Prospects

All aboard the hype train

The hype train has pulled into MSG, folks. The first guy off that train is Kaapo Kakko, the second overall pick by the Rangers this year. Followed immediately by Vitali Kravtsov, the 9th overall pick the year before. Right behind them is a murderer’s row of prospects unlike New York has ever seen. Igor Shesterkin, K’Andre Miller, Nils Lundkvist, Adam Fox, Tarmo Reunanen, Morgan Barron, Leevi Aaltonen, Nico Gross, Karl Henriksson, Adam Huska, Joey Keane, Matthew Robertson, and Yegor Rykov.

This may be the first time in Rangers history that they’ve had so much talent at their prospect camp. There are two elite talents, a possible elite goaltender, and two projected top-four defensemen, and that barely scratches the surface. There are a ton of potential middle six/top-four players, and even more potential bottom-six/four players. And I’m pretty sure I missed a few up there.

It is a good time to be a Rangers fan. The cupboard is overflowing with talent, true talent. The hype is to the point where even some kids under 20 years old, Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson, are being completely overlooked and relatively ignored so far this summer. The hype is here, and I am all for it.

Now of course not all these kids are going to make it. Some will be traded, some will flame out, and some will just want to go home to be closer to loved ones. That’s how this business works.

But that doesn’t matter. The Rangers have a metric ton of prospects that are high ceiling. Three of them are slated to make the team this year. Some will be in Europe or the NCAAs, but majority of the rest will be in Hartford, injecting skill and youth to a team that hasn’t had a good team or a good environment since the Bronze Age. We may see a few others get cuppas throughout the season as well.

Jeff Gorton and his front office staff have done a masterful job –so far– of rebuilding the pipeline with legitimate prospects with actual talent and high ceilings. And this was all done within 18 months of the rebuild.

Now don’t screw this up on Monday.

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  • Huh, Krav is looking like the best player in prospect camp, who da thunk it? (I would).

    Remember the name Morgan Barron.

  • Fun times are ahead.
    Our own Crosby/Ovi competition with Hughes/Kakko. Devils/Ranger games will be fun again, just as they were when Brodeur/Hank were at it
    Kravtsov/Wahllstrom will spice things up when they both play for their respective clubs. We might see Kravtsov this year wearing the Blueshirt, I’m not sure how soon Wahlstrom skates for the Islanders.

    JG has done a really wonderful job taking our prospect pool from last or next to last, to one that’s rated very high by people with far more knowledge than I possess.

    The Rangers, if they don’t allow themselves to enter Cap Hell, ala the Toronto Maple Leafs, will not only be fun to watch, but a legit force in a few years. And again, barring stupid contracts, we have the potential to be real contenders and not pretenders , for years and not just one trick ponies.

    Stay the course JG and JD, stay the course…………….

  • Good prospects will fill the pipeline so that free agency doesn’t have to. You use the talent to seed your team and only add the seldom FA to put some shine on the team. Still young and still unproven but exciting none the less.

  • When I read the title of this thread, the hype train, it brought me back to when we drafted Pierre Jarry, and some of the hype he got. I have to laugh about it because this young group of kids, Kravs, and Kakko seem to be the real deal, and should be mainstays for this organization for years to come.

    I still hold out hope for Lias, and Chytle will be a very good player, give them time to develop. Shoot Chytle isn’t even old enough to get a drink at a bar. K’Andre Miller is going to be outstanding, and his character is second to none, the kid is just upstanding. We are so deep, and we forget some of the sleepers we own, Barron at Cornell being one who comes to mind.

    In two years, the 3-S’s will be gone, Hank will retire, our kids will be men, and ready to contend for years. The names mentioned will be marquee players, the system will be running over with talent, and all of this because JG, along with Dolan’s consent, decided to go a different direction. This youth movement is about 50 years overdue!!!!!!!!!

    • You have to believe if Gorton is seriously considering Panarin, that Smith, Shatty of CK will be on the move this weekend. Somewhat surprised we did not hear anything about our RFAs, but I suspect bridge deals for all. Thinking that the Trouba contract (length and cost) will be decided after this weekend.

