Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rangers Prospect System Ranked 13th By Hockey's Future

The New York Rangers are still out spending money on free agents like Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards to carry the offensive burden, but the integration of young prospect talent into the lineup over the past 4-5 years has been the key to the team rising back up the standings.  Luckily for the Rangers there is more talent in the pipeline for the coming seasons though the people at Hockey's Future do not seem to think all that highly of them in their latest organizational rankings.  The Rangers came it at #13 with this said about their system..
13. New York Rangers

Strengths: The Rangers have excellent strength on the blue line, with Ryan McDonagh currently playing top pairing NHL minutes, and both Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath developing well within the Rangers system. New York also has excellent depth on the wings, with many third and fourth line prospects in addition to potential first liner Chris Kreider.

Weaknesses: The majority of the prospects in the Rangers' system are older and already playing professional hockey. Additionally, many of the Rangers' top prospects have graduated and are currently on the Rangers roster. Finally, there is no future number one netminder within the system.
 Top 5 prospects: 1. Chris Kreider; 2. Christian Thomas; 3. Tim Erixon; 4. Ryan McDonagh; 5. J.T. Miller.
Lost to Trade: Roman Horak, Tomas Kundratek, Brodie Dupont, Evgeny Grachev, Ethan Werek.

The criticism of the system lacking any potential starting goaltenders is likely warranted though Stajcer has potential to get there eventually.  However, the rest of the criticism seems to lack a full understanding of where the system is.

Up front Kreider is the standout and the only one that likely has a complete top line skill set, but to say that the rest are mainly third and fourth line wingers is harsh.  Christian Thomas and Jesper Fasth have second line upside while Hagelin and J.T. Miller are showing all-around games and versatility only increases their value in seeing just how high they can develop. 

Seeing Erixon, as much upside as he has, ranked above Ryan McDonagh is ridiculous to me at this stage.  McDonagh is a 22-year-old defender playing on the top defensive pair against the best offensive players in the league right now.  Not only is he playing there, but he is excelling on both ends of the ice while doing so.  If you are still going to list him as a prospect, then he should likely be the top prospect on the list even with how Kreider is blowing up early this season at Boston College.