The New York Rangers Top Defense and Goalie Prospects

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The last 17 months has seen an unprecedented amount of talent flood into the New York Rangers prospect pipeline. From the addition of 2017 ninth overall pick Vitali Kravtsov to the trade for star Harvard defenseman Adam Fox and the selection of Kaapo Kakko, the Rangers now have a prospect pipeline that is within the upper echelon of the NHL.

With all of these new faces joining the organization, we at Forever Blueshirts wanted to rank all these players and give you all just a little bit on each. Enjoy our forward, defense and goaltender prospect rankings, written by myself and Stat Boy Steven himself, Mr. Steven Voogel. We continue with the defense and goaltenders.


#1: Adam Fox

The only defenseman in NCAA history to average a point and a half per game over the course of a season. 86 points in 118 games for the USNTDP. 116 points in 97 NCAA games. Adam Fox is a force to be reckoned with and could someday be the Rangers dominant number one blueliner. He is a right-shot defenseman that controls play, can effectively quarterback a power-play and skates with the best of them. Fox, who was acquired in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes, will almost certainly be a fixture on the Rangers blueline this upcoming season with top-four minutes and power-play time not out of the question. Fox is the top defensive prospect within the Rangers organization and a top-10 prospect in the world. – Russell

#2: Nils Lundkvist

The almost 19-year old is highly underrated by most fans simply because he plays in Sweden and is not as visible as K’Andre Miller, who plays at Wisconsin. Lundkvist has continued to establish himself as a reliable defenseman in the third-best league in the world; and with the departure of Jesper Sellgren, who signed his ELC with the Carolina Hurricanes, Luleå management has notified us that they intend on moving the talented Lundkvist to the top pair to play with former Flyers defenseman Erik Gustafsson. – Steven

#3: K’Andre Miller

Miller is one of the brightest prospects in the Rangers pipeline. Now standing at 6’5” and weighing around 210 pounds, Miller is a physical specimen and the converted forward’s ceiling is sky high. Miller had a fantastic freshman year at the University of Wisconsin where he scored five goals and added 17 assists for 22 points in 26 games. Many felt that he was robbed of the NCAA’s rookie of the year award. He is a dominant athlete that is learning how to use his size to his advantage, and while he won’t be turning pro this season, 2020-21 is looking to be a good time to predict Miller’s arrival on Broadway. Many thought Miller would need more time, possibly three seasons of NCAA service; but if he keeps progressing this way and has another great year in Wisconsin, he will be on Broadway sooner rather than later. – Russell

#4: Yegor Rykov

What a season for the Russian kid who switched teams in September. He moved from SKA to HC Sochi where he played under former Rangers defenseman Sergei Zubov and established himself as a bonafide top-pair defenseman in the KHL. Rangers management brought him over in April and signed him to an entry-level contract. Rykov has the potential to make the team out of camp and will battle with Libor Hajek for a spot. – Steven

#5: Tarmo Reunanen

Another case of a defenseman who blossomed after a trade, Reunanen developed into a top-pair defenseman with Rauman Lukko after spending most of the past two seasons as a seventh defenseman with TPS. Playing on a team that reached the playoffs, Reunanen quickly established himself as a driving force from the blueline. The 21-year old has a European Assignment Clause for the first year, so he’s likely returning to Finland for the season if he does not make the team. – Steven

#6: Matthew Robertson

The Rangers second-round pick from the 2019 NHL Entry Draft is looking to be a possible steal already. Robertson was projected to be taken in the first round in many mock drafts and he has all the tools to be an NHL blueliner in the near future. At 6’4” and 201 pounds, he is a big defender and could be a fantastic shutdown guy on a team full of puck movers like Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, K’Andre Miller and Brady Skjei. Robertson is also a left-handed shot and the Rangers hope he can fit into their left side of the defense within the next few years.

Robertson’s skating is above average and while he doesn’t have that high-end top speed, he can make his way around the ice quite well due to how well he pivots and gets into good positions. He may never have the big point totals that Lundkvist, Fox, Trouba or others may have but he will make sure that no one gets past him and that players will think twice before making a move on him. Robertson could be an important part of the New York Rangers in the near future. – Russell

#7: Libor Hajek

The crown jewel of the Ryan McDonagh trade to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Hajek was having a so-so year in the AHL last season which made some think he wasn’t the player we all thought he was. Well, they were wrong. When Hajek was called up to the Rangers late last year, he didn’t look out of place at all and scored his first NHL goal against none other than the New Jersey Devils. Pretty good team to score against huh?