      Future so bright and full of potential like no time in the past. We need some of these kids to be stars, not just middle 6 forwards and defensemen. Kakko will need time to fix his game to the smaller rink – something Kraftsov has done over the past few months. Once the logjam at defense gets cleared, we should be able to see some of the kids get real minutes. Imagine having Trouba, Skjei and Tony D as our veterans with the rest of the defense filled with youthful exuberance?

      • Truth

        I hope that we don’t sign Panarian, but if we do the team will be compelled to trade at least Kreider, and probably Vesey, and maybe Smith, if they could find buyers for all three. As much as I hate saying this, Staal will retire a Ranger. No one else wants a slow, immobile, blind in one eye, soft defensman, so he won’t be moved to the glee of some on this site.

        Go the the official Ranger site, look, and listen to the interview with Barron. The kid is articulate, bright, and has filled out his frame from when we drafted him two years ago. The kid has a pair of shoulders on his 6’4″ frame. If all goes as planned, the Rangers could be a very big team. All of the following kids are at least 6’2″, or greater:

        Kakko
        Kravtsov
        Barron
        Miller
        Trouba
        Sjkei
        Matt Robertson
        Adam Edstrom
        Rykov

        Just a few names that come to mind. JG, and JD are all for big kids, just look at Boston, and St Louis, teams built by these two. Yes sir, this team is going to be fun to watch down the road, and to be honest, I can’t get this grin off of my face!!!!!!!!

        • Bro, the only current Ranger that may be traded that is worth worrying about is Kreider. All the others need to go whether Panarin comes or not.

          See, that’s what fans are not getting. Even if Panarin does not come here, Vesey, Names, Strome, Shatty, and Smith all have to go. They are blocking the young players anyway and they all have no future with the Rangers going forward. Staal is staying, so we have to get used to that.

          If the Rangers did get Panarin, they could be creative and keep Kreider as well, in addition to signing Trouba. The King and Staal come off the books in 2 years and there would be no one that needs a big contract next year, except for Kreider. Everyone else is already signed (King, Staal, Zib), on ELCs, or on bridge deals (everyone else).

          • I wouldnt mind another year of names and strome. Those this years 2c/3c unless some of our drafted centers really show they are ready to anchor an nhl line. Let them play while the kids season a bit more in Hartford, then trade at the deadline if need be.

            But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Names at least excel with some talented young wingers.

          • They’re ok players, but they have no future with the Rangers. Might as well give their spots to young players.

          • There is no doubt that if the Rangers sign Panarin, they will have to act to get under the cap. However, there are many ways to do it and the Rangers are not forced into any one action. I believe, and I think you agree Tony that the Rangers can do it without trading Kreider. They would just have to make more moves, all involving players not in the long term plans. As you say, only Kreider matters. This is the course I prefer.

            OTOH, if the Rangers don’t get Panarin, I don’t believe we will see an active summer. No cap woes. Vesey, Names, Strome are affordable for this year and the Ranger forward corps needs bodies. [Comparing Kravtsov to Buch, Panarin at a similar age, I think he has a bright future, but honestly, I see less than a 50/50 chance he is an NHL caliber player the first half of this season.] With Trouba, Fox, ADA on the right side, I expect a serious push to trade Shatty with retained salary, but I expect even Smith to be back (unless someone will take him off our hands at full salary with no sweeteners). I do hope the Rangers will sign several veteran forwards to one or two year deals with small salaries.

            I think the fact that the two paths are so different is why we have not seen any deals thus far.

          • I agree with you Raymond, that the Rangers absolutely can keep Kreider, Trouba, and Panarin.

            But that means all the players that I mentioned have to be gone. But here’s the issue, I think that Gorton waited too long to start this process. Other teams’ caps are shrinking and will most certainly shrink after July 1st, when “silly season” starts.

            So who will have cap space? OTTAWA. Ottawa is $11M under the FLOOR. They need to add cap players. So, why not send some Rangers there with a sweetner? Would I give them a first to take some Rangers with cap space? To sign Panarin, CK, and Trouba? Yeah, I would.

            There might be other teams as well, but the list is dwindling. If trades are not an option then it’s buyouts, which is not nearly as preferable.

