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Rangers hope to find out about Zac Jones, high prospects at rookie camp

The Rangers’ 2021-22 season ended simply over three months in the past, but it surely’s already time to get again on the ice although the New York warmth may point out in any other case.

Rookie camp will start at MSG Coaching Heart in Tarrytown on Wednesday and can run via Sept. 20. The camp will embody two prospect video games on Sept. 16 and 17 in Allentown, Pa., in opposition to their counterparts with the Flyers. The Rangers will then dive proper into the primary camp on the Sept. 21 earlier than the six-game preseason schedule commences on Sept 26 with a sport in opposition to the Islanders on the Backyard.

The group will probably be evaluating a number of rookies intently as administration items collectively the Rangers’ roster for the 2022-23 season. Listed here are the highest prospects to look at at rookie camp and what the Rangers are hoping to find out about them:

Zac Jones: Can he defend effectively sufficient on the NHL degree?

Jones will probably be competing for the sixth/seventh defenseman function together with Libor Hajek and Matthew Robertson. There’s at all times an opportunity the Rangers might invite a veteran defenseman on an expert tryout contract, however their cap scenario makes filling the job internally extra interesting. Hajek would be the most skilled of the three, with 4 seasons and 94 NHL video games below his belt, however Jones is a extremely expert choice who not solely has some NHL expertise of his personal, but additionally impressed with the AHL Wolf Pack final season.

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Rangers defenseman Zac Jones
AP

“He was superior, I believed he was our greatest participant for the whole thing of the season,” Hartford’s assistant coach turned participant improvement assistant Casey Torres informed The Publish. “He was so dynamic. I’ve created offense from excessive and low likelihood conditions. I’ve competed laborious. Such an awesome imaginative and prescient on the ice and only a actual dynamic presence for us offensively on the again finish.”

Jones, drafted 68th general in 2019, totaled six assists via 10 video games in 2020-21 and 12 video games in 2021-22 for the Rangers. Not each younger defenseman’s transition to the NHL may be as seamless because it was for Braden Schneider, however Jones might enhance as he beneficial properties extra confidence and familiarity with the tempo of the league. His capability to successfully quarterback the highest energy play for Massachusetts and the Wolf Pack set him aside, however Jones does n’t have a transparent path to such a task for the Rangers, with Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba already cemented in these spots . Apart from additional strengthening his shot from him, the offensive facet of his sport from him will not be a priority. The query now could be whether or not he is in a position to totally translate to the NHL his robust ice imaginative and prescient and skating capability in his defensive sport.

Will Cuylle: Is he higher off getting top-six minutes in Hartford or fourth-line minutes in New York?

The very last thing the Rangers wish to do is rush one other prospect who is not prepared for the NHL. Nearly every part about Cuylle, nevertheless, screams NHL-ready. From his 6-foot-3, 212-pound construct, which he is aware of the way to use, to his highly effective left-handed shot, Cuylle has a chance to show he can skate with the massive guys this upcoming coaching camp. The Rangers’ No. 60 choose within the 2020 draft must beat out the likes of Dryden Hunt, Julien Gauthier, Jonny Brodzinski, Ryan Carpenter and Gustav Rydahl, however there is definitely a path for Cuylle to make the Rangers’ roster in some unspecified time in the future , if not proper out of coaching camp.

NHL
Will Cuylle taking part in for Staff Canada.
Getty Photographs

The Rangers must resolve whether or not Cuylle would profit extra from huge AHL minutes or a a lot lesser function within the NHL.

Brennan Othmann: Can he crack the highest 9 with an awesome camp and persuade the Rangers to offer him an audition?

Contemplating Othmann cannot be assigned to the AHL, the Rangers have few choices in terms of the left winger. He’ll both make their opening-night roster or will probably be assigned again to the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds. There’s additionally a risk the Rangers desire a longer take a look at Othmann within the lineup, which might earn him some NHL video games whereas administration makes a closing choice. Othmann was chosen sixteenth general final yr, and his offensive abilities are finest fitted to the highest six. Given what number of younger wingers the Rangers have already got within the combine for the highest two traces — akin to Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov — Othmann could also be edged out of a spot this season.

Matthew Robertson: Can he enhance his consistency?

Robertson’s 6-4, 201-pound body makes him troublesome to disregard on the Rangers’ depth chart. Final season was his first of him with the Wolf Pack and he mixed for one purpose and 10 assists with 36 penalty minutes in 65 video games. It is also price noting that 2021-22 was Robertson’s first season away from house after he performed 5 seasons with the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings.

His first skilled season had its ups and downs, so it is likely to be within the Rangers’ finest curiosity to let Robertson marinate within the AHL for a bit longer to achieve some extra confidence. Now that Schneider has moved up and Jones could observe go well with, Robertson would have a chance to be the highest defenseman in Hartford.

“He is obtained that bodily presence,” Torres mentioned. “He does do an excellent job of ending performs within the defensive zone, like that is a extremely good ability set for him.”

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Bobby Trivigno
Robert Sabo

Bobby Trivigno: Can his general sport outweigh what he lacks in dimension?

As one of many newer gamers within the Rangers’ prospect pool, Trivigno will probably be seeking to make an impression. He isn’t essentially as shut to creating the NHL roster as the remainder of the prospects on this record, however the feisty winger is a particular sort of participant and he’s price searching for.

“The final weekend, he had a extremely good weekend stretch, gamers on the opposite workforce wished to kill him,” Torres mentioned. “I believe that is a part of his sport for him. He brings such depth and such hearth that it makes folks wish to hate him, however I believe that is a very good attribute. Feels like he had a extremely good summer time coaching off the ice, he is added some muscle. He is actually doing every part in his energy from him to offer himself a shot.

The first concern surrounding Trivigno is his 5-8 stature — even when he performs a a lot larger sport than his dimension signifies.

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