Archive for Prospects
The 2016-2017 season won’t just be the New York Rangers’ 90th anniversary, but it will also be our AHL affiliate the Hartford Wolf Pack’s 20th anniversary. Now I by no means am a die hard Wolfpack fan, but it is getting really frustrating to try to tune into their games only to see that the team for the most part isn’t all that great. Much of this can of course be attributed to the lack of draft picks, as well as having much of the talent in Europe. The lack of scoring is a huge issue for quite a few reasons.
Wolf Pack fans deserve as much as this organization can provide. A winning culture from top to bottom will only benefit the team, and it starts in the minors. Many of these fans who see young guys grow before many of us aren’t just watching to be our own fan scouts, they’re watching it because they love the sport of hockey. It’s easier to love it when you are winning.
The first domino for the Rangers in the undrafted free agent market has fallen, as UMass-Lowell forward Adam Chapie has inked a one-year ELC. Chapie, whose deal is
one year two years because he is 24 years old, completed his senior season with the UM-L Hawks this season, tallying a line of 16-19-35 in 39 games. This is on the heels of his 12-19-31 performance last season.
The report on Chapie is fairly slim. The 6’1″, 185-lb forward was a walk on at Lowell, and played in the NAHL for two years prior. He’s a right-handed shot, which the Rangers sorely need. That’s about it. I would assume that he will get a look in camp next year, but a fair guess would be that he stays in the AHL for a season or two.
Chapie will join Boo Nieves and Steven Fogarty as some of the many new faces expected in Hartford next year.
As expected, Pavel Buchnevich will be coming to North America for next season, per sports.ru. Buchnevich, one of the Rangers’ third round picks in 2013, is the most highly touted prospect the organization has had in a while. His point totals in Russia put him a notch below guys like Vladimir Tarasenko and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Many hoped that Buchnevich would join the Rangers for a playoff run, like Chris Kreider did in 2012, however this is a different case. The Rangers were thin at forward that year, and Kreider was ready to jump right in. This year, the Rangers don’t have any openings, and it makes sense for them to keep a year on Buchnevich’s ELC.
I am under the assumption that April Fool’s Day does not exist in Russia, and that this news is legitimate, however I reserve the right to be fooled by this news.
With the news that SKA were eliminated on Monday and thus Pavel Buchnevich’s season in Russia being officially over, excitement began about the prospect of the über-prospect hot-stepping it to New York. I was also twitter guilty of a little bit of Buch-hysteria. But not so fast.
The Rangers are a cap team and they’ll be tight to the cap for (at least) the foreseeable future. Take a look at the current Rangers roster and the ‘problems’ that Alain Vigneault is having with finding appropriate roles, ice time and combinations for all his presumptive top nine forwards. Is there really enough room to squeeze Buchnevich into the top nine – in a meaningful role?
As expected, the Rangers have signed 2011 third round pick Steven Fogarty to a two-year entry level contract. Fogarty finished up his senior year at Notre Dame with a line of 10-13-23 in 37 games while serving as captain of the Irish squad. Fogarty’s ceiling is likely a bottom-six defensive specialist who wins faceoffs but doesn’t chip in much offensively. Realistically, he could be a nice replacement for Dominic Moore down the road.
As expected the Rangers have signed 2012 second round pick Cristoval “Boo” Nieves to a two year entry level deal. Nieves just finished his senior season at Michigan, the best of his four year career. He put up 10-21-31 in his final season, setting a career high in goals, points, and tying his career high in assists. Nieves is one of two drafted college seniors that the Rangers will likely be signing, as Steven Fogarty (2011-third round) should also be signing shortly.
Two Rangers prospects went up against each other in college on Friday night and it was ‘Boo’ Nieves that came out on the right side of the elimination game as Michigan beat Steven Fogarty’s Notre Dame 3-2 in OT. Nieves assisted on Michigan’s third period game tying goal (scored by blue chip NHL prospect Zach Werenski) to help prolong Michigan’s season. Fogarty is now free to sign with the Rangers as his season is over following the loss.
Nieves meanwhile has put up his best stat line in college with 31 points (10 goals) in 34 games. Nieves has never quite dominated in any of his four seasons but has been remarkably consistent. A good skater and a big body, Nieves is a pass first center and can definitely be an asset with his playmaking ability in the pro game – he remains an intriguing prospect.
One of the main questions facing Nieves as a NHL prospect is whether his good (but never great) numbers have been the by-product of having played on Michigan teams that featured the likes of Kyle Connor, Zach Werenski, Dylan Larkin and Jacob Trouba. Nieves has always been a productive player for Michigan but he’s never really been able to stand out on several talented squads.
Before we know it, the NHL draft will be here beginning the next season of New York Rangers hockey. There are a lot of question marks surrounding the organization, ranging from the eventual playoffs, to the future personnel choices, to new prospects joining the organization.
The Rangers are expected to be big players in the college UFA market considering that many of their players in the AHL have expiring contracts. There is a very talented forwards, with Ahti Oksanen and Drake Caggiula leading the pack. There are also three puck moving defensemen in Ethan Prow, Casey Nelson, and Troy Stecher going on the market, and hopefully the Rangers can nab a few of them.
The other way the Rangers will add youth into the system is through the draft, something which has been difficult to get excited about due to the lack of first round picks. However, I personally love trying to find talent in the mid and late rounds.
With all of the rumors flying around and the trade deadline approaching in the next six days, it seems that there is only one thing we know for certain. The New York Rangers will be going for it. Elliote Friedman, who had an AMA on Reddit yesterday, was asked a question about Keith Yandle and his future leading up to the deadline. He replied that he feels that the Rangers will keep him for the playoff run.
Personally I love savoring every moment of Yandle and do hope there is some way that they find a way to retain him, but at this point it is clear that it is Cup or bust. The Rangers will be making 1 or 2 moves and there will all be an attempt to make one more push with the team as currently constructed. Although I feel that there is still much to fix I couldn’t help but smile yesterday knowing that hey… anything can happen, maybe this is the year?
The Rangers are entering a crossroads for their farm system this summer. They have 18 players in Hartford/Greenville that will have their contracts expire at the end of the season. Some of those players are household names that have been in the organization for a while, some are guys on their ELCs that haven’t panned out.
Some of the younger players will be re-signed, either as hopes that they pan out or just to fill roster spots. There are also guys that are expected to be signed to their ELCs (Pavel Buchnevich, Boo Nieves, Steven Fogarty). But with the slew of veterans that are likely leaving Hartford, there will be a bunch of roster spots open.