NHL Player Comparisons for New York Rangers' Top Prospects

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIDecember 11, 2013

NHL Player Comparisons for New York Rangers' Top Prospects

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    The New York Rangers have a number of good prospects, but at the top of the list are Danny Kristo, Dylan McIlrath and Oscar Lindberg. 

    All three are on the verge of the NHL and could even see minutes in New York this season.

    When they do come up to the NHL, what type of player can Rangers fans expect? 

    Read on, and we'll compare each prospect to a current NHL player, telling you why the two are so similar.

Danny Kristo = Patrick Kane

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    Now, calm down. I'm not saying Danny Kristo is as talented as Patrick Kane, or that he will take home a Conn Smythe Trophy, or that he will become one of the best players in the game.

    What I am saying is that they are very similar players.

    Both wingers are 5'11" and about 180 pounds. Both have dazzling speed and a wicked wrister, and they can handle the puck anywhere. Both have had their work ethics questioned.

    But like Kane, Kristo knows how to score. He lit up the collegiate world at the University of North Dakota, scoring 64 goals in 157 games.

    He's also taken to the professional world well, scoring 10 goals and notching eight assists in 22 games. 

    Kristo will never be mistaken for a responsible defensive player, just like Kane is not very interested in the defensive aspect. He's a pure scorer. There's nothing wrong with that.

    The Rangers are struggling to score, so calling up someone like Kristo might not be a bad idea. He may not become one of the best scorers in the game like Kane, but he will be a 20-goal scorer for a long time. He is—without a doubt—the Rangers' best prospect. 

Dylan McIlrath = Radko Gudas

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    Dylan McIlrath is a no-nonsense, nasty, crease-clearing defenseman who is on the verge of breaking into the NHL.

    Although he's 5 inches taller, McIlrath reminds me of Radko Gudas of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Gudas is no-nonsense. He's willing to drop the gloves and rough it up, as evidenced by 70 penalty minutes in 25 games this season.

    Yet Gudas is also steady on the blue line for the Lightning. He averages nearly 20 minutes a game and is plus-two. 

    That's McIlrath's game. He has a remarkable 115 penalty minutes in 24 games but is only minus-two. Last season, he was plus-seven.

    McIlrath will top out as a top-four defenseman who plays important minutes and protects the crease. Gudas, only 23, is poised to be an important member of the Lightning for some time.

    The same goes for McIlrath. 

Oscar Lindberg = Mike Fisher

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    Oscar Lindberg is a skilled, two-way center who will soon play a valuable role for the Rangers.

    He can play in all situations and is a clutch player, as evidenced by his winning the Stefan Liv Memorial Trophy, the Swedish Elite League's version of the Conn Smythe trophy.

    Lindberg is reminiscent of Mike Fisher, a Nashville Predator who should be known more for his hockey skills than his marriage to Carrie Underwood.

    Fisher can do it all. He kills penalties, he shuts down opposing forwards and he can chip in offense. This season, he has seven goals and five assists.

    Like Fisher, Lindberg is never going to be a star. But he will be a valuable player. He will play in all situations, take important faceoffs and chip in some timely goals.

    Lindberg will probably be up with the big club next season, centering the third line and making key defensive plays.