2021 TSP: New York Rangers Prospects

Nils Lundkvist 2021 New York Rangers Prospects

Welcome to the 2021 Top Shelf Prospects series. As we go through the Summer of 2021 LWOH will be featuring a team-by-team look at the top prospects in the NHL. You can find all the articles here.  Since we had an extensive NHL Draft preview, we will not be reviewing the players who were drafted in the 2021 draft, as there have been no games since then, and our reports on them will not have changed. Today, we look at the 2021 New York Rangers Prospects.

What we will be doing is linking you to those articles, as well as taking a look at prospects that were acquired before this year’s draft; their progress, and their chances of making the 2021-22 roster of the NHL team in question. We will also bring you one sleeper pick – a player who was either drafted in the 4th-round or later, or was an undrafted free agent signing who we pick as our dark horse to make the NHL. For those wondering, the cut-off for what is or isn’t a prospect is typically about 50 NHL games played (including playoff games) or is 25 years old. These are not hard or fast rules though, and we may make some exceptions depending on the circumstances.

2021 New York Rangers Prospects

Rangers Season and Off-Season

After missing out on the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, big changes were in order in New York. Gone were coach David Quinn and general manager Jeff Gorton. They were replaced by new coach Gerard Gallant and general manager Chris Drury. The off-season saw a number of changes as well. The team traded for and then signed Ryan Reaves as well as giving a big contract to Barclay Goodrow. They also signed free agents Patrick Nemeth, Jarred Tinordi, Greg McKegg, They also traded Pavel Buchnevich to the Blues in a deal that included Sammy Blais, and traded Brett Howden to Vegas in a separate deal. The Rangers are certainly a tougher team today than they were at the end of the season.

2021 NHL Draft Picks (B-): Brennan OthmannJayden GrubbeRyder Korczak, Brody Lamb, Kalle Vaisanen, Talyn Boyko, Jaroslav Chmelar, Hank Kempf
Graduations: Alexis Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller, Julien Gauthier, Libor Hajek Igor Shesterkin (age and 47 GP),

 

Top 2021 New York Rangers Prospect: Braden Schneider

Defence — shoots Right
Born September 20th, 2001 — Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Height 6’2″ — Weight 202 lbs [188 cm / 92 kg]
Drafted by the New York Rangers in the 1st round, 19th Overall, in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Schneider started last season at the World Juniors. He scored a goal and three points in six games, helping Canada to a silver medal. He then played two games for the Hartford Wolf Pack, picking up an assist. Schneider scored five goals and 27 points in 22 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the OHL. He also won a gold medal playing for Canada at the Men’s World Championship. Schneider had one assist in nine games.

Skating

Schneider is an excellent skater which helps him to play a strong 200-foot game. He has a smooth stride and generates good speed and acceleration in both directions. He also has very good agility and edgework. This allows Schneider to cover a lot of ice. He also has very good pivots that allow Schneider to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. Schneider is strong on his skates and has a well-developed lower-body. This allows him to win battles along the boards and to effectively clear the front of the net. Schneider has good size but can get even stronger. This will help him to be even more effective in these areas.

Offensive Game

Schneider combines his strong skating with effective puckhandling ability. He can skate the puck out of danger and avoid forecheckers to start the transition game. He can also make plays with the puck in the neutral zone. Schneider is also a good passer who starts the transition game with an effective first pass. He took to leading the rush more often last season but is still normally the trailer. Schneider does a good job of knowing when to join the rush, providing an extra option. He also has the ability to play the point in the offensive zone with good passing skills and the vision to set up his teammates.

Schneider improved his slap shot last year. However, Schneider is most effective when sneaking in and setting up at the top of the faceoff circle and letting go of a wrist shot. He has an accurate shot with a quick release. Schneider uses his agility to walk the line, helping him to open up passing and shooting lanes. He knows how to get his shot on net, and is effective at keeping it low and allowing his teammates the opportunity to set up a screen, pounce on a rebound or get a deflection. Schneider is also able to make a quick dangle to open up a passing lane. He is poised with the puck on his stick and makes smart decisions.

Defensive Game

Defensively, Schneider has good positioning and gap control. He defends well against both the rush and the cycle game. Schneider is willing to play physically but is not one to get out of position looking for a big hit. Instead, he is good at battling in the corners and in front of the net. Schneider is a smart player who reads the play well and cuts off passing and shooting lanes. He uses his long stick to intercept passes and create turnovers. He is also quick to transition the puck up the ice and this helps to create offensive chances and reduces the time in his own zone.

