Rangers Top 30 Prospects

By Brandon LeBourveau

Welcome Fans. Please meet the Rangers top 30 prospects…

1. Pavel Brendl – Premier goal scorer who is a superstar in the making. Arguably the current best prospect in the NHL, Brendl flashed his talents on the World stage, leading the Czech Republic to the gold medal in the 2001 World Junior Championships with 4 goals and 6 assists in 7 games.

2. Mike Mottau – Surefire future top 3 defenseman in the NHL. Is currently rounding out his game in Hartford. An offensive-minded defenseman who loves to hit and play physical and a future power play Quarterback.

3. Jamie Lundmark – A hardworking, high-scoring center. Lundmark was traded to Seattle of the WHL early in the season and has turned that whole entire team around and now they are on their way to becoming legitimate playoff contenders. A future captain in the NHL, Lundmark plays with a lot of heart and has a great work ethic.

4. Johan Holmqvist – Although Vitali Yeremeyev has been the most surprising Rangers goalie prospect this year, the future still remains in the hands of Holmqvist. He’s only 22 and is having a very solid year in Hartford of the AHL.

5. Tomas Kloucek – Currently playing in the NHL with the Rangers, Tomas has a bright future ahead of him. A future top 4 defenseman, Kloucek plays a steady stay-at-home defensive game and very rarely makes a mistake on the ice. Brian Leetch was quoted as saying about Kloucek, “He’s going to be one heck of a hockey player.”

6. Jason Labarbera – Don’t let the numbers fool you. Labarbera has played on poor teams all throughout his career, and the trend has continued to the ECHL with the Charlotte Checkers. Labarbera is having a solid season and the Checkers would be even worse than they are if it wasn’t for Jason.

7. Filip Novak – Has one of the biggest upsides of any of the Rangers prospects, Novak is a highly skilled offensive minded defenseman with great speed and great on-ice vision. A future top 3 defenseman, I believe Novak compares to someone like Sergei Gonchar.

8. Vitali Yeremeyev – Is having a superb first season in North America after coming over from Russia. Currently with the Rangers, but was dominating the AHL posting a 1.94 GAA and 2 shutouts in 13 games. Is an older prospect at 25, but a huge darkhorse. Some say he’s Evgeni Nabokov Part 2.

9. Henrik Lundqvist – One of the biggest steals of the 2000 Draft, Lundqvist is arguably the top goalie in Sweden and some say he will be the top goalie ever to come from Sweden. He was fantastic in the 2001 World Junior Championships, posting a 1.86 GAA and .927 Save Percentage in 7 games to lead Sweden to a 4th place finish.

10. Johan Asplund – Another top goalie prospect in Sweden, Asplund could be making his way over to North America in another year or two. Might be more advanced than Holmqvist was at this age.

11. Jeff Ulmer – More of a Minor league contributor then someone the Rangers consider a legit prospect, still he is only 23 and might get a chance with the big club.

12. Burke Henry – Has turned things around this season after a terrible first professional year last year. A 2 way defenseman with some offensive upside, Henry is still awaiting the call that will bring him up to New York.

13. Jeff Dessner – A future top 5 two-way defenseman. Is currently a senior on a bad Wisconsin team. Will be fighting for a job on the Rangers next season in camp but most likely will be in the AHL with the Hartford Wolf Pack.

14. Patrick Aufiero – A decent two-way defenseman who plays for a poor Boston University team. Still has a few years of college eligibility left and will probably need some minor league seasoning.

15. Patrick Leahy – Playing for a rebuilding Miama of Ohio team, he is a team leader and a presence. Numbers down due to being the focus of other teams. Only prospect who can even be considered a power forward. Is a senior this season and will probably need some time in the minors to get used to the much quicker professional game.

16. Sven Helfenstein – A highly talented offensive player with a huge upside. There’s not many Swiss players currently in the NHL, but Helfenstein has the potential to clearly be the best of them. He’s dominant in the offensive zone with nifty stickhandling moves and uses his speed and acceleration to open up space for himself and teammates. Only reason why he fell so low in the draft is he is small for NHL standards at 5’11 176 lbs and is from Switzerland, not the greatest places to produce NHL talent.

17. Garrett Bembridge – A little bigger then last year {6’0, 190} and having a great final season in junior. If he makes it should be a two way player. Future might be at RW.

18. David Inman – Has every tool needed to be an NHL player except the head. He just doesn’t get it. If he ever performed at 50% of his ability he’d be dominating college hockey.

19. Dominic Moore – Rangers are high on him and he is having a very good season right now, not overly big but is such an intelligent two way player and hard worker.

20. Brandon Snee – Quietly becoming one of College hockey’s best goalies. Ranger’s brass is extremely impressed with him right now. Not many people know of him, yet.

21. David Duerden – Recently acquired from the Panthers organization, Duerden has the potential to be a 3rd/4th liner in the NHL. He’s a hard worker who plays with a lot of heart. Not a flashy player but can score some goals and is very sound defensively.

22. Martin Richter – Participated in training camp this season but it was obvious he needed more seasoning. Instead of staying in North America, far from home, and play in the minors, he returned to Findland for another season. A bit of an older prospect at 22, Richter is a two-way defenseman who could crack the top 6 in the future.

23. Wes Jarvis – Had lots of potential when drafted, but fell off the radar since and is just starting to be consistent for Charlotte (ECHL) and is making strides. The Rangers liken his development to that of Eric Cairns.

24. Evgeny Gusakov – BIG kid, he is a project but the Rangers really are high on him. Has the potential to be a steal in a few years. Keep an eye on him.

25. Stefan Lundqvist – Another one of the Rangers few power forwards, Lundqvist is starting to put the puck in the net this season in Sweden as he has 14 goals in 20-something games. A lot still needs to fall into place for Stefan to make it to the NHL, and we will see what happens in the upcoming years.

26. Tomi Kallarsson – Big defenseman is solid defensively but has a very limited offensive upside. Is not in a good position as he is on a team with some prospect depth.

27. Brandon Dietrich – Has picked up his play as of late with the Wolf Pack of the AHL. It still remains to be seen if Brandon has the talent to be a player in the NHL. We’ll have to see how his development comes along to make a determination.

28. Bryce Wandler – Has been good in first pro season and is moving up the Depth Chart. Considering he didn’t even cost the Rangers a draft pick, anything is considered good.

29. Nathan Martz – Big center is having a solid freshman year, smart kid with great skill. Rangers expect him to be a top college player in a few years and potentially an NHL player. Just needs time.

30. Arto Laatikainen – Decent two-way defenseman playing in Finland, it is hard to tell whether Arto will ever make it to the NHL. When he comes over to North America and gets some time in the minors it will be easier to determine.

Special Thanks to Edge Who Helped Out With These Rankings.