The New York Rangers announced today the signing of forward prospect Roman Horak to a professional contract. Horak , a Czech native, had a solid season with the Chilliwack Bruins of the WHL during the 2009-2010 season, but it was this one that really put his name on the minds of Rangers fans. Horak scored 26 goals and added 78 points in 64 games this season, which puts him 2nd on the Bruins in points, only behind Flames top prospect Ryan Howse. Horak was drafted as a center, but all signs point to the Rangers developing him as a left winger.
Horak has plenty of raw talent offensively, but it’s to be determined if that can translate to the professional level. Horak’s big knock has always been him as a total package; his play away from the puck specifically. In essence, Horak is the opposite of guys like Carl Hagelin and Ryan Bourque, whom the Rangers have recently signed. He is incredibly raw, and as much room as there is for improvement, there are plenty of question marks as well. Horak is a boom or bust type prospect. He’s a wild card. He could becomes a 20-25, maybe even 30 goal scorer in the NHL. Or, he could fail in the AHL and be playing in Europe again within 2 years.
That makes it Dylan McIlrath, Ryan Bourque, Carl Hagelin, and Roman Horak as prospects the Rangers have signed this year. Bourque, Hagelin, and Horak will all be playing in the AHL next season (for Hagelin, possibly the NHL). These three are welcome additions to an AHL roster that had almost no potential NHL talent at the forward position behind Evgeny Grachev and Mats Zuccarello.