At and around the trading deadline, the Rangers adding the following prospects:
- Ryan Lindgren, Yegor Rykov, Brett Howden, Libor Hajek
In The Hockey News Yearbook over the summer, Lindgren was ranked as the Bruins 4th prospect and they wrote "Makes up for a lack of size with passion. He's likely to turn pro after sophomore season."
In The Hockey News Yearbook over the summer, Hajek was ranked as Tampa Bay's 3rd prospect, saying "a smart defender who doesn't force plays on the rush. His skating has improve."
In The Hockey News Yearbook over the summer, Howden was ranked as Tampa Bay's 7th prospect, saying "Captain got pro taste with eight AHL games late last season. A 200ft player."
In last year's Future Watch edition of The Hockey News, Hajek was ranked as their top prospect, saying "blessed with high hockey IQ, Hajek makes smart plays in his own end and understands the right times to join the rush without forcing plays. While his skating is not considered a strength, Hajek has taken noticeable strides in that areas. 'He's a solid two-way puck mover and a hard worker. He's improving his skating and has gotten a lot stronger over the summer." Hajek was listed as the 68th overall prospect in the issue.
In last year's Future Watch edition of The Hockey News, Howden was ranked as Tampa Bay's 5th prospect, saying "Named captain of the WHL Warriors at the start of the season, Howden has taken the expected step forward in his third junior season. With a strong hockey IQ, the tall center has seen his offensive production accelerate while working harder on protecting the puck in tight quarters. 'He's a good, honest, 200-foot player who is putting up good numbers. He's getting to the net, making plays off the rush and skating well."
In last year's Future Watch edition of The Hockey News, Rykov was ranked as the Devils 10th prospect, "benefiting from playing with ex-NHLers. Good puck poise but could be more agile.
In last year's Future Watch edition of The Hockey News, Lindgren was ranked as the Bruins 4th best prospect "a solid first-year in a defensive role at the University of Minnesota, alongside an expanded role with the US at the WJC, has people thinking Lindgren may be NHL-ready sooner than expected. There aren't frills to his game, but no big holes, either - and he plays hard. If he doesn't get taller, playing bigger players will be a challenge but his competitiveness and positioning will help. Lindgren shoots and accelerates well. He projects as a stay-at-home type with little offensive instincts." He was ranked as the 87th prospect overall in the issue.
U of Minnesota associate coach Mike Guentzel said of Lindgren, "he gets all the intangible stuff that normally most Minnesota defensemen don't. His skillset is pretty good, but he's got the grit, that hardness, that toughness you don't always normally get from kids from this area.
The Hockey News' Ryan Kennedy said of Lindgren, "Ryan Lindgren is a very responsible defenseman with great leadership qualities. Could be a solid second-pairing guy in the future"
Mike Morreale tweeted that Lindgren is a "real character kid" and has good defensive awareness.
Larry Brooks writes that while Lindgren doesn't have the "flash-and-dash" to be a top pairing defenseman, he is "renowned for his character and leadership skills" as well as solid in his own end. (NY Post)
Brady Skjei said that Lindgren is hard to play against and a "smart defenseman." (NYR)
Craig Custance had one NHL talent evaluator say that Lindgren projects to be a number five defenseman "at best" and Corey Pronman wrote that he plays tough defensive minute,s battles at a "high-end level" but there are questions about how his offensive ability will translate to the NHL. (The Athletic)
Pavel Buchnevich said that Rykov is a "good skater" that moves the puck well. (NYR)
The Hockey News ranked the top ten prospects moved at the deadline and listed Hajek at 2, Howden at 4, Rykov at 5 and Lindgren was 7.
While looking at the prospects moved at the deadline, Corey Pronman wrote at The Athletic:
- Hajek: isn't flashy but skates well and is reliable defensively. Had a strong World Juniors for the Czech team and possibly 4-5 type defenseman
- Howden: Smart two-way center that can make plays, win battles and be trusted on special teams.
- Lindgren: Could push to be in the top-10 for the Rangers, with their thin farm system, won't "wow" with his offensive but is a " great defender who battles at a high-end level."
- Rykov: Smart puck mover, "reliable positional defender" and has had success playing internationally for Russia.
Chris Peters of ESPN wrote of the prospects at ESPN Insider:
- Hajek: solid two-way defenseman but his value defensively is higher than his offensive value. Good vision, moves the puck well and has a heavy shot. Could be a "dependable No. 4" defenseman.
- Howden: strong two-way center that was the top shutdown center for Canada at the World Juniors. He projects to be a "middle-six "type of center that plays in tough situations.
- Lindgren: "Bruising, physical defenseman" that can close gaps quickly. Offensive game has a "long way to go" and could project as a third-pair type of defenseman that kills penalties. He was used by Team USA at the World Juniors as a "shutdown" type of defenseman.
- Rykov: "decent" two-way skills and plays a limited role in the KHL. No guarantee that he comes to North America.
Craig Custance spoke to two talent evaluators that think Howden is a third-line center in the NHL and Hajek has the potential to be a top-four defenseman. (The Athletic)
In general, TSN's Craig Button said that there is "no difference maker" in the players the Rangers got at the deadline and that Howden is a "solid hard-working player" and Hajek is "solid" but not a top-3 player. (Tampa Bay)
Larry Brooks wrote in the NY Post that "unanimity" from talent evaluators was that Hajek was the highest end prospect the Rangers received and has the best chance of becoming an "impact player." (NY Post)
Brooks also wrote that Lindgren has been labeled as "a warrior who will always stand up for his teammates." (NY Post)
Hajek's coach in Regina, John Paddock, said that he thinks Hajek is close to being NHL ready and that he can be a top-four defenseman in the league for a long-time. (Newsday)
Paddock said that he would not be surprised if Hajek makes a run at a roster spot next season. (NY Post)
Paddock said that Hajek is a (NY Post):
- "super kid" that stays at the rink to work on his game and that Hajek is "a strong skater with high-end skill. And there's more to come with his offensive game."
- "He's big, he skates, he has skill. There's very little he can't do. There's nothing to stop him."
Adam Rotter: The Rangers went out at the deadline and got a certain type of prospect. They didn't get anyone super high-end or that, right now, projects to be an impact player but landed players with strong work ethics and character. Hajek has the best chance to turn into an impact player and potential top-pair defender, but at worst he seems like a reliable top-four defenseman. Howden may turn into a Derek Stepan type of player that has skill but whose best value might be in being a two-way player that can play in all situations. Lindgren, from everything I've read and heard, reminds me of Dan Girardi. That may not sound great to some, but Girardi was a really solid and important player for the Rangers for a long-time. He probably played a bit over his head, but he worked hard, competed hard, and played through everything. If Lindgren can be part of what Girardi was when he was at his best then he will be an enormous part of the Rangers future. Rykov is the wild card, as many Russian prospects are. If he comes to the NHL after next season, or even after another 2-3 year KHL contract, there is a lot of potential.