Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

New York Rangers Prospects Top 10 List

Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. As we go through the summer of 2023, each day our LWOS Prospects Writers will bring you a look at one NHL team’s top prospects or other topical article. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow Ben Kerr, Kyle Pereira and Frederik Frandson on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports!  You can find all the articles here as well as our extensive NHL Draft preview. Today, we look at the 2023 New York Rangers Top Prospects.

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.

2023 New York Rangers Top Prospects

1.) Brennan Othmann

Brennan Othmann, the Rangers 16th overall pick back in the 2021 NHL Draft, tops the New York Rangers prospects list. In his draft year, Othmann was playing overseas with Olten in the Swiss League, due to COVID. When Othmann returned to North America the following season, he dominated. Back in the OHL, he played 66 games and scored 97 points. But last season, despite all the hype, Othmann would take a step backwards. He scored 67 points in 56 games.

Despite the step-back in production, Othmann is still the top guy in the organization. He very nearly earned a roster spot with the Rangers prior to the start of last season. Due to his age, since he did not make the roster, he was forced to return to the OHL. The big forward, standing at 6’0” and 175 pounds, plays a strong game. He may not dominate consistently with his physicality, but he never shys away and can land a heavy hit from time to time. Othmann’s shot is still lethal, and his hockey IQ in all three zones is apparent when watching him. He has NHL abilities, this season he’ll likely get a chance to prove it in the NHL.

2.) Gabe Perreault

Gabe Perreault, the new addition to the Rangers, was just drafted 23rd overall in the most recent draft. The forward is coming off a season where he scored 132 points in 63 games with the USNTDP. That includes 45 points in 23 USHL contests. Currently, Perreault is slated to play with Boston College in the NCAA this season.

Moving to the NCAA level will give Perreault a lighter game schedule. That’s important, as the forward is on the slimmer side, at 5’11” and 165 pounds. That schedule will give him an opportunity to focus on getting in the weight room more and bulking up. Moving onto greener pastures will also allow him to answer the questions on whether he is a legit prospect or a by-product of a stacked NTDP roster. Working on his skating and weight will allow him to take real strides towards reaching the NHL level. The raw skills are there, and he is a dynamic playmaker. Can he put all the pieces together?

3.) Will Cuylle

Will Cuylle, yet another forward at the top of the list, is a second round draft pick (60th overall) from the 2020 NHL draft. Due to COVID, following his draft season, he slotted into 18 AHL games, where he scored five points. Making his return to the OHL the following season, he would play 59 games, and put up 80 points. Finally, last season, Cuylle would head back to the AHL on a full-time basis. Playing in 69 games. He managed to score 45 points. That was so impressive, that he earned a call-up to the Rangers. In a four-game stint, he didn’t score any points, but it was experience nonetheless.

Cuylle’s shot is dangerous, and is always a threat when the puck is on his stick. Not only that, but he has always been highly regarded for his work ethic and never-ending motor. Not to mention, he plays well in his own end, which will aid him in his chase for a roster spot. But, Cuylle’s key is to keep shooting the puck; it’s arguably his best attribute, and one that can carry his career. He has that good of a shot.

4.) Zac Jones

The number one defender on the New York Rangers prospects list, Zac Jones was drafted in the third round (68th overall) in 2019. The 5’10” and 176 pound defender is a bit undersized, but that didn’t stop him from finding success. Following his draft year, he would join UMass Amherst in the NCAA for two seasons. His first year, he scored 23 points in 32 games. Then, he followed that up with 24 points in 29 games. After two successful campaigns on the blueline, he would end his 2020-21 season in the NHL, playing 10 games, scoring four points. Coming over to the NHL ranks, he would play 12 games there the next season, scoring two points. He also played 52 AHL games, scoring 35 points.

