Can Brennan Othmann crack this veteran Rangers lineup in 2023-24?
In the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Rangers selected Brennan Othmann with the 16th overall pick. At the time, the OHL All-Star was just beginning to show his potential.
During his draft year season of 2021-22, Othmann exploded for a career-high 97 points in 66 games with the Flint Firebirds while serving as their captain.
Furthermore, Othmann scored 24 points in 19 playoff games and earned another OHL All-Star selection. Additionally, he captured Gold twice at the World Junior Championships with Canada in 2022 and 2023.
Despite all his individual heroics from the previous campaign, he statistically took a step back in 2022-23, finishing with just 67 points in 56 games. Othmann did so to focus on becoming a more complete player winning an OHL Championship with the Peterborough Petes.
“I worked on my 200′ game,” Othmann said at development camp. “Rob [Wilson] is a more defensive style coach… he’s really strict and that’s why I respect him a lot.”
At just 20 years of age, there is still plenty development work to be done as he makes his way to Broadway.
Othmann’s junior success means a promotion to the pros
Heading into the 2023-24 season, the Rangers appear to have the majority of their roster filled out, especially after signing free agents like Blake Wheeler, Nick Bonino, and Tyler Pitlick. Assuming Othmann showcases skills signaling he’s ready to stick around at camp, he could get an early look with the big club.
“My goal is to try and make the team this year,” he said. “It’s a good organization with a lot of good players, nothing much has changed. It’s going to be hard.”
Considering fans have moaned for years that New York doesn’t properly groom their prospects to turn into NHL regulars, general manager Chris Drury and his staff must be cautious with one of their most recent first-round picks. Unfortunately, they haven’t found the next Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby, and despite having Kaapo Kakko (second overall 2019) and Alexis Lafreniere (first overall 2020) in the lineup, the kids are still finding their footing in the league.
Ultimately, Drury has been busy focusing on retooling the team in New York through free agency, limiting spots for prospects like Othmann and Will Cuylle to become NHL regulars this season. Realistically, the Rangers are a serious contender in the Eastern Conference, and there’s no time to let developing prospects find their place in tight playoff races.
One could also argue that the recent run of top picks still trying to make an impact, would behoove the Rangers and Othmann to have more patience. Until there’s room in the lineup for him to get at least 12 to 15 minutes per game, it would be best to let him star in the AHL.
It’s expected the talented forward will start his first full pro season on the Hartford Wolf Pack’s top line in 2023-24.