Brennan Othmann takes next step with eye on cracking Rangers lineup

Brennan Othmann
Credit: Hartford Wolf Pack

This week marks the fourth prospects development camp that Brennan Othmann has attended since the New York Rangers selected him with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. But it’s the first one where he’s considered a “veteran” among the Blueshirts prospects.

In fact, Othmann was among four prospects who played in the American Hockey League with the Hartford Wolf Pack last season that was asked specifically by Rangers general manager Chris Drury to attend this camp and take on a leadership role.

“I’m coming here with a little bit of experience with the previous camps and coming here to be a leader,” Othmann explained Tuesday. “Chris and the development staff asked me to come here. Me, (Ryder Korczak, Brett Berard, and Adam Sykora) were asked to come here and be leaders, take a couple of the young guys under our wings and just kind of show them the ropes of being a first-year pro player and we were more than happy to do it.”

This is just the next step in the 21-year-old’s evolution, one that he hopes will land him on the Rangers opening-night roster this Fall. Othmann took to the leadership role Tuesday, in particular interacting with another first-round pick, forward Gabe Perreault (2023), as well as mentoring other younger prospects.

Related: Rangers top prospect confirms he’s returning to college this fall

Othmann eyes making opening-night roster with Rangers

Photo courtesy Hartford Wolf Pack

Othmann is taking everything he learned last year, which included his first three NHL games, and is using it to help him try and stick with the big club in 2024-25. And the 6-foot forward is doing so with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

“My biggest goal is to prove people wrong, to be honest with you,” Othmann said. “I think a lot of people this past year have lost a little bit of faith and belief in my capabilities. I’m just ready to prove people wrong, and I’m going to keep doing that. I’m excited to do that.”

Othmann was second on the Wolf Pack with 21 goals, four off the team lead of 25 scored by Berard, a 2020 fifth-round pick. He was fourth among all AHL rookies with 49 points in 67 games.

The pedigree is there. Othmann scored 50 goals in 66 OHL games with Flint in 2021-22 and helped Canada win consecutive gold medals at the 2022 and 2023 World Junior Championships. He had 25 points in 23 playoff games to help Peterborough win the OHL championship in 2023.

Now Othmann is participating in development camp once again, though the more important camp is in September, at which time he will try and prove he’s NHL ready. The Rangers added veteran Reilly Smith in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday and didn’t sign a premium free-agent forward, so it’d appear that the opportunity is there for Othmann.

The Rangers could give Othmann every chance to show he can play on a line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, or even further down the lineup. Smith, Kaapo Kakko and Will Cuylle will also get looks on the top line. Like Othmann, Cuylle is a natural left wing capable of playing on the right side like Alexis Lafreniere, who seems locked in on a line with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck.

Considering his role in development camp, it’s clear that the Rangers view Othmann as on the cusp of being NHL-erady.

“I’m always excited to throw on a Ranger jersey, whether it’s for practice or for games,” he said. “I want to play for the fans, I want to play for the city. It’s an amazing city to play for. I was here watching the playoffs, and it’s just an unbelievable atmosphere. Who wouldn’t want to play here, right? To make the team, that’s my goal this summer and moving forward.”

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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