AHLProspects

As Rangers continue to make cuts, several prospect’s futures unclear

Have the Rangers moved on from Ryan Bourque?
Have the Rangers moved on from Bourque?

The Rangers have been whittling down their roster in the past few weeks as they approach Thursday’s season opener. Many of the players that have already been cut won’t have a future with the franchise, but some players futures have yet to be decided. With the roster due to be finalised within the next 24 hours, we take a look at a few of the prospects already down on the farm.

Ryan Bourque

After a strong end to last season and with significant turnover among the Rangers presumptive bottom six over the summer, Bourque was considered a dark horse for a roster spot. He was never a realistic option. Following his demotion to Hartford on October 1st, the small but hard working Bourque appears to have been passed by several prospects and at this stage of his career. Only a stunning season with the Wolf Pack will get him back in the reckoning and even that may not be enough. An injury call up and/or an uncertain future as trade bait appears to be Bourque’s immediate situation.

Dylan McIlrath

McIlrath has a huge season ahead of him. Not realistically in the mix for the Rangers (and given the only job ‘open’ in camp, nor should he have been), McIlrath will again be under the spotlight in Hartford as he fights for ice time and an opportunity to be the first call up to the Rangers, when required.

At this stage, even his position in Hartford is unclear. With the potential logjam of defenseman in Hartford (Kostka, Allen, Bodie, Hughes, Donnay and maybe Kampfer) how McIlrath’s role and ice time will be determined is unclear. What isn’t unclear is that McIlrath – who had a solid yet unspectacular camp – needs big minutes to develop. The Rangers need a player of McIlrath’s type, the need hasn’t changed. Nor it appears, has his readiness for a full time gig. He’ll be carefully watched by everyone involved with the franchise this year.

Danny Kristo

Anthony Duclair. Ryan Haggerty, Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller. Even Marek Hrivik. Despite a promising first pro-season (that tailed off considerably) Kristo is another that has seemingly been passed by several prospects. The Rangers are in love with Duclair and committed to Hayes and Miller so it will be difficult for Kristo to make the Rangers at all, but unlike Ryan Bourque (bottom six) there is significant uncertainty at Kristo’s position beyond this year.

If Mats Zuccarello and Martin St Louis (free agency, potential retirement) were to leave after the upcoming season, a need for a skilled winger would potentially be huge. Kristo needs a huge season to keep his dwindling chances alive but he still has a small chance. He should have plenty of motivation entering his second year with the ‘Pack. A 30 goal season would likely keep his name in roster discussions.

Mat Bodie/Conor Allen

The Rangers top six defensive positions are well set, although Dan Boyle is not getting any younger and Marc Staal’s situation obviously bears watching. Throw into the mix that John Moore is entering a ‘prove it’ season and there is opportunity to be found on the blue line, long term. Allen and Bodie were both free agent acquisitions so the club aren’t married to either player long term, but if either player were to have a strong year in the AHL they could still be an option for the Rangers, long term. With Calle Andersson and Brady Skjei on the horizon anyone on the current ‘Pack squad wanting to make it to New York will need to have a strong, consistent season this year.

The Wolf Pack could be a dangerous team this year if only for the fact that several players enter the season with a ton of motivation trying to maintain their relevance to the organisation. Several players are approaching a crossroad in their potential Rangers’ careers so there’s plenty to watch as the prospects develop on the farm this year.

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  • I see Ryan Bourque differently. I felt that he emerged last year as a potential 15th-16th forward, but not really much more than that. Injuries happen and you do want a 15th guy who can play without messing up (a level Kristo likely will never reach although he has a higher ceiling). I could see the Rangers keeping Bourque for another year or more.

  • I am less concerned about McIlrath since he is still relatively young and has time to develop. No way the logjam in Hartford should affect his chance to get big minutes if healthy. Players like Borque, Kristo, Bodie and Allen were worth a shot, but most likely organizational depth. The Rangers traded picks and needed to add talent. These guys helped in the transition and if you luck out and find a player, yahoo.

  • It makes me laugh that McIlrath is on this group. He will be a top 4 defenseman for the Pack and in n way do the Rangers have him figured as a bust.

    McIlrath will be fine, he certainly needed this year in Hartford because he was delayed by injuries. I seriously doubt the Rangers have given up on him.

    Same is true of Allen, and Bodie was just signed. Ranger team this year will not be the same team for the 15-16 season or even by the end of this year.

    This New York Rangers team starting the year can not compete for the Cup. We are going to be a month behind with this roster and an extended exhibition season during the start of the season.

  • McIlrath’s spot in Hartford is unclear? Really?

    I think not.

    McIlrath is 22yrs old, two years younger than Allen and still developing along schedule. The Rangers set this schedule for him some time ago and his injuries stretched it out a bit.

    Patience.

    I realize as a 1st round pick fans are very anxious to see a young star in MSG but McIlrath will be better than Sauer, for example, if we just have patience.

  • The plan for McIlrath is likely to spend one more year in CT and then challenege Klein for the 3RD space next season. Freeing up that excess $2 mm would be beneficial to the cap situation next year as 2LD (Staal or otherwise) and a number of forwards will need new contracts

    The others are organizational depth. Nothing wrong with having a strong team in Hartford though I’d be surprised if Bodie or Kristo get much NHL time. Allen played well last year but seems to have lost some of that momentum plus Skjei is due to arrive next season and will likely leapfrog him on the depth chart in relatively short order

    • It will be interesting to see how McIlrath progresses.

      There’s a strong possibility that the Rangers have McIlrath, Skjei, Duclair, Hayes, and possibly Buchnevich in the NHL all on ELCs. Collectively, they will make about $4 million.

    • #Fowler’d

      Seriously though, I think we are all at the point where we know McIlrath needs another year in the AHL, and will challenge Klein for his spot next year.

      • McIlrath would be a better bottom pairing defenseman right now for at least 1 d-man on the bottom third of teams in the league. He would be inconsistent, a bit rough on edges, but at times highly effective as well. The Rangers just happen to be one of the strong defensive units in the league. He’ll be served very well by starting and likely leading the ‘Pack defense in Hartford. For what it is worth, that’s my take.

    • He’s a polarizing player for sure, but I generally agree with the sentiment here that patience is required. He’s still very young, especially by defensemen standards. He’ll certainly get his minutes in Hartford.

      My only concern with McIlrath is if he possesses the necessary speed to play in AV’s system.

  • Leather… I am a huge McIlrath fan! if you check back through old posts I’ve been hoping he’ll make the Rangers since day one.

    By situation unclear i mean no one knows what pair he’ll be on, whether he’ll have significant minutes ad whether someone like Kostka would be ahead of him in the call up qeue because him riding the buses would be less damaging to his development.

    And Bodie and Allen have definitely got to consider guys such as Skjei next year. That doesn’t mean they cant develop but they could be overataken.

    p.s. I like McIlrath! ha

    • I think he plays the whole year at Hartford. If a right D man has to be called up it will be Kostka for this year. I think McIlrath will get heavy top 4 mins in Hartford and the PK duties

  • Do you guys remember how bad Chara when he started with the Islanders? He was a tripod out there, but big defensemen take time and if we are patient with DM, I believe he will be a solid player for the Rangers.

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