Gabriel Perreault and several Rangers prospects to start college season
A number of New York Rangers prospects, including 2023 first-round pick Gabriel Perreault are set to start their college campaigns.
The 2023-204 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey season is about to get under way this weekend. We look at all the Rangers’ prospects set to compete in the college hockey ranks and preview their upcoming seasons with an eye to when they might sign professional contracts.
Gabriel Perreault and others to start college season
The two freshmen come to Chestnut Hill from the US NTDP, where they were coached by current New York Rangers Assistant Dan Muse. Former Rangers assistant, Greg Brown has assembled a talented roster who will look to improve on their record last season of 14-16-6. The two Rangers prospects will probably spend two to three years developing in college, but each figure to skate on the Madison Square Garden ice once their respective collegiate careers are complete. Boston College is ranked number 6 in the USA Hockey/The Rink Live Men’s College Hockey Poll as well as the USCHO Division I Men’s Poll and were ranked second in the Hockey East 2023-24 Men’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll. A top ten showdown against defending champions Quinnipiac University Bobcats kicks off the season on Saturday, October 7th.
Brody Lamb: University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. 2021 4th round (104th overall). Sophomore Right Wing.
He appeared in 39 of 40 games last season, scoring four goals and four assists with a plus-three rating, and a total of 22 blocked shots, third most amongst Gophers forwards. Expect Lamb to remain at the NCAA level beyond this season before turning professional. Minnesota were Big Ten Conference regular season champions, losing in the finals of the 2023 NCAA Frozen Four to Quinnipiac University with a record of 29-10-1. Minnesota is ranked number 2 in the USA Hockey/The Rink Live Men’s College Hockey Poll and Third in the USCHO Division I Men’s Poll. The Golden Gophers will be at Bemidji State on Sunday, October 8th.
Hank Kempf: Cornell University Big Red. 2021 7th round (208th overall). Junior Left Shot Defense.
Was a plus twelve for the 2022-2023 season, finishing with one goal and one assist, while blocking 30 shots. Last season, Cornell’s record was 21-11-2. Seen as mostly a stay-at-home defenseman, his game doesn’t provide much offensive upside, and is expected to stay all four years at Cornell. Cornell has exhibitions against Toronto Metropolitan University on Saturday, October 14th and the U.S. NTDP Under 18- Team on October 21st, before beginning NCAA play October 27th vs. University of Minnesota Duluth. Cornell is ranked 11th in the USCHO Division I Men’s Poll while they are number 14 in the USA Hockey/The Rink Live Men’s College Hockey Poll and were picked second in the ECAC Men’s Hockey preseason coaches’ poll.
Zakary Karpa: Harvard University Crimson. Junior Center. 2022 6th round (191st overall).
The Crimson ended the year with a loss to Ohio State in the NCAA Regional Round and had a record of 24-8-2. Karpa missed time due to injury, only appearing in 22 games during the 2022-2023 season. On a positive note, he was a plus-2, and finished the year with one of the team’s top faceoff percentages (53.1%) while notching five goals and three assists. While the New York Rangers may want to sign Karpa next summer, it may be in his best interest to return for a senior year before turning professional. Harvard are ranked number 13 in the USA Hockey/The Rink Live Men’s College Hockey Poll while listed at 15 in the USCHO Division I Men’s Poll and are ranked third in the ECAC Men’s Hockey preseason poll (receiving one first-place vote). The Crimson will begin the season at Dartmouth College on Friday, October 27th.
Hugo Ollas: Merrimack College Warriors. 2020 7th round (197th overall). Junior Goaltender.
Last season, the Warriors finished 23-14-1, falling to eventual champions Quinnipiac University in the NCAA Regionals. Ollas is a big goaltender (6’7” and 220 lbs). He is currently the only amateur goaltending prospect in the Rangers organization and had a 10-9-0 record during the 2022-2023 campaign with 2.32 goals against average and .915 save percentage. There is a possibility he could turn professional at the end of the year depending upon how Merrimack’s season plays out. He may want to return for his senior year, as he is currently splitting the crease with Zachary Borgiel. Merrimack is ranked number 12 in the USA Hockey/The Rink Live Men’s College Hockey Poll while listed at 14 in the USCHO Division I Men’s Poll and were ranked third in the Hockey East 2023-24 Men’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Warriors will begin the season with a pair of games against Arizona State University on October 13th & 14th.
Jaroslav Chmelar: Providence College Friars. 2021 5th round (1444th overall). Sophomore Right Wing.
The Friars had a record of 16-14-7 in 2022-2023 and will be looking to replace a lot of veteran leadership lost following the departure of Brett Berard and Parker Ford. Chmelar is a big body, listed at 6’5”/221. He appeared in 33 games for Providence last season, scoring seven goals and six assists, while also representing Czechia in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships, winning a silver medal. Projections have Chmelar being a staple of the Rangers bottom six forward group in a few years, and his coach Nate Leaman believes he has the tools to play in the NHL one day. Providence is ranked number 18 in the USCHO Division I Men’s Poll while listed at 20 in the USA Hockey/The Rink Live Men’s College Hockey Poll and were ranked sixth in the Hockey East 2023-24 Men’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Friars face a tough test to begin the year, travelling to Ann Arbor for a series against Michigan on October 7th and 8th.
Noah Laba: Colorado College Tigers. 2022 4th round (111th overall). Sophomore Center.
Finished second on the team with 11 goals and 22 points while appearing in 35 games. His .549 faceoff-winning percentage was seventh in the NCHC. Laba was named a Distinguished Scholar-Athlete by the NCHC and a member of the all-academic team. He won bronze with the United States at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships. Expect him to consider signing with the Rangers organization after the conclusion of the 2024-2025 season. Colorado College received 13 votes in the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll ahead of the 2023-204 season, good for 31st on the list. The team was picked seventh in the NCHC Preseason Media Poll. The Tigers begin their season Saturday, October 7th with an exhibition against Simon Fraser, before hosting Union College, October 13th and 14th.
Victor Mancini: University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks. 2022 5th round (159th overall). Junior Right Shot Defense.
Accumulated eight assists in thirty-two games during the 2022-2023 season. Still searching for his first NCAA goal. The Rangers will want to sign Mancini as soon as possible, as he is one of the few right shot defensemen prospects in their system. Omaha was picked sixth in the NCHC Preseason Media Polland received 45 votes in the USCHO Division I Men’s Poll. The Mavericks will be at Minnesota State for an exhibition on October 7th before their home opener against Niagara on Friday, October 13th.