William Cuylle is a 21-year-old Toronto native that was selected 60th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2020 entry-level draft.
The 6’4, 211-pound specimen bounced around from the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL to the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Canada U20 team, and dropped the gloves in the Rangers liberty jersey.
There is no secret that Chris Drury will need to be calculated and frugal with the organization’s summer cap crunch. According to multiple credible reports, the NHL’s salary cap will substantially increase in 2024-2025. That doesn’t help the Rangers right now.
What can alleviate that pressure is a promotion within the organization. Think of a Tanner Jeannot, nicknamed “The Oxbow Ox”. An undrafted player characterized as a physical forward proved that his prototype and package are still desired by NHL clubs, fetching Nashville six assets in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
No one predicted his 41-point breakout in 2021-2022. That’s production an organization doesn’t expect but relishes in from a player of that model.
Will Cuylle has been questioned in terms of his production capabilities and ceiling. He uses his frame to physically impose and punish his opposers and possesses an outstanding shot when he utilizes it. He is also a formidable net-front presence and neutral zone checker.
His package is great and similar NHL players have found success in that style. But the headline reads: “Will Cuylle is a Center.” The Rangers notoriously lack depth at the position, and Cuylle played four games for the big leagues this season.
If Barclay Goodrow is moved this off-season, it would be a financial upgrade to play Cuylle in the 4C hole. Why shed Goodrows salary just to close the cap cushion again with a free agent signing?
Cuylle posted impressive numbers all around in 2022-2023, which solidifies the argument to play him. In the 7 games he played en route to a gold medal in Scotia Bank Centre in Halifax, he recorded 2 goals and 2 assists.
Skating for the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack this season, Cuylle posted 25 goals and 45 points in 69 games.
As far as numbers go, what else could you ask for in a potential sub-one million-dollar fourth-line center?
If Cuylle can impress in camp, it may be a victory for the organization to promote a prospect that has taken time to develop well, can play a strong game as a depth piece, and allow the Rangers to maximize their money under the salary cap.