Rangers’ Future: Forward – Part 3

By Brandon LeBourveau
I’m back once again with the 3rd part of this 3 part series. Today we
will look at the Rangers’ forward prospects as many of them will try to
impress the Rangers management this week at training camp. Although the
Rangers don’t have many talented prospects at the Forward position, it is
still a good group nonetheless.


Name: Pavel Brendl
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Height: 6-02
Weight: 205 lbs
Birthdate: March 23, 1981
Hometown: Opocno, Czech Republic
Acquired: Draft 1999, 1st round (4th overall)

Stats
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Calgary WHL 61 59 52 111 94
Calgary* WHL 10 7 12 19 8
Hartford* AHL 2 0 0 0 0
1998-99 Calgary WHL 68 73 61 134 40
Calgary* WHL 20 21 25 46 18
1997-98 HC Olomouc Czech Jr 35 36 20 56 35
HC Olomouc Czech 2 12 1 1 2 --
1996-97 HC Olomouc Czech Jr 40 35 17 52 --
Brendl is atop everyone’s top prospect list for the Rangers, with Jamie
Lundmark always close behind. The Rangers invested a lot in Pavel as they
gave up proven players such as Dan Cloutier, Niklas Sundstrom, 1st Round Pick
in 2000 (Nikita Alexeev) and a 3rd round pick in 2000. A lot of people have
started to label Brendl a bust, but how can you call him a bust when he has
never played an NHL game? Brendl didn’t play too well in the Rookie camp in
Kitchener last week, but it’s just one camp and the time for him to shine is
in Burlington, Vermont this week at the main camp. Most people, including me,
believe Brendl will make the team this season and force Glen Sather to trade
a veteran to make room on the roster. Brendl has the potential to be an
all-star in this league, but his attitude and work ethic have people
beginning to write him off. If he fails to make the team this year, he will
be back in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen.


Name: Jamie Lundmark
Position: Center
Shoots: Right
Height: 6-00
Weight: 190 lbs
Birthdate: January 16, 1981
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta
Acquired: Draft 1999, 1st round (9th overall)

Stats
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Moose Jaw WHL 37 21 27 48 33
1998-99 Moose Jaw WHL 70 40 51 91 121
1997-98 St. Albert AJHL 53 33 58 91 176
1996-97 St. Albert AJHL 35 10 9 19 8
Jamie will be a better all-around player than Pavel Brendl down the road.
He is one of the most hardworking players I have ever seen. He never gives up
on a play and works his butt off night after night. Lundmark also is a
natural scorer and could put up points consistently. I definitely see him as
a very good NHLer in the future. He could possibly win a spot on the roster
this season with a good showing in camp. He impressed many people at the
rookie camp in Kitchener, especially in the 1st game against Buffalo where he
worked hard all night and potted 2 goals. It seems like a roster spot this
season for Lundmark’s is his to lose, and his likely destination is the NHL.
However, it’s back to Moose Jaw of the WHL if he can’t make the team.


Name: Stefan Cherneski
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-01
Weight: 200 lbs
Birthdate: September 19, 1978
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Acquired: 1st Round, 1997 Draft (19th overall)

Stats
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Hartford AHL 1 0 0 0 0
1998-99 Hartford AHL 11 1 2 3 41
1997-98 Brandon WHL 65 43 38 81 127
1996-97 Brandon WHL 58 39 29 68 83
1995-96 Brandon WHL 58 8 21 29 62
Cherneski suffered a shattered knee-cap during a game in Hartford in the
1998-99 season, causing him to miss all but one game in 1999-00. He is fully
recovered right now, but missing all but one game last season has raised a
lot of questions about what type of player he will become. Most people still
see him as a future 2nd line RW, but some think his potential has dropped to
a very good 3rd liner. He is a hardworking power forward, similar to an Adam
Graves. Cherneski impressed at the rookie camp, and hopes to do so at the big
camp. He could very well win a spot with the team, but there is still
questions about his knee, and a season in Hartford is likely in store for him.


