Updated Rangers Prospect Rankings

By pbadmin

With the ongoing season I have re-rated some of the Rangers prospects. Although the “top 22″ rankings are from the beginning of the season, changes have been made in the positional analysis. This lists consists of NON-CURRENT NHLer’s and for the most part players under 26. Basic comments have been made. Players selected, signed no earlier than 1997.

NOTE: With the acquisition of Rich Pilon via the waiver wire, prospect Dale Purinton and P.J. Stock return to the minor league Affiliate in Hartford of the American Hockey League and to our positional analysis. Jason Doig, Mike York, Kim Johnsson and Jan Hlavac have been dropped as they are in New York with the Rangers. This list as of 12-3-1999.

Left Wings: Perhaps the least known prospect group of the Rangers. Former Bruins’ pick and re-selection by the Rangers, Daniel Goneau, is the best known. However with each passing month it becomes more and more apparant that he is not in the Rangers’ plans for the future. Perhaps the most interesting pick in this group is Russian monster Evgeny Gusakov. At 6-6, this big winger has the size to dominate. However, little is known and time will tell. Most expect him to at least carry the Russian skills, but the post Soviet machine is very rusty and leaves a big question mark. Swedish star Johan Lindbom returned to play for HV71 but is still regarded as a top prospect. Although he did not stick with the Rangers last time around, hope is held out for this 220 pound banger. A star in the Swedish league, he could and should be in NY now. Todd Hall, a Connecticut native and former Whalers pick, is not a scorer but a hard working 217 pounder. Although a long shot to make the NHL, his work ethic and size put him on our charts. The Boyd Kane star has fizzled with his continued prison term in the ECHL. The banger needs to work his way back for a shot at the NHL.

LEFT WINGS
Dmitri Subbotin – 5
Evgeny Gusakov-5
Daniel Goneau – 4
Johan Lindbom- 4
Todd Hall-3.5
Boyd Kane-3
Centers: Of this group everyone knows of the tough P.J. Stock. His heart is bigger than his overall abilities. A workhorse, he appears to be auditioning for an expansion shot. A player any team would love. Lundmark is struggling now in the WHL, however he played so well in camp he may even sit on the bench in NY next year. Lundmark is the best of this group. Armstrong is a proven AHLer but can he take it to the next level under Muckler? Inman, time will tell.
CENTERS
Jamie Lundmark – 9
David Inman – 6
Derek Armstrong-5
P.J. Stock-5

Right Wings: Pavel Brendl everyone knows about, he is dominating again at the WHL level, perhaps 2000 will be his year on Broadway. Johan Witehall another player that seems to stick at the AHL level. He shines at the Rangers camp but ends up in the AHL. Perhaps his last year in the organization, this talented Swede may end up back in Sweden. The Cherneski star continues to dim. The knee injuries have shut down the 6-0 200. Hopefully the rehab and some time in the AHL after the New Year will get him back on track. But he has lost a lot of time…
RIGHT WINGS
Pavel Brendl – 9
Johan Witehall-5.5
Patrick Leahy – 4
Stefan Lundqvist- 4
Randy Copley – 4
Francois Fortier -4
Garett Bembridge-
S. Cherneski-3
Jay Dardis-NR

Defensemen: Of this group Mike Mottau continues to shine the most. While playing against men in the Worlds last year, Mottau just may make the jump to the NHL at the end of this year. The skinny kid has nice skills on both sides… will he metamorphasize into Barry Richter or Mike Mottau at the NHL level. Kloucek and Henry will get shots at the NHL if the hierarchy determines high salary, old age does not mean good player. Dale Purinton was mis treated in his first shot, not even earning the morning skate in NY. However this tough guy has the chance of surplanting anyone in NY.Mertzig, an aging Swede is a nice player, but chances are his NHL dreams are done. Watch out for Kallarsson and Aufiero(TEAM USA World Jrs).
DEFENSEMEN
Mike Mottau – 7
Burke Henry – 7
Tomas Kloucek – 6.5
Dale Purinton- 5.5
Wes Jarvis – 5.5
Patrick Aufiero – 5
Alexei Vasiliev – 5
Tomi Kallarsson – 4
Arto Laatikainen- NR
Jan Mertzig-NR

Goal: This group is led by International veteran Milan Hnilicka. The International Star, perhaps the best goalie in the world not in the NHL, was rudely introduced by a horrible Rangers effort in his only NHL game. But this budding NHLer needs to be in the show and with McLean struggling…why not now? oooooooops Salaries..McLean makes more…so he should be in NY! Holmqvist and possibly Asplund may be Tre Kronor`s goalie Tandem of the future. Holmqvist is rated as the best goalie out of Swedish Hockey since Pelle Lindbergh. Although Tommy Salo and Tommy Soderstrøm have had their times in the NHL, it is widely viewed that Holmqvist will be the best Swedish goalie in the NHL. His development allowed the trade of Daniel Cloutier. JF Labbe is a fine AHLer that deserves a shot. But where? Jason Labarbera has suprised all and is the best “young” Non Euro-goalie in NY`s stall. This area is deep. Jeff Heil is the John Hillebrandt of the group. Enough said!
GOALTENDERS
Milan Hnilicka-8
Johan Holmqvist – 7.5
J-F Labbe-6.5
Jason Labarbera – 6
Johan Asplund – 5
Jeff Heil- 2