goes that argument.

          As for Skjei, AV may have had limited options, but he still gave him 17:44 (only a minute less than Dan Boyle) of ice time in his seven regular season games. In the playoffs, he trusted him enough to play him in all five games, where he got even more ATOI (18:28) and played over Raffy Diaz, who obviously AV seemed to like. If AV didn’t trust the kid, why play him more than 12-13 minutes? Why play him at all when you have Diaz on the bench who had had prior playoff experience? So again, there’s no evidence at all to support your claim. Zero.

          As for the rest, I know you and I don’t always see eye to eye, but I find your insights to be extremely illuminating. Your “hobby” clearly allows you to contribute a unique perspective that few if any of us have, and we appreciate that. But where you lose me is when you make it sound like everyone in the Rangers front office (and pretty much every front office) is completely clueless, you somehow know more, and that player evaluation is some simple task that just about anyone can do. Sorry, I don’t buy that.

          You may well be right about Graves, but I’m just fine waiting for the professionals who run the team to determine when and if the kid is ready. And I believe when he is, and assuming he’s better than the options he currently has, AV will play him–just as he did with Skjei.

  6. BigRedJonson says:

    IMO Ryan Graves is the Rangers’ top blue chip prospect in the organization. I expect to see him manning the Rangers’ blue line for many years to come. However, it may be a little to soon to call him up and insert him in the lineup just yet. As a left handed shooter, he’s a little too far down on the depth chart right now behind McDonagh, Staal, Holden and Skjei; with Girardi, Klein and Clendening on the right side. Girardi, Staal and Klein are on the other side of 30 and Holden and Skjei can play either side, so I anticipate a spot to become available in the near future; and Graves will claim his rightful place in the lineup and have a solid NHL career similar to Ryan McDonagh.