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Rangers top ten prospects
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Posted 2020-04-29 8:37 AM (#733386)
Subject: Rangers top ten prospects


Posts: 7390
Good read.

Rick Carpiniello

The funny thing about prospects – especially good prospects – is that they don’t remain prospects for very long.

The Rangers’ prospects pool was ranked by many publications, including The Athletic, as the best collection in the NHL last summer. But a bunch of them arrived on Broadway during the season as the Rangers fielded the youngest team in the league.

So even though they had the best group of prospects and added even more of them, the Rangers may (or may not) drop on those lists.

None of that really matters, of course. What matters is that this still rebuilding team took steps toward legit contention and continued to pile up young assets within the organization. Rangers GM Jeff Gorton, the pilot of the rebuild, his assistant Chris Drury, and for the last 11 months, team president John Davidson, still have work to do, but they have done a lot of foundation-laying already.

“I really like the moves the Rangers have made,” said a rival NHL executive. “I like the players they have. Now we’ll see. We’ll see who gets into the system and how they evolve.

“I think they’re one of the most exciting teams in the league right now with the mix that they have and the way they were playing.”

As I often say, when you’re completely re-stocking the cupboard, as the Rangers have done, some will be hits, some will be swings and misses, some might be home runs. The Rangers are going to need for some to be home runs.

“That’s the way it is,” a scout said. “Some players get all the hype.”

One of those prospects gurus who ranked the Rangers’ No. 1 last year, Corey Pronman of The Athletic, has set parameters for who is and who isn’t a prospect. So any player who played 25 games last season (or goalie who played 10) is no longer a prospect. Thus Kaapo Kakko – who was never on my prospects list (my 2019 story ran in May last spring before the draft) and was clearly their top prospect after last June’s draft – doesn’t count. Nor do this season’s rookies Igor Shesterkin, Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren and Libor Hajek. Even though he qualifies as a prospect, we’re tossing Julien Gauthier into the group that has arrived. And we’re way past considering Filip Chytil, even though he’s just 20, or Brett Howden, who just turned 22.

The Rangers’ prospect group goes even deeper than the top 10, obviously, with defenders like Yegor Rykov and Tarmo Reunanen, among many others just outside the list, and the recent signings of Justin Richards, who made the list, and Patrick Khodorenko and Austin Rueschhoff, who did not.

List or no list, the Rangers are getting ready to pop.

“I think they’re close,” said an NHL scout. “You look at how they ended (before the pause). You look at having a superstar in (Artemi) Panarin, a star in (Mika) Zibanejad, re-signing Chris Kreider, and then the steps that (Tony) DeAngelo and Fox took last year. Maybe most importantly, ironically, where their goaltending is. I think they’re poised to be a playoff team immediately. They’ve done some good things – you know, the Ryan Strome trade and they brought Gauthier in as a guy to add size and skating and some skill on the younger group.

“I think they’re close and it’s a destination team. So whether it’s a European free agent, a college free agent, a guy with a no-trade – they’ll have more people willing to say ‘Yes’ to them than a majority of the teams. So that’s an advantage as well.”

Unlike last year, we’re going to break up this year’s top-10 prospect list into two parts (counting down the first five today and the top five on Wednesday), with a third list on Thursday evaluating the progress of a handful of young players who’ve already arrived.

Without further ado, the first five of the Rangers top-10 prospects (counting down from 10):

10. Justin Richards, center, age 22, 5-11, 190, undrafted free agent signed April 2, 2020.

It barely made a ripple when the Rangers signed him, but they had to outbid a few teams. This was not a minor-league signing.

The Rangers saw Richards a ton and recruited him hard as a free agent out of Minnesota-Duluth. His dad Todd Richards is an assistant coach in Tampa and a former NHL head coach.

“I think he was on one of the top couple of (NCAA) teams this year as a junior,” Drury said. “He played extremely high minutes against the country’s best players.

“Having grown up in an NHL household, you could just tell watching him play and talking to him during the recruiting process, he’s raised by an NHL head coach, for sure.”

Richards had 14-11-25 in 34 games, but his game is built on more than scoring.