Name: Patrick Leahy
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Height: 6-03
Weight: 210 lbs
Birthdate: June 06, 1979
Hometown: Brighton, Massachusetts
Acquired: 5th Round, 1998 Draft

Stats
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Miami-Ohio CCHA 36 16 22 38 89
1998-99 Miami-Ohio CCHA 34 10 20 30 40
1997-98 Miami-Ohio CCHA 28 0 1 1 24
Leahy was almost dealt to the rival New York Islanders in the summer of
1999 in the deal that would have sent Zigmund Palffy to the Rangers. Leahy
has been developing very nicely since being drafted, and he could become a
very good power forward in the NHL. He has a lot of offensive potential, and
only needs to add a mean streak to become a productive NHLer. He has 1 more
year of college left, and after that Leahy could either make the Rangers, or
spend a season or two in Hartford of the AHL.


Name: David Inman
Position: Center
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-01
Weight: 190 lbs
Birthdate: June 13, 1980
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Acquired: Draft 1999, 2nd round

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Notre Dame CCHA 32 13 7 20 12
1998-99 Notre Dame CCHA 35 10 10 20 74
1997-98 Wexford OJHL 37 36 44 80 82
1996-97 Wexford OJHL 43 32 56 88 59
Another good player selected out of College by the Rangers, Inman is a
very good playmaking center. Ottawa was thinking about taking him 25th
overall in the ’99 Draft, but they decided against it and he fell to the
Rangers in the 2nd Round, 59th overall. He still has 2 seasons of college
left, and I don’t expect him to turn pro anytime before that. There is a big
jam at the center position for the Rangers, and Inman could be traded in the
near future. He has NHL upside, but likely will spend a few seasons in the
AHL after college, then make the jump to the NHL, whether it’s with the
Rangers or another club.


Name: Johan Witehall
Position: Left Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-1
Weight: 198 lbs
Birthdate: January 07, 1972
Hometown: Gotenborg, Sweden
Acquired: Round 8 #207 overall 1998 NHL Entry Draft

Stats
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Hartford AHL 73 17 24 41 65
Hartford* AHL 17 6 7 13 10
New York NHL 9 1 1 2 2
1998-99 Hartford AHL 62 14 15 29 56
Hartford* AHL 7 1 2 3 6
New York NHL 4 0 0 0 0
1997-98 Leksands IF SEL 42 12 4 16 34
1996-97 Oskarshamn SEL 2 32 19 16 35 38
1995-96 Hanhals Kun. SWE 2 36 43 17 60 48
1994-95 Hanhals Kun. SWE 2 32 38 13 51 44
1993-94 Hanhals Kun. SWE 2 30 13 12 25 66
1992-93 Hanhals Kun. SWE 2 29 12 7 19 34
1991-92 Hanhals Kun. SWE 2 32 23 14 37 52

Is the darkhorse of the Rangers prospects to make the team this season.
Witehall was recently re-signed by the Rangers, which means he fits into
their plans, but anyone who is a great skater and possess good speed fits
into the Rangers’ plans. Witehall has played in a total of 13 games over the
past 2 seasons in the NHL, and this season he could be seeing NHL ice full
time. He is a good goal scorer who creates scoring chances with his
exceptional speed. He has spent the last 2 seasons playing fulltime in
Hartford where he was a key piece to their championship winning team. Is
definitely deserving of an NHL spot this season, and with a good training
camp he should get it.


Name: Stefan Lundqvist
Position: Left Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-3
Weight: 223 lbs
Birthdate: February 18, 1978
Hometown: Gavle, Sweden
Acquired: Round 7 #180 overall 1998 NHL Entry Draft

Stats

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Brynäs SEL 48 6 4 10 12
Brynäs* SEL 11 1 0 11 0
Brynäs EHL 6 1 1 2 2
1998-99 Brynäs SEL 13 0 0 0 0
Mora Swe Div 1 23 10 7 17 22
Uppsala Swe Div 1 15 7 8 15 0
1997-98 Brynäs SEL 27 2 2 4 0
Brynäs Jr Sweden Jr 21 23 15 38 2
1996-97 Avesta BK Swe Div 2 14 14 12 26 -
1995-96 Avesta BK Swe Div 2 27 24 13 37 10
1994-95 Avesta BK Swe Div 1 3 0 1 1 0
The native of Gavle, Sweden, Lundqvist was the Rangers 7th round
selection in the 1998 Entry Draft. He is a big power forward (6’3 233) who
has a good scoring touch. He could be a Ranger in another season or two if he
comes over from North America. Most likely a career minor leaguer, but if he
learns the North American game well and improves his skill, he could become
an NHLer.


