Sports

The predicament Rangers face with prospect Brennan Othmann

For these clamoring for hockey in August, tune into the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship match on NHL Network. Not solely will it assist cross the time till the Rangers take the ice for coaching camp on the finish of September, however there are seven Rangers prospects representing 5 totally different international locations on the worldwide stage.

The child Blueshirt to look at thus far has been Brennan Othmann, the No. 16 general choose within the 2021 NHL Draft.

Othmann has recorded two targets and 4 assists in 4 video games, together with the opener in Canada’s 6-3 victory Monday over Finland. Three of these factors (a aim, two assists) got here in an 11-1 beatdown of Slovakia final Thursday after Othmann was a wholesome scratch for the group-play opener in opposition to Latvia. The left winger additionally took a nasty hit from behind by fellow Rangers prospect and Czech skater Jaroslav Chmelar, who was ejected for the infraction, earlier than dishing an enormous verify of his personal on Blue Jackets prospect David Jiricek in Canada’s 5-1 win over the Czech Republic on Saturday.

Othmann, who scored 50 targets and racked up 97 factors within the Ontario Hockey League final season, is in a singular spot heading into Rangers coaching camp. Because the 19-year-old will not be eligible to be assigned to the staff’s AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack — resulting from the truth that he gained’t flip 20 till Jan. 5 — Othmann will both make the Rangers’ opening-night roster or be assigned again to the OHL.

Asked throughout final month’s Rangers improvement camp if he felt like he completed all he wanted to final season within the OHL, Othmann was definitive with his answer.

Brennan Othmann has had the type of efficiency on the world junior championship that exhibits why the Rangers drafted him No. 16 general in 2021.
AP

“I feel like I was one of the best players in the league,” he stated. “I accomplished all my goals I set out [and] the goals that [me] and the [Flint Firebirds] set out for our organization. I did a good job myself this year. I wanted to be a top-five player in the league, and I think I established that.”

Considering a majority of the Rangers’ (pre-trade deadline) lineup is returning for the 2022-23 season, Othmann must critically impress administration to earn a spot. Plus, fellow Rangers prospect and countryman Will Cuylle’s NHL-ready build and enjoying fashion probably has him forward of Othmann on the depth chart. Even provided that the AHL will not be an possibility, it’s exhausting to see the Rangers fast-tracking Othmann to the varsity roster — until he dominates coaching camp, in fact.

And if he did flip heads throughout camp, Othmann nonetheless would most likely must flip to his off facet on the precise wing. His enjoying fashion would actually solely work within the high six, and the Rangers hope these spots might be stuffed by the likes of Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko or perhaps even Vitali Kravtsov.

If Othmann is assigned to the OHL, the Rangers gained’t be capable to recall him through the season. To sum every little thing up, it’s secure to say Othmann is an extended shot to make the Rangers’ opening-night roster.

Othmann was noncommittal when requested whether or not he feels as if he has something left to show within the OHL, however he did admit he had some unfinished business.

Brennan skates in the New York Rangers development camp in Tarrytown, New York.
After serving to Flint get to the OHL’s Western Conference Final, Othmann says the one factor he has left to show at that stage is that he can information a staff to a title.
Bill Kostroun

“[T]he only thing I need to prove is to be able to win,” he stated. “I want to win a championship. We lost in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, and we were so close. It was right there at our fingertips and we kind of just let it slip.”

Scouting workers additions

The Rangers introduced new additions to their scouting workers: Garth Joy will function the affiliate director of participant personnel and director of professional scouting, and Andy Schneider will function the director of North American novice scouting.

Joy joins the Rangers from the reigning Stanley Cup champion Avalanche, for whom he had been a scout since 1998. Schneider spent a complete of seven years as an novice scout/head of CHL scouting for the Blue Jackets and Devils.

Mailbag

Thanks to our Texts from the Blue Seats subscribers for some last-minute questions.

Who is the favourite for the sixth D-man slot, and can the pairings stay the identical as final year? Do you suppose the Rangers will invite a veteran left defenseman to camp on knowledgeable tryout?
Jan Levine, Kerry DeMarco, David Parmele

I wouldn’t say that head coach Gerard Gallant is married to the earlier defensive pairings, however there may be some consolation in familiarity. The Jacob Trouba-Ok’Andre Miller tandem was simply the simplest final season, however for the reason that third pair was all the time a weak level, it could immediate administration to check different mixtures. The final thing the Rangers wish to do is jumble their defensive pairs, separate Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren for the primary time in a pair seasons and ship the D corps into chaos, however it could be price making an attempt out to unfold the wealth as an alternative of loading up the highest two duos.

New York Rangers defenseman Zac Jones (6) skates with the puck in front of Vancouver Canucks center Matthew Highmore (15) during the third period at Madison Square Garden.
With little cap room to maneuver for a veteran defenseman, the Rangers probably will give Zac Jones and some of his younger teammates an opportunity to play their manner into the common defensive rotation.
USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers can’t afford to deliver anybody else in, so a PTO probably isn’t on the desk until there are accompanying roster strikes. At this level, I’d say Zac Jones, Matthew Robertson and sure, Libor Hajek are the front-runners to spherical out the Rangers protection.

Rangers fan since 1968, so I completely loved the run this year, however wanting again and ahead I’m left questioning if Chris Drury [hamstrung] the membership by overpaying for Barclay Goodrow final year and shedding every little thing from the commerce deadline offers. Right now,  I don’t see the staff as any higher, until the youngsters actually step up this year. Your ideas?
Charles Taber

Charles, you hit the nail proper on the top with this one. So a lot of the Rangers success this upcoming season will hinge on the younger ahead group in Lafreniere, Kakko, Kravtsov and Filip Chytil. But given their promising performances through the playoffs, it’s a chance price taking, in my view. It’s true, the Goodrow signing could not pan out in the long term given the Rangers’ cap circumstances. As my pricey colleague Larry Brooks identified in late July, Goodrow and Ryan Lindgren could also be cap casualties sooner or later after this upcoming season.

Is Kravtsov commerce bait or are the Rangers hoping he’ll be a top-six ahead?
—  Tim Maher

Vitali Kravtsov #74 of the New York Rangers as the New York Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 during a preseason game at Madison Square Garden. Thursday, September 26th, 2019.
After refusing to report back to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate final season, Vitali Kravtsov will get one other probability to show he belongs in New York at coaching camp.
Anthony J Causi

We all know what occurred final season, when Kravtsov declined an AHL project and went residence to play within the Kontinental Hockey League, so his standing with the group is in his arms going ahead. It could be very best for the Rangers if Kravtsov could make the opening-night roster, particularly due to his $875,000 cap hit. Kravtsov will certainly be one of many high gamers the entrance office is evaluating throughout coaching camp.

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