Hajek is most certainly going to challenge for a roster spot this season and hopefully, he cracks the lineup once again and helps solidify the left side of the defense. The former Saskatoon Blade has some high expectations on him considering he was the main piece in a trade for a former No. 1 defenseman; and make no mistake, Hajek is going to be an NHLer. The question is: how high up the depth chart will he make it? Time will tell. At 6’2” amd 201 pounds, he isn’t lacking in size either. – Russell

#8: Zac Jones

A surprise but a welcome one to be sure. Jones was the Rangers third-round pick in the 2019 Entry Draft and many praised this pick saying the Rangers took a big swing on talent. Jones was part of a deadly pairing on the USHL’s Tri-City Storm where he teamed with Flyers pick Ronnie Attard. Jones was named the USHL’s rookie of the year and scored seven goals while adding 45 assists for 52 points in 56 games. He had the most assists by a defenseman in the USHL last season. Jones, according to McKeen’s prospects, “is adept at getting past the first layer [of a team’s] defense with a series of dekes and drags, helped by his quick hands.” He is committed to UMass Amherst next season and his development is something the Rangers and their fans will be keeping a close eye on. Jones could turn out to be something special in the future. – Russell

#9: Calle Sjalin

Drafted in 2017, Calle Själin has two years left to convince Rangers management of his potential. He missed significant time with a concussion this season, but was a vital part of his team winning enough games to reach the promotion/relegation playoffs. Leksand, Själin’s team, won promotion and we will be seeing Calle at the highest level in Sweden this upcoming season. His older brother Pontus Själin plays with Nils Lundkvist in Luleå. – Steven

#10: Joey Keane

The former Erie Otter and London Knight is making his move to Hartford this upcoming season where he will most certainly be counted on to be a prominent member of the blueline. It doesn’t seem that long ago when Keane was a top prospect for the organization but with recent moves, he has fallen down the depth chart a bit. Make no mistake, Keane has offensive potential but there are just other players with higher ceilings ahead of him. For Keane, the challenge is now to dominate Hartford and to make a case for him to be an injury call up this season if need be. – Russell

Honorable Mentions: Nico Gross, Hunter Skinner, Jakob Ragnarsson, Ryan Lindgren, Darren Raddysh


#1: Igor Shesterkin

Best goalie in the KHL for the last three years. Highest shutout-to-games played ratio in KHL history and having won Olympic gold and a Gagarin Cup, the 23-year old who was drafted in 2014, has nothing left to prove in Russia. The heir to the throne, as many have said, will get every chance to prove himself. Expect a lot of “Czar Igor” references in the near future. – Steven

#2: Alexandar Georgiev

Henrik Lundqvist’s current backup, and a darn good one at that. Georgiev’s name has been mentioned as a possible trade piece due to the looming shadow of Shesterkin, but that could just motivate him to step up even more. Georgiev showed last season that he could handle a lot of the load and took a lot of starts away from Lundqvist later in the season. After such a phenomenal year last season is he still the bonafide backup? The battle between Georgiev and Shesterkin will be an interesting battle in training camp but I expect Georgiev to be the backup once it’s all set and done. – Russell

#3: Olof Lindbom

Probably the least popular draft pick in 2018, the 18-year-old goalie was drafted in the second round. Lindbom suffered an injury early in the season and did not play until January. But when he finally got back on the ice, he showed why the Rangers called out his name at pick 39. He played with the Djurgården J20 team in SuperElit and impressed enough to earn a call up to the senior team where he was the backup for several games. The talent is obviously there and Mora IK saw enough to offer him a pro contract. Lindbom will play in Allsvenskan with the team that was relegated at the hands of Själin’s Leksand last season. – Steven

#4 and #5: Adam Huska and Tyler Wall

Two NCAA goaltenders that have fallen down the goaltending depth chart a bit. Huska and Wall have put up respectable numbers in their NCAA careers but at this point in time neither seems like they will have a shot at being the Rangers No. 1 goalie at any point in the near future. Huska has finished his NCAA playing days and has headed to Hartford, while Wall has one season left at UMass-Lowell. It’s going to take a huge effort from either of these guys to pass anyone on this depth chart but who knows? Maybe we see one of these guys as a backup one day on Broadway. – Russell

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