While the Rangers are busy with the playoffs and pushing for the Cup, here’s a look at their farm system and what the future holds for the club. We will be analyzing top and mid-level NY Rangers prospects by position. One day they may be wearing the red, white and blue at the world’s most famous arena, so why not see how they are progressing now.
Brad Morrison- Prince George Cougars, WHL
The former 2015 4th round pick only played 61 games and put up 52 points this year compared to last year’s 72 games played and 62 points. Brad Morrison remains a top center prospect even though he took a step back this year.
Scouts describe him “as a forward who plays with a jump in his step with speed and skill.” Brad also will stick up for his teammates and is willing to drop the gloves. It is something the Rangers will need going forward. Overall, Morrison had a down year and will be looking to bounce-back next year. It will take time before he makes the NHL.
Cristoval Nieves- Hartford Wolfpack, AHL
Cristoval “Boo” Nieves is a 2nd round pick from 2012. This year was his first full season as a pro after playing four years at the University of Michigan. He finished the year with 18 points in 40 games. Not great numbers but on the bright side, he was called up to the Rangers this year for one game.
Nieves is a forward with size. He stands at 6’3″ and is a creative, crafty player with the puck. He still needs time and is a little farther down the pipeline but has the ability to become a solid top-six forward in the future.
Nicklas Jensen- Hartford Wolfpack, AHL
For those of you who do not know Nicklas Jensen, you need to get to know him very quickly. He was acquired from the Canucks in the Emerson Etem trade and has been arguably Hartford’s best player. Jensen very fast and can put the puck in the back of the net. He scored 55 points in 70 games with 32 goals.
Jensen can make a big impact on next year’s Rangers team and it will be interesting to see his speed on display alongside Michael Grabner. This former 1st round pick has too much talent not to make the team next year. There may not be a spot due to contracts but after the year Jensen had, it would be hard to send him down again.
Robin Kovacs- Hartford Wolfpack, AHL
Robin is a speedy winger. This was his first year playing in North America. He had good numbers in the SHL but suffered through a rough transition year. He played 72 games for the Wolfpack and only put up 12 points and was a -27. Transition years can be tough for European players as they adjust to the North American style of play. Robin is still only 20 years old, so there is no rush; however, he will have to get his game together if he wants to take the next step into the NHL.
— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) October 15, 2016
Ryan Gropp- Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL
Ryan Gropp, along with Nicklas Jensen, is one of the Rangers’ top prospects. The former 2nd round pick from 2015, like many others on this list, had a career year. With the Seattle Thunderbirds, he played 66 games and had 84 points. Ever since this young forward entered the WHL he has not taken a step back. Gropp has topped his total points in a season every year. The speedy winger has a chance in the near future to make a serious impact in the AHL or even the NHL. Keep an eye out for him. Gropp can make an impact next year at training camp.
Gropp topped his total points in a season every year. The speedy winger has a chance in the near future to make a serious impact in the AHL or even the NHL. Keep an eye out for him next year at training camp.
Marek Hrivik- Hartford Wolfpack, AHL
Of all the players listed here, Marek Hrivik is the oldest. Marek is a 25-year-old undrafted player that managed to make his way into 16 games for the Rangers this year. On the Wolfpack, he is an assistant captain and rightfully so. He finished just shy of a career year with 40 points in 56 games. He also has a perfect role mentoring the younger players. Overall, Marek had a solid year and Ranger fans can expect him to compete for a depth spot permanently on the club.
Sergei Zborovskiy- Regina Pats, WHL
What a year Sergei Zborovskiy has had for the Regina Pats. It was another career year for the young player. Only 20 years old, and like Gropp, he topped his career total points every year. The Rangers have yet to sign him to an entry-level deal but look for the club to sign him this summer since they will lose his rights after June 2017.
With a great shot and accurate positioning, he can become a solid two-way defenseman. His season is not over yet as the Pats are in the 3rd round of the WHL playoffs. I suggest watching him before he comes to New York. Zborovskiy is an important part of the future of the Rangers, so keep an eye on him in the next couple of years.
Sean Day- Windsor Spitfires, OHL
Earlier this year, I wrote an article about Day and he has really turned up his game. He was originally projected as a top 5 pick in his draft class but slid to the 3rd round because of early struggles in his OHL career. This year has been a step in the right direction when he was traded from the Mississauga Steelheads to the Windsor Spitfires. Day finished with a career-high 32 points in 58 games. His season is not over yet since the Spitfires are going to be playing in the Memorial Cup. It will be interesting to see how this mobile two-way defender plays with the pressure of the Memorial Cup. Just like Zborovskiy, try and watch him in these CHL playoffs as they may be paired together one day. This has been a great bounce back year for the young defenseman and if he can keep it up, Sean Day will be a fun player to watch on the Garden ice.
His season is also not over yet since the Spitfires are going to be playing in the Memorial Cup. It will be interesting to see how this mobile two-way defender plays with that kind of pressure. Just like Zborovskiy, try and watch him in the CHL playoffs as they may be paired together one day. This has been a great bounce back year for the young defenseman and if he can keep it up, Sean Day will be a fun player to watch on the Garden ice.
Igor Shestyorkin- SKA St. Petersburg, KHL
Igor Shestyorkin had one of his best years in the KHL. He was named the starter of SKA St. Petersburg as a 21-year-old and has not disappointed. He posted a .937 save percentage (Sv%) along with a 1.64 GAA in 39 games. That is extremely impressive for a player that bounced up and down in the KHL system. Even in the playoffs, he has put up a .940 Sv% and a 1.84 GAA in five games. That is a huge step in the right direction for this young prospect.
He plays with agility and brings great reflexes and lateral movement to the table. This young player has a lot of potential to be an NHL starter in the future. It will take a couple more years for him to grow, along with getting him to make the transition to the NHL. The Rangers may have a draft steal on their hands with the former 4th round pick from 2014.
Adam Huska- University of Connecticut, NCAA DI
Adam Huska really caught the eye of Rangers fans at this year’s World Junior Championships in Canada. The tournament numbers do not tell the real story for this young goalie. Team Slovakia’s subpar performance must be taken into consideration. Huska kept his team in games as long as he could until fatigue kicked in and it was just too much for him to handle.
Some of the saves he made eased the pain for Slovakia fans during this tournament. Regularly, he plays for the University of Connecticut and there the numbers show Huska’s real talent. He posted a 2.87 GAA along with a .916 Sv% for his team. Huska was a 7th round pick in 2015 for the Rangers and if he keeps developing the way he did this year, the crease may be very crowded in the future.
BU's Clayton Keller is #HockeyEast Rookie of the Year. BC's Joseph Woll and UConn's Adam Huska are the other finalists.
— Joshua Kummins (@JoshuaKummins) March 17, 2017
It’s looking like the next batch of NY Rangers prospects are coming along quite nicely. Many of these young players have a little way to go but others are close to making it to New York. Who knows, maybe some of them will not make it. That just makes their development that much more interesting. Either way, the Rangers have some promising players to look forward to.