New York Rangers: Ranking young defense candidates for the third pair

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New York Rangers

(Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

After a flurry of trades and signings, the Rangers boast a dramatically improved defense. Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Skjei, and Brendan Smith lock down the top four spots. Training camp should kick off a major competition for the third pairing, though.

New York has seven candidates for its bottom pair openings. Veterans Marc Staal and Nick Holden may have an inside track thanks to seniority. While both have experience going for them, both struggled mightily down the stretch and in the playoffs last season.

The five other third pairing contenders are all prospects. Anthony DeAngelo, Alexei Bereglazov, Sean Day, Ryan Graves, and Neal Pionk deserve long looks from the coaching staff despite their inexperience.

This list grades these prospects by their chances to make immediate impacts. While long-term potential is very important, these rankings only care about the 17-18 New York Rangers. Please note that a player can feature below another on this list and still be a better overall prospect.

Bereglazov leads the group in terms of readiness, followed by DeAngelo, Graves, Pionk, and Day.

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