Rangers: 3 prospects to keep an eye on in Friday’s match with the Flyers

Brennan Othmann takes part in the Rangers Prospect Development Camp at the Rangers Training facility in Tarrytown July 12, 2022.
Brennan Othmann takes part in the Rangers Prospect Development Camp at the Rangers Training facility in Tarrytown July 12, 2022. Rangers Development Camp

The New York Rangers are set to play the first of two rookie games against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at 7:00 EST. While there may not be any significant impact on the Rangers’ 2023-24 campaign, the organization will be eyeing the contest closely to observe which of their prospects are making progress on their growth and development. While every rookie will be trying their hardest to impress the Rangers, there are three prospects who should be observed the closest.

Brennan Othmann has the highest chance of making the Rangers’ roster

If there is any prospect who is close to making their NHL debut, Brennan Othmann is certainly the man. There were talks of him possibly playing a handful of games for the Rangers last season, and the chances are even higher now in 2023-24.

Not only is Othmann an incredible offensive producer, having scored 67 points in 56 games last year, but the young forward will be attempting to show his skills on the right wing rather than the left.

Othmann’s future with the Rangers is very hopeful, but the left wing position is already filled with elite talent. If he wants to make it to the NHL as soon as possible, playing on a less congested right wing would be Othmann’s quickest path. Rangers GM Chris Drury has stated that Othmann will be tested on the right side throughout the remainder of the 2023 offseason, and that very well could start tonight.

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Matthew Robertson has a lot to prove to the Rangers

In terms of defensive prospects, Matthew Robertson should be eyed the closest by the Rangers. Although he isn’t the most skilled prospect within the Rangers’ system, he easily has the most on the line heading into the 2023-24 season.

Coming off of a rocky season that ended with an injury, Robertson now only has one year left on his entry-level contract. The Rangers have an elite defensive corps with only one open spot on their current roster, so it will be very difficult for Robertson to make his way to the bug leagues.

Robertson’s development has been somewhat unimpressive thus far, so he’ll have to impress the Rangers if he wants to receive a new contract at the end of this year. Earning more time in pre-season and the regular season down in the AHL must start right away during this rookie camp, so it should be an interesting and entertaining performance from Robertson against the Flyers.

The Rangers’ rotating door of backup goalies could end soon if one prospect excels

If there’s one area of development that the Rangers excel in, it’s creating world-class goaltenders. Big names like Henrik Lundqvist and Igor Shesterkin were all formed through the Rangers’ development, and the Blueshrits currently have a few potential top prospects in their system right now. Dylan Garand seems to be the Rangers’ top goaltending prospect heading into the 2023-24 season.

“After all, this (Garand) is a 20-year-old who already has conquered one of hockey’s biggest stages. Representing Canada in net? At the IIHF World Junior Championship? And on Canadian ice? No problem. Garand backstopped Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2022 event in Edmonton, where he went 6-0-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.”

via The American Hockey League

Although Shesterkin will be the Blueshirts’ starting goaltender for the foreseeable future, there has not been a consistent backup in many years. Jaroslav Halak has just left the team after one season, and now Jonathan Quick is also only signed to a one-year deal.

It will be a few years before Garand is ready to make the NHL, but he could be a suitable backup for Shesterkin if he develops properly. It’s unclear how much playing time Garand will get against the Flyers, but he should receive a decent amount of time between the pipes. It will be exciting to watch a young goaltender try to work his way up to the NHL to get the opportunity to play behind a star like Shesterkin.