“He’s extremely competitive, terrific on faceoffs, really understands how to play the 200-foot game,” Drury said. “A top-tier penalty killer in college hockey. He had a lot of choices coming out of UMD and I think our college free-agent scouts and recruiters did a great job of identifying him and getting him in the fold.

“I think he’s a little bit of a late bloomer and in my experience, a lot of these college free agents that are late bloomers are some of the most fun players to work with and to watch because they play the game with a chip on their shoulder and are out to prove they got overlooked at the draft.”

Richards may have gone largely unnoticed by NHL teams his first couple of collegiate seasons, but not so this past season.

“Here’s the thing with Richards,” a scout said. “He played at Minnesota-Duluth, he’s got a couple of national championships under his belt and probably would have had a third one this year. He centered a line with probably the two fastest kids in the conference – Tanner Laderoute on one side and Cole Koepke on the other. Those guys are roadrunners. And Richards is a good skater with good skill and good vision and is a really good 200-foot player.

“But to be able to play with those two guys and play with pace, keep up with them and make them better – Richards might be a little bit under the radar too. I’m not telling you he’s a bona fide top-two center in the NHL. I don’t think he is. But you put him in your bottom six somewhere, in the middle, let him kill penalties, let him use his speed – he’s good on the dot and he’s just smart and safe – he’s one of those kids who somewhere down the road can challenge for a spot. Is he an 82-game-a-year guy? I’m not sure. But if you came to me and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a chance to sign Justin Richards’ I would have said, ‘Yes.’”

9. Karl Henriksson, center, age 19, 5-9, 174, second round (58th overall) 2019 draft.

As with goal-scorers, the Rangers can use playmakers – especially at the center position – in the future.

Henriksson played in three leagues in Sweden – briefly for Frolunda in the elite league – and had six goals, 37 assists in 50 games. The Rangers got a first-hand look at him last summer.

“We were fortunate to get him to come to Traverse City,” Drury said. “It was a great experience for him and for us. As the tournament went on, he made more and more of an impact.”

His time may not be now, at his age, and he will likely go through a transition period when he does arrive in North America for good.

“I don’t think you can say enough about the differences in the style of play from European big-ice sheet to landing in Traverse City, Mich., and being on a small sheet in small rinks,” Drury said. “A totally different style of North-South game. And by the end of the tournament I think he was one of our better centers and had some good production there.

“He was also very good on a good Swedish team at the World Juniors, and he should be back there next year as well. Another talented, 200-foot Swedish center. He’s responsible, smart, but he can still make plays. He’s played well with some really, really high-end elite players at the World Juniors. He’s kind of been the go-to guy for the Swedish Federation, to play with certain guys and he’s been able to handle it really well.”

Indeed, Henriksson’s wingers have been Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz, two of the top four European skaters in the 2020 draft per Central Scouting’s rankings. So did he make them better, did they make him better, or was it a little of both? To be determined.

Henriksson is unsigned and expected to remain in Sweden next season.

8. Lauri Pajuniemi, right wing, age 20, 5-11, 182, fifth round (132nd overall) 2018 draft:

In terms of their prospects, the Rangers are sure in need of scorers. You could say the same for their NHL roster after Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider.

Pajuniemi is a scorer who had 26 goals in 49 games for TPS in Finnish Liiga. As a point of reference, Kaako scored 22 goals in 45 games for the same team the year before.

“Another mid-to-late round pick,” Drury said. “I think, again, our scouts and developmental staff have done a really good job with him. He really took off this year, scoring. If you look, and charted his goals, he camps out a lot in that league in the Panarin/(Alex)Ovechkin spot.

“No matter what league you’re in, it’s hard to score goals and he certainly has the knack for doing that. We’re excited that he has that. Now the next step for him is learning how to play the whole sheet. He’s become a leader on his team in Finland.”

Pajuniemi has not signed a pro contract and is likely to stay in Finland another year.

7. Matthew Robertson, left defense, age 19, 6-3, 203, second round (49th overall) 2019 draft:

Some of the Rangers’ defense prospects are being compared to Adam Fox. Robertson is not one of those. Robertson had 13 goals and 47 points in 60 WHL games for Edmonton. But he’s more like Ryan Lindgren – Fox’s partner – than he is Fox.