Name: Garrett Bembridge
Position: Center
Shoots: Right
Height: 6-0
Weight: 180 lbs
Birthdate: July 06, 1981
Hometown: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Acquired: Round 5 #137 overall 1999 NHL Entry Draft

Stats
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Saskatoon WHL 72 27 31 58 41
Saskatoon* WHL 11 5 5 10 2
1998-99 Saskatoon WHL 68 23 27 50 30
1997-98 Saskatoon WHL 6 1 1 2 0
1997-98 Saskatoon AA AAHA 44 29 45 74 74
A mid-round pick in 1999, the Rangers felt confident that Bembridge can
prove the critics wrong and not have his small frame (5’11 164) hold him
back. If Bembridge can do just that, we could have an NHL player on our
hands, or a career minor leaguer. One more season in junior will give us a
better look at how Bembridge will turn out.


Name: Brandon Dietrich
Position: Center
Shoots:
Height: 6-0
Weight: 190 lbs
Birthdate: March 22, 1978
Hometown: Waterloo, Ontario
Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent, June 29, 2000

Stats
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 St. Lawrence ECAC 36 15 26 41 -
1998-99 St. Lawrence ECAC 39 20 19 39 22
Dietrich was signed by the Rangers in late June after going undrafted in
the Entry Draft. Brandon impressed a lot of people with his hardwork and
great defensive play while also chipping in offensively at the rookie camp in
Kitchener, Ontario. He will be given a good look at training camp, but it is
most likely he will play in the AHL this upcoming season. Look out for him in
the future as he could become a role player in the NHL.


Name: Daniel Goneau
Position: Left Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-01
Weight: 196 lbs
Birthdate: January 16, 1976
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Acquired: 1996 NHL Draft, 2nd round (48th overall)

Stats
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Hartford AHL 51 15 17 32 -
Hartford* AHL 22 1 2 3 -
1998-99 Hartford AHL 72 20 19 39 56
1997-98 Hartford AHL 66 21 26 47 44
1996-97 Binghampton AHL 39 15 15 30 10
1995-96 Granby QMJHL 67 54 51 105 115
1994-95 Laval QMJHL 56 16 31 47 78
1993-94 Laval QMJHL 68 29 57 86 81
1992-93 Laval QMJHL 62 16 25 41 44
1991-92 Lac St-Louis QAAA 42 21 14 35 52
1990-91 Laval Leafs QAAA 32 16 18 34 20
Goneau was drafted with high hopes of him becoming a top talent in the
NHL, but so far he has been nothing but a bust. Already 24, Goneau is like a
cat with 9 lives, and he has already used 8. If he does not impress at
training camp, it’s likely he will be traded or sent back to the AHL. Doesn’t
have much of an NHL upside anymore, but has played great in the AHL the last
few seasons and the Hartford Wolf Pack wouldn’t mind to have him on their
team for years to come. A trade could definitely be the one thing that can
rejuvenate Daniel’s career.


Name: Evgeny Gusakov
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-6
Weight: 210 lbs
Birthdate: March 05, 1981
Hometown:
Acquired: round 8 #226 overall 1999 NHL Entry Draft

Stats

Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Baie-Comeau QMJHL 61 25 22 47 135
Baie-Comeau* QMJHL 6 5 1 6 10
Hartford AHL 1 0 0 0 0
An 8th round selection by the Rangers in 1999, it definitely appears they
got good value for their pick. A monster power forward (6’6 210), Gusakov
played great at rookie camp, chipping in a few goals offensively. He could be
a late round steal from that draft, and all indications point to him starting
the year in Hartford of the AHL, and possibly getting called up by the
Rangers during the season. As is the case with most big players, Gusakov is
not very fast, and that could be the only thing holding him back. He could be
a good NHL player in a few years if he improves his game in the AHL.


