2011 New York Rangers Summer Prospect Rankings
1) Chris Kreider - 6-3, 217 - C - It's been a while since the New York Rangers have produced a real offensive star forward but this youngster has the goods and he has a knack for playing at his best in big games, like his World Junior Championship performance to help Team USA claim a bronze this past winter.
He was a first rounder and he should live up to the billing and then some. He has a well above-average wrist shot looks to be an important offensive tool for the Boxford, Massachusetts native and he’s terrific on the power play. He should get a real chance at making the big club next year. With all of his international experience plus college playoff dramatics including a Frozen Four win and an appearance in the outdoor game a few year’s ago he should really make a pretty big splash with the Blueshirts possibly next season. His broken jaw did affect his offense late in the season.
2) Tim Erixon – 6-3, 205 - D – Former NHLer Jan Erixon is his dad and he was known for his defense. The younger Erixon can be a terrific defensive stalwart in the league. He was Sweden’s second best defensive defenseman (Adam Larsson, Devils, was the best) in the World Juniors this past winter and he can move the puck. He has a chance to make the big club with a solid training camp. He can shrug off big losses and stay composed.
3) Carl Hagelin –5-11, 176 - LW - Smart kid, positions himself well on the ice. Can score. Gifted skater, fast trigger. Has an offensive killer instinct. Finds the open spots in the offensive zone to score. Big year last year. Needs to bulk up a bit. Can score anywhere on the ice. Needs time to turn pro and then try to make the big club.
3) Jesper Fasth –5-11, 165- RW - (6th round pick by the Rangers in 2010) He has the ability to get around the defense and go end-to-end to create offense for his team. A +12 last season which was impressive against men and he had three points in 7 playoff games. He was amazing on the power play in the last World Junior Championships and he follows up his shots and gets second chance goals.
4) Christian Thomas – 5-9, 166 – RW – He’s small, a bit stronger and he has great work ethic, drive and scoring touch. He still doesn’t have NHL strength but he’s getting closer. The son of Steve Thomas. He’s “hockey strong” according to Gordie Clark.
5) Ryan Bourque –5-9, 168 – C – This prospect is an excellent skater with a scoring touch. He has a very slight frame. He has performed well in international competition and in the “Q” but will he ever be more than an AHL player? He’s still years away from the NHL.
6) Dylan McIlrath –6-4, 214 - D – WHL, Moose Jaw. This future intimidator is a decent defender who had to work on his positioning and did. His skating has improved a lot. Not sure he has any real offensive upside. He will play in the WHL again this season and then the Rangers will see where he’s at next season.
7) J.T. Miller – 6-1, 200 – LW – USHL - He was the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. Was he the most talented player on the board? I say no, but did he ooze character and work ethic? Yes. His time with the NTDP was good for him. Watching him play you definitely notice his hard work on the ice and he can get dirty goals. He has performed well in International play (World U-18) and he will play this season for the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL.
Check out video of his first interview with the media as a member of the New York Rangers:
8) Steven Fogarty 6-3, 200 - F – The Rangers traded Evgeny Grachev who was once on this list and they drafted this center in the third round out of the Minnesota High School system. He’s 18 and instead of going back to the USHL he chose the BCHL. Penticton is known for having a world class facility and this kid skates, shoots and handles the puck very well for a big man.
9) Oscar Lindberg – 6-1, 190 – C - He’s a very good face-off guy, pretty much around the puck, but has to play for physical to make his mark in the NHL. He looked good in the World Juniors this past winter. He has played in the Swedish Elite League the past two seasons against men.
10) Pavel Valentenko – 6-2, 225 – D - He’s a good skater, needed to get tougher for the NHL and has. Has some offensive upside and his added bulk could give him a chance to play for the Rangers sometime this season. He doesn’t take dumb penalties.
The organizations top goalie prospect is still Scott Stajcer but he’s hanging by a thread.
photo by Feldman - Pavel Valentenko