Seventh Annual New York Rangers Top 25 Under 25: Numbers 19-15

Yesterday we ranked the first six players to crack the 7th annual New York Rangers Top 25 Under 25, and now it’s time to tackle the next five. As a refresher, the ground rules for this list are simple: To qualify for this list, a player must be under 25 years old. It doesn’t matter if this player is in the NHL, AHL, or in any of the leagues around the world. If they are Ranger property and under 25, they were considered.

Aged Out (3): Jacob Trouba, Boo NievesBrady Skjei
No longer with the Rangers (5): Neal Pionk, Michael Lindqvist, Patrik Virta, Brandon Halverson, Dominik Lakatos
Honorable Mentions (6)Ty RonningTim GettingerVille MeskanenVinni LettieriRyan LindgrenOlof Lindbom
Prior Rankings: 25-20

19. Karl Henriksson – Forward, 2019 2nd round pick (LY: NR)

Henriksson was a home run swing by Gordie Clark, Jeff Gorton, and the rest of the scouting team at this year’s draft. The playmaking center had a solid J20 season in Sweden, putting up 13-36-49 in 45 games, and is expected to play in the SHL for Frolunda next season as an 18 year old. As expected for a playmaker, Henriksson is a great passer with solid hockey sense.

The biggest concern, and why he doesn’t rank higher, is how much of his production is linked to 2020 top-ten pick Lucas Raymond. However based on the above, it looks like Henriksson generates offense without Raymond, which is a great sign. Let’s see how his rookie year in the SHL goes.

18. Brendan Lemieux – Forward, trade with Winnipeg (LY: NR)

When the Rangers acquired Lemieux in the Kevin Hayes trade, a lot of folks were left scratching their heads. Lemieux is talented for sure, but there were other players in Winnipeg’s system that seemed to fit the “young and skilled” mold more than Lemieux. Lemieux is viewed as a grinder, even though he was the first pick of the second round in the 2014 draft. A player like Lemieux, a grinder/pest that is also skilled, has an important role in the NHL. There are very few players like Lemieux. If he’s Sean Avery on the first go round, not the second, then this is a solid trade and Lemieux will find himself a top-nine role. This kind of sandpaper is the kind we like – those that can do more than just piss people off.

17. Yegor Rykov – Defense, trade with New Jersey (LY: 11)

Rykov slides a decent chunk this year, but as with the rest of the slides this year, it is by no fault of his own. Rykov had a great year with Sochi in the KHL last season, playing big minutes for a playoff team. He’s not a noted scorer, putting up just 3-6-9 in 47 games, but he is a solid skater and just overall solid defensively. He’s what most people think Ryan Lindgren is. It’s why Rykov has ranked high on this list in the past, and why he will continue to be on this list as long as he continues to show progress. If there’s a sleeper to make the club on the left side this year, it’s him.

16. Matt Robertson – Defense, 2019 2nd round pick (LY: NR)

It’s funny. Robertson was considered to be a “safe” pick by the Rangers, but he’s possibly the most valuable in the 2019 draft. By the way, have I mentioned how much I love what the Rangers did in this draft? Roberton excels in transition and is a solid passer, which is something the Rangers sorely need on the left side.

Robertson is just overall solid across the board. He’s not perfect, after all he’s a second round pick and not a first round pick, but as the NHL evolves into a transition game, players like Robertson are gold. The quick first pass to start the breakout is the most important, and is infinitely more valuable when you can actually defend as well.

15. Morgan Barron – Forward, 2017 6th round pick (LY: 21)

Barron makes a big jump this year after almost doubling his output with Cornell in his sophomore season. In 36 games, Barron tripled his goal total and added 50% to his assists, finishing with a line of 18-15-34 in 36 games. He’s one of the bigger prospects in the system at 6’3″ and 214 pounds, and he knows how to use his size to grind through a forecheck down low. As expected, he’s strong, which leads to solid puck protection, but he’s also very skilled and can create offense. There’s a reason why he was one of Cornell’s leading scorers last season. He still has a long way to go, but if he continues on this development path, then the Rangers found a gem late in this draft.

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  • I think that Robertson will turn out better than most fans think.

    And as I have said in the past, remember the name Morgan Barron.

  • Henriksson spent more than enough time away from Raymond to know that he doesn’t drive play. Not sure where he slots into the roster 4-5 years down the line.

    I like Lemieux, can play up and down the lineup and he’s the right kind of redass you need in a lineup. Hopefully he knows how to go best mode like his dad for the playoffs and forgets the regular season floating part.

    I’m just suspicious of Russians transitioning to the small ice, you need to be a lot more active in your own end than they do in the KHL, so reservating judgement until I see him live.

    Robertson can be a 2nd pair guy, just will take time.

    I like Barron, but unless he takes a mega step this year, you have to peg him as a bottom 6 guy

  • All five players mentioned are exciting for me. The sleeper is Barron, who is big, strong, and skilled. That combination can be lethal to say the least.

    The Lemieux kid is for real, and will contribute this season. He will be a member of the fourth line for sure, and depending on today’s results, could very well on the third line?

    After an adjustment to the North American game, and the smaller rinks, don’t be surprised if we see Rykov as our third pair left side d-man.

    Now to the other two players, both are young, but it may take some time before we see them. I also loved the pick of Matt Robertson , and look forward to seeing him play for us in some three years, or so.

  • “There’s a reason why he was one of Cornell’s leading scorers last season.”

    Not one of, Barron led the way and it wasn’t that close …. but like Reenavipul said, he needs to take a good sized step to be considered Top 6 material for this team.

  • Nice to see such a good group of young players from 19 – 15. Understand that they all have room to improve to make the big club but the skill set is there and they are great prospects to have in the pipeline.

  • Brendan LeMieux or Morgan Barron, who do you pick? Sorry Brendan, you’ve just been included as the “sweetener” in a deal to free up some cap space. It takes a lot of “grit” to be better than someone who’s 6’3″ and 214 who can actually put the puck in the net.

    • It’s pretty early to make that type of decision. Lemieux can play that Brandon Prust/Sean Avery role in the bottom 6 — and you really need that come playoff time. Plus he’s still cost controlled.

    • I don’t think it is a real question. Lemieux is a useful bottom six player with a low ceiling whereas Barron is a likely never will be who just may turn out be really good. If I am making a trade with the Rangers, I am looking for a certain kind of sweetener (not the same for every team) and both players don’t satisfy the same wants.

  • If I am the Rangers, I reach out to Paul Fenton and make him a big part of the scouting department, he thrived in that roll in Nashville.

    • He’s almost 60, asides from an advisory role why would you have him in the system when you’re trying to get you other scouts a career path up for when Gordie moves on?

  • The Rangers signed Jacob Elmer and Patrick Newell in the spring. How long has it been since the Rangers have had a prospect group where one or both would have been omitted from the top 25? I think that really sums things up – you aren’t struggling to find names for the list.

    Thanks for doing all this. I’m sure all of us have at least some disagreement with your rankings, but it provides a good starting point for discussion (and you certainly aren’t that far afield. Personally, I would have given the #16 spot to Lias Andersson, behind Rykov and Lindgren and the other thirteen you have not yet mentioned.

  • The suspense is killing me,Marc Staal is 5.7 mil. of dead cap space on the team & only half of that if he’s bought out.

  • Man. If the buyout is real–nobody will trade for a player they can sign and not give up anything. If the rumor is bunk–well–no GM will give something up because they are assuming they can get Shatty, essentially, as a UFA in a few hours.

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