Archive for Prospects
The Wolf Pack have added some depth to their lineup, signing forward Philip McRae to a contract. McRae’s name may sound familiar, as he’s the son of Minnesota North Stars and “The Mighty Ducks” star Basil McRae. Oh how Basil must have loved lining up next to Mike Modano for that movie.
McRae is on an AHL deal, so he won’t be at Rangers camp or be a Ranger at all, nor does he count against the 50 contract limit. He’s veteran depth for a very young Hartford team.
Hockey season is right around the corner. But before pre-season, we will get to see prospects duke it out in the Traverse City Tournament. While the tournament is always fun, the Rangers haven’t been overly competitive the past few years. The issue has been the lack of prospects, and while there is some sweet talent coming in –Kovacs, Stromwall, Buchnevich, Gilmour, to name a few– I am certainly more excited this time around than last year.
While certainly not a big deal, I love when the club invites players non-roster players. You don’t need all of them to succeed, but if you’re scouting staff is good maybe you find someone that can become an NHL player. Last season, the Rangers had 11 invites, a major step up from 2014 (5) and 2013 (7).
One thing that remained constant with these invites is that the team did not have a single NCAA invite. I assume that is because technically, NCAA players cannot participate with any pro type game outside of a prospect camp (without paying their own way), so this list will not include any players who will be returning to the NCAA this upcoming season.
Last week, I went through the bottom half of the New York Rangers 2016 Top 25 Under 25. The bottom half had a lot of turnover, as the 2016 draft was an early success for the Rangers that warranted some shifting in the rankings. Couple that with four players who were ranked last year that are no longer with the organization, and you have a refreshed system that is something to get excited about.
Let’s remember that there are a good number of players on the NHL roster that are under 25 years old, so the top half of this list is mostly populated with them. There was a shift in the rankings for some of these kids though, as we’ve learned what each one is capable of in the lineup.
After weeks of relative silence, the rumor mill will begin churning again this week as August 15 approaches. That’s the day Jimmy Vesey officially becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The heralded Harvard alum is essentially this year’s version of Kevin Hayes and will draw league-wide interest after spurning first Nashville, then Buffalo after the Sabres traded for his rights prior to the draft.
By most accounts, Vesey is an NHL-ready prospect that could instantly step into an NHL lineup and has legitimate top-six potential.
Over the past three years, I’ve gone through the Rangers organization and ranked the top 25 players under the age of 25 years old (2013, 2014, 2015 part one, 2015 part two). The ground rules for this list are simple: To qualify for this list, a player must be under 25 years old. It doesn’t matter if this player is in the NHL, AHL, or in any of the leagues around the world. If they are Ranger property and under 25, they were considered.
First, let’s go through the players from last year’s list that no longer qualify and honorable mentions who missed the cut:
Aged out: Chris Kreider, Magnus Hellberg
No longer with the organization: Aleksi Saarela, Ryan Bourque, Petr Zamorsky, Emerson Etem, Keegan Iverson, Ryan Mantha
Honorable mentions: Tyler Nanne, Marek Hrivik, Sergey Zborovskiy, Calle Andersson, Tyler Wall, Gabriel Fontaine
Our New York Rangers have recently signed Josh Jooris to a one-year deal, which is just one in a series of signings to revamp our bottom-six. While being a hard working player with nice hands in the NHL, Jooris was also an extremely popular player during his time with Providence College. The NCAA has become a great producer of prospects for NHL teams, most notably for the Rangers, who have a plethora of talent that went through the NCAA.
One snag that has been bothering a few GMs is the fact that a drafted player can sign with any team, not just the team that drafted him, after spending four years in college. Once again, the NYR are a beneficiary of that rule with the not lazy but super talented center Kevin Hayes. This year’s prize on August 15th is Jimmy Vesey, a former 3rd rounder of the Nashville Predators who seems poised to be a quality goal scorer.
They say it takes five years to really judge a draft class in hockey. Very few players come in and play in the NHL immediately following their draft year. Heck, it’s usually two or three years before a draft pick even turns pro. Factor in another year or two in the minors, and you have a four or five year waiting period before some rookies even get a chance to play regularly in The Show.
If a team gets one NHL regular in a draft, it’s considered a successful draft. If they can land a second player, it’s a big win. For the Rangers, 2011 was the final time they would draft in the top-fifteen through today. They took J.T. Miller with that first round pick, their one consistent NHL player. The rest of the draft features Steven Fogarty, who just turned pro, and four mid-to-late round picks.
The draft is finally over and we can begin traveling to the next checkpoint in this franchise’s 90th year in the NHL. First and foremost, sorry if the post may be a little late. I decided to let all of the picks settle in before I talk about them. Not only does that let me do more research and write with a leveled head but it also prevents any knee jerk reactions. I feel that this is very important because it would be pretty messed up to be harsh to a 17 year old on one of the biggest days in his life.
About the draft in general, it seemed like the Rangers lucked into some teams choosing goalies early, giving them more skater options to choose from. Considering the depth in net for this team, that was pretty wonderful. Also while I am happy with the picks, there are some guys that I wished we still drafted considering that they were available. Guys like Dmitri Sokolov,Vladimir Kuznetsov, Sebastian Aho, and Maxime Fortier.
Gripes aside, this draft gave me a lot of hope, as the Rangers are truly one of the best in drafting after round three over the last few years, especially when they go with the philosophy they had this year over the 2014 draft. Hopefully they realize not only the overwhelming support of this philosophy –drafting for skill and talent opposed to size and need– and its benefits, but also realize that they truly are a great drafting team.
The Rangers have announced the invitees to this summer’s prospect camp, which begins today.
The usual suspects –unsigned draft picks, AHL players on ELCs, overseas prospects– are on the list. There are a bunch of undrafted guys as well. I’m not going to pretend to know who the undrafted guys are. I’ll let Josh handle that.
With their final pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, the Rangers took Ty Ronning, son of Cliff Ronning. Ronning isn’t that big, but he’s tremendously skilled. His size was questioned, but 5’9″ isn’t that small, and kids can put on muscle weight. This late, you pick skill and hope for the best. The Rangers did just that.
Ronning has mid-round skill, but fell all the way to the seventh round due to size and the fact that this was the first year where he “turned it on” and put up big numbers.
And then the Rangers get Ty Ronning. Another great pick.
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) June 25, 2016