The New York Rangers were one of the many teams to miss the playoffs last season, but for many it was a major shock, as the Rangers have been a team known for their long tenured playoff runs. After some major injuries, poor offensive depth and coaching struggles the Rangers feel into a hole quickly and were never able to climb out of it.
Push came to shove as the year went on, which led the Rangers to many tough decisions. The departure of captain Ryan McDonagh, fan favorite JT Miller, veteran Rick Nash, along with two shorter termed players in Nick Holden and Michael Grabner. Since the trade deadline and the many eye opening and heart wrenching trades in the Rangers organization, it has led the Rangers front office with a lot to look forward to in the future.
Finishing 24th in the NHL with a 34-39-9 record, finishing under .500 for the first time since 2003-2004 has left a lot of fans concerned and worried for what shall come. Thankfully due to some of the younger pieces on the team and up and coming draft picks and prospects the Rangers have a bright future but right now may not be the most successful period in Rangers history.
Taking a look at the prospects…
Lias Andersson: Drafted in the first round, seventh overall in 2017, the Rangers passed on Casey Mittlestadt to acquire the storied Swedish forward. Most famously known for his award throwing antics in the world juniors. But Andersson spent some time in the AHL last season tallying, 14 points in 25 games but most of his time was spent in Frolunda where he spent 22 games collecting 14 points. Andersson is expected to make an appearance on the full time roster this season, centering either the second or third line at the moment, but if Andersson does not crack the roster for at least 45 plus games this season some Ranger fans may be concerned.
Filip Chytil: Selected 21st overall in the first round, Chytil was selected a little earlier than expected, a somewhat stretch by the Rangers but Chytil spent a lot of his time in the AHL spending 46 games with Hartford collecting 31 points. Chytil is known more so for his scoring ability, and some may even say he has more potential than Andersson. We saw Chytil in the NHL towards the beginning of last season with the Rangers where he played 9 games and 3 points. Chytil is an expected definite roster spot for the Rangers this year lined up on the left wing on the second line it seems.
Igor Shesterkin: Selected 118th overall in the 2014 draft, Shesterkin has spent the last four years over in the KHL playing with SKA Saint Petersburg, recording a 20-4-4 record, 1.70 GAA and .933 save percentage with 7 shutouts. Shesterkin is said to be most highly sought after prospect in the Rangers system for the last four years now. Shesterkin is the processor to Lundqvist once the King’s time is up but as of now it seems Shesterkin will not make an appearance in the NHL for another two seasons.
Vitali Kravstov: Selected 9th overall with the Rangers first pick of the first round, Kravstov came of shock to almost everyone. Kravstov really moved up the ranks after his strong showing in the KHL playoffs, where he had 11 points in 16 games. Kravstov won KHL rookie of the year last season, surpassing Evgeny Kuznestov and Valarei Nischunkin for playoff records. As of now it seems Kravstov will spend this season in the KHL with the intent to sign with the Rangers for the 2019-20 season and play on their opening day roster.
Libor Hajek: A player the Rangers acquired in the Tampa Bay Lighting package deal, Hajek has been playing in the WHL for Saskatoon and Regina, combined Hajek tallied 39 points in 58 games. Hajek is known for his two-way ability and presence on the ice, he is a projected top-four defenseman and hopefully will be in the line up full time come the 2019-20 season.
The Rangers have a slew of prospects in coming, not to mention K’Andre Miller, Ryan Lindgreen and also Alexander Greogriev who played last season behind Lundqvist. The Rangers also have a new face behind the bench with David Quinn, 21-years at the NCAA level, 3 years at the AHL level and one year in the NHL coaching the Avalanche in 2012-13(Assistant). Quinn has spent a lot of time developing and building players for the NHL at the NCAA level, therefore with the wave of youth the Rangers are welcoming Quinn is a perfect pair for what the Rangers are moving towards at the moment.