The New York Rangers prospect list hasn’t changed much over the past year regarding the top five or six players. However, it has seen a shake-up since September. First, they traded Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars. Then, Vitali Kravtsov and Zac Jones made the opening-day roster and are still up in the NHL. At the same time, Brennan Othmann made his claim over Will Cuylle during training camp. Here’s a look at how that shakes out.
5. Adam Sykora
The Rangers drafted Adam Sykora in the second round, 63rd overall, with their first pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. They didn’t waste much time signing the Slovak native, who turned 18 in early September, as president and general manager (GM) Chris Drury offered him a contract right after Prospect Development Camp.
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The 5-foot-10, 172-pound forward plays an intense game. He closes gaps quickly and isn’t afraid to block shots while playing well on both sides of the ice. He played one exhibition game during training camp before being sent back to his team in Slovakia, HK Nitra of Extraliga. Sykora was an alternate captain for Slovakia at the 2022 World Junior Championship (WJC) and, after that, represented his country at the IIHF World Championship.
4. Dylan Garand
Dylan Garand had an excellent 2021-22 season, as the Rangers’ fourth-round, 103rd-overall pick in 2020 jumped up the prospect chart by helping lead Team Canada to a gold medal and an undefeated record at the WJC with a 1.98 goals-against average (GAA). He followed that up by being named Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Goaltender of the Year while playing for the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
In 2020-21, he appeared in two games with the Rangers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack and allowed five goals in 81 minutes. So far this season with the Wolf Pack, he’s played in one game and allowed two goals. It’s probable that Louis Domingue will be the first goalie called up for the Rangers this season, but it’s not far off to think that Garand will see a game or two with the big club, at least as a backup.
3. Matthew Robertson
Matthew Robertson made his AHL debut in 2021-22 and appeared in 65 games, where he scored one goal and 10 assists. The Rangers’ second-round, 49th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft has good size and leadership qualities. The 6-foot-3, 211-pound left-handed defenseman from Edmonton, AB, was an alternate captain for three seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.
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He put up pretty good numbers over his career with the Oil Kings and had 22 points in 22 games before being brought up to the Wolf Pack last season. The 21-year-old figures to be the first call-up if and when the Rangers need a defenseman.
2. Will Cuylle
Cuylle battled it out with Othmann in last season’s Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Western Conference Final, and Cuylle’s Windsor Spitfires came out on top. Then, the two went hard against each other at the Rangers’ 2022 Development Camp, and both figured to have an outside shot at making the opening day roster going into regular training camp. Neither of them made the team, but, Othmann got the better of Cuylle this time. Cuylle, who has two points in his first two games with the Wolf Pack, was thought by some as being ahead of Othmann on the prospect list after the OHL Playoffs, but that’s changed now.
1. Brennan Othmann
Fresh off of winning the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award as the Rangers’ top rookie at training camp, Othmann is back in the OHL after impressing the Rangers media (who choose the award) along with Rangers’ brass. He’s started fast with the Flint Firebirds and is tied for second in points while being atop the goal-scoring list.
Othmann should notch well over 100 points while trying to lead the Firebirds to another deep playoff run. The 6-foot, 180-pound, Pickering, ON native likely would have been sent to play with the Wolf Pack this season, but he’s still about six days too young, according to league rules.
Othmann, Cuylle & Garand Help Rangers Maintain Prospect Depth
The Rangers have had one of the deepest prospect pools in the league for quite a few years. However, they lost Lundkvist and with so many of their younger players making the team over the past few seasons, the pool isn’t as deep. But, with these five players poised to break through, they’re still in good shape.