Top 10 Rangers Prospects to Watch

Sean Hartnett
April 08, 2020 - 11:58 am

A multiyear rebuild has allowed general manager Jeff Gorton to replenish the once-depleted Rangers’ prospect pool. Previously, the organizational direction was dialed to win-now. The Blueshirts sacrificed all first-round picks from 2013 through 2016 without the payoff of a Stanley Cup victory parade.

Since Gorton and former team president Glen Sather announced the intention to rebuild via a Feb. 2018 letter to fans, the Rangers have exchanged veterans for early-round draft picks. The process has armed the Blueshirts with a deeply stocked pool of prospects to compete for NHL ice time for years to come.

Adam Fox, Igor Shesterkin, Kaapo Kakko and Ryan Lindgren are among the Rangers’ impressive 2019-20 rookie class. Let’s take a deeper look at 10 prospects that could eventually join them at Madison Square Garden.

K’Andre Miller – Defenseman, Age 20

Having signed an entry-level contract in March, Miller’s upside has excited the Rangers’ fan base. His superb skating ability, impressive transition play, and 6-foot-5 frame suggests he’ll enjoy a long NHL career.

Miller appeared in 36 games for the Wisconsin Badgers, collecting seven goals and 11 assists. Once he learns the ropes at minor-league Hartford, fans can look forward to the possibility of a Miller-Fox first pairing leading the way for the Blueshirts.

Rangers prospect K'Andre Miller speaks with reporters.
Getty Images

Vitali Kravtsov – Right Wing, Age 20

Drafted ninth overall in 2018, the playmaking wing re-joined the Wolf Pack in December from the KHL. Adjusting to North American ice, Kravtsov recorded six goals and nine assists in 39 games. His raw skill is impressive and he is learning to become a more reliable player in the defensive end. Kravtsov’s performances improved in February, giving the organization hope that he’s on the right track.

Nils Lundkvist – Defensemen, Age 19                                   

The Swedish blueliner has earned rave reviews for his offense-driving ability and quick decision-making. Lundkvist posted 11 goals and 20 assists in 45 games for Lulea HF of the SHL. His talent is such that he’ll eventually earn a spot on the Rangers’ crowded right side.

Morgan Barron – Center, Age 21

Barron’s impactful two-way play at Cornell earned him recognition as a Hobey Baker Award finalist. The 6-foot-4 center logged 14 goals and 18 assists in 29 games for the Big Red. The Rangers’ scouting department deserves praise for stealing Barron in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Draft.

Yegor Rykov – Defenseman, Age 22

Acquired from the Devils in Feb. 2018, Rykov registered two goals and nine assists in 27 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack. The 6-foot-2 left-handed defenseman plays with a responsible, defense-first mentality.

Matthew Robertson – Defenseman, Age 19

The former 49th overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft shined for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL, earning team MVP and the club’s top defenseman award. Playing in all situations, Robertson handled a large workload. He racked up 13 goals and 34 assists in 60 games.

Matthew Robertson poses for a photo after joining the Rangers.
Getty Images

Libor Hajek – Defenseman, Age 22

Splitting time between the Rangers and the Wolf Pack, 2019-20 hasn’t gone to plan for Hajek. A 16-game absence due to a sprained knee interrupted his season. He recorded one goal and two assists in 23 games for Hartford. With competition coming, Hajek will need to seize his next opportunity to stave off a chasing pack of left-sided youngsters.

Justin Richards – Center, Age 22

The Rangers signed Richards to an entry-level contract on April 2 following a productive junior season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Though Richards recorded 14 goals and 11 assists in 34 games, his best assets come in the defensive end. He was named the NCHC’s Best Defensive Forward in 2019-20 and boasted a 59 percent faceoff percentage. His three shorthanded goals tied for the NCAA lead.

Zac Jones – Defenseman, Age 19

Jones enjoyed a strong freshman campaign at UMass, notching three goals and 20 assists in 32 games. Teaming up with Miller for the United States at the 2020 World Juniors, Jones opened eyes with his escapability, vision and poise.

Tyler Wall – Goaltender, Age 22

Wall has emerged as yet another talented netminder in the Rangers’ pipeline. He was named as a finalist for the Mike Richter Award for best collegiate goaltender following a sparkling senior year campaign at UMass-Lowell. Wall went 18-8-6 with a .931 save percentage and 2.10 goals-against average in 32 games.

Follow Sean on Twitter -- @HartnettHockey