Top 3 Rangers prospects that should get ice time in 2023-24
The New York Rangers have some promising young prospects in their system. However, there are three players that I believe we’ll see suit up for the Blueshirts at various points this upcoming season.
Defenseman Zac Jones, along with forwards Will Cuylle and Brennan Othmann can all have a potential impact for the Rangers in 2023-24.
Rangers Prospects: Zac Jones on defense
Jones, 22, played only 16 games last year for the big club notching 1 goal and 1 assist. Unfortunately, Gerard Gallant wanted his third pair defenseman to have more size which sent the 5-11′ puck mover to the minors for the rest of the season.
The third-round pick from the 2019 Draft didn’t pout or complain about the demotion. He simply went down and was the Hartford Wolf Pack’s best defenseman. In 54 AHL games last season, he registered 8 goals and 23 assists for 31 points. Even more impressive was his ability to step up in the postseason with 2 goals and 6 points in 9 matches.
There’s really nothing left for Jones to show the Rangers at the AHL level. This season, he’s expected to be given a long look to see what the Rangers have in him. However, Jones will have to battle it out with veteran Erik Gustafsson, who has a good track record with new head coach Peter Laviolette, but should be given a fair chance.
Of the three prospects, he’s the most likely to see significant playing time in 2023-24. Jones also signed a two-year extension in June with an AAV of $812,500.
Will Cuylle likely call-up
What a season for the Rangers second-round pick in the 2019 Draft. In his first full pro AHL season, he recorded 25 goals and 45 points in 69 games. It earned him AHL All-Star honors along with the aforementioned Jones this past year.
The big power forward was rewarded with four NHL games in January and made an impression despite getting just 6:58 of ice-time per contest, Cuylle did not look out of place on the team’s fourth line using his formidable size and speed to his advantage. Although he didn’t register a point, he drew a penalty and won his first big league fight.
With the Rangers having limited cap space, Cuylle has a real chance to play this season. While Jonny Brodzinski will probably get the first opportunity for a call-up, Cuylle is not too far behind.
The 21 year-old has two years remaining on his entry-level contract and a $902,500 AAV per Cap Friendly. Cuylle is currently projected to be a bottom-six winger, but certainly has the ability to move up. In his final OHL year with the Windsor Spitfires, he registered 43 goals and 80 points in 50 games.
Brennan Othmann could surprise us all
Speaking of great seasons, 2021 first-round selection Brennan Othmann has been on quite a run.
The skilled and gritty winger captured back-to-back WJC Gold Medals for Canada then followed it by winning an OHL title this past season with the Peterborough Petes. Othmann led his team in postseason scoring with 8 goals and 17 assists for 25 points in 23 games.
After ending his OHL career with 96 goals and 101 assists for 197 points in 177 games, Othmann has his sights on making the Rangers.
While he’s projected to be a top-six winger, the roster seems fairly set for the 2023-34 campaign. Barring any trades, it’s hard to see where Othmann fits. That being said, he could have a stellar camp and get some early playing time to start the year.
At the end of the day, Othmann remains the team’s most promising prospect in the system. Recently drafted Gabriel Perreault has a chance to take over that spot but he remains at least two to three years away from playing for the Rangers.
Othmann has three-years left on his ELC with an AAV of $863,333 via PuckPedia.