Outlook

At the junior level, Schneider has been effective in playing big minutes, against top lines, and contributing on both the power play and the penalty kill. If he reaches his potential, he should be able to do the same in the NHL in time. His offensive game may never be elite, but he can be part of the second unit on an NHL power play. Schneider is AHL eligible due to his late birthdate. This is likely where he spends the 2021-22 season, continuing to round out his game.

 

#2 Prospect: Nils Lundkvist

Right Defence — Shoots Right
Born July 27th, 2000 — Pitea, Sweden
Height 5’11” — Weight 180 lbs [180 cm / 82 kg]
Drafted by the New York Rangers in the 1st round, 28th Overall, at the 2018 NHL Draft.

Playing for Lulea in the SHL, Lundkvist has now had a third full season playing against men. He’s grown into the game and ended up putting up 14 goals and 32 points in 52 games this year. He also added two goals in seven playoff games. One of the best defencemen in Sweden, Lundkvist joined the Men’s National Team for the World Championships. He put up five assists in three games.

Skating

Lundkvist is a very good skater. He has very good speed and excellent acceleration in his forwards skating. Moving backwards is not quite as good, but still well above average and continuing to improve. His edgework and agility are very good, as he can change directions and make quick cuts. Lundkvist has strong pivots and this allows him to transition from offence to defence quickly, and vice-versa. He could stand to work on his lower body strength. This would give him better balance and allow him to be stronger on the puck, and in battles in the corners and in the front of the net.

Offensive Game

Lundkvist is skilled with the puck on his stick. He can skate the puck out of danger as well as lead the rush in the transition game. Lundkvist has poise at the point on the power play. He controls the play and can move laterally to create passing and shooting lanes. He sees the ice well and has the passing skill to make plays from the point, to make the first pass in transition, as well as to make the long breakaway passes. Lundkvist can also skate the puck through the neutral zone. With his stickhandling and skating, he generates effective zone entries on the power play.

Lundkvist is much more comfortable as a playmaker than as a shooter. When he does get a shot, it is often by sneaking in from the point and taking a shot from the top of the faceoff circles. He has a good wrist shot with a quick release. Lundkvist gets good power on his slap shot and one-timer as well. His lateral movement allows him to walk the line and open up shooting lanes. He does a good job of getting off his one-timer even if the pass is a little off.

Defensive Game

Lundkvist’s lack of size can be an issue in his own end. He can be overpowered by bigger, stronger forwards. He is willing to engage in the corners and in front of the net but is limited. Again this is an area where added muscle mass will help him. He is good at retrieving loose pucks and moving them up the ice quickly. He also is well-positioned and has a quick stick that can poke the puck away from an attacker.

Outlook

Lundkvist is coming over to North America to compete for a spot on the Rangers blueline. Depending on how quickly he can adjust to the smaller ice surface, he could be in the NHL to start the year. However, it is more likely that he starts the year in the AHL and then comes up a month or two into the season.

 

#3 Prospect: Vitali Kravtsov

Right Wing — shoots Left
Born December 23rd, 1999 — Vladivostok, Russia
Height 6’4″ — Weight 183 [192 cm / 83 kg]
Drafted by the New York Rangers in the 1st round, 9th overall, at the 2018 NHL Draft.

With the North American season starting late Kravtsov played for Traktor Chelyabinsk in the KHL. In 49 games, he scored 16 goals and 24 points. He also added two goals and four points in five playoff games. Kravtsov also played for the Rangers. In twenty games he put up two goals and four points.

Skating

Kravtsov is a very good skater. He has good speed and acceleration. He can take a defenceman wide off the rush and cut to the front of the net. His ability to change speeds is a weapon on the rush. It is also something that Kravtsov has taken better advantage of as he gains experience and confidence. He can slow the play down to create space from defenders, and open up passing and shooting lanes, or get a step on a defender, drop his shoulder and cut into the front of the net. Kravtsov also has good agility and edge work. This makes him dangerous in one-on-one situations. He already shows good power in his lower body, as he is tough to knock off the puck, and can fight through checks. This can improve as he matures and gets stronger.

Offensive Game

Kravtsov is a skilled offensive player. He pairs his great skating ability with outstanding hands. He can stickhandle in a phone booth. This makes him absolutely deadly in one-on-one situations. The best part of his game is that he can make all these moves and handle the puck while moving at top speed. If defenders back off to respect his speed and stickhandling, he has a deadly arsenal of shots that he can put on the net. Kravtsov has a very good wrist shot and snapshot. Both shots feature a quick release. With the hands to also score in tight, he’s a natural sniper.

