Some quick notes from the past few days:
- The Hartford Wolfpack signed goalie Jeff Malcolm and forwards Justin Vaive and Shawn O’Donnell to AHL contracts. Malcolm was signed out of Yale last season, and spent last season bouncing between the AHL and ECHL as Hartford tried to find some kind of solution to their goaltending woes. O’Donnell played last season with Hartford, putting up 3-7-10 in 57 games. Vaive split last season with Hartford and Greenville in the ECHL. All three are AHL deals, and do not count towards the 50 contract limit.
- Steven Fogarty, drafted in the third round in 2011, was named captain for Notre Dame this season. Fogarty is a bit of a defensive specialist with Notre Dame, which is interesting because he was all offense before arriving. It appears he has rounded out his game quite nicely, and has clearly shown leadership qualities. He’s an under the radar prospect that could surprise people if/when he turns pro.
- Update: Just as this was posted, news broke that Dan Carcillo signed a PTO with Pittsburgh. We knew he was gone once the Rangers signed Tanner Glass, but thanks for the memories in the Philly series Carcillo. Well worth that 7th rounder.
Leslie Treff at Hockey’s Future has updated her prospect rankings, and Brady Skjei has taken over the top of the list. That is different from Corey Pronman’s rankings, that had Pavel Buchnevich as the top prospect in the system (Skjei was ranked #4). Treff noted that Skjei has found some offensive upside in his game, and he is adding that to his already stellar defensive play. Buchnevich, Anthony Duclair, J.T. Miller, and Brandon Halverson round out the top-five.
Danny Kristo continues his slide, as the former top-ranked prospect barely cracked the top-ten. Dylan McIlrath fell, but mostly because of the serious knee injury he sustained. I do disagree with Treff on his blurb, as she noted the Rangers will likely use him as a third pairing defenseman. The Rangers already have a top-six and a few spare guys to fill that seventh role, so unless there’s an injury, McIlrath will get his much-needed playing time in the AHL.
I’m going to make a much better effort to continue with the ATF posts this season. It was difficult last year due to personal reasons, but this year I’m trying to start fresh. Calle Andersson is the only prospect in action in meaningful games at the moment, and he has played in two games with EV Zug in the Champions League thus far, losing 2-1 in the opener and winning 5-2 over the weekend. Here’s how the young defenseman performed:
- Calle Andersson (EV Zug, Champions League; L 2-1, W 5-2): 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
Newly signed prospect Kevin Hayes has been added to the Traverse City roster for this year’s tournament. He will join the 14 other forwards when the tournament begins in September. Hayes, a former first round pick of the Blackhawks, was signed by the Rangers this week after the Hawks failed to sign him before the August 15 deadline.
Kevin Hayes is the most hyped College Free Agent since Justin Schultz and the Rangers signing him to a contract despite fierce competition around the league is indeed a coup for the club; however immediate expectations will need to be kept in check despite his burgeoning reputation. Particularly from our excitable fan base.
Hayes fills a need for the Rangers, but possibly not in the short term. With Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, Marty St Louis and Mats Zuccarello, the Rangers are very well catered for on the wings in their top six. Go a little deeper and you have the likes of Carl Hagelin and Lee Stempniak who are looking for bigger roles. In short, Hayes will not have it easy breaking into the line-up straight away in a position that will aid his development.
This is without considering whether Hayes is even pro-ready, whether his skating (a minor concern, if you believe the media) is good enough to start in the NHL or whether the Rangers feel he would be better served, short term, with bigger minutes in the AHL to begin his pro-career.
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Per Corey Pronman (subs. req’d), Pavel Buchnevich and Anthony Duclair sit atop the Rangers prospect list this year. Although the Rangers are ranked 28th in the league (by Pronman), it’s worth noting this nugget:
Following the graduation of several top prospects, dealing away top picks and the simply fine development of some of their early-round picks, the Rangers’ system is a little light at the moment.
The Rangers are at a point in their system where they’ve seen a lot of talent hit the NHL level, and they have a bit of a gap before the next crop hits. While they don’t have the top-end talent, they certainly have guys that can plug holes:
The Rangers may not have a strong system, but they do have potential plug-in options in case of injury to their veteran roster. Kristo, Lindberg, Fast, Haggerty, Dylan McIlrath and Allen could all reasonably find ways to get into the lineup, although all probably in depth roles.
I didn’t have Danny Kristo in my Top 25 Under 25, but Pronman had him in the top-three prospects. That’s the beauty of prospects.
Tops this year.
Last year, I made a valiant first attempt at creating a New York Rangers version of the Top 25 Under 25. Basically, the NYR blogging community was called out by Oilers’ bloggers for not having one, and I said, “challenge accepted.” It’s something I had fun writing, so I’m going to write it again, updating it for 2014.
The ground rules for this 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. This is my own personal opinion of these players, so if you disagree, feel free to let me know in the comments.
1. Derek Stepan (Last year: 2)
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Per Corey Pronman (subs. req’d), the Rangers are at the bottom of the NHL in prospect depth, ranking 28th out of 30 NHL clubs. The reason is that, based on Pronman’s criteria, both Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller are considered graduates and no longer count as prospects. The lack of first round picks and the slow development –due to injury– of Dylan McIlrath also factored into this ranking.
The low ranking shouldn’t be a surprise, as Pavel Buchnevich was the only prospect to crack Pronman’s Top-100 list earlier this week.
The Rangers have announced their 2014 Traverse City Tournament roster. The 23-man roster includes drafted players, undrafted UFAs signed last year, and undrafted invitees getting a look by the organization.
Nathan Burns, Anthony Duclair, Ryan Haggerty, Keegan Iverson, Michael Kantor, Nickolas Latta, Paxton Leroux, Chris McCarthy, Bryan Moore, Richard Nejezchleb, Logan Nelson, Josh Nicholls, Michael St. Croix, Adam Tambellini
Mat Bodie, Troy Donnay, Ryan Mantha, Sam Noreau, Dallas Valentine, Daniel Walcott, Petr Zamorsky
Brandon Halverson, MacKenzie Skapski
Pavel Buchnevich (3rd, 2013) was the lone Ranger to crack Corey Pronman’s Top 100 Prospects list for ESPN (Insiders Only) at #25. Buchnevich didn’t have sexy numbers with the KHL this season, but he had the third-best under-19 season in KHL history. He’s an elite talent that held his own in a league that is very difficult to crack as a teenager.