Leslie Treff, the Rangers writer on Hockey’s Future, published her spring update of her ranking of the top 20 New York Rangers prospects. Now the people at Hockey’s Future are by no means professional scouts, and these rankings are simply the opinions of a single person.That being said, she follows our prospects almost exclusively and diligently, so she certainly knows a thing or two; at least more than the average fan does. Here are the notable jumps and drops in her rankings:
Ryan McDonagh moves up to number two from the five spot he began the season at. Clearly, McDonagh has taken a huge step in a the right direction. He began the year as a guy Montreal seemed content to get rid of, and someone who was just learning the basics of professional hockey. Now, of course, he’s logging big minutes on a Rangers team that is pressing to make the playoffs, and do damage once they get there. He’s surely worthy of the jump. However, the fact that Kreider is still #1 despite the progress McDonagh has made shows us just how much potential Kreider has.
Christian Thomas goes from number 10 to number 3. The dramatic increase in his value has been pretty well documented on Blue Line Station, such as here and here. You should read those articles to get my in-depth take on Thomas. Leslie does make a good point though in that Thomas very well might be ready to be a top forward in the AHL, but that because of his age he either has to play in the NHL or in the OHL. Thus, it’s likely he stays in Oshawa for one more year unless he blows Tortorella away at training camp next fall.
Jesper Fasth, whose name is somewhat appropriate due to his skating ability, is one of the darkhorse Rangers prospects. He moved all the way up to 14th in her rankings after not even being in the top 20 before. Fasth was drafted in the 5th round last year and is sort of like Zuccarello in that he has a good amount of skill but his small size might possibly hurt him. As Leslie notes, Fasth was an animal for Sweden during this year’s World Junior Championship, registering 6 points in the 6 games he played. Fasth has 7 goals and 9 assists in his 36 games in the Swedish Elite League this year, which are decent enough stats for a 19 year old in the SEL. To compare, Devils forward Mattias Tedenby, who looks to be developing into a solid second line scorer, had only 4 points in 32 games as a 19 year old in the SEL. He’s a project and he likely won’t be playing in the NHL for a few more years, if at all.
What’s also interesting to note is that 2 of the top 16 prospects (Zuccarello and Talbot) were signed as free agents. If you can add relevant pieces to your prospect pool through free agency you’re setting yourself up for success. Every single prospect has a chance, or at least can serve as trade bait. I’ll be writing up a top 20 article of my own during the offseason, and although there are some things I’d switch around she’s pretty on-par with reality, at least in my opinion. Make sure to check it out. At the very least, it provides some good information about what each prospect has been up to.