Name: Sven Helfenstein
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Height: 5-11
Weight: 176 lbs
Birthdate: January 30, 1982
Hometown: Switzerland
Acquired: 2000 NHL Draft, 6th round (175th overall)

Stats
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Kloten SUI 40 6 3 9 28
1998-99 Kloten LNSw 2 0 0 0 0
In my opinion, Helfenstein was a HUGE steal by the Rangers in the 6th
round of the 2000 Entry Draft. On my mock draft, I had him going in the late
2nd round, and boy was I happy when I heard his name selected by the Rangers
in the 6th Round. He is small by NHL standards (5’11 176) but he is an
offensive player who can skate with good speed. Could definitely turn into an
NHL player. Participated in the rookie camp in Kitchener, Ontario this past
week, Helfenstein was given an invitation to the main tr
aining camp this week
in Burlington, Vermont. Helfenstein is a darkhorse, and don’t rule out the
possibility of him making the team this season. However, he will likely end
up in the AHL for this season.


Name: Nathan Martz
Position: Center
Shoots:
Height: 6-3
Weight: 169 lbs
Birthdate: March 04, 1981
Hometown:
Acquired: 2000 NHL Draft, 5th round (140th overall)

Stats
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Chilliwack BCHL 59 35 75 110 97
A great scorer for Chilliwack of the BCHL with 110 points (35 goals and
75 assists) and also accumulated 97 penalty minutes in only 59 games. Drafted
in the 5th round, not much was known about Martz who played in a barely known
league. If he makes the move to Major Junior, a lot more people will be able
to see his talents. Is still a ways away from the NHL, but could definitely
make the big show.


Name: Dominic Moore
Position: Center
Shoots:
Height: 6-0
Weight: 180 lbs
Birthdate: August 03, 1980
Hometown: Thornhill, Ontario
Acquired: 2000 NHL Draft, 3rd round (95th overall)

Stats
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Harvard ECAC 30 12 12 24 28
1998-99 Aurora OPJHL 51 34 53 87 70
A feisty player who plays with a lot of grit and toughness. A tenacious
backchecker who is also a great defensive forward. Is an above average skater
with lots of speed and a smooth stride. Is great on face-offs, winning the
majority of them – a talent teams like to look for. Reads the play very well
with his good hockey sense. A great deker, who most of the time leaves the
goalie hung out to dry. Inherits a surprisingly quick shot that freezes most
goaltenders. A good goal scorer who plays a smart game. Will return to
college this season, and don’t expect Moore to make a push for an NHL job
anytime soon, but keep an eye open for him in the future.


Name: Jeff Ulmer
Position: Center
Shoots: Right
Height: 5-11
Weight: 185 lbs
Birthdate: April 27, 1977
Hometown: Wilcox, Saskatchewan
Acquired: Free agent signee on 07/27/00

Stats
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Houston IHL 5 1 0 1 0
Houston* IHL 11 2 4 6 6
Canada Intl 48 14 25 39 20
1998-99 North Dakota NCAA 38 16 20 36 46
1997-98 North Dakota NCAA 32 12 12 24 44
1996-97 North Dakota NCAA 36 6 11 17 16
1995-96 North Dakota NCAA 29 5 3 8 26
Ulmer is a hardworking center who played for Rangers head coach Ron Low
in Houston of the IHL last season. Plays with a great attitude and has good
speed and strength to go along with some offensive ability. Could make the
Rangers out of camp this season, but most likely will end up with Hartford of
the AHL.

I hope you all enjoyed every minute of this 3 part series, and keep
checking back to the Rangers section here at Hockeysfuture for updates as we
try to make this the number one hockey’s prospect site on the net!