Gropp, Meskanen and Ronning
The New York Rangers prospect pool was rated the best in the NHL by many observers. As the Rangers organization continues to grow deeper, it means that highly regarded prospects of the past fall lower on the depth chart. They may remain on the reserve list on their Entry Level Contracts, but with the influx of young talent the odds that they have a future with the Rangers are dropping.
Time looks to be running out on 23 year old Ryan Gropp and his potential as an NHL player. He was the 41st overall selection in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. A big scorer with Seattle of the WHL, he now has played two minor league seasons after signing his entry level contract in 2015.
After a 21 point season as a rookie in the AHL, last year he played in 61 games for the Wolf Pack, scoring 26 points. He also spent some time in the ECHL with the Mariners, certainly not a good sign considering the mediocrity in Hartford. He has one more year on his deal with the Blueshirts and the question is whether they will qualify him next summer.
Meskanen is going into his second season with Hartford after the undrafted Finnish forward was signed by the Rangers in 2018. The Blueshirts inked him after he had a breakout season with Ilves in the Finnish Liiga.
The Rangers signed Meskanen and Swedish forward Michael Lindqvist in May 2018. Lindqvist last just a few months in the organization before being released. Meskanen, 23, spent the entire season in Hartford, notching 34 points in 70 games. This is last contract year and will be the make or break season for the 23-year old forward.
Perhaps the most disappointing demotion is that of Ty Ronning. The son of former NHL player Cliff Ronning was an offensive juggernaut as an overage player in the WHL scoring 61 goals in 70 games for Vancouver in 2016-17. .
At 5’9″ and 172 pounds, size has always been an issue for Ronning. He struggled last season with Hartford and was sent to Maine where he excelled with 12 goals and 22 points in 25 games. He is still only 21 years old and has two more years on his ELC. It will be worth watching to see if he sticks with Hartford. A reassignment to Maine could be a sign that his future is limited.
Next to go
The Hartford Wolf Pack training camp is in full swing and you can be sure that the new coaching staff wants to get a long look at all of their players. Their first preseason game is a week from Wednesday with the season set to begin on October 5.
Of the 48 players left on the Rangers training camp roster there are a number of players who are probably going to play in the AHL. They include forwards Phillip Di Giuseppe, Jake Elmer, Steven Fogarty, Gabriel Fontaine, Tim Gettinger, Nick Jones, Dawson Leedahl, Patrick Newell and Danny O’Regan. Defensemen include Brandon Crawley, Sean Day,Joey Keane, Ryan Lindgren, Vincent LoVerde, Darren Raddysh and Tarmo Reunanen.
In his post-practice comments yesterday, David Quinn singled out Crawley for praise and also indicate that righthanded shot Joey Keane has a chance with the team due to the Tony DeAngelo holdout. He also complemented Boo Nieves who has to be on the bubble considering the depth the team has at forward. Include Greg McKegg and Vinni Lettieri in that mix as well.
The four players on PTO’s are still with the team. It will be interesting to see if Joe Morrow, Brandon Crawley, Mason Geertsen and Micheal Haley see any action in the preseason games.
Quinn and his coaching staff have some tough decisions to make in the coming days. How players perform in the next few preseason games will have an impact on how the Rangers’ roster will shape up.