2023 NY Rangers Top 25 Under 25 - noah laba

Over the long weekend, we started the 2023 NY Rangers Top 25 Under 25 with the honorable mentions. There is significant turnover on this year’s list, with a whopping 7 (!) players from last year either aging out or no longer with the Rangers. It’s a little tougher to do this list now, and a lot of the players in the 25-16 range are longshots at best. Still, longshot is better than no shot.

The ground rules for this list are simple. To qualify, 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.

As a reminder, my personal rankings take into account kids playing in men’s leagues, so you may see a player or two on here that may not have a sexy stat line, but is a kid playing against grown men. That matters a lot, especially if they hold their own. The reverse is true as well, as big stat lines as an overager in the CHL or getting cut from Hartford last year negatively impacts rankings as well.

Aged Out (2): Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren
No longer with the Rangers (5): Nils Lundkvist, Vitali Kravtsov, Hunter Skinner, Lauri Pajuniemi, Jayden Grubbe
2023 Rankings: Honorable mentions
2022 Rankings: Honorable mentions, 25-21, 20-16, 15-11, 10-6, 5-1

25. Matt Rempe – C, 2020 6th round (LY: Honorable Mention)

Matt Rempe moves up a spot to be in the top 25 this year. He’s a big kid at 6’8″ and 240 lbs, and he does have decent skating and skill for his size. He finished his first pro season in the AHL last season, putting up 6 goals and 10 points in 53 games. Rempe is a longshot to be anything more than an AHL player, but that shouldn’t be surprising since he was a 6th round pick.

I’m not overly sold on the Rangers late round drafting strategy recently, focusing on size instead of talent. At least the big guys they pick can move, for the most part. Rempe will need to start showing he can push people around and be a defensive specialist if he’s to make the leap.

24. Talyn Boyko – G, 2021 4th round pick (LY: Not Ranked)

Goalies are voodoo, and Talyn Boyko is no different. Boyko seemingly turned his 2021-2022 WHL season around following a midseason trade to Kelowna, where he posted a .913 SV%. This year with that same Kelowna team he posted a .898 SV%. The quality of the team in front of him changed significantly, and that plays a major role.

Boyko is a big guy in net, but moves well for his size. He has a very strong core that helps with lateral movements and keeps his movements smooth. He’s very well composed in net, and doesn’t make many jerky movements. He has a long way to go, of course, but strong lateral movement and a composed nature go a long way in goaltender development.

23. Ryder Korczak – Forward, 2021 3rd round pick (LY: 17)

Ryder Korczak tumbles six spots this year after failing to make a Hartford team that was starved for scoring in the first half of the season. His overage year was fine, setting his WHL high of 28 goals and 69 points in 48 games. That would have been a 68 game pace of 98 points, topping his 79 from the year before.

Korczak’s failure to make Hartford is a big ding on his resume. He’s a solid skater with skill, so hopefully this is a blip. But it’s not often kids get cut from their AHL team, return to the CHL, and then eventually develop to a consistent NHLer.

22. Noah Laba – Forward, 2022 4th round pick (LY: NR)

Noah Laba debuts on this list at #22, but to be fair he could have been a bit higher after a strong freshman year at Colorado College. Laba surprised many with an 11-11-22 stat line in 35 games, second on his (quite horrible) team in scoring. What held him out of the top 20 was that horrible team, as someone needs to score and it could have simply been a product of getting minutes. Still, it can’t be ignored either.

At 6’2, 191 lbs, Laba has some good size to go with his physical play. Unfortunately that’s all that his scouting report says. I personally have not watched much of Laba and that scouting report is from his draft year, so it may be outdated. The Rangers may have found something in Laba, or he may have simply benefited from being a decent player on a bad team.

No matter how you feel about Laba, he’s earned his “intriguing” status. It’s all about progress, not perfection. As long as he is progressing, he will be on our radar.

21. Rasmus Larsson – Defense, 2023 5th round pick (LY: NR)

Rasmus Larsson debuts at #21, but like mentioned above, he and Laba could have been flipped. This is where my bias comes in (we all have bias, I just admit it), and why he’s ahead of Laba for now. There’s something about Swedish defensemen that put up points that makes them intriguing prospects. We know that –generally speaking– Sweden is great at developing two-way players that are strong fundamentally. Larsson fits that mold.

He was taken by Green Bay in the 2023 USHL Draft, so we may see more of him at the North American level. He is a great skater and puck mover, in addition to being solid in his own zone. The big question will be his development path and his adjustment to the North American rink size. He’s at least 4 years away.


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