Archive for Prospects
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.
Hard to believe that this NHL season is already half way overm but while watching this roller coaster of emotions called the New York Rangers I have continued to work on some of my hockey visualization projects as well as scouting some players for the upcoming NHL draft.
First things first, the Rangers will make the playoffs and the 2016 first rounder will be going to the Arizona Coyotes. While I personally want to see a retool and have the Rangers recoup their prospects, I feel that giving the Yotes the 2016 first rounder is better than the 2017 first rounder.
According to Generalfanager.com, the Rangers currently have six picks for the 2016 draft. A 2nd, 3rd, 4th (from Arizona), 5th, 6th and 7th. I fully expect the Rangers to end up with around eight by the draft after trades, either by cap casualty trades or moving back to get two or three exta picks. In any case I have been watching some players in juniors and Europe to try to find some targets that would be able to either fit the system or are simply prototypical NYR picks.
Corey Pronman, one of the best in evaluating prospects, released his updated top-50 prospects, and Pavel Buchnevich sits at #7 on the list, up seven spots from last year. Buchnevich was taken by the Rangers in the third round of the 2013 draft, and has put together a marvelous age-19 season in the KHL. His line of 12-19-31 in 47 games is the best age-19 season since Vladimir Tarasenko and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
The best part about the review is this line:
He could take a top-nine NHL shift right away starting next season.
That bodes well for the Rangers, who are in desperate need of a scoring forward and shooter to be a permanent staple in future lineups. There are high hopes for the kid, and he is probably the most hyped prospect in New York in a long time. He may not make it to the Rangers this year, but he’s expected to come to North America next season and compete for a roster spot with the Rangers.
If you’re looking for that skilled, home-grown player, Buchnevich is it.
Rangers prospect Ryan Graves has been elected to the AHL All Star Game, the lone representative from the Hartford Wolf Pack. Graves, in his rookie season with the Pack, has a line of 3-11-14 in 34 games with the Pack. The 6’4″, 220-lb defenseman was selected in the 4th round of the 2013 NHL Draft, and has made excellent strides the past few seasons.
Brady Skjei did not make the All Star team, but has the same number of points (2-12-14) in fewer games.
The New York Rangers will have four prospects playing in this year’s World Junior Championships, held this year in Helsinki, Finland.
- USA: Brandon Halverson (2nd round, 2014)
- Finland: Aleksi Saarela (3rd, 2015)
- Russia: Sergei Zborovsky (3rd, 2015)
- Slovakia: Adam Huska (7th, 2015)
Saarela is definitely the most talented prospect the Rangers have going, with a line of 10-15-25 in just 27 games in the Finnish Liiga. Zborovsky, whom many thought was a bit of a reach in the third round, has been showing why the Rangers drafted him this high. He’s improved this season, and this will be our first real look at him on a big stage.
As for the goalies, Halverson played for the USA last year, but his use was limited. He will be fighting for the starting gig this year. Huska has been having a stellar year in the USHL, and it shows why Gordie Clarke was so happy to get him in the seventh round. It will be interesting to get a look at him against the next level of competition.
On the heels of a disastrous trip to western Canada that represents the low point of a troubling first quarter, it appears the Blueshirts have reached an impasse wherein they are in danger of taking a clear step back in the contender pecking order. The growing warts in the lineup have deteriorated the team’s quality of play and the Rangers have come crashing down to earth where it appears they’ll stay unless changes are made.
The biggest issues are defenders Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, who for so long ably handled critical roles as stalwarts in the rearguard. But there are also team-wide problems including a less effective forecheck in part due to the loss of Carl Hagelin, frustrating mental mistakes defensively up and down the lineup and nonexistent production offensively from some of the team’s most talented players.
There are always cycles in prospect development. An organisation’s pipeline can’t always be flowing with NHL ready prospects and it seems that the Rangers pipeline has hit such a ‘lull’ in terms of readily available NHL forward talent and it may be starting to have an impact.
Up front, the Rangers don’t have much to fall back on (or call up) and the injury up front to Derek Stepan and the illness to Emerson Etem has highlighted the lack of available NHL ready resources. Hence you see Tanner Glass back in New York this week. However this lack of talent isn’t unexpected. The asset stripping trades, lack of early round draft picks and the multiple prospect ‘graduations’ over the recent seasons has left the Rangers system thin on the ground.
Looking at the Wolf Pack’s depth up front this year and it makes grim reading. Unless you get excited by the idea of Travis Oleksuk, the neigh on thirty year old Chad Nehring or the NHL career flatlining Marek Hrivik then there really isn’t much on the way from the ‘Pack in terms of forward talent any time soon. This is the way it’s going to be for a little while folks. The Rangers’ can’t really afford many injuries because there’s little help on the way.