Rangers Roundup: Prospects Heading To 2019 World Junior Championships
Ten nations are heading to this year’s World Junior Championships. And in making their final preparations for the tournament, each country has released their respective preliminary rosters. And when we take a look at those rosters, we’ll see some names that should be familiar to Rangers fans.
Russia – Vitali Kravtsov has been lighting up the KHL so far this season. At just 18-years-old, Kravtsov is tied for the team lead in points with 17, 11 of which are assists. In addition, he is the leading KHL scorer for players under the age of 21. When Kravtsov was drafted with the ninth overall pick back in June, there was a lot of questions regarding his selection. Now it appears as though the Rangers may have gotten a steal with Kravtsov.
Sweden – “The Three Crowns” will be sending two Rangers prospects to the international tournament, both of which were taken in the 2018 NHL Draft. First-round pick Nils Lundkvist, has six points (G, 5A) in 22 games with Lulea in the SHL, along with two points playing for Lulea’s U20 team in the SuperElit league. The six points lead the SHL amongst U20 defensemen.
In addition to Lundkvist, third round choice Jacob Ragnarsson will also be headed to Western Canada to represent his country. Ragnarsson has just two points playing for Almtuna in the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second-best league. With the talent on the Swedish blue-line, Ragnarsson is likely to be the proverbial seventh defenseman for the Swedes.
Switzerland – Though the Swiss haven’t officially announced their roster for the upcoming tournament, it’s hard to imagine that Rangers fourth-round pick Nico Gross will be left off the roster. The 18-year-old has recorded 12 points (3G, 9A) playing for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL. Gross will be looked upon as a steadying force on the Swiss blue line.
USA – Like the Swedes, two blue-liners will don the Red, White, and Blue at the upcoming tournament. Joey Keane, who is playing for the Barrie Colts in the OHL, has 18 points (3G, 15A) in 25 games from the back end. While he’s having a very good season so far for the Colts, it’s a bit up in the air if he’ll make the tournament roster.
If Keane’s status is in question, the other Rangers representative, K’Andre Miller, is almost a guaranteed lock to make Mike Hastings’ squad. Miller has been tearing up the NCAA this season as the Saint Paul, Minnesota native has recorded 15 points (3G, 12A) in 16 games for the Badgers. And, oh, by the way, he’s just a freshman. Depending on how the rest of his year shakes out, we could see K’Andre leaving school early to turn pro and join Hartford.
Czech Republic – Though it’s highly unlikely that Jeff Gorton, David Quinn, and Rangers management will loan 19-year-old Filip Chytil to the Czech team, one would have to assume that Chytil will be honored to have been nominated to represent his country.