Seventh Annual New York Rangers Top 25 Under 25: 5-1

We are at the top five of this year’s New York Rangers Top 25 Under 25, and boy is it one hell of a top five. When a current 20 goal scorer in Pavel Buchnevich and the top scoring defenseman in Tony DeAngelo from last season don’t crack the top five, then you know it’s a great list. And that doesn’t even account for the potential top-four defenseman Adam Fox and a pair of first round picks in Lias Andersson and Nils Lundkvist.

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 TroubaBoo 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: 25-2019-1514-11, 10-6

5. Igor Shesterkin – Goalie, 2014 4th round pick (LY: 4)

The heir apparent, Shesterkin finally came over from Russia and will likely start his North American career in the AHL this season. Shesterkin owned the KHL last season, putting up a whopping .953 SV%, a 1.11 GAA, a 24-4-0 record and 10 shutouts. That’s just crazy for a 23 year old. There’s a reason why he’s been untouchable in trades. All this is before he gets to work with Benoit Allaire, the goalie whisperer. Now a grain of salt, as former Rangers goalie Magnus Hellberg also put up stellar numbers. Regardless, the Czar is likely to replace the King in the near future.

4. K’Andre Miller – Defense, 2018 1st round pick (LY: 7)

Miller absolutely crushed the Big-10 last season, his freshman year at Wisconsin. A physical specimen, Miller put up 5-17-22 in 26 games. This kid can skate like the wind, has great offensive and defensive instincts, and has tremendous vision on the ice. He’s far and away the best defense prospect in the system. I don’t know what else to say about Miller that you all don’t already know. I’d imagine the Rangers do everything in their power to get him over as soon as possible.

3. Vitali Kravtsov – Forward, 2018 1st round pick (LY: 3)

Kravtsov has actually flown under the radar a bit since Kakkomania hit. He has top line potential, but is more likely to be “only” a top-six forward. This is another tremendously skilled player who sees the ice well and excelled in the KHL as a teenager. He put up 8-13-21 in 50 games, which is impressive considering the best player on the team aside from him is…Ryan Stoa? Kravtsov might not crack the roster out of camp –I’m tempering expectations here– but it’s expected he plays a significant amount of time with the Rangers before the season is over. This kid would be the real deal if Kakko wasn’t the realer deal. If that makes any sense.

2. Filip Chytil – Forward, 2017 1st round pick (LY: 2)

I had a tough time figuring out how to rank Kravtsov and Chytil. In the end, I chose to go with what I’ve already seen from Chytil at the NHL level, even in flashes of brilliance, over a still somewhat raw Kravtsov. Chytil put up 11-12-23 in 75 games with the Rangers last year. He had his struggles, but he had periods of utter domination. He’s slated to be the 2C this season, and better forward depth likely means a better chance for Chytil to meet that potential. He’s got middle-six/top line potential as well, like Kravtsov.

1. Kaapo Kakko – Forward, 2019 1st round pick (LY: NR)

Kakko is the real deal and a bonafide top line winger. There isn’t much else I can add from his scouting report back in April. Although it would be nice if we kept expectations on Planet Earth. He’s not Connor McDavid, but he’s still a top line winger. His presence dropped everyone back a spot, and he hasn’t even played a game at the NHL level yet. That’s how good he is/supposed to be.

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  • Excellent rankings David, really can’t argue too much about them.

    I 100% agree that Chytil and Krav are very close. I think that people are sleeping on Krav because of the Kakko hype. But it would not surprise me at all if Krav ends being the best of the young players this year.

  • The list as posted is an outstanding collection of players, and the reason I have such high hopes for this team long term.

    Of all the players, I’m so looking forward to seeing Miller the most. The day he as drafted I fell in love with his attitude, character, and his devotion to his mom. He stated he wanted her to be proud of him, the kid o oozes with class!

    Like Tony above, I suspect that Kravtsov is going to be the sleeper in that he has no limelight shining on him like Kakko, so he can go about doing his thing, which should be outstanding. Bottom line, we as Ranger fans will be blessed watching this group of kids for years to come, and we’ll love it. A big thank you to JG for doing a bang up job!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lots of potential, which needs to be realized over the next 2 years. Great group of young players. Hopefully the Hartford team grooms many of these into top players. DQ will get the rest ready.

  • Great list of promising prospects, well configured and will get no arguments from me. I am predicting that Jake Elmer breaks into next year’s list into the top 10-12. He’s my sleeper to get more than a cup of coffee with the Rangers this season and be a bottom 6 guy that can score an occasional goal or two. A Jimmy Vesey type with a little more skill and enthusiasm. Just a feeling.

    • The impressive thing about Dave’s list is that Jake Elmer is not on it, not even an honorable mention. In past years, there is no way he would have left Elmer out – there were just too few prospects and one had to include anyone who had a chance.

      I suspect that no one who pays attention to the system would agree with Dave’s exact choices (except Dave of course). As in past years. The difference this year is that the criticism is “why not ______?” instead of “Who in the world is _______ and why is he on the list?”

      Good job overall. My list would have been different of course, but not so different and I cannot say with conviction that I think my list would have been better. Biggest disagreement is with the goaltending where I think (hope?) Lindbom is a prospect whereas I view Huska (and Wall for that matter) as warm bodies, less promising than guys like Elmer and Newell. I expect to see Huska at Maine, else why did Hartford sign a goalie to share duties with Shesty.

      • Regarding Elmer – I am wary on ranking UDFAs high, especially since the Rangers now have a loaded system. In the past, some of these guys may have made the list, but in reality weren’t true prospects. Everyone on the list this year has a shot to make it in some capacity.