“Maybe more like Marc Staal,” Drury said, in that Robertson is long and uses his size, though also mobile.

“I don’t think he’s the meanest guy on the ice, (like) Lindgren, but he does have (some of) what Fox can do. He makes a really good first pass, is a good defender, has a good stick. Just innately has a lot of defensive instincts built into his DNA that really pop when you get him in a game situation.

“You can never have enough guys who defend. He’s sure on the path to being one of those guys.”

Robertson is signed, but at 19 will surely remain in the WHL next season – he’d be ineligible for Hartford. Anyway, throw his name into the glut of lefty defensemen who will be in a battle royale for a spot in the coming seasons.

“A really good kid,” Drury said. “Sitting at the table at that draft before we got him, as teams started plucking names off the board, the buzz at our table was, ‘We can’t believe he’s potentially going to fall and be there for us.’ I know Gordie (Clark) and Nick Bobrov were thrilled to get him. They really thought he was a first-round talent. He has a ton of size, extremely smart, and a really good defender. He showed a lot of that in development camp (he played with Fox, for what it’s worth) and then in Traverse City and in Rangers camp. He was limited to one preseason game due to a groin injury.

6. Tyler Wall, goalie, age 22, 6-3, 215, sixth-round (174th overall) 2016 draft:

The Rangers are stocked on defense, and they’re overstocked in goal. The three-goalie drama that broke out in the second half of this season – a pair of 24-year-olds in Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev displacing the 15-year incumbent and future Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist – will surely be solved one way or another by September.

Then you have Hartford goalie Adam Huska, UMass-Lowell goalie Wall, and Swedish prospect Olof Lindbom. All of those have had, and will have, the benefit of tutelage from goalie whisperer Benoit Allaire.

“Like pitchers, you never have enough,” Drury said.

Unlike pitchers, though, you don’t want more than two on a team at once. The Rangers have three at the moment and that’s too many. Still, goalies are assets – assuming they progress at the pro level.

Drury compared Wall’s journey, to date, to that of Barron – a later pick who wasn’t on the radar of a lot of teams, and who went on to play collegiate hockey and improve his stock.

“Give our scouts a lot of credit for seeing the potential in him,” Drury said. “Going to Lowell and having an outstanding career there, a lot of personal accolades, played on some really good teams. Just another guy that I think our developmental staff, after our scouts drafted him, have done a really good job of helping him and bringing him along and putting him in a position to do as well as he did in college. “

We do have a ton of good goalies in our pipeline as well and he’s been extremely receptive and eager to learn and get better.”

Wall – a great name for a goalie, no? – had outstanding numbers with a 2.10 goals-against afterae and .931 save percentage while going 18-8-6 in Hockey-East his senior year. He is not yet signed to a pro contract.

On Tuesday we outlined the Rangers’ prospects pool – what qualifies a player as a prospect – and summed up the organization’s status at this stage of its rebuild before breaking down prospects No. 10 through No. 6.

Tomorrow we will discuss a group of players no longer considered prospects – 25 games NHL played in a season for a skater, 10 for a goalie – a group composed largely of players who were in last year’s top 10.

For today, it’s prospects No. 5 through No. 1 – the meat of the series. We spoke to a bunch of NHL scouts for this series, and came up with a lot of interesting takes on the Rangers’ top prospects this year and last.

5. Zac Jones, left defense, age 19, 5-10, 172, third round (68th overall) 2019 draft:

Not to belabor a theme, but we’ve heard people talk about Jones – another player who has developed quickly – as a “left-handed Adam Fox.” Jones, coming off a solid freshman season at UMass-Amherst (3-20-23 in 32 games), has that type of skill.

“Where he’s come from and how he’s arrived is remarkable,” Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury said. “I think he’s another kid who has an internal drive to want to get better and better every single day. Talking to coaches at UMass and on the World Juniors staff, he’s really opened a lot of eyes I think, not only in college hockey, but in the pro world. It happens with every pick, but when we did draft him, you hear from a lot of people around the league that ‘We were taking him next.’ Just because of what the upside was. We’re really excited about him.

