Photo: Forward Cristoval Nieves had an excellent freshman season at the University of Michigan, managing 29 points in 40 games. (courtesy of Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
Many high-end New York Rangers prospects have graduated to the NHL over the last few years, and while that has resulted in a lot of success in the regular season, it has also created a dearth of elite young talent in the system. Despite this, several prospects who are currently in the system stood out during the 2012-13 season.
Photo: Danish forward Thomas Spelling played the 2012-13 season in Sweden with Rogle, spending most of his time in the SuperElit league. (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The New York Rangers have never been afraid to sign college free agents, having already signed one defenseman, Conor Allen, to an entry-level contract this spring. Over the past couple of seasons, the Rangers additionally invite two or three potential NCAA free agent signees to development camp in late June. Last summer, Kyle Jean was signed to an entry-level contract after just such a camp.
Photo: Winger Christian Thomas is one of several Rangers forward prospects who are playing their first season of professional hockey. (courtesy of Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
The New York Rangers boast excellent forward depth, with the likes of Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, and Mats Zuccarello all seeing some time on the NHL squad this season. The Rangers also have several other prospects who are close to making an impact in the NHL, including Christian Thomas, Jesper Fasth, and Dylan McIlrath.
Photo: Oscar Lindberg, shown here representing Sweden at the 2011 World Junior Championships, is off to a hot start with Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League. (courtesy of Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Welcome to the December 2012 edition of On the Rush, a monthly column featuring prospects at various competition levels who are either exceeding expectations or falling a little behind. This month’s edition features several players who will represent their country in the 2013 World Junior Championships. We also feature several players who, while posting decent numbers at their respective levels of competition, have fallen short of expectations through the first few months of the 2012-13 season.
Photo: Drafted 10th overall in 2010, Dylan McIlrath brings size and toughness to the Rangers blue line. McIlrath has yet to suit up this season due to a knee injury suffered this past summer. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The New York Rangers have become one of the NHL teams that rely most on good player development. As the result of a rebuild that lasted at least half of the last decade, close to half of the players on the 2011-12 roster had either been drafted or signed as free agents out of junior hockey.