Massive New York Rangers prospect update as leagues wind down

By Anthony Scultore
Robertson (WHL)

The AHL and WHL seasons are starting to come to an end. Over in Europe, the SHL are into their playoffs with Nils Lundkvist’s team eliminated. Let’s check in on all the Blueshirts prospects.

Braden Schneider and Matthew Robertson dominating WHL from the blue-line

Matthew Robertson is a 20 year-old Canadian left handed defenseman the Rangers drafted in the second round of 2019. At 6-4 and 201 lbs he already has the size to play in the NHL. Braden Schneider is another Canadian born defender drafted in the 2020 draft in the first round. The Blueshirts thought so highly of him they tried to move up several times in the to pick him before striking a deal with the Flames to select 19th overall. Adding the 6-2 and 202 lbs righty 19 year-old was a big move. He plays the game mean and was named the captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings to start the year.

This season in the WHL both Robertson and Schneider are both having great campaigns for their respective teams. Last night Schneider notched his second OT winner in the past three games. On the WHL season he has 23 points, a +20 rating in 20 games. As for Robertson, he scored on an absolute blast from the point for his 17th point in 17 games this season.

Here’s a closer look at their stat lines:

  • Schneider (21 GP, 5-22-27, +21, 12 PIM)
  • Robertson (18 GP, 3-15-18, +23, 18 PIM)

Latest on Nils Lundkvist

nils Lundkvist
Jun 22, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Nils Lundkvist poses for a photo with team representatives after being selected as the number twenty-eight overall pick to the New York Rangers in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Nils Lundkvist’s SHL team Lulea was eliminated in game 7 last week. The future blue-line star is committed to Team Sweden for the upcoming IIHF World Championships but could be signing his ELC soon. If you recall, after the trade deadline Jeff Gorton was asked about Nils and he stated that he would be coming over next season.

Nils Lundkvist completed his season with two playoff goals. In 166 career SHL games he had 78 points which is the most points by any defenseman under 21 in league history.

  • Ranked fifth in the SHL (ranked second among SHL defensemen) in shots on goal in 2020-21 (156); was one shot on goal shy of tying the leader among SHL defensemen for the season
  • Tallied 14 goals and 32 points this season, establishing an SHL career-high in each category; led SHL defensemen in goals and power play goals (eight) this season
    • His 14 goals are the most by a defenseman in one season as a U21 player or younger in SHL history
  • Ranked 12th in the SHL in average ice time in 2020-21 (21:24)

Season Stats – 52 GP, 14-18-32, -1, 30 PIM
Playoff Stats – 7 GP, 2-0-2, -2, 4 PIM

Lauri Pajuniemi dilemma

Lauri Pajuniemi has also been in the news for not just his on ice prowess this season. The 21 -year old winger that still has his sights set on the NHL. “Being drafted meant so much for me. I will remember that day for the rest of my life for sure,” he said about being selected in 2018. “The (Rangers)jersey I got at the draft means a lot to me and it’s at my parents’ home hanging on the wall“, he told us back in June of 2020.

After another year of dominating Liiga, he wants to play anywhere but Finland. When asked about his future, Pajumiemi was straightforward. “Somewhere other than in Finland,” Pajuniemi said to Iltalehti. “At some point, these issues will be resolved. I will probably not continue in Finland.” His contract with TPS expires this summer and one team that he’s been attached to is Lukko.

“There has been no concrete negotiation with Lukko,” the fifth round selection said about the TPS rival. “Yes my goal is to take the next step in my career. Of course, I do not rule out Rangers. In addition to KHL and SHL, everyone is interested.”

It will be interesting to see what happens next for Pajuniemi, but for now his team has advanced to the next round of the playoffs.

Season Stats – 48 GP, 22-16-38, +12, 38 PIM
Playoff Stats – 5 GP, 1-3-4, +1, 6 PIM

Morgan Barron and Tarmo Reunanen leading the Wolf Pack

The Rangers have three call-ups left and two are expected to be used on Barron and Reunanen. Here’s a quick snapshot of their seasons so far.

Morgan Barron (20 GP, 10-9-19, +7, 20 PIM)

  • Tallied a point and posted a plus-one rating in each of Hartford’s two games during the week (one goal, one assist)
  • Has recorded a point in 16 of the Wolf Pack’s 20 games this season, including a goal in nine of the 20 contests
  • Is tied for third among AHL rookies in goals (10) and is tied for ninth among AHL rookies in points (19) this season
  • Is tied for second in the AHL in power play goals in 2020-21 (six)
  • Leads Hartford in goals, points, power play goals, and plus/minus rating (plus-seven), ranks second in shots on goal (54), and is tied for fourth in assists (nine) this season

Tarmo Reunanen (20 GP, 3-12-15, -2, 4 PIM)

  • Tallied an assist on Apr. 22 at Providence
  • Has recorded a point in seven of the last 10 games (one goal, nine assists)
  • Is tied for the team lead in assists (12) and ranks fourth on Hartford in points (15) this season
  • Is tied for sixth among AHL defensemen in assists and is tied for eighth among AHL defensemen in points in 2020-21

Some notes courtesy NYR

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