A Look At The Rangers European Prospects


Igor Shestyorkin, Vitali Kravtsov, Nils Lundkvist, Yegor Rykov, and Olof Lindbom.

These names may be hard to spell and even harder to pronounce. But, one thing for sure is these players represent the future of the New York Rangers.

All of these highly regarded prospects are currently playing in Europe with their eyes set on the NHL some time in the foreseeable future. Last week, we explored some of the top amateur Rangers prospects currently playing in North America. Today, we are going to expound on the plethora of exciting young potential who currently receive their paychecks in something other than dollars.

We cannot have any discussion about Rangers prospects anywhere in the world without starting with their super-prospect, goaltender Igor Shestyorkin. The heir apparent to King Henrik Lundqvist’s throne continues to dominate in the KHL. Shestyorkin’s early season numbers are even more video game-like than in previous campaigns. So far, the acrobatic net-minder is 8-1 with an astounding 0.99 GAA and a ridiculous .958 SV%. He has four, count ’em, four shutouts.

His contract status is a bit ambiguous. However, most feel he will leave the land of Putin and borscht and head over to the states after this current KHL season comes to an end.

The next promising young Russian to opine about is the ninth overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft and that is Vitali Kravtsov. The immensely talented and highly skilled 18 year old is off to a fabulous start with his KHL team, Traktor Chelyabinsk. His seven points in 19 games may not seem impressive considering his skill level. However, when you compare his KHL production at this age with current NHL stars Artemi Panarin, Vladimir Tarasenko and Evgeny Kuznetsov, the future Ranger is right on par with those esteemed NHL all stars.

For the record, I was vociferous in my belief back in June that Jeff Gorton should have drafted prolific scoring winger Oliver Wahlstrom, who would of course be taken by the Islanders with the 11th pick. I am willing to give my namesake the benefit of the doubt here since he obviously knows way more than I do about these prospects. Kravtsov is an exciting player, there is no question about it. We can only hope that Gorton and his scouts made the right decision and Kravtsov, like Shestyorkin, will commence his run on Broadway once his KHL contract expires after the 2019 season.

We will stay in the KHL and discuss the player whom the Rangers received from the New Jersey Devils as part of the Michael Grabner trade and that is defenseman Yegor Rykov: The highly touted prospect, who drew comparisons to former captain Ryan McDonagh, has struggled thus far for his KHL team. So much so that he has only played in seven games earning just one assist. The Rangers believe very strongly in the 21 year old Rykov and would love for him to cross the Atlantic as soon as he feels he is ready to move up in class.

As we hop on an airplane from Moscow and head west to Stockholm, we will discuss the two other names of note from the 2018 draft class and that is the last of the first-round picks. 28th overall, Nils Lundkvist, and second round pick, 39th overall, goaltender Olof Lindbom. These talented young Swedes will almost certainly represent their country in the upcoming World Junior Championships this December. By the way Rangers fans, circle December 26th on your calendars because this tournament will be a must-see for the Garden Faithful. Lundkvist, like University of Wisconsin’s K’Andre Miller, is considered a prospect with great potential, but is a few years away from being NHL ready. The quick-footed 5’11” defenseman could very well quarterback the Rangers power play some day as he is known as a puck mover extraordinaire.

Lindbom was a surprise pick for sure. First of all, the Rangers are stacked with goalie prospects all over the world. Secondly, Lindbom was not expected to be drafted until the third round. Why Gorton went with a goalie with the 39th pick when this team lacked depth and goal scoring up front is a real dome scratcher. But, as stated earlier, Gorton gets paid a seven-figure salary to make these decisions and I am just a passionate fan with a vivid imagination. So, I am going to defer once again to my namesake on this one.

Over the last two draft classes in 2017 and 2018, the Rangers used eleven of their 17 total picks on kids from European clubs. There certainly are other players to watch for besides the ones previously mentioned in the above paragraphs. We will keep our eyes on the likes of Patrik Virta, Dominik Lakatos, Jacob Ragnarsson, Lauri Pajuniemi et al. and monitor their progress. For a franchise like the Rangers to have had empty cupboards seemingly forever, it is a wonderful feeling to know that a bountiful delivery of gourmet groceries will be arriving soon. Last season was brutal. This season is looking like the same. But, my fellow Rangers fans, hang in there as the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is not that far away.

