(Editor’s note: Sioux didn’t offer this up as a guest blog, but rather as a topic of conversation. I thought it was a terrific topic, and as I started to try to write the post, thought, what the hell? Why not just use Sioux’s e-mail as a post? So I did. Good job, Sioux!)
(Also: Now’s the time to volunteer for guest blogs. We’ve got about three weeks before camp opens and plenty of days of chatter to fill. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Who are your TOP Prospects for the Rangers? If you look at the names that are signed, the Rangers have 37 prospects out of the 50 contracts.
Has the competition ever been this deep before, for the prospects coming into this preseason. Ten or more could skate for a Blueshirt on opening night. Take a look at the list – the cupboard is stocked! How do you rank them? The next in line to make the team (i.e. Miller), or their “Top Potential” even if it takes years to get there (Duclair/Buchnivich) ?
This year all eyes are on Miller. Is this the year he makes the team as a starting center? Who replaces Richards as a center for Marty St. Louis & Hagelin’s line? AV called him out last year, he needs to be more of a PRO on and off the ice. Nothing will be handed to him. You almost have to give him the No. 1 prospect number coming into this year as the most watched prospect, with No. 2 going to Hayes after all the hype in signing him.
If Miller isn’t ready you would think Oscar Lindberg has to be right on his heels. After leading the Wolfpack in scoring last year and the Sweden elite league MVP the year before. Could this “horse race” be any closer? Or does Lombardi steal the spot out of camp?
I’ll group the next three together. Kevin Hayes, Ryan Haggerty, Danny Kristo, all played four years in college. All can score. Hayes & Haggerty signed for two years, and Kristo for another year then a RFA. Hayes comes in with all the hype over the summer, as the second coming of THE KREIDER. He sure looks like he’s built for the NHL. He played on the best line in college last year, and was up for the Hobey Baker Award. His linemate Johnny Gandreau won the award. Some thanks would have to go to Hayes, right? This reminds me when Ryan Duncan won the award in 2007, playing on the same line with Toews & Oshie. Ryan has to share that award with T.J & Johnny.
The next two prospects that will help the Rangers, that should be in your Top 10 would be Anthony Duclair & Pavel Buchnivich. At 19 years of age when do they start to get real consideration, next year? Or will they have to go through the “Pack PRO-cess” first? THE DUKE put up 99 points last year, tells me he’s ready to play AHL minutes right away. Buchnivich is really an unknown outside of the games he’s played against team USA, so it’s tough to judge how close he is to playing for the Rangers.
McIlrath and Connor Allen lead the way on the Blueline for the Wolfpack. Allen with 31 points, and McIlrath with 17, I’m not sure who is ahead of who here. Both have different jobs on the Wolfpack. I could see McIlrath getting minutes if the Rangers need toughness. If there is a weakness on the team it will be the lack of GRIT & JAM to use a few of Wicky’s words.
Dan Boyle, Lee Stempniak and Tanner Glass were signed to fill in the voids from last year’s departures. Boyle will help the Power Play, Stemp could ride shotgun to D. Moore, and Glass is the Grit that replaces Dorsett/Carcillo.
Matthew Lombardi & Chris Bourque are a couple of vets that will be role players if needed. But Bourque is only 28 he isn’t considered a prospect, but its hard not to like his numbers in the AHL 26-66 for 93 pts in 2012 and getting 51 NHL games the last 5 years.
Rumors of Ryan Malone getting a PTO, does he steal a spot from someone above?
How would you rank the prospects if you had to give them a number?
Perhaps Skjei, The DUKE, & Buch could have a higher prospect number, but they won’t be in lineup to help the Rangers THIS year.
How would you rank them?
Photos by Getty Images.