Kravtsov also has the vision and passing skill to be a playmaker off the wing, though he is more of a shoot-first player. If there is a criticism of Kravtsov’s offensive game, it is that he does not always make the best decisions with the puck. He can skate himself into trouble by trying to do it all himself or to dangle too many defenders at once. He could stand to smarter with the puck and keep it moving, utilizing linemates more effectively.

Defensive Game

Kravtsov’s defensive game is a work in progress. He works hard on the backcheck and tries hard to cover his man at the point and battle for loose pucks on the boards. Kravtsov brings backpressure and works to cut down passing and shooting lanes. However, his decision-making and positioning still need some work. He can make a poor read on a play and leave his man open. When a turnover is created, he is quick to transition to offence and create chances.

Outlook

Kravtsov will be looking to make the Rangers out of training camp. He could start the season in the bottom six and work his way up the lineup. Kravtsov hasn’t put up the points at the NHL level yet, but he has the skills and it should start to come this year.

 

#4 Prospect: Zac Jones

Left Defence — shoots Left
Born October 18th, 2000 — Richmond, Virginia
Height 5’11” — Weight 185 lbs [180 cm/84 kg]
Drafted by the New York Rangers in the 3rd round, #68 overall, at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Jones had a big season with UMass, putting up nine goals and 24 points in 29 games. After the college season ended, he signed with the Rangers, putting up four points in 10 games with the team. He also played for Team USA at the Men’s World Championships putting up three assists in 10 games and winning a bronze medal.

Skating

Jones is a bit undersized but makes up for it with very good skating ability. This is the basis of his two-way game. He has a good stride and this gives him good speed and acceleration in both directions. Jones also has very good edgework and agility. This allows him to walk the line in the offensive zone and create shooting and passing lanes. It also helps him to maintain gap control. He has crisp pivots, allowing him to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice versa. Jones could stand to bulk up though. As he gets stronger he will be better at winning battles in the corners and in front of the net.

Offensive Game

Jones combines his good skating with strong playmaking ability. He sees the ice extremely well. He can carry the puck out of the defensive zone and away from danger. Jones also makes a strong first pass, hitting the streaking man to start the transition or making a long breakaway pass if a defender gets behind the defence. He can also carry the puck through the neutral zone and generate effective zone entries. Jones can quarterback the power play. He shows poise with the puck and the patience to make plays from the line. When he spots an open man, he can create a passing lane with quick movement and set up the scoring chance.

Jones has a decent slap shot and one-timer but it could still use even more power. This may come as he continues to bulk up. He is very good at keeping his shot low and getting it on the net even with heavy traffic. This allows teammates to get to the front of the net, where they can get tip-ins, rebounds, and screen goalies. Jones also has a good wrist shot. He can use it on the rush. He is also effective at sneaking down from the point and letting it go at the top of the circles. His speed allows him to push the pace, join the rush or pinch at the blue line and still get back defensively.

Defensive Game

Jones has worked to improve his defensive game. His strong skating and gap control make him hard to beat in one-on-one situations. He has a good stick that he can use to poke check opponents as well as to cut down passing lanes.  Jones is quick to get to dump-ins and other loose pucks and move them up the ice. He is good at transitioning up the ice. He is willing to battle in the corners and in front of the net. However, Jones lack of size can be a liability against bigger and stronger opponents. How he can translate his game to playing full time against men is a bit of a question mark.

Outlook

Following his impressive debut last season, Jones has a very good chance to make the Rangers roster this season. He is still young and just finished his college career though. If he takes a step back in training camp and plays some AHL games, it shouldn’t worry Rangers fans.

 

#5 Prospect: Brennan Othmann

The Rangers drafted Othmann with the 16th overall pick in this year’s NHL draft. Prior to the draft, we did an in-depth scouting report on Othmann. As no games have been played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.

 

#6 Prospect: Matthew Robertson

Defence — shoots Left
Born March 9th, 2001 — Sherwood Park, Alberta
Height 6’4″ — Weight 201 lbs [192 cm / 91 kg]
Drarfted by the New York Rangers in the 2nd Round, 49th Overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.

Robertson had another strong season with the Edmonton Oil Kilngs. He put up four goals and 22 points in 22 games. The Oil Kings were one of the most dominant teams in the WHL and Robertson was a key part of that.