“He does have extremely high IQ. He really does things at a really high level and was able to walk right into Hockey East and play against a lot of older players and have no problem offensively or defensively. What probably surprised a lot of people was how he was able to defend. I think that gets you back on the ice more in a lot of different situations. If coaches trust you, you’re going to play a lot more, and you’re going to play in a lot more situations, whether you’re up a goal or down a goal. We knew he had the offense in him, but to see where he’s come in a short time defensively is exciting for all of us.”

The combo of offense and defense is something the Rangers don’t have a lot from their left-siders, and the way he defended so quickly in his first season of college hockey is another reminder of what Fox did in his first season as a pro.

“It’s a really good comparison,” a scout said. “I really like this kid. He brings a boatload of offense. You think UMass defense, you’re always going to think Cale Makar, right? Then you’re going to think Mario Ferraro. This guy is kind of right underneath where those guys were in terms of what he can do. I mean, he can’t dominate a game like Makar or Ferraro. But, holy ****, with his speed and skill he can impact one.

“As he goes along in his career, his skating carries him and he’s smart. He’s got quick hands – he’s got great edges. He can just turn on a dime whether he’s got the puck or not. Just his agility and his ability to defend – good stick, ability to move, good gap, and his IQ reading the rush – I like this kid a lot. I think he’s really got a chance. He’s under the radar, but he’s got a shot.”

4. Morgan Barron, left winger, age 21, 6-3, 217, sixth round (174th overall) 2017 draft.

Among the Rangers’ forwards prospects, Barron might be the most NHL ready after a strong junior season at Cornell when he was a leader on a top-ranked team. Big Red was ranked No. 1 in the country before the season was canceled, so he didn’t get a chance to make a run at an NCAA title. Barron is still not signed, though the Rangers are working on it.

“We’re very comfortable that he’s ready for pro hockey,” Drury said. “I think the pause put just about everything like that on hold. Hopefully at some point there’s hockey again and there will be more to discuss with him. But we couldn’t be happier with how he’s progressed at Cornell.

“He’s certainly taken a lot of initiatives every day in how to become a better player. He deserves a ton of credit for putting himself into the position he’s in.”

Barron’s stock has risen as much as, or more than, any Rangers prospect since his late draft position.

“I think, No. 1, not that his skating was an issue, but for someone of his size, he really put in the time, effort and energy to round out his whole body and his skating has come with it,” Drury said. “He’s such a hard-working, dedicated kid, that every single day he’s waking up, just dying to be better. So his skating has allowed him to kind of take over and become one of the best players in college hockey. When you combine that with his sense, his 200-foot game, and all of his physical attributes, it adds up to a heck of a prospect.

“When we’re out on the trail and scouting and recruiting, you run into a lot of college coaches, opposing coaches, and the first thing they say is they can’t wait for Morgan to turn pro, ‘We’re sick of him.’”

The Rangers have kept a lot of eyes on Barron’s metamorphosis over his collegiate career. He had 14-18-32 in 29 games this season.

“He’s gotten better every year since we drafted him, so that’s encouraging, any time you get a player who does that,” Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said during the season. “But, listen, he’s a guy that puts in his work in the offseason. He’s done everything that way. He’s a great athlete, a big boy, obviously.

“I think it’s a nice blend of skill and power. He can shoot and he goes to the net. He’s a guy that wins his battles, and a guy that’s really improved his skating, over time, for a big guy.”

Barron was a beast at the collegiate level this past season, not just as a power figure, but also one with offensive skill – and leadership.

“He’s actually shown a lot (of offensive ability) in college,” Drury said. “I wouldn’t put it past him to figure it out because he is that hard of a worker and has that much sense. He was running the power play on the point in college. Is he going to be running the power play on the point as a pro? Probably not. But it just shows you the IQ and the ability that he does have to handle a lot of situations.”

Barron’s rising stock hasn’t been lost on NHL scouts, either.

“It’s funny, I saw Barron (two years ago). … I liked him,” a scout said. “Then I saw him the year before this one, and I liked him. I didn’t love him, but I liked him. Then this year I thought he was a different player. I thought the difference between Barron in the past years and this year is I thought he played with so much more confidence, so much more jam. He played with leadership in his game, made his linemates better just because he made simple plays. I thought, in a way, by dialing down his game a little bit, he cranked it up. If I’m an NHL (GM), holy smokes, I think that’s a great sign of maturity. I think his hockey maturity has improved to the point where, if he wanted to come out, I think he’d survive. But to me, if you play that fourth year, I think that fourth year would do wonders for him.”

