In limited preseason time with the New York Rangers, Brennan Othmann has shown that he has the chops to make the NHL roster or at least be granted the customary 9 games needed for the contract of a rookie to still slide to the following year. Othmann has spent the last two years in the Ontario Hockey League, split between the Flint Firebirds and the Peterborough Petes. He’s been an above-a-point-per-game player throughout his OHL career, and it’s about time he takes the next step in his professional development.
In the preseason matchup against the New York Islanders on Tuesday, Othmann was incredibly noticeable. He was making slick moves to enter the offensive zone and showed prowess in his ability to transport the puck to his teammates. Furthermore, he throws around his body like the power forward you want him to be, meaning he can play a positive role in the top 6 or more of a checking role on the third line provided he makes the team. This hit on Islanders’ defenseman Sebastian Aho shows just how powerful the young forward is.
Othmann was on the top line with Kaapo Kakko and Vincent Trocheck, who all had a great game. A plus-two with two hits, he has shown he has what it takes to compete in the NHL in any role. He was also top of the Rangers’ roster in expected goals, showing that even if he didn’t make a mark on the scoresheet, he was still effective.
If not a full season, the Rangers should give Othmann a nine-game stint to show what he is worth. That way, if they decide he isn’t ready, he can go down to the AHL for a more gradual progression of his pro career. Either way, his ability to play physically and skillfully makes him a coach’s dream.
If Othmann can develop his game further, whether that be in the NHL or the AHL, he will give the Rangers tremendous depth on the right side, something they have lacked. With Kakko showing progression and Alexis Lafrenière perhaps getting some looks on the right wing as well, Othmann has all the opportunity to steal a spot on the roster come the end of training camp.
At the very least, he will make the decision very hard for Peter Laviolette and his staff, which is something all Rangers fans should rejoice at.