Skating

Robertson has great size at 6-foot-4 and pairs this with excellent mobility. He skates well in both directions and has the pivots to transition from offence to defence quickly and vice versa. Robertson has above-average speed and acceleration. The skating ability is paired with smart positioning and has become the foundation of his two-way game. He could work on his agility to keep up with particularly shifty forwards. Robertson is strong on his skates. He has very good balance. This helps him to win battles in the corners and in front of the net.

Offensive Game

Robertson is a very good passer. This shows up in the transition game where he can start the rush from his own end. It also helps him at the point on the power play. Robertson has a good slap shot and a knack for getting it through the shooting lane. Robertson uses his agility to walk the line and open up shooting and passing lanes. He is also willing to sneak down from the point and let go of his wrist shot from the top of the circles. He could stand to improve his release and get that shot off faster though.

Robertson is a highly intelligent player. He is very good at picking his spots on when to join the rush or pinch in from the point without getting himself caught out of position defensively. Sometimes, he will even sneak right down to the goal line to take a back door pass or get off a backhand in close. Robertson also anticipates plays well, seeing the movement of his teammates and making a smart pass with the puck. He may never be a big scorer at the next level, but should not look out of place and has the potential to be a top-four defenceman.

Defensive Game

Generally, Robertson has good gap control and keeps attackers to the outside on the rush. If they have their head down, he is not afraid to throw a big hit. However, he does not get caught out of position looking for one. He has a strong physical game in the corners and in front of the net. Robertson has excellent positioning. He keeps his body between his man and the front of the net. He is not afraid to take a hit to make a play and clear the zone. Robertson is also fearless in his willingness to put his body on the line to block shots. His defensive game is highly advanced for his age.

Outlook

Robertson is now ready to go pro. Expect to see him start the season with Hartford. He could need a year or two at that level before he is ready to make an impact in the NHL.

 

#7 Prospect: Will Cuyle

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born February 5th, 2002 — Toronto, Ontario
Height 6’3″ — Weight 204 lbs [191 cm/93 kg]
Drafted by the New York Rangers in the 2nd Round, #60 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.

With the OHL season never getting started Cuylle played 18 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack. He put up two goals and five points in 18 games.

Skating

Cuylle is an effective skater, especially for his size. His stride is long and powerful. He also has good lower-body strength. This allows him to fight through checks and take the puck to the front of the net. He is also strong along the boards and wins battles for loose pucks. Cuylle has decent speed and can keep up with the play. He reaches that speed quickly with a good first step and acceleration. Cuylle also has good edgework and agility. He is able to avoid defenders and get to open space both with and without the puck.

Offensive Game

Cuylle is a power forward in the making. He has an excellent array of shots, including a strong wrist shot and a powerful snapshot. Both feature excellent releases. They are powerful and accurate. He also has a very good one-timer. Cuylle gets to the net both with and without the puck. Once he gets there, he can score in tight with good hands. Cuylle has a powerful stride and can fight through checks and control the puck. He is more likely to go through a defender than to make a number of moves to get around them. Not afraid to play in traffic, he is effective on the boards, winning battles as well as in the crease. His large frame can be an effective screen.

Cuylle could stand to work on his passing and vision though. He cycles the puck well but is more likely to make the short, safe pass to a teammate than to try and make a creative play to a teammate in order to create a scoring chance. Cuylle’s skating helps him to be effective on the forecheck. He gets in quickly and pressures opposing defenders into mistakes. Once a turnover is created, he is willing to take the puck to the front of the net in order to create a chance. Cuylle is also willing to stand up for his teammates. He’s been known to fight from time to time in the OHL.

Defensive Game

Cuylle is also effective in the defensive end of the ice. He is willing to keep his feet moving and support the defence down low. With his size and strength, Cuylle is effective at defending against the cycle game. He can also support the defence with effective back pressure against the transition game. Cuylle is strong positionally and uses his long stick to cut down passing lanes. He is also willing to put his body on the line to block shots.

Outlook

Cuylle combines size, strength, and skill in a way that will intrigue NHL teams. However, he needs to find a way to produce more points with those skills. Cuylle is strong for his age but will need to continue to add muscle to his frame in order to play his power game at the next level. He could become a top-six winger at the next level if he develops properly. However, even if that offence never comes, he could still be an effective third liner. Cuylle will likely head back to the OHL this season and then need more time at the NHL level.

 

#8 Prospect: Brett Berard

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born September 9th, 2002 — East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Height 5’9″ — Weight 165 lbs [175 cm / 75 kg]
Drafted by the New York Rangers in the 5th round, #134 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.

