Welcome back to my top ten prospect series!
(Disclaimer: I underestimated how busy the holidays can get, at this point my series is far from 31 in 31. I’m going to be removing that part and keeping it as a top ten prospect report series past the holidays.)
Last time, we took a look at the New York Islanders farm system. Their pool consisted of a talented but in some cases, troubled group of rookies. Names such as Noah Dobson, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Bode Wilde highlighted that class. Today, we’re going to finish off our mini-tour of the New York area by checking out the New York Rangers’ farm system. Without further ado, let’s have a look.
1. Lias Andersson (LW, 1st Round, 7th Overall in 2017)
After getting off to an electric start with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL where he put up 12 points in 14 games, Andersson earned a call-up to the NHL in early November. Unfortunately, he hasn’t appeared on the score sheet too much, having only registered three points in 19 games. That being said, he could very well just be in the big leagues too early. If he develops his game more in the AHL, he will certainly turn into a top-six scoring forward for the Rangers in the near future.
2. Vitali Kravtsov (RW, 1st Round, 9th Overall in 2018)
While Kravtsov was mostly projected as a mid-to-late first round pick, the Rangers decided to take a chance on him and draft him ninth overall. While it’s early, so far, it’s looking like a good decision. The 6’4 Russian has a hearty combination of grit and skill and has proved he has what it takes to play against professionals. So far this season, he has produced 17 points in 33 games for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL. For someone who was not even projected in the first round by the ISS, scouts now projecting him as a future top line winger in the NHL really says something about his skill.
3. K’Andre Miller (D, 1st Round, 22nd Overall in 2018)
The second of the Rangers two first rounders last year, K’Andre Miller is doing an incredible job in the NCAA for someone who’s offensive totals weren’t anything special last season. Playing for the University of Wisconsin, Miller currently has 17 points in his first 18 games. These are very impressive totals for a 6’4 18-year-old defender, and will likely earn him a couple of extra looks from Rangers’ brass.
4. Igor Shestyorkin (G, 4th Round, 118th Overall in 2014)
Shestyorkin is putting up numbers in the KHL that are borderline unfair. After two incredible full seasons, this one has been his best one to date. So far this season, he holds a record of 14-4-0 with a goals against average of 1.39 and a save percentage of .942. With current Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist getting up there in age, Shestyorkin will likely be looked upon to take over the Rangers’ starting goalie job when the King can’t do it anymore.
5. Nils Lundkvist (D, 1st Round, 28th Overall in 2018)
With Kravtsov, Miller, and Lundkvist as well, the Rangers are looking like they’ve made a killing in last year’s draft. This is welcome change as for the last decade they relied entirely on trades and signings instead of drafting. The 5’11 Swedish defender is currently playing for Lulea HF and has six points in 24 SHL games so far. Seeing that he’s only 18, he will more than likely further most of his development there.
6. Libor Hajek (D, 2nd Round, 37th Overall to Tampa Bay in 2016)
Ever since his draft year, Hajek has been known as the type of prospect that will never wow you with his offensive capabilities. His calling card as a prospect has been his reliance on defense and physicality to get his name out there. He’s currently in his first pro season and only has three points in 31 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. With continued development down there he will hopefully look to crack the Rangers’ bottom pairing spot in the near future.
7. Ryan Lindgren (D, 2nd Round, 49th Overall to Boston in 2016)
Like Hajek, Lindgren is another prospect who is not set out to light up the scoresheet offensively, but rather just stick to a reliable, defensively sound game. Lindgren is in his first AHL season with the Hartford Wolf Pack and has five points in 28 games thus far.
8. Yegor Rykov (D, 5th Round, 132nd Overall in 2016)
Rykov is one of those prospects who will be spending the majority of their development overseas. He’s currently playing in his native Russia for HK Sochi of the KHL, and only has two points in 27 games on the season. He’s said to play a defensively sound game, and despite the fact that he’s taken a step back offensively this season, could still turn out to be a solid player if he keeps working on his game.
9. Vinni Lettieri (C, Undrafted, Signed in 2017)
Did you think Lettieri was Finnish when you read his name? So did I. Believe it or not however, Lettieri is an American born player. The 23 year-old Minnesota native is currently in his second season with the Hartford Wolf Pack and has registered 15 points in 12 games. He’s been in the NHL for a combined 35 games but has only mustered five points.
10. Ty Ronning (RW, 7th Round, 201st Overall in 2016)
Ronning capped off a very good final season with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL last year and is currently in his first full pro season. He’s split time between the Wolf Pack and the Maine Mariners of the ECHL, where he’s put up seven points in 10 games. Ronning’s development will likely take a little extra time but he’s definitely not a write off from making the NHL someday.
Thanks for reading! Tune in next time where we’ll check out the farm system the Ottawa Senators are boasting.