The Rangers' Prospects: Who Has the Best Shot To Make the Team?
With the Rangers roster having been turned over this off season, there are certainly spots for prospects to step up and make the roster at each position. Here are some of the favorites:
Lauri Korpikoski:With 2007 first-round draft pick Alexei Cherepanov staying in Russia for one more season and now playing with ex-Ranger Jaromir Jagr, Korpikoski is the forward most likely to make the team and receive significant ice time. One of the many attributes that the 21-year-old has is the ability to play every offensive position, which will allow Tom Renney to fill in any spot on a line. The Rangers' first-round draft pick in 2004 (No. 19), Korpikoski saw his goal and point total increase significantly in his second pro season, and he also scored a goal in his first NHL game, Game 5 against Pittsburgh.
Greg Moore: One of the scoring leaders on the Wolf Pack last year, Moore made six appearances with the Rangers last season. In Hartford, Moore put up impressive numbers, scoring 26 goals along with 66 points and a plus-27 plus/minus rating while playing on the top line. In order for Moore to stay with the Rangers this year, he will have to adjust to playing on the wing instead of his natural center position.
Artem Anisimov: The 6-3, 190-pound center showed great potential in his first pro season in North America last season. While playing in Hartford, Anisimov scored and 16 goals and recorded 43 points in 74 games while also having a plus-16 plus/minus rating. However, with the Rangers loaded at Anisimov's center position, the Rangers' second-round draft pick in 2006 will be fighting with fan favorites Brandon Dubinsky and Blair Betts for playing time, as Scott Gomez and Chris Drury are two of the leaders on the team.
Bobby Sanguinetti:The New Jersey native who grew up idolizing Brian Leetch, Sanguinetti has the offensive skills like the Rangers' great. Playing in the OHL last season, Sanguinetti led all defensemen with 29 goals and was second with 70 points. However, Sanguinetti still has work to do on his defensive game, and the Rangers organization is willing to let him get enormous playing time in Hartford instead of rushing him to New York if he still needs defensive work.
Michael Sauer:While Sauer could have had a chance to make the Rangers out of training camp, a knee injury suffered in the AHL Playoffs last year will sideline him for part of this year. The 20-year-old is not known for his offense, but is a very good defensive player, and at 6-3 and 206 pounds, Rangers fans can envision a resemblance of Leetch and Beukeboom with Sanguinetti and Sauer.
Miika Wiikman: With Henrik Lundqvist as the starter, and Steve Valiquette proving himself as a dependable backup, Wiikman has a small chance to beat out Valiquette for the backup job. After Al Montoya was traded in February, Wiikman became the starter in Hartford, and carried the Wolf Pack into the playoffs. The 23-year-old went 21-8-3 with a 2.30 GAA and a .919 save percentage last season.
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