Berard made the World Junior Team for USA scoring a goal and five points in seven tournament games and helping the team to the gold medal. He also played 19 games in his freshman season with Providence College, scoring five goals and 10 points.

Skating

Berard is undersized, both in his height and the fact that he weighs just 165 pounds. He makes up for this with excellent skating ability. Berard has an explosive first step and very good acceleration. He can change speeds when attacking on the rush, giving defenders problems. His top-end speed is also very good. Berard is also very elusive. He has excellent lateral agility and edgework. He makes tight turns and can change directions extremely quickly. Berard has a low centre of gravity and this helps him to be surprisingly strong on his skates for his size. It can help him to drive the net both with and without the puck and win battles along the boards. Still, his lack of strength is a limiting factor when facing big opponents.

Offensive Game

Berard pairs his strong skating with excellent stickhandling ability. He is deadly in one-on-one situations as he can make a quick dangle and also can use his feet to get around a defender. This also allows him to open up passing lanes and set up a teammate. He sees the ice extremely well and reads the play with high-end hockey IQ, finding the smart pass to an open teammate to set up a scoring chance. Berard can control the play on the half-boards on the power play. He acts as a quarterback, keeping the puck moving and finding smart plays.

Berard can also be a goal scorer. He has a very good release on his wrist shot, and his quick hands allow him to change the angle and confuse goaltenders. His shot is also very accurate. It has decent power but could be even better as he adds muscle to his frame. Berard is willing to drive the net both with and without the puck and can finish in tight with those quick hands and the ability to elevate the puck quickly on both his forehand and backhand. He is extremely aggressive, using his body on the forecheck and creating havoc in front of the net. Berard is always moving his feet and in the middle of the action. He can drive opponents nuts and draw penalties.

Defensive Game

Berard brings his non-stop motor and aggressive style in all three zones. He applies backpressure against the rush and is willing to battle on the boards against the cycle game. His lack of size and strength can be a limiting factor at times though, especially when trying to contain bigger opponents. Berard uses a quick stick to knock the puck away from opponents. He reads the play well and puts himself in good positions to cut down scoring chances.

Outlook

Berard could become a top-six forward if his development continues in the right way. He has dynamic skill but the issue is his size. He is not just small in stature, he also needs to add muscle to his frame. Playing for Providence, with the lighter NCAA schedule, he will get the opportunity to spend time in the weight room and make the gains that he needs. It is hoped that when he will keep his speed and dynamic skill even after he puts on that muscle. He will spend another year with Providence this year.

 

#9 Prospect: Morgan Barron

Left Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born December 2nd, 1998 — Halifax, Nova Scotia
Height 6’4″ — Weight 220 lbs [193 cm/100 kg]
Drafted by the New York Rangers in the 6th round, #174 overall, at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Barron was impressive in his first pro season. He put up 10 goals and 21 points in 21 games with the Wolf Pack. He even got a callup to the Rangers, playing in five NHL games and scoring his first career goal.

Skating

Barron’s skating is improving, but he will never be confused for a speedster. Instead, he uses good anticipation and strong hockey IQ to often ben in the right position. He also never stops moving his feet and has a high-end work ethic. This allows him to get around the ice effectively. Barron’s stride is a bit choppy and this means that he lacks speed and power. His acceleration and top-end speed are average at best. He also lacks a little in terms of his agility and edgework. Barron loses speed and power in his turns and could work on his crossovers. He is strong on his skates though, more willing to go through a defender than to go around them. Barron is strong in battles on the boards and in front of the net.

Offensive Game

Barron plays an old-school, north-south game. He loves to drive to the net, both with and without the puck. Barron is more willing to go through a defender and than to go around them. He is good at scoring goals in tight to the net, pouncing on rebounds, tipping in pucks and beating goalies with his quick hands in tight to the net. He also has a very good wrist shot and the quick hands to change the angle on his release before letting it go. This creates issues for goaltenders.

Barron works hard on the boards, winning battles and keeping the puck moving in the cycle game. Most of his assists come from this hard work. He pressures defenders on the forecheck creating turnovers. When one is created, he has the vision and skill to get the puck to a teammate in front of the net and create a scoring chance. He is also good at protecting the puck in the cycle and moving it to the open man. By keeping puck possession down low, he is able to allow teammates time to get away from defenders and get open for scoring chances.

