The New York Rangers’ season has been over for over three weeks now, and for fans, all eyes are shifting to October. There is no doubt that the season ended earlier than expected and the wait will feel like forever for fans.
Since the Rangers’ season concluded, one of the Rangers’ best prospects has been making some noise: Brennan Othmann. Othmann helped the Peterborough Petes win the J. Ross Robertson Cup in the OHL. Othmann was a constant feature on the team’s first line and had 25 points in 23 games in the postseason.
Othmann is considered one of the top prospects for the Rangers, and with the team’s current salary cap situation combined with his ascent, there have been questions about whether he should be on the team’s roster come October. This will be one of the top storylines come training camp; but there is a lot to be decided (a head coach, maybe?).
Here are some pros and cons of Othmann starting the year in the NHL.
1. Othmann is a scoring machine
There’s no doubt that Othmann can be a star. Ever since being selected in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft by the Rangers, he has thrived in the OHL and has moved up the prospect rankings. Regular and postseason combined, Othmann has 213 points in 164 games. This is one of the highest points-per-game rates in the league.
Many have labeled Othmann a star already, and with this production, he will surely get a look in training camp. If he performs well and it translates to the league, he can become a mainstay for the Rangers.
2. It helps the Rangers cap crunch
Next season will be Othmann’s second year on his entry-level contract, signed with the Rangers shortly before last season. Every NHL fan, whether a Rangers fan or not, knows that the Rangers are in a cap crunch. According to Capfriendly.com, Othmann’s cap hit next season will be $863,333.
This can be a budget for the Rangers, especially if Othmann plays well.
3. A new kid line?
One of the biggest indicators of success next season for the Rangers will be their secondary production, whether Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, or Alexis Lafreniere (if the Rangers bring him back). These players all need to take a step forward next year. Kakko mentioned how he wants to play more, and Lafreniere should feel the same, especially with the wingers’ high draft slots.
If Kakko and Lafreniere take a step next season, as they have been gradually increasing in points each year, can Othmann be the center of a new youth movement? Many prospects in the Rangers’ system, such as Othmann and Will Cuylle to name a few, will get a heavy look by whatever coaching staff is brought in.
1. The left wing is crowded
The Rangers already have two solidified top-six left-wingers in Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider, and adding another would not give Othmann much room to grow. This has been the problem with Alexis Lafreniere: he has yet to get top-six minutes at his natural position in the left wing.
In order for Othmann to play left wing, which is the best position that he has thrived, he would almost have to play on the fourth line. The new coaching staff would have to shuffle him around in order for Othmann to play top six – or even top nine to start the season – minutes.
2. Rushing the youth?
Would Chris Drury and Co. start Othmann on the roster without him playing in the AHL at all? If he deserves it, absolutely. But, with the crowded top of the lineup that the Rangers boast, it might be better for Othmann to play in the AHL and get acclimated.
The Rangers have a lot of young players – Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, and Filip Chytil, to name a few – and all have shown steady increases each season. It might be a priority for these guys to develop before Othmann gets his shot.