The New York Rangers have one of the top rated prospect pools in the NHL. While many argue that maybe the Kings or Senators are deeper, I believe the higher quality of prospects belongs to the Blueshirts. Especially if you don’t exclude players like 20 year-old sophomore Kaapo Kakko or rookies K’Andre Miller and Alexis Lafrenière.
Braden Schneider and Matthew Robertson continue to impress
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.
The Rangers are simply overloaded with top defensemen prospects, which leads into my next point.
Rangers are looking to add a veteran defenseman
Here’s the deal; the Rangers will currently have just one defenseman over the age of 24 in the top six in Jacob Trouba. Brendan Smith is a pending UFA and is unlikely to return to return to the Rangers once he hits free agency. With that said, the Blueshirts understand that they are likely two pieces away from contention. Another top six center is a definite, the other we’ve just learned is a veteran defenseman.
The Blueshirts may need to leverage one of their current young d-men for a center, most likely Zac Jones. That would leave the Blueshirts looking at bringing in two young defenseman to play third pair minutes in possibly Tarmo Reunanen and Nils Lundkvist. Libor Hajek may also be in the mix but could be selected by Seattle in the expansion draft.
Regardless, the Blueshirts may chose to let Nils Lundkvist acclimate himself to the North American style of play in Hartford next season. A source with knowledge confirmed that adding a veteran to the mix in the starting six is a growing necessity. Especially if they want to contend starting next season.
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