        As for goalies, they are voodoo and it’s virtually impossible for me to rank them outside of Shesty. I went with what I had seen/read in the past and this year, and with Lindbom there just wasn’t much.

  • watching Miller this weekend was really enjoyable. He had 2 assists and a goal at the WJSS and really looked solid all around.

    Agree with your rankings here. Chytil and Kravtsov is like 2 A and @ B. which is fine for me.

  • Andy

    Your right about Miller, the kid is the real deal. He’s so big and strong, and can skate like the wind, WOW!!!!!!! To top it off, he a good guy as well……………………

    • Walt, he was a great pick. And worth the trade up. And you are right he is a great kid. So polite and humble and well mannered. He’s going to be a real solid player when he is ready to make the jump. Think about our left side when we have Miller and Robertson in the fold? The future is very bright.

  • This season, hope springs eternal. The best thing about it is that the hope is realistic and based on having a bunch of talented youngsters in the pipeline. The upcoming season will be fascinating both in New York City and in Hartford.

  • I think Kravtsov starts the year in Hartford unless people get moved or hurt.

    When ADA & Lemieux come in, the roster will be at 25. If you’re trying to do the development process the right way; he needs to be on the farm dominating, not getting bottom 6 minutes on Broadway.

    • I don’t think LeMieux is going to keep Kravstov in Hartford. It might be the other way around.

      • I agree with Reenavipul. It isn’t about Lemieux keeping Kravtsov in Hartford; it is about Krav playing at the proper level. The goal is long term development. For Krav, he needs to learn the NA game and hone his skills, best done playing big minutes for the Pack. For guys like Chityl and Kakko, development is best achieved playing with people who know the NHL and not somebody getting used to the game.

        When Krav is ready (and I expect it during the season), guys like McKegg, Nieves and Lemieux won’t keep him out of the lineup, but those players should play ahead of an unready Kravtsov.

        Most people here seem to ignore it, but also the idea that you don’t play in the NHL unless you’re earned it is a motivating factor.

    • “I think Kravtsov starts the year in Hartford unless people get moved or hurt. ”

      What? lol

      Reen, I usually agree with you, but not on this my friend. He starts 3rd line with the big club, book it.

  • I can see Kravstov on the second line with Chytil forming a “dynamic duo”. I think that Chytil still has a lot of raw, undeveloped, talent, and Kravstov’s got just the type of hockey vision and IQ to help bring that out. As for MIller, from what I saw in the few clips from the WJSS, he’s already too big and fast for that level of play. He needs to start playing against men. Kakko is Kakko, an undeniably talented player who just has to prove himself at. the top level. Unfortunately for him, all the hype means he’s going to have to win the Calder or he’ll be called a bust (on the internet, anyway). As for Shesterkin, he’s a goalie … that means there’s voodoo involved. On the plus side, I think that Allaire still has some gris-gris in his bag to work with.

    • If Kakko isn’t on the first line, then the future, assuming Kreider is gone, will be Cheytle-Krav-Kakko/Buch. That my friend is a heck of a line!!!!!!!!!!

  • I was just reviewing the whole list, and thinking about some of the names, and the ones that pop out to me besides these 5 are Morgan Barron and Matthew Robertson. At 6’3″” and 220 lbs., Barron may be the tough forward the fans always seem to be clamoring for, and I can see Robertson and Miller together as one awesome D-pair, both big, both skilled. No matter how our top prospects work out, there is more talent there than I can remember seeing in the Rangers system since … ??? maybe ever!

  • excellent list with a ton of talent…however, we need to start drafting some guys with jam. A perfect example is what happened with our second selection in the second round. I do not question Karl Henriksson talent but we now have a very talented collection of players, 8 picks later Albin Grewe goes to the Wings. These are some of the remarks made about Grewe:

    Grewe’s game is that of a speedy skater with a level of single-minded aggressiveness for the puck and for making his 6’0 frame seem like a much larger, scarier thing just by his relentless forecheck. And did I mention the physicality? I really should point out his physicality.

    He is the highest in the food chain, a t-rex, eats everything and believes that everything is under him.

    Do we have anyone like that in our system? I know we have a bunch of Henriksson types in our system.

    That is my only disappointment with our system.

    • I think that you might find that at 6’2″ and almost 200 pounds now, Kakko will throw his weight around a bit, at least in fighting for the puck and defending it.

      K’Andre Miller, a 6’5″ run away freight train in the making.

      And they are 18 and 19 respectively, so they are only going to get bigger.

      So yeah, I think they might provide some jam.

      • Don’t forget Kravstov. His draft day stats: 6’4″, 183 pounds, at age 18. He may not be easy to push around, either.

        • Possible top line players: Zib at 6’2″, 213 lbs, Kreider 6’3″, 220 lbs, Panarin 5’11”, 168 lbs. Chytil 6’2″, 208 lbs., Kakko, 6’2″, 187+ lbs., Kravstov, 6’3, 183+lbs, Buch, 6’3″, 196 lbs. Not exactly a bunch of smurfs (except for Artemi). Defense: Trouba 6’3″, 202 lbs., Skjei 6’3″ 214 lbs, Hajek 6’2″, 204 lbs., ADA 5’11” 180 lbs., Lindgren, 6’0″, 201 lbs., Rykov, 6’2″, 225 lbs. Those are players who are definitely in contention to be on the team this year. Every one of them is 6′ or over, 200+ lbs (or rapidly growing into it) except for AP and ADA. This is NOT a small team.

  • Can Robertson play in Hartford if he has a good camp or is he at the NHL or juniors stage? Don’t see any way he cracks the NHL this year but the AHL might be good for him as the D and goal tending should be great there this year. Just curious.

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