This past season, Jones would expand on his previous NHL experience. With 16 NHL games last season, he posted two points. Meanwhile, playing 54 AHL games, he scored 31 points. While he has yet to truly separate himself in the professional ranks yet, over time, he has the skill to break out. He is a dynamic puck-mover both in transition and in the offensive zone. He understands how to attack using his vision and playmaking skill. However, consistency has been the biggest hurdle. Moving forward, he needs to settle his game down to find more success. But, that’s something that generally comes with time.

5.) Adam Sykora

Adam Sykora, a forward drafted in the second round (63rd overall) in the 2022 NHL draft, is coming off a solid campaign. Last season, Sykora played 38 games against men in the top Slovak league. He managed 21 points. Then, he would make the jump to the AHL, where he played just two games, with no points.

While Sykora may not have his production pop off of the page, that’s not his game. Never really has been. Sykora is known as one of the best two-way forward prospects. His game is predicated on being smart and responsible in his own end. But, when he does produce offence, it is usually due to a dogged effort in the form of strong forechecking and general hard work. While he does have a solid shot and generally decent playmaking, it is a work in progress. But, more time in the AHL could work wonders.

6.) Bryce McConnell Barker

McConnell Barker, another forward, was drafted in the third round (97th overall) in the 2022 NHL draft. McConnell Barker is a bigger prospect than the others, standing at 6’1” and 194 pounds. In his draft year, he produced 49 points in 68 games, a solid but not great statline. Last season, once again in the OHL, he turned into a point-per-game player. In another 68 games, he would score 77 points, a big step up.

McConnell Barker is a player in a similar mold to Sykora. Strong shot, decent puck skills, and overall strong, but not great, offensive abilities. His bread-and-butter is in his forechecking and motor, always playing hard away from the puck and impacting games with the smaller details. While the upside may not be very high, a solid middle-six contribution could be where McConnell Barker winds up.

7.) Brett Berard

Berard, yet another forward, was drafted in the fifth round (134th overall) in the 2020 NHL draft. However, he is smaller (5’9” and 152 pounds), giving him a different feel from the aforementioned names on this list. Berard, after getting drafted, would go play for Providence College in the NCAA for three seasons. In that time, he would score 72 points in 91 games. That included 24 points in 36 games this past season. He also managed three AHL games, though he came up empty-handed.

Berard is fast. Really fast. And he has puck skills to go with that. His passing and vision skills are fun to watch. Not only that, but he plays much bigger than he is, which matches the playstyle of the aforementioned forwards. Obviously, size is a concern, and his fast-paced style likely needs to be toned down a bit to find success at the AHL and NHL levels. But if Berard hits, he could be a potential steal. Adding his level of playmaking alongside guys like Cuylle and Othmann could be quite the pairing.

8.) Dylan Garand

Garand, a fourth round pick (103rd overall) back in the 2020 NHL draft, is the top goalie in the New York Rangers prospects list. Garand, who is a bit undersized at 6’0” and 172 pounds, has already won a bit of hardware thanks to his generally strong international performances. After his draft year, in 2020-21, Garand would play a total of 20 games, with two in the AHL and 18 in the WHL. He struggled in the AHL, going 0-1-0, with a save percentage of .839 and a goals against average of 3.68. However, he was much better in the WHL (15-3-0, .921 SV%, 2.15 GAA). The next season, he again shined in the WHL (34-9-1, .925 SV%, 2.16 GAA) as well as in the U20 World Juniors (6-0-0, .925 SV%, 1.98 GAA) en route to a gold medal and the CHL Goalie of the Year award.

Last season, Garand got his first full year in the AHL. Playing in 32 games, he managed a 13-14-3 record, with a .894 SV% and a 3.01 GAA. While those stats don’t exactly show how strong Garand is in goal, it is experience that he will continue to pile up. He has a ton of athleticism and can move quickly in the crease to make difficult saves look easy at times. With Louis Domingue also playing in Hartford, as well as Igor Shesterkin as the top dog in the organization, Garand will be given plenty of time to fine-tune his abilities to fulfill his true potential.

