The New York Rangers have what is considered one of the best pool of prospects in the NHL. They’ve been able to shorten their rebuilding curve with high draft picks and great maneuvers over the last three or four years. They’ve also been lucky with the NHL Draft Lottery. Although they’ve brought several young prospects up to the NHL during the last two seasons, there are still many in the pipeline making waves, and proving they might need to get a shot with the big club sometime soon. The Blueshirts are, and will be for the near future, one of the toughest NHL lineups to crack. Here are five that might have a shot in the near future
1. Brennan Othmann – Left Wing
Brennan Othmann was named the Rangers’ top prospect for the month of January, and he’s still at the top of the list. He’s climbing the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) scoring chart and leading the Flint Firebirds with 66 points in 45 games. He currently sits in sixth place in OHL scoring. The 6-foot, 180 pound left-wing has a balanced 34 goals and 32 assists with a plus-13 rating.
The Pickering, ON native, was the Rangers’ 2021 first-round 16th overall selection. He was named to the 2019-20 OHL All-Rookie Team as an under-aged (U17) player. He went to play for Olten of the Swiss League during the 2020-21 season since the OHL didn’t play and tallied a respectable 16 points in 34 games. Playing in the Swiss Pro League seems to have sped up Othmann’s development and probably had a lot to do with the Rangers choosing him so high.
2. Will Cuylle – Left Wing
Will Cuylle was taken in the second round, 60th overall, by the Rangers in the 2020 draft. Coming off of a great OHL rookie season, he stumbled in his second, and fell lower than initially projected. However, this season he’s in good form and has 28 goals, 51 points and 32 penalty minutes (PIMs) in 38 games so far for the Windsor Spitfires.
He was selected to Canada’s World Junior Championship (WJC) roster, and had two points in two games before the tournament was canceled due to COVID. A strong showing at the WJC would have really helped Cuylle, although the Rangers are still high on him, and if he has a good playoff with the Spitfires that should even out.
3. Brett Berard – Left Wing
Brett Berard fell to the fifth round in 2020 when the Rangers drafted him 134th overall. However, some think he’s more like a second-round, or even a first-round talent. Berard was selected to play for Team USA at the 2022 WJC, and had no points in USA’s only game before the cancellation.
He’s currently second on the Providence Friars NCAA hockey team with 34 points in 32 games. If he can have a standout postseason with the Friars, his path to New York might be sped up.
4. Tarmo Reunanen – Defenseman
Tarmo Reunanen is a 6-foot, 185-pound defenseman who won’t wow you with speed or skill. However, he’s currently second in scoring for defenseman on Rangers’ affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack. Reunanen has 17 points in 31 games. Zac Jones leads him by one point.
The 23-year-old from Finland was initially thought of as a guy who was only valuable on the power play, but his plus-9 rating this season has shown he’s developed more of a complete game, which is what he’ll need to have a chance to regularly play in in the NHL. He played four games with the Blueshirts last season.
5. Dylan Garand – Goalie
Dylan Garand recently signed with the Rangers. After some ups and downs in his first couple of seasons with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League (WHL), Garand has been solid. This season he’s stepped up his game, and leads the WHL in goaltending statistics.
He has the most wins (25), the best goals-against average (GAA) at 2.08 and a save percentage (SV%) of 0.922. Garand is on the smaller side for goalies at six-foot-one. However, he’s a great positional goaltender, along with being highly athletic. Things could really speed up for him if Alexandar Georgiev gets traded at the deadline.
The Future Blue is Bright
As mentioned the Rangers have a wealth of riches in their pipeline along with several good young players already making their presence felt in the NHL. If there’s a downside it’s that their top three prospects all play left-wing and at some point that could be an issue. However, all of these five have a chance to play on Broadway someday.
(Stats courtesy of Qaunt Hockey)
Scott Blair is an author and journalist from Los Angeles, CA, by way of Detroit, MI. Uniquely diverse experiences have shaped Scott’s life in both of those places he calls home. He is now traveling the world, learning and growing as a human and a writer. He was a professional hockey player and then turned to the arts, becoming an actor for about 15 years. His passions turned to poetry, prose, politics, and journalism when he got tired of the Hollywood machine and what it represents. Scott is available for interviews and welcomes questions and topic ideas.