Cornell coach Mike Schafer wouldn’t mind that.

“I call him a throwback,” Schafer said. “As a kid, he’ll do anything, as a coach, that you’ll ask. He’s a coach’s dream. What I mean by that is he wants constructive things. He wants to work on things as a player … he’ll block shots in practice and not think anything of it.

“That kind of leadership, that drops down to everybody else. Other guys are looking at, when one of the better players on your team has that kind of mentality it’s infectious. He’s humble, he works hard, he’s a gamer, a good teammate. I think that’s what makes him an outstanding prospect.”

Barron’s brother Justin, a big defenseman, is expected to be selected in the first round of the 2020 draft.

3. K’Andre Miller, left defense, age 20, 6-4, 211, first-round (22nd overall) 2018 draft.

Ahead of the Nils Lundkvist selection, the Rangers traded Boston’s pick (from the Rick Nash deal) and a second rounder to move up and pick Miller.

After a fabulous freshman year at Wisconsin, Miller’s second season wasn’t as good (7-11-18 in 36 games). He did sign his entry-level pro contract during the “pause” and probably would have played in Hartford on a “tryout” contract if not for the season stoppage. That’s where he will likely start next season.

“I think he was used a bit differently (at Wisconsin),” Drury said of the past season, when the Badgers as a group had a loaded roster and a mediocre year. “I think so many people look just at numbers. It’s easy to look at someone’s stats and say they had a different year. But, overall, his role changed a bit year to year. I think he was used more as a shutdown D this year, maybe a little bit less power play time. And his location on the power play changed too. They had a lot of high-end freshmen come in who could score and make plays. It’s just the evolution of a player.

“Whether it’s college or juniors or whatever, your role and your responsibilities aren’t going to be the same every year. I think his changed a bit, so people were quick to jump on him for not having the same production. But we saw a lot of growth and maturity in other ways, and we’re certainly excited to have him signed. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get him into games in Hartford.”

You can’t teach size and you can’t really teach speed. Miller’s a powerful skater, with some offensive instincts – and is still transitioning from forward to defense, a move he made as a teenager. He still had very high upside and is still very much a top prospect.

“No question,” Drury said. “His athletic ability is through the roof. The physical things he can do – I think it’s just a matter of adjusting, like any young D coming into pro hockey in North America, I think there’s going to be an adjustment period. Whether you’re (Brady) Skjei or McDonagh or whatever your name is, you’re going to need to learn some things. We’re excited to have him in the fold, but there’s still a ton of upside.”

Not unlike his Wisconsin seasons, Miller’s role changed during his time with the U.S. developmental program, where he played a lot of power play one year, then a lot of penalty kill the second – and obviously a ton of 5-on-5 in both seasons.

“The beauty of him, later on down the road, is going to be how well the national development team handled him,” a scout said. “They were teaching him how to play within different types of structure without over-burdening him. It really helped him. He always had the athleticism. Now they built some hockey IQ.

“From a skill perspective, his 1-2-3 explosion is as good as any defenseman I’ve seen play college hockey. I mean, he can just explode, and he can do it with the puck. Sometimes, with defensemen, they say the puck’s an anchor. Not with this guy. Puck or no puck, he’s gone. And the thing I’ve been impressed about with him is I think he’s picking his spots much better, and he’s picking his spots with more authority, not getting himself exposed, and not going for going’s sake. He’s going with a purpose now.”

Getting Miller signed and into the pros – and under their collective wing – was a priority for the Rangers.

“To be honest, he was disappointing to me this year,” a second scout said. “I think the Rangers did exactly what they had to do – to get him out of college. I thought, ‘This guy needs to get out (and turn pro) and get more structure into his game. He’s got all the physical tools – big, strong, can skate. It’s just the processing of the game and the decisions he was making. So I think that was a good move and I think he’s got too many tools to not try and grab hold of him and mold him into something. Still a good prospect, though. … he doesn’t have any kind of edge to him (yet).”

