Expert ranks New York Rangers prospect pipeline 9 in the NHL

The New York Rangers have started their transition from a rebuilding team to a contender thanks to their impressive run last season. A year that saw them battle for first place in the Metropolitan Division up until the last few weeks.

Gerard Gallant’s troops finished in second place with a record 52-24-6 and 110 points. Their postseason began by overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to the Pittsburgh Penguins. They wound up knocking off first-place Carolina in the second round before falling to the defending Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final.

After several seasons of lottery picks that fortunately landed them Kaapo Kakko (2nd overall 2019) and Alexis Lafrenière (1st overall 2020), the Rangers didn’t even have a first-round selection in 2022. That was lost after acquiring Andrew Copp from the Winnipeg Jets and getting to the third round of the playoffs.

That being said, the Rangers are loaded with young talent, and their 2021 first-round pick Brennan Othmann (16th overall) is turning heads.

In Canada’s recent Gold medal victory at the World Junior Championship, he showed there’s more to his game than great goals. Othmann’s hard-hitting physical style was front and center in the tournament.

New York Rangers prospect pipeline ranks 9

new york rangers brennan othmann
Brennan Othmann takes part in the Rangers Prospect Development Camp at the Rangers Training facility in Tarrytown July 12, 2022. Credit: © Frank Becerra Jr. / The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK

Corey Pronman of The Athletic is considered one of the top prospect gurus covering the game today. In his latest rankings, he places the New York Rangers prospect pipeline at 9th in the NHL. Last year, he ranked them 4th.

The criteria for Pronman to consider a player a prospect is simply being 22 years-old or younger. That’s why players like Lafrenière, Miller, and Kakk are considered here despite all of them having played well over 100 NHL games.

This differs considerably from Forever Blueshirts most recent Rangers prospect rankings where the consideration was being  23 or younger and having played 10 games or less at the NHL level. I consider Othmann being the Rangers top prospect based on that criteria.

The Rangers have a deep, quality pipeline with several good young defensemen led by K’Andre Miller. Their high lottery picks in Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko are also important long-term players for this franchise even if they haven’t had the start to their careers I thought they would.

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Here’s his ranking of individual prospects:

  • Alexis Lafrenière, F
  • K’Andre Miller, D
  • Kaapo Kakko, RW
  • Braden Schneier, D
  • Nils Lundkvist, D
  • Brennan Othmann, F
  • Zac Jones, D
  • Vitali Kravtsov, F
  • Will Cuylle, D
  • Matthew Robertson, D
  • Bryce McConnell-Barker, C
  • Adam Sýkora, F
  • Brett Berard, F
  • Ryder Korczak, C
  • Dyaln Garand, G

The list put forth by Pronman is a good one, and considering how he views what a “prospect” is, I can’t argue with Lafrenière being at the top.

One issue I have is Dylan Garand being behind some prospects like Sýkora, McConnell-Barker, Korczak, and Berard.

Garand, 20, was named CHL goalie of the year. He was excellent with a record of 34-9 and 4 shutouts this past season. His 2.16 GAA and his .925 SV% were good for second in the WHL. Garand also helped Canada win Gold at the WJC by going 6-0, buoyed by a 1.98 GAA, and .925 SV%.

At the end of the day, the Rangers being in the top 10 and looking like a legit contender is great news.

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