Rangers Keep Eye on Future with Signings

As the Rangers announced the signings of Ryan Bourque and Dylan Mcilrath it signified the next step in the youth movement. With Carl Hagelin rumoured to follow them as soon as his college season is over the youth movement many, many fans have long clamoured for appears to be accelerating. The signing of Bourque, in particular, caught my attention. In my opinion it’s a clear display of confidence in the young, undersized and oft injured winger’s potential. With him being signed relatively early (given the amount of the season still ahead) it is a sign that the Rangers are not afraid to continue to integrate smaller players providing their play deserves it. Bourque – when fit – has been an impact player for Quebec of the QMJHL and has excelled as a checking forward on the international stage.

Looking at the current Rangers roster there are some notable ‘smaller’ players. With Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Callahan both players of smaller stature – especially Zuccarello – the Rangers have notable contributors already in the line up. What makes the integration of these players easier is the size around them. Not a single Rangers defenseman is under 6’1 and 200lbs. Only 4 forwards listed on the current roster are less than 6’0 while 9 forwards listed are over 200lbs. That’s quite a bit of physicality surrounding the Zuccarello’s of the team.

With Bourque, Hagelin, Christian Thomas and Jesper Fasth all being prospects that would be considered undersized the Rangers will make sure the physical balance is right. It’s when discussing physicality you come back to the name Dylan Mcilrath. Some fans may be surprised that the 2010 draftee has already been signed when considering the current NHL defense seems set, that the defenseman’s game (apparently) still needs refining and given the fact that the Rangers had three seasons to get him under contract. So what’s the rush? Well first of all he is more than physically ready (if not imposing) for the NHL and secondly we have heard Tortorella repeatedly mention his preference to teach prospects first hand. That is one of the reasons the coach has been publicly anxious to get Chris Kreider into the organisation. Given those two aspects, Dylan Mcilrath may be an outside bet for a roster spot next year, providing he has a good camp. Stranger things have happened.

Every additional prospect the Rangers sign will mean one less NHL contract (of the 50 allowed) available for a free agent and this isn’t something to be forgotten. The Rangers are clearly in youth mode and the blend is starting to look promising. With several younger players learning on the job it will be an easier dressing room to acclimatise to for the next few kids that make the jump.


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  • I would personally rather see them continue to try and integrate the up-and-comers than sign FAs, anyways.

    I think that, legitimately, we’re still at least 2 seasons away from being a serious contender. So, why not let the young guys get a year or two of experience instead of signing FAs that will just eat up cap space.

    McIlrath doesnt seem like hes the kind of D-man who is going to command 20+min a night anyways. So, he could easily fill a spot on the 4rd pairing (which is already a toss-up for us). If the rangers can snag McCabe for another 1 or 2yr contract then McIlrath could potentially benefit from a year of lower minutes with a solid veteran partner. This is, of course, assuming that he comes in, has a great camp and gets a shot at the NHL, which is most certainly NOT a given.

    Then, any combination of Kredier, Hagelin, Borque, Thomas, Fasth can round out the roster in place of guys like Prospal, Christensen, Boogaard, Frolov, Drury… and sadly, Avery.

      • Barry Beck… Boxcar Hospodar… Bathing suit thief Knuckles Nilan?

        TMD, your short post packs a wallop. The team directly above us in the standings runs The King; no one punishes the aggressor.

        Talbot smacks Henrik today. At least Cally gets a little reach-around in on the Penguin forward.

        Moreover, besides Prust the one Ranger more than willing to stick up for teammates sits: The Grate One.

  • Jurgen:
    Watch the Swedish kid, Jesper Fasth. He might’ve been the Three Crowns’ best forward at the World Juniors. Played with poise. Got dirty. Solid positionally.

    In fact, qualify this as one puckhead’s opinion, he not only outplayed Kreider but looks more big league ready. He might be one of those Red Wing type Swedish finds, a la Holmstrom, Franzen, Zetterberg and Kronwall. Think a sturdier Prucha who can finish.

  • Chris – unfortunately, in todays NHL, you cannot wait 2+ years to make a run at the cup. With Entry Level Contracts, RFA, and the increasing value players put on themselves after decent years…it’s imperative to supplement young talent with veterans.

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