Who’s at the New York Rangers’ Development Camp

The Rangers usually hold their development camp early in the summer, right after the NHL Entry Draft, but with the schedule upset by COVID, everything is delayed and it resulted in the team not participating in the Traverse City prospect tournament scheduled for next week.

It’s usually an opportunity for the team to see all of their newly drafted players as well as their other top prospects.  Because it so late this year, many of the top prospects and draft picks will be at the camp, but all of the prospects playing in Europe will miss it, since their seasons have already started.   The same goes for collegiate players who are already at school.

Here is a look at the players who will be at the camp.

Forwards

Morgan Barron, 22, Center: Barron is in the second year of his Entry Level Contract (ELC) . He played last season in Hartford as well as five games with the Rangers, scoring one goal.  Of all the forwards at development camp, he has the best shot of winning a job with the varsity.

Will Cuylle, 19, Left Wing:  The 2020 2nd round pick just signed his ELC and played last season in Hartford due to the OHL season cancellation. He will return to the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL this season.

Jayden Grubbe, 18, Center: Grubbe was a 2021 3rd round pick and will play for Red Deer in the WHL this season.  He is best known for his tenacity on defense, not for his scoring.

Karl Henriksson, 20, Center:  The Swede signed his ELC after being selected in the 2nd round  in 2019. If he impresses, he could find a job in Hartford, but the team will probably send him back to Sweden to play top line minutes with Frölunda in the Swedish Hockey League.

Patrick Khodorenko, 22 Center:  Khodorenko is in the second year of his ELC after he was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State University.  He played the last season with the Wolf Pack, scoring three goals and 10 points in 22 games.

Ryder Korczak, 18,  Center:  He was a 3rd round pick in the 2021 draft and will play for Moose Jaw in the WHL this season.  Korczak is a smaller (5’10”, 159 pounds) forward best known for his stickhandling and a wicked shot.

Brody Lamb, 18, Right Wing: One of the most highly regarded high school players in Minnesota, the 2021 4th round pick is headed to the University of Minnesota in 2022-23.  He’s set to play one more campaign with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL this season.

Michael O’Leary, 23, Left Wing: O’Leary spent last season in Hartford, under contract to the Wolf Pack. He was signed by the Pack after graduating from Notre Dame.  He scored on goal and three points in 16 games for Hartford.

Brennan Othmann, 18, Left Wing: The Rangers’ 1st round pick in the 2021 draft, he could be headed to play for Flint in the OHL after a season in a professional league in Switzerland.  He just signed his ELC and will likely play for Flint again this season.

Lauri Pajuniemi, 21, Right Wing:  The Finnish prospect signed his ELC after concluding his second season in Liiga where he was a big scorer. The 5th round pick 2018 pick will likely play in Hartford as he gets used to North American hockey.

Matt Rempe, 19,  Center:  The 2020 7th round pick, should play for Seattle in the WHL. He is a big kid at 6’8″, 240 pounds.  He played eight games for Seattle last season.

Justin Richards, 23, Center:  Richard is in the second year of his ELC, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Minnesota-Duluth where he was a top defensive player. He played last season in Hartford with four goals and 11 points in 20 games, getting called up for one game with the Rangers where he registered an assist, making him second on the team in points per game after Artemi Panarin.

Austin Rueschhoff, 24, Right Wing: He was signed out of Western Michigan and played last season for Hartford , with four goals in 23 games.  He is going into the second year of his ELC.

James Sanchez,23, Left Wing:  Sanchez was signed by Hartford late last season after graduating from Arizona State University.  In eight games for the Wolf Park he scored two goals and five points in eight games.

Evan Vierling, 19, Center: Vierling was a 5th round pick in the 2020 draft by the Rangers and he lost last season with the Barrie Colts when the OHL cancelled its season.

Alex Whalen, 24, Forward:   Signed by Hartford out of Quinnipiac College, he played last season for the Wolf Pack getting into 10 games and scoring two goals.

Defensemen

Zach Berzolla, 23, Right Defense:  A graduate of Colorado College, the Rangers are giving the Howell, New Jersey native a look.

Zach Giuttari, 25, Right Defense:  Giuttari was signed by the Wolf Pack out of Brown University and played in the AHL last season, getting into 22 games.

Zac Jones, 20, Left Defense: Zac Jones burned the first year of his ELC, playing in 10 game for the Rangers after winning a national title at UMass as their top defenseman.   With four assists, he looked to be NHL ready in his time in the Blueshirts after his selection in the 3rd round in 2019.

