New York Rangers Top 10 Prospects
1) Chris Kreider - 6-2, 217 - C –(19th overall pick in 2009) - 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. He was a first rounder and he should live up to the billing and then some. During this past World Junior Championships he was named Team USA's Player of the Game following their win over Switzerland and was a wiz on the power play. He has a well above-average wrist shot which looks to be an important offensive tool for the Boxford, Massachusetts native. With all of his international experience plus college playoff dramatics including a Frozen Four win and an appearance in the outdoor game he should really make a pretty big splash with the Blueshirts when he’s ready. A broken jaw this season has set him back a bit.
2) Ryan McDonagh - 6-1, 213 - D – (12th overall in 2007) - This first-rounder was a teammate of Derek Stepan at Wisconsin and maybe they will be teammates in New York for the next decade if all goes well. When the Rangers traded Scott Gomez to Montreal, in my opinion, this was the biggest part of that deal. It's been a while since the Rangers have had a true stay-at-home defenseman and he can be that guy, and he'll chip in a little offense as well. He has toughness and terrific hockey sense.
3) Carl Hagelin –5-11, 176- LW – (168th overall pick in 2007) -He’s a smart kid who positions himself well on the ice. He can score in the dirty areas by sneaking in. He finds the open spots in the offensive zone to score. The Michigan captain is a gifted skater with a fast trigger. He has an offensive killer instinct. He needs to bulk up a bit. This winger can score from anywhere on the ice. He should star in this year’s Frozen Four.
4) Jesper Fasth –5-11, 165- RW - (157th overall in 2010) – This kid has the ability to get around the defense and go end-to-end to create offense for his team. He’s very at home on the power play and he’s a slick skater.
5) Christian Thomas – 5-9, 166 – RW - (40th overall in 2010) – The son of former NHLer Steve is small, and weak, but he has great work ethic, drive and scoring touch. Is he strong enough to play in the NHL? Wayne Gretzky would have been considered weak in his day so you never know. Rangers Director of Amateur scouting, Gordie Clark terms him as “Hockey strong”.
6) Mats Zuccarello –5-7, 174 - LW – (free agent signing 2010) – The “Hobbit” is a good skater, good passer, and he can get into small areas to score. He’s not very strong and he has a very slight frame. He’s great in the shootout but inconsistent at best at even strength.
7) Ethan Werek - 6-1, 199 – C – (47th overall pick in 2009) - The Rangers know that this kid has talent but you can't rush him even though he's been putting up great numbers with Kingston under the tutelage of former NHL sniper Doug Gilmour. He has high praise for the kid. He's a big kid and he's still growing. He possesses an excellent skill set, works hard, has a great shot from the slot, has a fast release and trails the play well without the puck. He's good on the power play and he needs to get faster. Historically the Rangers have done very well for themselves with their second round picks and Werek is no exception.
8) Dylan McIlrath –6-3, 210 - D – (10th overall in 2010) – He’s an enforcer in the WHL for Moose Jaw. He’s a decent defender but he has to work on his positioning. I’m not sure he has any real offensive upside. He is expected to be an intimidator when he arrives in New York, someday.
9) Ryan Bourque –5-9, 168 – C - (80th overall in 2009) – The son of Ray 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? Only time will tell.
10) Evgeny Grachev - 6-4, 222 - C – (75th overall in 2008) - He's a big kid with a lot of confidence. He's a good skater, but has to get faster, he can play defensively responsible hockey and he can score from the slot besides being able to carry the puck into the offensive zone. Big kids take a bit more time to develop so he may need additional time in Hartford. He’s only 21.