13 thoughts on “A Look At The Rangers European Prospects

  • October 25, 2018 at 11:29 am

    wait a second you mean that the nyr actually got a sniper in Kravtsov, but what about all the know it all fans that post here that they didn’t draft one and whinning and crying over not taking Wahlstrom they are always right aren’t they

    • October 25, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      3 goals in 20 games classifies you as a sniper? If that’s the case the Rangers have a team full of snipers.

      Kravtsov has talent but isn’t considered to by a scorer like Wahlstrom is. Every scout said there isn’t a spot on the ice where Walhstrom can’t score from with his shot. Kravtsov is considered to be more of a playmaker.

      • October 26, 2018 at 11:08 am

        how many goals does Whalstrom have in the second best league in the world as a rookie, hint it is the same number as your IQ

      • October 26, 2018 at 11:09 am

        aren’t you the same guy who that Pionk sucked?

        thought so

        • October 26, 2018 at 12:21 pm

          Oliver Wahlstrom doesn’t play in the AHL he is at Boston College. Yes he has 1 goal this season. Season is 4 games old.

          Show me one time I knocked Neil Pionk? Just once.

          • October 27, 2018 at 10:38 am

            mike you routinely say negative things about the rangers, second guessing every move they make, whether on the ice or off the ice, you are the epitome of the back seat driver, you have no foresight, you cannot see the endgame and harp on what they are not doing.

            this team is going to be difficult to watch, I suggest you don’t for your own health.

          • October 27, 2018 at 12:00 pm

            You are right I second guess this front office when it comes to drafting and developing players. Their track record speaks for itself.

            I harp on what they are not doing, which has always been developing players. If you want to trust this front office to develop that’s your right.

            The team might be difficult for you to watch but I’m excited to see how this rebuild turns out, good or bad. This will be the 1st time they have embraced a true rebuild without relying on free agents in a long time.

            Other than you tired “old comments” your hindsight includes what? I could care less what you think about my comments. Like you I’ve made errors and have been proven wrong. I offer my opinion because that what this site offers fans. I don’t think the site would be as popular as it is if there were no interactions among other fans. Unlike you I don’t blindly believe everything this team does will turn out right. Not every draft pick will be a star just because Gordie Clark says so. You want to constantly chiro how young you are, so riddle me this…..In the 20 years name another Ranger other than Hank that was drafted and developed by this team that either reached their potential or exceeded it since you became a fan. It will be a much easier search than finding a negative comment I’ve made about Neil Pionk.

          • October 27, 2018 at 1:21 pm

            what size is the rink in the whl?

            name the team that has made every right decision?

          • October 27, 2018 at 1:35 pm

            What AHL team does Wahlstrom play for? Or are you saying the NCAA is the 2nd best hockey league in the world?

            It’s not about mistakes. It’s about not replacing the ones who make the same ones over and over. If you want the draft being run by the same guy who took Dylan Mcllrath over Tarasenko, Hugh Jessiman over the likes Of Ryan Gzlaf and Corey Perry or Bobby Sanguinetti over Claude Giroux that’s you opinion. But do t be surprised when your team goes another 20-30 yrs without winning anything.

            Still looking for that Neil Pionk post huh. Good luck with that.

            Stick to just going people old you come across more intelligent that way then trying to say someone else is less intelligent than you right after you post a factually incorrect statement.

  • October 25, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Hopefully we end up in the top 5… still early though but imagine we end up #1 overall and draft (hopefully) Hughes. As well as Tampa winning the cup we can get 2 first rounders.

    • October 25, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      We need some luck to get the 1st overall pick. Luck hasn’t been part of this franchise in eons, so why not now? The more picks and prospects they collect the better the chance one of them turns into a game changer that haven’t had in awhile.

      • October 26, 2018 at 1:56 pm

        Yeah, look at the 2016-17 Avalanche. Somehow NJ got the first overall and not Colorado.

  • November 6, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Yegor Rykov was not getting time at SKA and has found new life with a new coach who Ranger fans should remember (Sergei Zubov) in HK Sochi….getting over 20 minutes a game and showing well. I look forward to him coming over with Shesty and Kravtsov.

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