The 2023-24 Rangers prospect season has concluded except for the Memorial Cup Final, and it was an eventful season. Two more Rangers prospects won gold at the U20 World Juniors, with Drew Fortescue and Gabriel Perreault joining a long list of previous winners who also don the Blueshirt. That list, by the way, includes 12 current Rangers: Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad, Will Cuylle, Jacob Trouba, Vincent Trocheck, Chris Kreider, Alexis Lafreniere, Jimmy Vesey, Kaapo Kakko, Jack Roslovic, and Brennan Othmann.

There were also letdowns and stagnant performances from several Rangers prospects. As we look at which prospects have seen their stocks rise and fall, you’ll see a few names missing. Notably, Jaroslav Chemlar, Matt Robertson, Kalle Vaisanen, and Zakary Karpa are all absent from the list. Let’s say the first three kept their stocks steady while Karpa played himself further away from an NHL contract. 

Flying High

1. Noah Laba: Laba missed out on my top 10 Rangers prospects last summer despite a relatively impressive first season in college hockey. He stepped up his game this season and wins the Rangers Prospect Award for most clutch goals, netting multiple game-winners against top-tier college opponents. I haven’t had time to do my deep dive video on him yet, but once mid-June hits I will get to work on that. An impressive season from the fourth-round pick though. 

2. Brett Berard: I have been a massive Brett Berard fan since draft day. I had him graded as a second-rounder and love his skill set. Even factoring that in, my opinion of Berard has gone up after a strong rookie season in the AHL. Berard’s high-end skating and motor offer traits this Rangers team lacks, making him a legitimate threat to make the team as soon as next season. I see middle-six scoring upside with the ability to contribute on both sides of special teams. 

3. Gabe Perreault: If you follow me or have read my work here, you probably know how high I was on Perreault going into the year. I tried to pump the brakes on production expectations, but I really never expected 60 points out of him, and he could have hit 70 if he was healthy to end the year. We will get a chance to see him without Will Smith and potentially Ryan Leonard next season, where he will play even bigger minutes at BC. I expect him to thrive and think he is a top-10 drafted prospect in the league. 

4. Dylan Roobroeck: Another of the giants Chris Drury has targeted with these later picks, Roobroeck looks like a shrewd pick. The model created by the outstanding Josh Khalfin & Chase McCallum did like him last summer due to his production jump the year before. Roobroeck made another significant production jump this season, finishing 32nd in OHL scoring and earning a contract with the Rangers. I still think he is a project, but this bet by Drury is trending in the right direction. 

    Honorable Mention: Matt Rempe – I felt he deserved some kind of a mention, even if he’s not necessarily considered a Rangers prospect anymore.. Not much to say here except props to this kid. He might have a multi-year career despite what the haters say, just needs to clean up his game a bit so he isn’t an automatic penalty. 

    Holding Steady

    1. Brennan Othmann: Where we stand right now with Othmann is about right, which may be disappointing for Rangers prospect watchers. He is a player I like a lot; he has clear NHL traits, excellent competitiveness, and a solid production history. His first AHL season was strong, if only a little reliant on powerplay scoring. That is okay though, because playing on an NHL powerplay is a big part of his projection, and he has shown that he definitely has the skill needed to contribute there. I still see a borderline top-six winger who will play on an NHL powerplay. Like Berard, he will be a threat to make the opening night line-up next season. 

    2. Dylan Garand: Garand is a player I like and I have been surprised to see him drop off from many top-10 goalie rankings. He is 21 years old and has played two seasons in the AHL! While his regular season play has been prone to the consistency issues goalies usually face early in their careers – and that plagued Hartford after losing Knobloch – his post-season play has been outstanding both seasons. I want to see more regular-season dominance next season, but I still view the former CHL Goalie of the Year as having NHL starter potential. 

    As an aside, if Igor Shesterkin’s contract demands are out of control, Garand may be a decent fall back option. Just not on Shesterkin’s level, of course.

    3. Hugo Ollas: Ollas put together his third impressive season of NCAA hockey at Merrimack. I can see how some might view the downturn in save percentage through the three seasons as discouraging, but consider the quality in opposition-quality jumped this past year; I do not remember the last time Hockey East was this strong. I thought he would return for one more season due to the log jam down in Hartford, but I think he will still get some AHL game-time next season. 

    4. Drew Fortescue: I liked the Fortescue pick even though he wasn’t the NTDP defenseman I wanted at that spot. His first season at BC saw him play a massive role on the team’s top pairing and a supporting role for USA at the World Junior Championship. His skating, transition game, and defending are all serviceable NHL-level traits. While his offense is not a standout quality, he has shown that he can make the right plays and will chip in with a long-range goal occasionally. He is holding steady with a third-pairing projection if he continues this trajectory, although it will take time.

    Need to See More

    1. Adam Sykora: I’ve banged this drum since we learned that Sykora would play in Hartford. Let me be clear: I like Sykora, I like his traits, and I still think there is an NHL player there. I also do not think he had a “bad” season, I just think he was not put in a position to have the type of season you want to see from a player with his experience and talent. I wanted to see him in a position to produce more offensively, and I was a bit disappointed that he was not a leading scorer for Slovakia at the World Juniors. Looking under the hood it looks like he deserved more than he got on the scoresheet, but that has always been the deal with Sykora. Again, I still believe in the player but I want to see more next season to believe he is more than a bottom-six pest. He has the traits!

    2. Bryce McConnell-Barker: I wanted to see more from BMB this season. As I outlined last summer, I expected him to push for a bottom-six role on Team Canada and approach 90+ points in a lead role for the Soo. Instead, his production stagnated and he never made a serious push for the Canadian team. By no means is he a lost cause, there are still aspects of his game that could eventually translate to the NHL level in a fourth-line role. Nevertheless, I expected more from him going into the season and it was a letdown. 

    3. Maxim Barbashev: I was not a fan of the Barbashev pick on draft day and have not been impressed by him since. 35 points in 59 games as one of the older forwards in Canada’s weakest CHL league is not promising, and Barbashev only managed to get into one game for the Wolf Pack. I would be shocked if he is signed.

    As we move closer to draft day I will have a couple pieces on targets for the Rangers’ first-round pick. You rarely get a standout player with pick 30 but I think some intriguing options might be available.

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