New York Rangers have good mix of size and skill at junior level

By Leslie Treff
Daniel Walcott - New York Rangers

Photo: Defenseman Daniel Walcott is having a strong second season in the QMJHL, with 12 points through 16 games. The Rangers picked Walcott in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

 

The New York Rangers have nine junior prospects in their system in 2014-15. For the past few years, the Rangers traded many of their picks, and in the process depleted their junior prospect pool. But with the selection of seven prospects in 2014 NHL Draft, New York has restocked the system.

All but one of these junior prospects play for a CHL team-with Tyler Nanne, being the sole USA junior-A player. Additionally, although Anthony Duclair is eligible to return to his junior team (the QMJHL Quebec Remparts) this season, he is currently donning a Rangers sweater.

QMJHL

Ryan Graves, D, Quebec Remparts
Acquired: 4th round (110th overall), 2013

Ryan Graves had shoulder surgery after the 2013-14 season and the recovery period required Graves to miss development camp, the Traverse City Rookie Tournament, and the Rangers NHL training camp this fall. However, for the last three weeks, the 2013 fourth round pick is back on the ice. A very large, mostly defensive defenseman, Graves developed really well last season. The Rangers rewarded him by signing Graves to an entry-level contract in March 2014. Recently traded from Val-d’Or Foreurs to his third team in as many seasons, the Memorial Cup host Quebec Remparts, Graves has begun to show a bit of offensive upside to his game. He currently has four points through eight games.

Daniel Walcott, D, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada
Acquired: 5th round (140th overall), 2014

Walcott was drafted by the Rangers as a 20-year-old this past summer. At both development camp and Traverse City, Walcott showed why the Rangers selected him. A dynamo on the ice, this small, very offensively minded blueliner is a spark plug on every shift. Off to a terrific start with the Armada, Walcott, the team captain, is scoring at a rate of almost a point-per-game. He was also named to the QMJHL all stars and posted one assist in two games in the Canada Russia Super Series earlier this month.

WHL

Keegan Iverson, C, Portland Winterhawks
Acquired: 3rd round (85th overall), 2014

Keegan Iverson was named the alternate captain of the Winterhawks prior to the 2014-15 season. A good forechecker with a thick body, Iverson does not put up big numbers, but he is a presence that opponents cannot ignore. Iverson had his first fight of the season last week, but it will likely not be his last. He will need to learn to improve his positional play, but the Rangers do expect some significant development from Iverson this year. Projected to be a bottom six forward in the pros, he will likely play on the wing.

Richard Nejezchleb, RW, Tri-City Americans
Acquired: 5th round (122nd overall), 2014

A very good sized winger, who uses his strength very well, Nejezchleb was traded earlier this month from the Brandon Wheat Kings to the Tri City Americans. Injured in the Traverse City Rookie Tournament, after a very impressive first game, Nejezchleb has belatedly begun his WHL season strongly (one game winner and 12 points in nine games). With excellent size and offensive instincts, Nejezchleb projects to be a power forward in the NHL.

Adam Tambellini, LW, Calgary Hitmen
Acquired: 3rd round (65th overall), 2013

When Adam Tambellini was drafted, the Rangers thought that he would be a four-year project. Expected to spend those years at the University of North Dakota, after one semester, Tambellini decided it was best for his development to leave the university and join the CHL. His rights had to be traded for him to get to Calgary, but since his arrival, Tambellini has done very well. Tambellini has good hands, size, and bloodlines, and he continues to develop in Calgary. The son of ex-NHLer Steve Tambellini, Adam is in his second season with Calgary and is currently leading the Hitmen with three game-winning goals in 21 games, while producing at over a point-per-game rate.

OHL

Troy Donnay, D, Erie Otters
Acquired: Signed as a free agent, August, 2013

The tallest skater in the Rangers’s system, Troy Donnay does not have much defensive upside, but he can be a tough, crease clearing blueliner. A free agent signing, the Rangers are trying to get Donnay to improve his positioning and the use of his stick. Thus far this season, Donnay has been very effective offensively too-in 14 games, he has recorded 12 points (three goals, nine assists).

Brandon Halverson, G, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Acquired: 2nd Round, 59th Overall, 2014

Halverson is in his second year in the net; taking over the number one duties in the Soo this season. A very athletic butterfly netminder, with a good glove, in 19 games this season, Halverson has recorded a goals against average of 2.94 and .914 save percentage for the Greyhounds. A top Rangers prospect, the NHL team is striving to bring Halverson along slowly. New York expects him to learn his trade in the OHL for at least two more seasons.

Ryan Mantha, D, Niagara IceDogs
Acquired: 4th Round, 104th Overall, 2014

Ryan Mantha has a huge frame and is mostly a stay at home blueliner. A member of the Niagara Ice Dogs, Mantha has appeared in only six games this season (0 goals, one assist, five penalty minutes, minus-eight) and is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury. Mantha will have to work on skating and gap control over the next two years to make it in pro hockey.

USHL

Tyler Nanne, D, Madison Capitols
Acquired: 5th Round, 142nd Overall, 2014

Nanne is an offensive defenseman, who started the season as a member of the Sioux Falls Stampede. Traded last week to the Madison Capitols, Nanne has only posted four points (two goals, two assists) in play this far this year. Nanne is committed to Ohio State for next season, so the Rangers will have almost four more years to make a decision regarding offering Nanne an entry-level contract.

New York Rangers Top Performing Non-Junior Prospects

At the NHL level, the top performing prospect is Duclair. The rookie forward has been getting top nine minutes in most of the games in which he has appeared. He has been scratched at times, but with seven points (one goal, six assists) in 16 games, Duclair is in the early conversation as a candidate for the Calder Trophy.

In Europe,¬†Igor Shestyorkin has stopped almost everything he has seen in net. The 6’1 goaltender has played for the MHL St. Petersburg team and recorded a goals against average of 2.26 and a .934 save percentage. In the junior ranks of the VHL,¬†Shestyorkin has a 1.72 goals against average and a .943 save percentage in eight games.

Pavel Buchnevich - New York Rangers Prospect of the Month, October, 2014New York Rangers Prospect of the Month: October

The Rangers prospect of the month for October is Pavel Buchnevich. Playing for Severstal Cherepovets of the KHL, Buchnevich is a 19 year old Russian who plays against adults. During the month of October, Buchnevich posted six points (two goals, four assists) in 10 games. This season, the 2013 Rangers third round selection has potted two game winners. He has nine goals and nine assists through 29 games this season.