It’s pretty unfortunate, but here we are in the dog days of the hockey off season. Luckily for us though we have 34 prospects as of right now that have their rights owned by the Rangers to talk about. So today we will be looking at some of the guys on the lower end of the group and what may possibly arise from them. This is going to be a weekly post, so stay tuned for more rankings.
34 Michael Kantor– Kantor is a hustling bustling 23 year old American right winger in the Rangers system that has some intrigue around him. The former Sudbury Wolves captain signed with the Rangers in the summer of 2013 then made his pro debut the following season. While he impressed in the ECHL, getting 3 assists in 3 games, he has yet to record his first point in the AHL. Twenty-seven games in his first season with the Wolfpack with 113 PIMS and no points isn’t something to be super excited about. Last season wasn’t great either as he once again did well in a small showing in the ECHL but only played 1 game in the AHL recording no points. His injury and low point production history do not really bode well for him in terms of an NHL future, as a matter of fact I don’t really think he has one. However, everyone has a chance and you never know. If anything Kantor is most likely a 12th or 13th forward that hustles and forechecks every shift should he make the NHL, which is something I don’t believe is likely.
33 Josh Nicholls- Nicholls was a player originally drafted in the 7th round by the Toronto Maple Leafs and is a player that I fully support the Rangers taking a chance on. He produced points in the WHL and the NYR hoped that it would translate to the minor leagues. While the offense doesn’t seem like it will translate the 6’2 right handed center/wing does have the potential to end up being a versatile two way forward, but the numbers are against him. He NEEDS to make the Wolf Pack next year full time after 2 fair seasons in the ECHL. However, even if he does make it he will need to show the Rangers massive improvement, as with prospects like Oscar Lindberg, Ryan Bourque and Marek Hrivik in the system it’ll be difficult for him to even break into the Rangers’ bottom 6, which is where the best case scenario is looking for him. Chances are, when his contract expires next season he will not be back due to the 50 contract limit rule.
32 Michael St.Croix – The only reason I have him ahead of Nicholls is because he is a year younger, but the once offensive dynamo in the WHL is in the same position as Nicholls. Two fair seasons in the ECHL showing offensive capabilities but nothing of substance in the AHL yet, he NEEDS to reach that level. St.Croix is a good passer and quick skater but still needs to work on his overall game. That just hasn’t happened yet and he is running out of time. His offensive skill is something that will give him a chance to take that next step into the AHL, but it is looking less and less likely every time the NYR add another prospect to the system that he has a future with the Rangers or the NHL.
31 Troy Donnay- Troy Donnay is the definition of a project prospect. the 6’7 205 lbs defenseman has actually been improving every year in the OHL playing for the Erie Otters, which is extremely important being that he was 21 this season. Donnay is obviously a big man and uses that reach when he plays defense. He seems like the kind of player that the NYR are willing to take their time with hoping he becomes the big tower on defense that provides a steady responsible game. He still has a lot to work on, including his skating and breakouts, but he will be given a chance in the AHL next season. If he doesn’t make the team there he will most likely be given some quality ice time in the ECHL with Greenville.
30 Samuel Noreau- Sammy “The Bull” Noreau is a big 6’5 227 lbs mean defenseman who just finished his 2nd season in the ECHL. He plays a hard nosed game and is tough in the corners for the opposition, but his skating and positioning continue to be concerns. Some fans in Greenville are excited for him as his kind of game definitely excites fans who like to watch old time hockey, but his NHL hopes are looking bleak unless he can be a better skater as that is the new NHL. However, he does remind me of players like John Erskine, Steve Oleksy and Matt Carkner as that mean 7th or 8th defenseman that some team will eventually take a flyer on.