9.) Matthew Robertson

Robertson, just the second defender on the list, was drafted in the second round (49th overall) in the 2019 NHL draft. He is a big blue liner, standing at 6’4” and 201 pounds. After being drafted, he would finish out his WHL career over the next two seasons. In that time, he turned his production up to the tune of 69 points in 82 games, including a point-per-game final season (22 points in 22 games). In 2021-22, he would join Hartford in the AHL, where he would score a respectable 11 points in 65 games. This past season, once again playing in the AHL, he scored 23 points in 57 games.

While his offence certainly took a stride in the right direction in the AHL last season, that part of his game has never been a strength. With his size and smarts, he sticks to playing a more responsible style. On the offensive end, he doesn’t look to make a threatening play, instead opting to take the smart one. While that hardly leads to chances being generated, he also hardly turns the puck over. Meanwhile, he knows how to use his size and reach to make plays in his own end, while using those same smarts to transition the puck up ice. He is efficient over flashy, a quality that NHL coaches will surely love. Robertson could earn some NHL time this season.

10.) Ty Emberson

Emberson, another defenceman, was drafted in the third round (73rd overall) in the 2018 NHL draft. The oldest prospect on this list, he checks in at 6’1” and 194 pounds, giving him decent size on the back end. After being drafted, he would go on to have a three year career with the University of Wisconsin. There, he scored a combined 34 points in 101 games. He also finished the 2020-21 season, following his third NCAA season, with five games in the AHL (one goal). Over the last two years, he has played in the AHL, with 58 and 69 games played, respectively. In those seasons, he scored 11 and 27 points, respectively, more than doubling his point production in year two.

Emberson is more of an old-fashioned, stay-at-home defender at this stage. While his offence did show progression with Hartford after arriving via trade from last season, he still doesn’t pop off the page. He simply just does not get involved in the play very often, opting to hold the point and make simple passes to extend plays. But he is a physical defender, who knows how to keep play to the outside consistently. He may earn a spot if there are injuries to key penalty killers at the NHL level, but it is unlikely at this point. The potential is still there to be an NHL player one day, however.

HM (Round 4 or Later): Adam Edstrom

Edstrom, a giant center drafted in the sixth round (161st overall) in the 2019 NHL draft, adds real size to the New York Rangers prospects pool. Standing at 6’6” and 210 pounds, Edstrom is a menacing center. He was a mainstay over the last four seasons at the SHL level with Rogle BK. Playing against men over a combined 174 games at a young age is impressive. In that time, Edstrom managed 47 points, including 19 points in his final 42 games. Last season, after the 19 point performance in the SHL, he signed his entry-level contract and played three AHL games, scoring one point.

The 23-year-old Edstrom will likely play a full season in the AHL before he gets a true look at the NHL level. But, that’s okay. Edstrom will be rewarded plenty of time to find a rhythm. That said, he is a physical forward, which actually earned him a suspension in the 2020-21 season for five games. But that physical edge, the size he possesses and the maturity in his game projects to the NHL level, albeit in a small role. If he can realize his potential and have a promising first season in the AHL, Edstrom could find himself in a bottom-six role as early as next season, if all things go well.

In The System

At the NHL level, the Rangers feature young players who have already graduated to the NHL level. Those players include Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil, Braden Schneider, and K’Andre Miller. While Kakko and Lafreniere have yet to hit their strides yet, they still possess untapped potential. Chytil is rounding into form well, while Schneider and Miller are expected to have big roles on the blue line.

Some players who missed the cut for the top-10 are Bobby Trivigno, Karl Henriksson, Ryder Korczak, and Mac Hollowell. Overall, the New York Rangers prospects pool contains some potential studs in the form of Othmann, Perreault, and Cuylle, with a strong supporting cast of role players who project well to the NHL. While the Rangers have proven to not be the best organization when it comes to developing their prospects, they have a decent group on the rise.

Main Photo: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

sweater number 15

Behind the Sweater Number: No. 15

Sweater numbers are synonymous with players. Most hockey fans can instantly tell you a great player by the number they wear on their back. There

Send Us A Message