Defensive Game

Barron brings his non-stop work ethic to all three zones. He comes back hard and supports the defence down low and keeps opponents to the outside in the cycle game. He also does a good job with backpressure against the rush. Barron also has good positioning. He is willing to put his body on the line to block shots. He is also good at cutting down passing lanes and creating turnovers. Barron was even part of the penalty kill with Cornell though he hasn’t done that much at the pro level yet.

Outlook

Barron is likely to start the season with Hartford. As he continues to gain experience and grow his game, he could be a callup for the Rangers if injuries hit. Then in 2022, he could be a full-time option. Barron’s game seems more suited to the wing than to the middle of the ice.

 

#10 Prospect: Ryder Korczak

The Rangers drafted Korczak with the 75th overall pick in this year’s NHL draft. Prior to the draft, we did an in-depth scouting report on Korczak. As no games have been played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.

 

Sleeper Prospect: Evan Vierling

Centre — shoots Left
Born June 20th, 2002 — Aurora, Ontario
Height 6’0″ — Weight 167 lbs [183 cm/76 kg]
Drafted by the New York Rangers in the 5th round, #127 overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.

With the OHL season never launching, Vierling missed the 2020-21 season. This is unfortunate as he hoped to capitalize on the momentum gained after his trade to Barrie in early 2020.

Skating

Vierling is a very good skater. He has an excellent first step and superb acceleration. His top-end speed is also very good. He can get behind the defence and take a breakaway pass. His ability to change speeds also makes him dangerous on the rush. Vierling also has very good edgework and agility. He can take a defender wide and cut to the net or he can make a quick cut to the inside and drive hard down the middle. Vierling could stand to get stronger though. He can be knocked off the puck and is not as strong as he should be when involved in board battles. As he is a bit lanky right now and with more maturity this may come.

Offensive Game

Vierling is at his best working the puck down low in the cycle game. His puck protection skills allow his teammates to get open and he can hit them with a strong pass. As he adds lower body strength, he could be even better. Vierling moves the puck quickly and keeps his feet moving, finding open ice for a return pass. He keeps his head up and sees the whole ice. He can anticipate where his teammates and opponents are going and makes smart plays with the puck. Vierling is able to use his quick hands and good agility to make a move and open up a passing lane.

Vierling also has a very good wrist shot with a quick release. It features good power and accuracy. However, he does not use that shot often enough. He is very much a pass-first player. If Vierling can learn to shoot more, he can become less predictable and harder for defences to contain. He actually did a good job of this in Barrie and it was a part of his breakout. Showing that this is a long-term change will be important for Vierling going forward. He is not afraid to take the puck to the net and also has the quick hands to finish in close to the net.

Defensive Game

Vierling plays a strong two-way game. He is a strong back checker and supports the defence with effective backpressure against the transition game. He also reads the play well, getting himself into positions to intercept passes and create turnovers. His active stick is also effective at stripping opponents of the puck. Vierling is willing to work hard down low but again needs to add muscle in order to be more effective at containing the cycle game. His ability to start a quick transition game is an asset in getting the puck out of the zone. He is also good in the faceoff circle.

Outlook

Vierling’s two-way ability makes him an intriguing prospect. He needs to continue to get stronger without losing his speed and skill. If he develops properly, he could become a second-line centre with penalty kill responsibilities and the ability to play against the other team’s top line. However, with his defensive awareness, he could still carve out a career even if his offensive game doesn’t translate. Vierling is headed back to the OHL where he hopes to dominate in his final junior season and make up for lost time last year.

 

Other 2021 New York Rangers Prospects

The Rangers continue to have an amazing collection of young talent. However, their “prospect system” is not as deep as it once was after graduating young players like Kappo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, Adam Fox, Igor Shesterkin, and K’Andre Miller in recent years. They did such a good job of rebuilding though, that there are still other prospects to watch in the system.

In goal, the team has Dylan Garand, Tyler Wall, Olof Lindblom, and Adam Huska. On the blue line, prospects Tarmo Reunnanen, Hunter Skinner, Jacob Ragnursson, and Simon Kjellberg are worth keeping an eye on. Upfront the Rangers also have Justin Richards, Lauri Pajuniemi, Karl Henriksson, Brody Lamb, Tim Gettinger, Adam Edstrom, Patrick Khodorenko, Eric Ciccolini, and Ty Ronning in the system.

 

2021 New York Rangers Prospects Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – DECEMBER 03: #27 Nils Lundkvist of Lulea HF warms up prior the Champions Hockey League match between Lausanne HC and Lulea HF at Vaudoise Arena on December 3, 2019 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images)


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