Projecting Top-End Potential for New York Rangers' Best Prospects
Of course, not everybody is going to reach their full potential, but should these prospects hit their ceiling, the Rangers could be good for a long time.
Read on to find out what the top-end potential for the New York Rangers' best prospects are, and whether or not they will meet them.
Danny Kristo has the potential to be a big-time goal scorer for the Rangers.
He's currently tearing up the AHL, as he's potted nine goals and added seven helpers in just 16 games. At his best, Kristo is a dynamic offensive force with excellent playmaking skills and a wicked wrister.
Kristo doesn't have ideal defensive skills, and that will reduce him to a top-six role.
He could easily get called up this season. If not, he should be a regular next year, playing on the top two lines and seeing plenty of time on the power play. Kristo should be a regular 20-goal scorer in the NHL.
Dylan McIlrath is a bruiser, and he's finally showing what he can do.
After battling injuries, McIlrath is finally healthy and thriving in the AHL. He's playing with intensity and meanness and is also finding use for his big shot from the point. His defensive instincts are improving, and he's playing big minutes.
With Michael Del Zotto struggling with the big club, the Rangers could decide to shake things up and bring up McIlrath. The last time Del Zotto struggled this bad was in 2011. Who did they decide to call up to replace him?
If he doesn't come up this year, McIlrath will definitely be a regular next season. He's a top-four defender who will drop the gloves when necessary and clear the crease.
A sophomore at the University of Minnesota, Brady Skjei has the potential to join an already-talented Rangers blue line in a few years.
The 6'3", 206-pound defenseman has shown terrific defensive instincts in his time with the Gophers. In addition, he's showing some offensive upside and improvement. Last season, in 36 games, he had three points. Through 10 games this year, Skjei has three points already.
He's a few years away. Skjei needs to develop physically, improve his offensive instincts and continue to play sound defense. The more minutes he gets, the better.
But all of the potential that made him a first-round pick in 2012 is there. In a few years, assuming nothing goes wrong, I think you could see Skjei join the Rangers as a second-pair defenseman, playing over 20 minutes a night and making a big impact.
Of all of the players on this list, Oscar Lindberg might have the best chance to make the most impact in the pros.
He's a two-way center with plenty of experience in the Swedish Elite League. In fact, last season with Skelleftea, Lindberg had 42 points in 55 games.
The center has adjusted nicely to the North American game, as he's notched 10 points in 16 games in the AHL.
He projects as a second-line center who can play in all situations. You'll want him on the ice when a big faceoff win is needed, and you'll want him on the ice on the power play. He can play on the penalty kill and can press the action with aggressive play.
It would be best for his development to spend the rest of the season in Hartford, learning the nuances of the North American game. Next year, however, Lindberg could be manning the third line and in a few years, could be a key cog on a very good team.