The Rangers may have a rising star on the defensive end coming soon

zac jones, new york rangers
Feb 27, 2022; New York, New York, USA; 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. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers boast a fascinating defensive corps with a lineup that includes notable players such as Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox, and Ryan Lindgren, among others. However, their defensive depth doesn’t stop there. The team also features a wealth of talented young players on their roster who hold the potential to become rising stars in the league.

While K’Andre Miller and Braden Schneider are often mentioned as emerging defensive talents, they are already firmly established on the main roster, which excludes them from the “coming soon” category. In the midst of this intriguing mix of prospects, one player has unquestionably captured the attention of fans—Zac Jones.

Who is Rangers prospect Zac Jones?

Jones is an American hockey player who is an exciting member of the New York Rangers’ prospect pool. He was selected by the Rangers in the 3rd round, 68th overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft. Before making his way to an AHL/NHL roster, Jones honed his skills playing for UMass-Amherst and the Tri-City Storm.

Primarily associated with the Hartford Wolf Pack, Jones has spent considerable time with the team. However, he has also had the opportunity to make fleeting appearances with the New York Rangers at the NHL level. As his career progresses, Jones remains a promising prospect within the Rangers’ system, with potential aspirations of solidifying his position in the NHL in the future as a defenseman.

Making an impact in the NHL

Jones did have the opportunity to play in the NHL last season and displayed a solid performance in the 16 games he participated in. From a statistical standpoint, he managed to contribute one goal, one assist, and maintained a +/- rating of -2. Although his performance during this period wasn’t extraordinary, he fulfilled his responsibilities effectively and demonstrated promising moments with the team.

The impact of Peter Laviolette

During Gallant’s tenure as head coach, the way Jones was managed appeared somewhat puzzling, with limited utilization of his offensive capabilities. However, the recent coaching change to Peter Laviolette is expected to greatly benefit Jones. Laviolette’s coaching system emphasizes a stronger defensive strategy compared to Gallant’s, which should align more with Jones’ strengths. Despite being categorized as a defenseman, Jones has displayed a penchant for contributing to the offense and has been recognized as an “offensive-minded” defensive prospect in the past.

This shift in coaching style could potentially unlock Jones’ full potential and provide him with the opportunity to thrive in a system that aligns better with his skill set. It’s a positive development that could contribute to his growth and success within the team. If Jones can develop more and get called up again, then the Rangers will really have something in him for the future.