Archive for Prospects
The NHL season is finally only a few weeks away, and with Traverse City starting in a few days we will be getting substantial hockey news sooner rather than later. While pretty much all of the prospects playing in North America will be taking place in Traverse City, Pavel Buchnevich, Igor Shesterkin (Shestyorkin), Robin Kovacs, Aleksi Saarela and Daniel Bernhardt have gotten some games in their leagues overseas, while Cristoval “Boo” Nieves, Tyler Nanne, and Steven Fogarty will be playing in the NCAA this season.
Pavel Buchnevich- In my personal opinion, he is the New York Rangers’ best prospect and frankly I considered him a better prospect than Anthony Duclair. After a great season last year, many wanted Buch to sign an NHL contract and compete for a spot this season. While that would’ve been ideal, especially with the recent news about Slava Fetisov possibly restricting Russians from coming over to America, I am not worried that Buchnevich will be a legitimate offensive threat for the Rangers.
After a couple of weeks of speculation and research the New York Rangers finally unveiled their Traverse City roster. Personally I am pretty happy that I was able to find some of the tryout guys early and provide you all with some information on them. There are still some names out there that are currently New York Rangers property that have not been talked about as much, since they are the dark horses of the organization.
Calle Andersson – The older brother of Calgary Flames draft pick Rasmus Andersson has had an interesting early start to his career. Calle was a 4th round pick by the Rangers in 2012, and the 6’2 right handed two-way defenseman is finally coming to North America this season. He bounced around in Sweden a lot early in his career, and his play suffered. Last year he started the season with EV Zug of the Swiss League, and looked like his career was going downhill fast. He wasn’t playing well and he wasn’t putting points up. His NHL hopes were looking bleak. That all changed when he was traded to HC Lugano, the team that Calle’s father (and former Ranger 4th round pick) Peter Andersson is an assistant coach for. Calle’s season immediately turned around as he went on to score 17 points in 30 games in what truly was a tale of two seasons.
The New York Rangers have released their 2015 Traverse City Tournament roster. There are 23 players on the roster, comprised of 21 skaters and two goalies. Most of these guys should look familiar. For those that don’t –likely the ATO’s– Josh did a primer on all of them. You should check them out.
Full roster is after the jump.
Last week, I went through the bottom half of the third annual Top 25 Under 25 for the New York Rangers. The bottom half of the list is fairly interesting, because it had some players fall off the list completely, and players like Ryan Bourque, Cristival “Boo” Nieves, and Steven Fogarty fall significantly. This has a lot to do with the recent influx of talented prospects from the 2015 draft.
Remember though, there are a good number of players under 25 years of age that are on the NHL roster, and naturally that puts them ahead of a lot of players that still qualify as prospects. So let’s round out the top-12 players in the Top 25 Under 25 for the Rangers.
12. Adam Tambellini – Forward, 2013 3rd round (LY: 16)
With Dave currently doing the Top 25 Under 25 for the Rangers there is one thing he said that I really hope sticks with people, and that is people tend to forget that roster players, that aren’t considered prospects anymore, can be young too.
Dave is absolutely right, people tend to forget that roster players can be young too,and the Rangers most definitely have a nice group of young players who are currently playing for the big club. That said, it is no secret that the Rangers prospect pool is thin. For now that isn’t a problem, as there aren’t many holes on our roster so far. It is a lot easier to get better prospects when you are a cellar dweller and trade veterans for picks, as opposed to being in the Rangers’ position in not drafting in the top-five for over a decade and being a Stanley Cup Competitor for the last half decade.
While the Rangers look like they had a pretty nice draft, the thin prospect pool becomes apparent only now as we are creeping towards the Traverse City Prospect Tournament. For new fans, this tournament is a little round robin tournament held in Traverse City including eight teams; Detroit, New York, Columbus, Minnesota, Dallas, Carolina, Chicago and St.Louis. This tournament is ideal for both the fans and teams as fans can potentially see or read about how the prospects are doing, and the teams can potentially find a future member of the organization there through invites.
