Two questions for the mailbag this week. Guess you guys are waiting for the torture to end, like me. As always, use the widget on the right to send us your questions.
Let’s start with the easy one. Miller, the Blueshirts’ second 1st round selection last year (22nd overall), is a beast. He’s a raw talent that needs fine tuning, but the raw talent is potentially elite. The kid put up 5-17-22 in 26 games at Wisconsin as a freshman defenseman before his injury. He has top pairing potential, but he’s still raw and needs work. He’s a newly converted defenseman, so that may impact his timeline.
As for Lindgren, whom the Rangers acquired from Boston in the Rick Nash trade, his ceiling isn’t that high. The former second round pick isn’t known for his offensive game, and is more of a hard-nosed, stay-at-home type. He had 11 assists this year for Hartford, and looked a little overwhelmed in his three game stay with the Rangers this season. I think we should be happy if he contributes on the bottom pair. Anything more than that is gravy.
Andrew asks: If the Rangers were to win the lottery and get one of Jack Huges or Kaapa Kakko, what do you think the forward group will look like next year?
Winning the lottery and getting one of Hughes or Kakko would be amazing for the Rangers. They’d add an elite center (Hughes) or RW (Kakko) to the lineup. Add in Vitali Kravtsov, their 9th overall selection last year, and you have two teenagers with elite potential coming into the lineup. Even before getting to free agency, that impacts the lineup, and your top six likely becomes Kreider-Zibanejad-Kravtsov and Chytil-Hughes-Buchnevich (or some if it’s Kappo, move Chytil to C and add in Kappo at wing). That’s already a significant upgrade on what the Rangers have today.
If you think the Rangers are going to go hard after Artemi Panarin, then that changes the dynamic even more. That’s three elite talent players that weren’t here last year. At the very least, the Rangers would be fun to watch in the offensive zone.
But there’s a lot of “ifs” here. It’s if the Rangers win the lottery. It’s if the Rangers are players in free agency. And it’s if all these kids hit their potential. If the Rangers manage all this, then the only thing that would hold them back among forwards is proper development.