Ryan Bourque is riding a wave of momentum after his strong second-half performance last season
Immediately after July 1, it looked like the Rangers would have several forward spots open to competition at training camp. However, the eventual signings of Matt Lombardi, Lee Stempniak and Kevin Hayes have made it much more difficult for anyone else to earn a spot in the lineup. The likes of J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg still figure to duke it out with some of those depth signings for the final spot or two, but it’s going to be exceedingly difficult for anyone else to enter the fray. With that said, here’s a look at the handful of forwards and defensemen that could conceivably be in the mix with a standout performance at camp.
Ryan Malone – This one is a real long-shot not only because of the legal questions surrounding Malone, but because the Rangers would have to ship out a player to fit Malone under the 50-contract limit. Malone was once an effective power forward and is presumably being invited to training camp on the off chance the Blueshirts catch lightning in a bottle in their search to replace Benoit Pouliot, but unless Malone dominates, it’s highly unlikely he makes the team.
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Sorry for missing this yesterday, but in preparations for the storm I missed this signing. The Rangers signed 2013 3rd round pick –and big time talent– Anthony Duclair to an entry level deal yesterday. Duclair is the first Rangers draft pick from 2013 to sign a deal, although that comes as no surprise. Duclair was a huge talent headed into the draft, but questions about work ethic and declining production caused a slide to the third round. This year Duclair has been on fire, with a line of 31-26-57 in just 37 games.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed at the moment (first year of the deal is likely 2014-2015), but the 18-year-old will not count towards the 50 contract limit until he hits the AHL (minimum age: 20 years old).
The 2013 draft is now in the books and the Rangers have added five more youngsters to their prospect system. Let’s take a look at where all the prospects stand heading into the offseason.
On the cusp
After bursting onto the scene during the 2012 playoffs, Kreider struggled out of the gate with the CT Whale to start the 2013 season. He joined the Rangers following the lockout, but never earned major minutes under coach John Tortorella and was frequently sent back and forth from New York to Connecticut. Still the crown jewel of the Rangers’ system, Kreider should be handed a much bigger offensive role next season under Alain Vigneault.
Miller’s quick climb up the ladder to New York was extremely impressive and though his 2012-2013 season was cut short by a wrist injury, he should also have a job to lose in September under Vigneault. Miller’s game is very much a work in progress – he was guilty of some horrible defensive mistakes and didn’t contribute much offensively, but Miller looked like he belonged in the NHL. He’s proven to be a very quick study all along and will be expected to continue his growth as a Ranger next season. Read more »
Adam Tambellini was the Rangers first pick of the day (Garrett James, Surrey NOW).
The Rangers were relatively quiet on draft day. After making the decision to hold on to Brad Richards, a quiet day for the Rangers was expected, since they have little room to maneuver under the $64.3 million cap. Despite a quiet day, the Rangers lucked out in the third round, as two highly skilled players fell to them due to various reasons.
The first trade of draft day was actually made by the Rangers, when they sent RFA forward Benn Ferriero and a 2014 6th round pick to Minnesota for defenseman Justin Falk (Note: Not Justin Faulk from Carolina). This move addressed the Rangers need for defensive depth while giving up very little of actual value. The Rangers have a logjam of AAAA guys, and while he does have value, the Rangers needed to address their depth issues on the blue line.
As for the draft, the Rangers selected LW Adam Tambellini (son of Steve) at #65, Pavel Buchnevich (LW from Russia) at #75, Anthony Duclair (LW) at #80, defenseman Ryan Graves at #110, and goaltender Mackenzie Skapski at #170.
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