Predicting the debut order of the New York Rangers top prospects

The New York Rangers prospect pool is absolutely loaded when some high end talent. Several of them fall into the “can’t miss” category as well. For this article, I want to look at the top prospects and rank them by when they are expected to make their debuts.

New York Rangers prospects: Alexis Lafreniere is #1

This one is a layup. Head coach David Quinn has an absolute gamer that plays with an edge and lives to lead. Lafreniere was captain of the Oceanic and Team Canada which makes one think he could be the future “C” for the Blueshirts one day.

alexis lafreniere rangers
Lafreniere video (Upper Deck)

Expectations for Lafreniere is that he’s NHL ready and could flirt with 60 points if given adequate ice time. At the moment it appears he’s penciled onto the third line for the Rangers. While experts go out of their way to say he’s not “Connor McDavid”, they all agree he is the type of player that elevates the game of the other four guys on the ice.

Without a doubt, Lafreniere will be in the starting lineup on opening night.

New York Rangers prospect: Tarmo Reunanen is #2

Four years ago, the New York Rangers selected a young Finnish defenseman in the 4th round, by the name of Tarmo Reunanen. At the time, it was a bit of a gamble, with the youngster coming off a season riddled with injuries. Now he is opening up eyes across Finland and the Rangers organization with his play.

Tarmo Reunanen
Tarmo Reunanen (NYR/NHLI)

I have no idea about the schedule but I am ready to leave immediately when everyhting is clear and I get the call from the Rangers,” Reunanen told us recently.

His play in Finland this season has been eye-opening and he could very well earn a spot on the Rangers defense this season.

New York Rangers prospect: Vitali Kravtsov is #3

Vitali has taken a great step forward in his pro hockey career. The Rangers 1st round pick in the 2019 Draft is a force for Traktor in the KHL. He’s scoring and playing sound defensive hockey.

new york rangers prospects
Vitali Kravtsov at practice (Photo: Charles Wenzelberg)

Currently Traktor is one of the better teams in the KHL and are expected to make the playoffs which begin in March. Should they go the absolute distance, we would not see Kravtsov in North America until May 2021.

Whenever he’s done playing, I fully expect the Rangers to add him to the big club.

New York Rangers prospects: K’Andre Miller is #4

The 20 year-old first round pick, 22nd overall in 2018 is a blend of skill, speed, and power. K’Andre Miller is what every team dreams of having on their blue-line in this decade.

With the Rangers looking at a left defense of Ryan Lindgren and Jack Johnson, Reunanen could impress and make the leap to the NHL. However, he would need to jump K’Andre Miller and Libor Hajek to make it. Expect him to start in the AHL and be a call up by mid-season or after the trade deadline.

new york rangers prospects
K’Andre Miller impressed in Phase 3 (Charles Wenzelberg)

At RTP training camp, he was the non-roster player the Rangers chose to have partake in practice and scrimmages. They did this knowing full well he was ineligible to play in the playoffs because he signed his ELC for 2021.

What everyone saw at the MSG Training Facility is that he belonged. For all these reasons, I rank Miller at #2. With the Rangers needing help on the left side defense, he stands a great chance to impress and make this team out of camp.

New York Rangers prospect: Morgan Barron is #5

With Nils Lundkvist yet to sign his ELC, the choice here was an easy one. Morgan Barron, a sixth-round pick for the Rangers in 2017 in considered NHL ready. He was named one of the 10 finalists for the 2020 Hobey Baker Memorial Award honoring college hockey’s top player and could eventually center the team’s third line.

new york rangers roster
Morgan Barron (NHLI via Getty Images)

The 21 year-old is likely to start for the Hartford Wolf Pack. A lot of this has to do with the amount of performance bonuses the Rangers will have to pay out. Still, I believe that after the NHL trade deadline we will very likely see Barron in Rangers Blue.

New York Rangers prospect: Nils Lundkvist is #6

Nils Lundkvist
Nils Lundkvist SHL season (Rangers)

As we mentioned, Lundkvist hasn’t signed an ELC yet. It is expected he will at the end of his SHL season in preparation to come to North America for the 2020-21 season.

The Rangers’ first round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft has nine points (five goals, four assists) and 50 shots on goal in 16 SHL games this season. He is proving to live up to the hype and could make a debut late this season but without a doubt next.

New York Rangers prospect: Lauri Pajuniemi is at #7

Lauri Pajuniemi notched two more goals yesterday and added an assist in three games of action for TPS this past week. He was a +3, and launched 12 shots on net. For the season, the 2018 fifth rounder has four goals and six points in 11 contests.

NYR prospects
Rangers Lauri Pajuniemi to remain in Finland (GETTY IMAGES)

The 20-year old winger has his sights set on the NHL but is patient. We spoke to him back in June where he confirmed that it was the Rangers who wanted him to spend one more year in Finland before making the jump to North America.

Right now, the decision to keep him there was correct for a multitude of reasons. He should get a real chance to make the team in the 2021-22 season.

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Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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