2. Nils Lundkvist, right defense, age 19, 5-10, 174, first-round (28th overall) 2018 draft:

When you think back to that 2018 draft – the first one after the first selloff after the rebuilding “letter” went out – the Rangers made three picks in the first round. The third came from the complicated Ryan McDonagh trade with Tampa Bay, on which the jury remains out for the time being.

The third pick of that first round, behind Vitali Kravtsov and K’Andre Miller, was Lundkvist, and of all the Rangers’ prospects, there’s a chance he is the most-NHL ready. He’s not yet signed to his entry-level contract, though the Rangers are trying to get him here.

“Without question he took some really big strides since we drafted him, and I think our scouts did a heck of a job identifying what his potential could be,” Drury said. “In the (Swedish League) he’s done some very exciting things, and when we got to watch him in the World Juniors and the SHL, and how he goes about his business, how he plays, is exciting for all of us.”

The Rangers stole Adam Fox from Carolina last spring, and we all saw the player Fox immediately became. Lundkvist has been, quietly, compared to Fox.

“I think your eyes are probably drawn to a lot of the same skills,” Drury said. “They are both righty, neither one of them is 6-3. He has elite hockey sense like Fox does. They have a lot of similar qualities.”

Unlike many other prospects, you don’t tend to hear any downside or hesitation in praise of Lundkvist, who had 11-20-31 in 45 games for Lulea HF in the SHL.

“He’s good, a really good player, an NHL scout said. “He’s smart and I really like his puck (handling). This guy, I think he’s a really good prospect. Obviously not overly big, but very smart. Head up all the time. Makes plays.”

Another scout agreed that Lundkvist has the best chance of any player on this list to be in the NHL on opening night in 2020.

1. Vitali Kravtsov, right winger, age 20, 6-4, 183, first round (9th overall) 2018 draft:

Obviously, his first year as a pro didn’t go smoothly. You’re familiar with the story – Kravtsov failed to make the team during training camp, was sent to Hartford (AHL), sulked, went back to Russia, wasn’t happy there, came back to Hartford …

All the drama aside, Kravtsov remains the top prospect in the Rangers system, and its most skilled.

“He’s extremely talented,” Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury said. “There’s high-end skill there, which was so appealing to us in the draft. As any young player who gets drafted and comes into the league, there are always challenges. He was no different. He not only had to face hockey changes, but cultural changes and things aren’t always as easy or smooth as the player would hope. But I think he learned a ton this year about the North American pro game, about the culture and the direction this organization is going. I think he’s excited to be part of it and we’re excited to have him in our organization.”

Kravtsov’s statistics don’t point to 2019-20 being any evidence of the player the Rangers believe and hope he can be. He had 6-9-15 in 39 games in his two stints with the Wolf Pack, 2-3-5 in 14 games with two teams in Russia. The Rangers believe he made progress the last month or so in Hartford.

“Yeah, I think he did,” Drury said. “We all watch every game, and I was at most of them, and I think he really started to click. He found a regular group of guys to play with, and I think (coaches) Kris Knoblauch and Gord Murphy did a really good job bringing him along this year. That’s a challenging league, especially coming from a bigger ice surface and being 19 years old. As the year went on he started to establish himself on and off the ice, more and more.”

He’s got some strides to still make, though, to reach his potential and to make it as an NHL player.

“I only saw Kravtsov a few times because he did kind of disappear there for a bit,” an NHL scout said. “But I did see him before and after his stint in Russia. Obviously he’s the most talented prospect they have in the minors. There’s not many players in the AHL who have top-six NHL potential, and he clearly does. I think the best part about his game is just how dangerous he is with the puck. High-end vision, high-end passing. He has the ability to make quick plays in tight areas. He has the ability to pass and shoot.

“On the downside I would say he has some tendencies to over-handle the puck and not recognize high-risk plays which can lead to turnovers. But I think it was good for him to get in the American League, especially adjusting to the physical level and the contact on the smaller ice surface. I think that was really good for him.”

Kravtsov will have to apply himself more, another scout said.

