Surprise Defensemen That Could Make The Rangers Out Of Camp
With low expectations going into the season for this Rangers team as a whole, it only indicates that more prospects could potentially get a crack at some ice time in the big leagues. With what seems to be a deep pool on the blue line, there are a few prospects that can surprise many by snatching a roster spot for this upcoming season.
Rated at the top of the list talent-wise, Hajek would be a surprise out of camp due to how young he is. Hajek is just 20 years old, and just recently acquired by the Rangers at the trade deadline last season. The word coming out of the Rangers development camp was all positive for the young Czech. Playing for the Saskatoon Blades for the majority of last season in the WHL, Hajek tallied 25 points in 33 games. Along with those numbers, Hajek played for the U20 Czech Republic team, averaging slightly more than a point per game. Libor Hajek was one of the two main pieces that came from Tampa last season, and the kid seems to be oozing with potential, potential that could be turned into real talent if he gets a shot.
Another top-tier defenseman that could make it out of camp for the Blueshirts. The 20-year-old American came to New York last season as well, this time from Boston in the Rick Nash deal. Lindgren brings a hard-nosed attitude to the Blueshirts, exactly what they could use. Compared to other defensive prospects, Lindgren is a defense-first type of defenseman. His main job is to lay hits and play tough in the back end, and let the offense come if it shall. Getting a spot on the roster won’t be easy for Lindgren since the Rangers do seem to have set guys on the left side already. But if he keeps improving and shows he’s worthy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ryan Lindgren at MSG next season.
Another 20-year-old defenseman that lit up the eyes of scouts around the world less than five years ago. Being in the same category as top-tier NHLers at the age of 15 is surely a lot to handle, even if he hasn’t shown up yet, it’s not over for Sean Day. The youngster can put up points from the back end, averaging over a point per game for the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL last season. Described as a highly-talented two-way defenseman, Day will have a hard time making it out of camp this season, but if he does, with the way he can play, I wouldn’t be surprised.
These are just a few guys that will certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to make the Rangers opening night roster. Although only three names are listed above, there are other defensemen that have a great shot at making the team next year, just wouldn’t be as surprised, for example, Neal Pionk, who spent time in the NHL last season and took full advantage of it. Also, not listed are the two most recent Rangers defensemen who were drafted in the first round this year, K’Andre Miller and Nils Lundkvist. Both of these men will continue to develop in college and overseas respectively, and join the Rangers in the years to come.