Does prospect Ryan Gropp have a future with the Rangers or could he be traded today

Gropp (BSU)

Ryan Gropp has one more season remaining on his entry level contract with the New York Rangers. Today could be an interesting day in the young man’s career.

We have seen prospects in the past be written off in the final years of their entry level deals if they haven’t made it to the big club. Adam Tambellini and Ryan Bourque are two names that come to mind. Examining Ryan Gropp’s situation, he is in the same boat as the organization will have to make tough decisions due to the influx of young, talented prospects coming in.

From the development prospective, the forward has progressed in the past two seasons. Offensively he is able to put up a points as a depth forward, considering him playing on the second, third, or fourth lines (mainly third and fourth). Ryan Gropp may not be able to light up the opponents on a nightly basis, but he does pitch in periodically with a goal or assist. The 22 year old reminds me of Ty Ronning, with both having superior junior year seasons before turning pro. Ranger fans had high expectations for Ryan Gropp when looking at his play in the juniors.

The professional ranks is tougher for prospects, but he has adjusted his play accordingly. Instead of being the guy to produce nightly, he has taken a defensive role as former head coach Keith McCambridge assigned the prospect penalty kill and play with grittier line mates. He has shown flashes of good skating but has not put his game together entirely.

In December, the forward was demoted to ECHL Maine after having a quiet start in Hartford. The moves was meant to send him a signal and it sparked Gropp as he produced well with the Mariners. That earned him back his spot in Hartford and stayed with the group for the remainder of the AHL season.

While Gropp proved that he was better than playing in the ECHL, he still had a hard time earning more minutes in Hartford. With all the rumors swirling around the Rangers these days, could he be included as part of a package on a draft day deal? That is a distinct possibility, especially if the Rangers want to try and gain another 1st round pick today.

If the Rangers decide to keep Gropp, it will be because they want to see how he performs under new leadership in Hartford. However time is running out for the prospect that was taken in the 2015 draft as the 41st pick. The Rangers are about to add more elite talent in the organization along with signing potential AHL forwards on free agency to turn Hartford into a winner.

Ricky Milliner is a Hartford Wolf Pack season ticket holder. While growing up, he discovered hockey by attending a... More about Ricky Milliner

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