Will Cuylle and Brennan Othmann skate at Upper Deck/NHLPA Rookie Showcase

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Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers prospects Brennan Othmann and Will Cuylle were participants at the 2023 Upper Deck/NHLPA Rookie Showcase on Tuesday.

The event was held at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Virginia with all eyes mostly focused on this summer’s first overall selection Connor Bedard. All rookies were sporting their NHL jersey and those photos will be used to create Upper Deck’s latest rookie cards.

Bedard, 18, was taken by the Chicago Blackhawks after dominating in the Western Hockey League for the Regina Pats with 143 points (71 goals, 72 assists) in 57 games.

Related: New York Rangers prospect pool dips again in 2023

Brennan Othmann and Will Cuylle in action

Brennan Othmann
Brennan Othmann Rangers Prospect Development Camp at the Rangers Training facility in Tarrytown July 12, 2022. Credit: © Frank Becerra Jr. / The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK Rangers Development Camp

Brennan Othmann was a surprise participant at the Peterborough Petes’ training camp roster in late August taking part in scrimmages.

The 20 year-old winger had an outstanding 2022-23 campaign by scoring 29 goals and 38 assists for 67 points in 56 matches split between the Flint Firebirds and the Petes. He took his game to another level in the playoffs leading Peterborough to an OHL title with 8 goals and 17 assists for 25 points in 23 playoff games. Unfortunately, the Petes fell short of winning the Memorial Cup.

Meanwhile, Will Cuylle had an outstanding rookie season for the Hartford Wolf Pack registering 25 goals, 20 assists, for 45 points in 69 games. The 21 year-old power forward’s play earned him two call-ups with the Blueshirts this past season. Although he didn’t register a point in four NHL games averaging just 6:58 per night on the team’s fourth-line, he was very noticeable. In those contests, his physicality was on display picking up 8 hits and 10 penalty minutes on 2 fighting majors.

Both Othmann and Cuylle are expected to compete for roster spots when the Rangers open training camp later this month.

Will we see these rookies dress for the Rangers soon?

Before GM Chris Drury signed Blake Wheeler and a slew of veterans to low-cost deals, many felt that they would see these prized prospects on the opening night roster. While that seems less evident now, it doesn’t mean that either or both of them could make their way to Broadway later this season.

It should be noted that all the Rangers’ UFA signings this summer were under the $1,150,000 threshold allowed by the CBA to bury a contract. That means the entire cap hit of those players comes off the books with a demotion to the AHL.

Othmann is projected to be a top-six winger in the NHL but with the Rangers top-nine fairly set, it would make sense for him to play first-line minutes with the Wolf Pack in 2023-24. The same goes for Cuylle, who probably has the best chance to see playing time as an in-season call-up on the bottom six.

With Othmann having three years left on his ELC with an AAV of $863,333 and Cuylle two years remaining on his ELC at an AAV of $828,333 via PuckPedia, it would be wise for the Rangers to develop these prospects properly.

Although both players are waivers exempt, languishing on the fourth-line or sitting in the press box is not something that benefits them or the Rangers long term. Should either of them be called up, the situation must call for meaningful roles on the top-nine.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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