Nils Lundkvist, 21, Right Defense: The most highly anticipated player at this tournament, Lundkvist has been a star in the Swedish League for several years and is expected to contend for a starting job with the Rangers.  He was a 1st round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

Tarmo Reunanen, 23,  Left Defense:  Reunanen played most of the season in Hartford, getting into four games in New York where he picked up an assist.  An offensive player, the scored four goals and had 17 points in 23 games in Hartford. The 4th round pick from 2016 is going into the last year of his ELC.

Matthew Robertson, 20, Left Defense:  If the Rangers defense  wasn’t so loaded, Robertson would be contending for a starting job after another stellar year with Edmonton in the WHL.  He is still in the first year of his ELC and the 2019 2nd round pick should play in Hartford this season with nothing to prove in junior hockey.

Braden Schneider, 19, Right Defense:   The Rangers traded up to get Schneider in the 1st round of the 2020 Entry Draft. He is in the first year of his ELC after starting last season in the AHL before the WHL season got under way.  He is familiar to coach Gerard Gallant who had him on the Canadian team at the World Championships. Named the best defenseman in the WHL, he should be headed for Hartford because he turns 20 this month, though he is a longshot to make the big league roster.

Hunter Skinner, 20, Right Defense: The Rangers signed their 2019 4th round pick to his ELC last season as he split the season between the ECHL and Hartford after the OHL cancelled their season. He earned a contract after blossoming offensively with Utah in the ECHL.  He is destined to play in Hartford.

The goalies

Talyn Boyko, 18: Boyko was a 4th round pick in this year’s draft and will be returning to Tri-City in the WHL for his fourth season.

Dylan Garand, 19: Garand was a 4th round pick in the 2020 draft and will see a return to the Kamloops Blazers for a fourth season in the WHL.  He also played two games in Hartford and is expected to contend for the top goalie slot at the 2022 WJC.

Tyler Wall, 23:  Wall is going into the second year of his ELC after leaving UMass-Lowell where he was a top NCAA goalie. He played in 10 games for the Wolf Pack with numbers that were just okay.  He will contend with Adam Huska for the Wolf Pack’s top goalie position.

Who’s missing

We won’t be seeing some highly regarded Rangers prospects such as Brett Berard (Providence) , Eric Ciccolini  (Michigan) Hank Kempf (Cornell), and Riley Hughes (Northeastern) who have already begun their collegiate seasons.
European 2021 picks who are not coming to the camp include Finnish left winger Kalle Väisänen and Czech right winger Jaroslav Chmelar.    Picks from prior years include Swedish forwards  Oliver Tärnström and Adam Edström along with Finnish forward Leevi Altonen.  Swedish goalies  Hugo Ollas and Olof Lindbom have started their seasons as well. 
With so many European and collegiate players unavailable, it is one reason for the inclusion of Hartford forwards like O’Leary, Whalen and Sanchez and defensemen Berzolla and Giuttari. They need to have enough players to scrimmage and that’s why there are some unfamiliar names on the roster.

Players to watch

Development camp begins on Friday and all eyes will be on Nils Lundkvist, this year’s “rookie to watch.”  A lot of attention will also be paid to fellow defensemen Braden Schneider and Matthew Robertson and Zac Jones will be doing his best to overshadow Lundkvist.  At 23 years of age, Tarmo Reunanen is getting to the point where he should be making it to the NHL and he has displayed the offensive prowess to be considered.
Among the forwards, there will be a lot of attention on Brennan Othmann, a somewhat controversial pick for New York, considering the centers who were available when he was taken 16th overall.  We’ve been waiting for Lauri Pajuniemi for a few years and considering he scored 48 goals and 78 points in 97 games in Liiga over the last two seasons, he will be worth watching.
Similarly, Karl Henriksson should be ready to make the big jump after playing in the SHL for a couple seasons, though his coach is Sweden is anticipating he will be returning there. 
Brody Lamb, just turned 18 so he is a few years away from turning pro, but he is very highly regarded as a top HS player. 
With the graduation of players like Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko, K’Andre Miller and Adam Fox, the Rangers are no longer the top rated team when it comes to their prospect pipeline,but most pundits still have the team in the top five of the NHL. 
The best news is this means that NHL hockey is just around the corner.