Joel Dorcas | April 17th, 2020
What an interesting season it has been for the supposedly rebuilding New York Rangers. The February 24th trade deadline has come and gone and the team comes to terms with power forward Chris Kreider for $45.5 M over seven years. The Rangers obviously see themselves as competitors in the race with a record of 32-24-4, It was once a foregone conclusion that Kreider was going to be traded. Not now. The Blue Shirts are in it for the here and now and the future. Let’s take a closer look at some players who are likely to join a team destined to make some noise in the ultra-competitive Eastern Conference.
Number 3: Nils Lundkvist /Defenseman, Lulea HF (SHL)
Lundkvist was a first-round, 28th overall selection by the Rangers in 2018. He most recently has been playing in the Swedish Hockey League where he has put up 11 goals and 20 assists in 45 games for Lulea HF. A big improvement to his 2018-’19 campaign of 10 points in 41 games. Lundkvist may be a tad undersized for the position at 5’11” and 174 lbs but he uses his frame for elite puck-moving and is dangerous on the powerplay. (Torey Krug anyone?). The Rangers have already groomed Adam Fox and Anthony DeAngelo into key contributors quickly, Lundkvist could follow suit in the not too distant future but there is no need to rush him.
Number 2: Vitali Kravtsov /Right Wing, Hartford Wolfpack (AHL)
Listed at 6’4″, 183 lbs, the 9th overall selection of the 2018 draft profiles as a power forward with speed. He is offensively and defensively well-tuned. He can also use his big frame to his advantage. (Sounds like the complete package). Some more fine-tuning in the AHL will be needed, however. In 39 games this season, Kravtsov registered just six goals and nine assists for the Wolfpack. Once he does crack the lineup with the big club, the Rangers will be able to compliment him, along with Kreider, with the high skilled finesse type players such as Artemi Panarin, and Mika Zibanejad.
Number 1: K’Andre Miller/ Defenseman, University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
Just recently signed to a max entry-level deal, the number 22 overall selection of the 2018 draft is projected to do big things in the Big Apple in future seasons. Miller is an outstanding athlete, he just recently seamlessly converted from forward to defense and is now considered a two-way defenseman. Miller could be just what the Rangers need when veteran rearguard Marc Staal‘s contract expires after next season. Miller put up modest totals for the Badgers this past season with seven goals and 11 assists in 36 games.
Honorable mentions: Lias Andersson /Center-Left Wing, Matthew Robertson/ Defenseman
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images