“I think Kravtsov is just going to take a while, but he’s a high-end talent,” the second scout said. “Once he learns how to work, I think he’s going to be a good player. But right now he doesn’t know how to work and he doesn’t know how to compete. I’ll be surprised if he’s not a top-six guy. Probably projects more to be a top-line guy. For a while, you’re not going to like his work ethic or his compete level. But he does make plays. I think he’s a good prospect. A real good prospect.”

Edited by Rranger 2020-04-29 8:53 AM
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Posted 2020-04-29 12:24 PM (#733387 - in reply to #733386)
Subject: Re: Rangers top ten prospects


Posts: 2978
Location: NJ
From THN, Rangers rated #2:
Igor S
Vitali K
Nils L
Kandre M
Lias A
Zac J
Libor H
Julien G
Matthew R
Morgan B
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Posted 2020-04-29 8:20 PM (#733389 - in reply to #733386)
Subject: Re: Rangers top ten prospects


Posts: 7390
Shesty played his way off any prospect list.
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Posted 2020-04-30 7:04 AM (#733390 - in reply to #733389)
Subject: Re: Rangers top ten prospects


Posts: 5058
Rranger - 2020-04-29 8:20 PM

Shesty played his way off any prospect list.

So did Lias
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Posted 2020-04-30 8:03 AM (#733392 - in reply to #733390)
Subject: Re: Rangers top ten prospects


Posts: 7390
Rangerjunkie - 2020-04-30 6:04 AM

Rranger - 2020-04-29 8:20 PM

Shesty played his way off any prospect list.

So did Lias

Good point but they went in opposite directions.
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Posted 2020-04-30 12:19 PM (#733394 - in reply to #733386)
Subject: RE: Rangers top ten prospects


Posts: 9536
Location: 17 miles from MSG
Here's a report you never want to read-

Kravtsov - “Once he learns how to work, I think he’s going to be a good player. But right now he doesn’t know how to work and he doesn’t know how to compete." Yikes!

The rest of the quote is much better - "I’ll be surprised if he’s not a top-six guy. Probably projects more to be a top-line guy. For a while, you’re not going to like his work ethic or his compete level. But he does make plays. I think he’s a good prospect. A real good prospect.”

I guess he has so much talent that he walked into the KHL and produced - but he looked clueless and wide eyed during the preseason last year.

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Posted 2020-04-30 5:27 PM (#733395 - in reply to #733386)
Subject: Re: Rangers top ten prospects


Posts: 68721
Location: USA
I''m not sold on Kravtsov, thought he would look better when he came over, but he looked more like a 3rd liner than top line talent. Needs to really work to the top of the AHL before I'm convinced again...
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Posted 2020-04-30 9:31 PM (#733396 - in reply to #733395)
Subject: Re: Rangers top ten prospects


Posts: 7390
Fish - 2020-04-30 4:27 PM

I''m not sold on Kravtsov, thought he would look better when he came over, but he looked more like a 3rd liner than top line talent. Needs to really work to the top of the AHL before I'm convinced again...

I think he’s number one based more on perceived potential than actual accomplishments. I don’t put a lot of stock in KHL or other Euro league accomplishments til I see it translate over here. In his case we are still waiting. Talent is there, but the mental toughness needed to succeed in the NHL, needs to percolate some more in Hartford. Big year for him coming up.
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Posted 2020-05-01 7:58 AM (#733397 - in reply to #733386)
Subject: Re: Rangers top ten prospects


Posts: 1255
I'd trade Kravtsov in the right deal. To me, when you come over to the AHL from Europe and your offensive production stinks, it's not a good sign. Reports of not competing is a huge red flag as well. Lias has been beaten up by our fan base. Kid obviously has some mental issues that need a lot of work. However, I stand by his game. You win more playoff games with the Andersson's of the world than with soft Russians who don't compete half the time.
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Posted 2020-05-18 5:49 PM (#733445 - in reply to #733386)
Subject: Re: Rangers top ten prospects


Posts: 7390
I think Bobrov the Rangers director of scouting in Europe has had two swings with Andersson who I don’t write off just yet or same as Kravstov, but one can certainly begin to wonder about both. I’d be very surprised if the Rangers don’t lean a little more towards a North American forward who plays with jam for the first two picks.
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