Saturday, November 6, 2010

HF Ranks Ranger System 9th

Stick Salute to Dave Shapiro at Blue Seat Blogs for finding the organizational ranking of the New York Rangers farm system from this past Wednesday and alerting people to it.  You can read his take on their rankings by clicked on the blog name as I have linked his article.  The Hockey’ Future organization put the Rangers in a strong 9th place this season after having them in 12th last year.  What makes that more impressive is gone from last year’s 12th place ranked prospect list are graduates Michael Del Zotto, Artem Anisimov, Matt Gilroy; traded Bobby Sanguinetti and Heikkinen who went back overseas.  
Obviously with the out-flow of talent one hopes for an influx and the Rangers have that in the addition of Mats Zuccarello and the drafting of both Dylan McIlrath and Christian Thomas in the 1st two rounds.  Along with the new talent we have seen significant growth from Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Roman Horak, Ethan Werek, Carl Hagelin up front and improvement from both Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko on the back end.  All of these things would combine to account for the Rangers rise in the rankings despite some significant prospect loses.

In the article HF speaks specifically of the Ranger depth up front citing the center spot specifically and the Rangers do have good depth there coming, but I would dispute that a lot of the guys they list at center play center at the NHL level, specifically Grachev and Bourque who have both mainly been wings.  Stepan is a center as are Werek and face-off extraordinaire Roman Horak.  I think left wing is the strongest prospect position for the Rangers with Kreider, Grachev, Bourque, Hagelin all being LW’s more naturally and right wing is the weakest with really only MZA and Christian Thomas as higher upside guys though Dale Weise is a very solid prospect at RW.

The Rangers have excellent depth in the d-prospects with McDonagh, Valentenko, McIlrath, Kundratek, Pashnin being the tops among them, but all of them really specialize on one side or the other while as I have written before Brandon Manning the Captain of the Chilliwack Bruins of the WHL who was a training camp invitee does and in my opinion would be the top defensive prospect in the system for his complete game.

The future looks good as it is filled with solid depth all around, except really goal (don’t worry Hank is still there) and leadership quality players.  Those are my thoughts, check out both Dave and the HF thoughts at the previously mentioned links.  Share yours in the comments as well.