Photo: Upon completing a junior season in which he was among the top players in all of NCAA hockey, Chris Kreider signed an entry-level deal with the New York Rangers. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Green/ Icon SMI)
With last Saturday's National Championship win, the 2011-12 NCAA season ended for Rangers' prospects. New York's top prospect, Chris Kreider, and his Boston College Eagles defeated the Ferris State Bulldogs by a score of 4-1. Then, after returning to Chestnut Hill for celebrations and a couple of last days of classes, Kreider signed a contract and joined the Rangers to prepare for the NHL playoffs. The Blueshirts' only other NCAA prospect, Danny Hobbs, had his season end earlier in the NCAA playoffs, suffering a broken wrist in the Hockey East Quarterfinal Series.
Photo: Defenseman Tim Erixon has been solid in his first season with the Rangers organization. Erixon has appeared in 18 NHL games. (Photo courtesy of Rich Kane/Icon SMI)
Chris Kreider remains the top prospect in the Rangers organization. Two players, Tomas Kundratek (WAS) and Dale Weise (VAN), who appeared on the last ranking have since been traded, and one, Ryan McDonagh, has graduated. Carl Hagelin, who is close to graduation, plays on New York's top line with Marion Gaborik and Brad Richards. Michael St. Croix, who had an outstanding 2011-12 junior campaign, is also a quick riser. In total, there are 13 forwards, five defensemen and two goaltenders that comprise New York's spring 2012 Top 20. The top four prospects are all expected to compete for NHL roster spots next fall.
Heading into the 2003 National Hockey League Draft, the New York Rangers were faced with a variety of holes to fill in an attempt to return to respectability. The Rangers had to find a way to uncover not only solid prospects in their first few rounds but with their late round picks as well, because despite their relatively high draft position the past several years, the Rangers draft crops have yielded only a few positive returns so far.
The 1998 Entry Draft saw the Rangers take character forward Manny Malhotra with the seventh overall selection. Despite playing in the NHL at 18 years of age, Malhotra has yet to develop into the solid checking center the Rangers envisioned five years ago. He is currently playing for the Dallas stars and a serious cloud looms over his ability to score or even remain at the NHL once and for all.
In the second round of the 1998 draft, the Rangers selected power winger Randy Copley out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. However being drafted is seemingly as close as Copley will ever get to wearing an NHL sweater. After two frustrating junior campaigns in which he didn’t score or check enough to warrant a pro contract, Copley has bounced around the East Coast Hockey League where his results have been less than spectacular.
The Rangers selected goaltender Jason Labarbera and wings Boyd Kane and Patrick Leahy with their third, fourth and fifth round picks respectively. Though all three players have enjoyed some degrees of success in the American Hockey League, none seem likely to make any perman Read more»
Here’s a report on the Rangers prospects. Some continued to be pleasant surprises while others were disappointing, but all in all this is still a solid system despite some of the Rangers deadline dealings.
Jamie Lundmark has made great strides since the beginning of the year. His awareness on the ice is perhaps what has made the greatest improvment over the season, which allows him to better use his skills to his advantage. There’s whispers about him being a bust but it’s not fair to say just yet. While Lundmark would best be served to come to camp with the greatest physical and mental preparation possible, the Rangers understand he is a work in progress. Lundmark didn’t adjust immediately to his added bulk over the summer and at times it looked as if he added too much a la Christian Dube, however in time he seemingly made the necessary changes and has played a very encouraging second half of the season. Lundmark needs to concentrate better on his positioning with opponents so that they don’t steam role over him, and if he can make this necessary change he could be an effective two way center. If he doesn’t though, he’ll have a very difficult time making the jump to the NHL.
Garth Murray showed a bit more of a scoring touch then hoped for in his last junior season. Not a natural scorer, Murray topped the 30 goal plateau and averaged over a point per game for the Regina Pats. Murray is the ultimate team player and is a safe bet for becoming an NHL player. He likely needs a season in the AHL before challenging for a spot but he could Read more»