Taking A Look At The Rangers North American Prospects

UConn

Reliving past accomplishments and remembering great players for the New York Rangers is certainly quite exciting. But, in the midst of a full-on rebuild, it is the future of the franchise that we are going to be discussing.

For the first time in a long time, the Rangers actually have a stable of quality young prospects spread out all over the world. Some are in Europe. Some are playing at the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford. Some are currently in the Canadian Juniors and United States colleges. Some are even cutting their teeth for the big club in the NHL. It will be the prospects that have retained their amateur status that we will be focusing on; specifically, the ones playing in North America.

Currently, the team’s top North American prospect is University of Wisconsin’s K’Andre Miller. The hulking defenseman was the Rangers second of their three first-round picks in the 2018 NHL draft going 22nd overall. The Badger freshman recently scored his first collegiate goal and added an assist in his first two games playing in the land of the “Cheeseheads.” Miller is thought to be an outstanding prospect with unlimited potential. This prospect is the epitome of a project as his hockey IQ has a long way to go to match his immense skill level and wondrous talent. However, Jeff Gorton and the Rangers scouts are confident that Miller will bring his talents to the Big Apple in the next few years.

Currently, their top prospect playing in the Canadian Junior leagues is defenseman Joey Keane. The 2018 third-round pick turned quite a few heads in training camp, earning praise from David Quinn’s coaching staff. The talented but raw Keane was returned to his Junior team, the Barrie Colts, where he has tallied nine points in his team’s first ten games. Keane’s ETA to New York, like Miller, probably won’t be for several years. But, the fact remains that the Rangers feel they found a third-round gem with the Illinois native.

Most Rangers fans are well aware of what seems to be the heir apparent to Henrik Lundqvist in net, Russian super-prospect Igor Shestyorkin. What some Ranger fans may not be familiar with are the two other goalie prospects currently playing in the NCAA. One of them is 2016 sixth-round draft pick Tyler Wall (what a perfect last name for a goalie). Now a Junior at Umass-Lowell, Wall continues to impress with his play giving up just one goal and earning a win in his first game of the Hockey East season with the River Hawks.

The other goalie who will be part of the Shestyorkin insurance policy is UConn netminder Adam Huska. The 6’4″ native of Slovakia was the Rangers seventh-round pick in 2015. Huska, now a junior for the Huskies, (that has a nice ring to it, too) has also started his Hockey East season off with a bang winning his first start giving up just two goals in the process. The Rangers are not lacking in the goalie prospect pool, that is for certain.

As the season advances, we will be monitoring the progress of these soon-to-be Rangers. Yes, reliving the past is exciting. But, looking forward to the future and examining the plethora of outstanding prospects that will be part of the next great Rangers team is a wonderful feeling, too. Next week, we will be taking a closer look at the European prospects that will someday be Broadway Bound.