          • Tony

            Your absolutely right, and I’m a proponent of it. The only thing is I don’t want to sign Panarian, and to do what you are proposing, we will be in a cap hill in a few years. That is my biggest fear, having to move quality kids because we can’t fit them under the cap in a short period of time. We are on the same page for everything else mentioned!!!!!!!

          • Not cap hell Walt, CK’s contract would not start until next year, and the year after that, Hank and Staal are off completely, that’s $14M.

            By then, Buch and DeAngelo, if they’re still here will need contracts. The young players would still be RFAs, and will get bridge contracts.

            So no, the Rangers will not be in cap hell.

          • Let me add one more thing why Panarin may not have to take the highest offer and sign with the Rangers: The Rangers could totally front load the contract so Panarin gets the bulk of his $$ in the first couple of years of the contract.

            That is the power of MSG, to do things like this that other teams cannot, like FL.

        • Yes, JD and JG “are all in for big kids”, but they’re not overlooking skill, either. I don’t know much about Edstrom, but all of the others seem to have it. Kappo, Kravstov, and Rykov have shown it in men’s leagues overseas. Barron and Miller are showing it in the NCAA. Trouba and Skjei are already in the NHL. Things are looking good.

  • you look at what Gorton has done in 2 years(Stepan trade was really the start of the rebuild) and it’s truly amazing. We have recovered from 4 years of no firsts and generally poor drafting, pretty well… can’t wait for October…

  • I for one am a bit apprehensive. Hoping that most of these kids come through, but we will require a strong Hartford staff as well as a complete overhaul of our defensive systems. Do not think our current defensive leadership (LR) is the right guy to take our kids to the next step at the NHL level.

    • No, Ruff’s track record as a defensive coach doesn’t fill me with confidence, but, to be fair, he hasn’t had a lot to work with recently. The influx of new talent (Trouba, Fox, Rykov, Hajek, ADA) should help, and a new coach could really accelerate the process.

    • Keeping Ruff is the only bad decision they have made so far this off season…it’s some what mind boggling. But he needs to go…

  • The hype is a bit overdone. Many of the prospects will not come thru. That is how these things work. It’s a numbers game. But we have enough good and middling prospects that several should make it and we should be a serious contender in 3 years.

    I am a bit concerned by the lack of grit. Size alone doesn’t equate to what the Blues and Bruins exhibited. Most of our sizable prospects are on the soft side. The Barron hype is particularly overdone. He is a good story but at best has a 1 in 3 shot at making the NHL, much less be an impact player. Agree though that JG and JD have a history of putting gritty teams together and will likely address that deficiency soon.

    If Rangers strike out on Panarin and have cap space left I wouldn’t be surprised if they take Reeves from Vegas since Vegas is over the cap and probably needs to shed his salary. That would just be a short term move however.

  • Enjoy the hype, there will be plenty of time to bash the prospects later. There’s enough talent here to justify the giddiness.

      • There’s hype and there’s HYPE, this is the first time we can legitimately feel great about our pool of prospects — and they feel it too, like something special is happening here. It’s good for morale and it pushes these kids forward, there’s legitimate “bonding” going on and they’re developing the identity of a CORE GROUP —- surely that can’t be a bad thing as long as everyone understands there are no guarantees. 😉

    • I’m thrilled with the job Gorton has done. Amazing turn around in such a short time. We are on the right path with a tremendous future ahead.

      Guess it depends on how you define hype. It’s the exaggeration of the likely outcome of every prospect that I don’t subscribe to. But just the same fan is short for fanatic so the perhaps unrealistic giddiness is understandable, or at least to be expected.

      Looking forward to an amazing upwards ride for for my favorite sports team!

  • I have been waiting for this train to come since 1962 and like Walt I remember Pierre Jarry as well. We had a little taste in the 70’s but it didn’t pan out and we went back to getting over the hill players who were past their prime. So thank you Gorton and J.D. and even Dolan for finally allowing Sather to step aside. I have to pinch my self once a week to believe this is actually happening. To be honest I never thought it would happen and thought I would die first and wouldn’t see it. Now if they could win another cup before I die that would be great.

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