Over the past two seasons, I’ve gone through the Rangers organization and ranked the top 25 players under the age of 25 years old (2013, 2014). 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: Derek Stepan, Mat Bodie
No longer with the oranization: Anthony Duclair, John Moore, Conor Allen, Ryan Haggerty
Honorable mentions: Adam Huska, Sergey Zborovskiy, Tyler Nanne, Ryan Mantha, Keegan Iverson, Marek Hrivik
Now let’s go through the top-25 players under the age of 25, starting with #25. I will group some of these players together, as some are so close in skill set that it was tough to rank one higher than the other.
Per Corey Pronman (please note that while he writes for ESPN, Pronman is one of the best in the business at ranking prospects, and ESPN’s Insider hockey writers are top notch), Pavel Buchnevich is the #14 ranked skater prospect heading into this season. Buchnevich is clearly the Rangers’ top prospect, and he should come to North America next season, after he finishes this season up with the KHL. Here’s what Pronman had to say about Buchnevich:
Buchnevich’s 18- and 19-year-old seasons have been some of the very best in the history of the KHL, showing he can play versus men at a high level in the world’s second-best league. He’s a winger with great puck skills, impressive hockey sense and above-average speed. He has size to couple with that and while he’s bulked up a fair amount, some more could help before he hits the NHL. Buchy is not a complete prospect, but he’s consistently dangerous offensively. He should be in the NHL in 2016-17, or as a potential late season add after his KHL season ends.
It’s worth noting that Buchnevich is ranked two spots ahead of Anthony Duclair.
A few prospect notes to round out your Friday:
- Calle Andersson, the Rangers 4th round pick in 2012, will leave Sweden and play in Hartford next year. I said that Andersson could be a sleeper, and coming over to North America shows he is ready for the next step in his development.
- Cameron Askew, Jerret Smith, and Mark Simpson are three players that will be invited to play on the Rangers Traverse City Tournament team this year. Credit to Adam Herman for consolidating that information.
- The Wolf Pack have re-signed forward Shawn O’Donnell. The 27-year-old will provide nice forward depth for the Pack.
While several Rangers prospects have received much greater attention over the past season or so, Steven Fogarty has flown a little under the radar despite making solid progress at Notre Dame. One of the main reasons Fogarty went the college (and Notre Dame) route was to concentrate on his play away from the puck and Fogarty looks like a player that can play all three zones. He’s become a strong defensive player.
Fogarty is a big boy at 6’3 and 200+ lbs and the Rangers have been able to leave him to develop at his own pace which means four full years at the college level. Fogarty will play one more year of college but the big two-way center has intriguing potential at the pro level and has appeared to make good progress throughout his college career. Fogarty wears the ‘C’ in Notre Dame and the level of responsibility bestowed on Fogarty will stand him in good stead as he approaches professional hockey.
It’s pretty unfortunate, but here we are in the dog days of the hockey off season. Luckily for us though we have 34 prospects as of right now that have their rights owned by the Rangers to talk about. So today we will be looking at some of the guys on the lower end of the group and what may possibly arise from them. This is going to be a weekly post, so stay tuned for more rankings.
34 Michael Kantor– Kantor is a hustling bustling 23 year old American right winger in the Rangers system that has some intrigue around him. The former Sudbury Wolves captain signed with the Rangers in the summer of 2013 then made his pro debut the following season. While he impressed in the ECHL, getting 3 assists in 3 games, he has yet to record his first point in the AHL. Twenty-seven games in his first season with the Wolfpack with 113 PIMS and no points isn’t something to be super excited about. Last season wasn’t great either as he once again did well in a small showing in the ECHL but only played 1 game in the AHL recording no points. His injury and low point production history do not really bode well for him in terms of an NHL future, as a matter of fact I don’t really think he has one. However, everyone has a chance and you never know. If anything Kantor is most likely a 12th or 13th forward that hustles and forechecks every shift should he make the NHL, which is something I don’t believe is likely.