Skip to content

Will New York’s youth movement be put on hold?

Aug 27, 2013, 6:40 PM EST

KreiderMiller

When most people think of key members of the New York Rangers, names like Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh come to mind.

But what about the likes of Chris Kreider, Dylan McIlrath, JT Miller and Brady Skjei?

Those four are New York’s first-round picks from 2009-12, and widely considered to be cornerstones of the club’s future. Kreider (23 games last year) and Miller (26) have made their marks at the NHL level — Kreider more so, thanks to his stellar 2011-12 playoff run — while McIlrath seems close to making his NHL debut, and Skjei isn’t far away.

“I think I have a legitimate shot,” McIlrath said at July’s prospect camp.

Another prospect is former Habs second-rounder Danny Kristo, acquired in a July trade for Christian Thomas. He’s got “a good chance to fill” the roster holes left by the injured Callahan and Carl Hagelin, according to director of player personnel Gordie Clark.

But will it all pan out?

Under former head coach John Tortorella, it was difficult for those youngsters to get into games (“there are just too many mistakes,” he lamented back in April.) Kreider was a non-factor in 2013 after his postseason breakthrough, and Miller was used sporadically.

Under Vigneault, that might not change.

The new Rangers boss isn’t known as someone that likes youngsters learning on the job. His time in Vancouver was marked by a preference for safe, responsible veterans over talented-but-inexperienced kids.

Cody Hodgson, Michael Grabner and Jordan Schroeder all had issues getting ice time, though those decisions were often made in part by the club’s depth.

In New York, the situation could be similar.

Since hiring Vigneault, the Rangers signed a pair of veteran presences at forward, Dominic Moore and Benoit Pouliot, and added defensive depth in Justin Falk, Danny Syvret and Aaron Johnson.

Considering the Rangers didn’t lose much from last year’s team — the most notable departures were Steve Eminger, Roman Hamrlik, Jeff Halpern and trade deadline pickup Ryane Clowe — it’ll be tough for New York’s kiddie corps to get in the mix.

Especially if they don’t adhere to Vigneault’s preferred style of play.

“I like my teams to play the right way, which is if you have room to make a play, make a play,” he said upon taking the Rangers job. “If you have space and time to carry the puck, carry the puck. If the other team has the gap on you or they’re playing you tight, then sometimes you have to make the high-percentage play and chip those pucks in.

“I really believe in playing the right way both offensively and defensively.”

Latest Posts
  1. NHL on NBCSN: Can Capitals take advantage of depleted Penguins?

    Dec 27, 2014, 9:04 AM EST

    Matt Niskanen Getty Images

    Washington hasn’t beaten Pittsburgh since Jan. 11, 2012.

  2. Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy a recipient of the Order of Canada

    Dec 26, 2014, 8:30 PM EST

    Calgary Flames v Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Getty Images

    Long-time play-by-play man Bob Cole also recognized.

  3. Sharks recall Haley from the AHL

    Dec 26, 2014, 7:00 PM EST

    New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Will be filling the spot vacated by the suspended John Scott.

  4. Eichel earns assist and scores in shootout as U.S. squeaks by Finland

    Dec 26, 2014, 5:38 PM EST

    United States v Finland - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Getty Images

    Decent start for the Americans at the World Juniors.

  5. The Devils are old, and that’s a problem no coach can fix

    Dec 26, 2014, 4:30 PM EST

    Jaromir Jagr Getty Images

    New Jersey has three of the five oldest skaters in the NHL.

  6. Five team stats you may find interesting

    Dec 26, 2014, 3:30 PM EST

    Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry Getty Images

    The Anaheim Ducks have been good — or is it lucky? — in one-goal games.

  7. Canada enters World Juniors as 11/10 favorite; USA next at 9/4

    Dec 26, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Canada Training Sessions - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Getty Images

    Connor McDavid headlines a loaded host side that hasn’t won gold since 2009.

  8. Devils fire DeBoer

    Dec 26, 2014, 12:43 PM EST

    Head coach Peter DeBoer works the bench against the New York Islanders during a preseason game at the Barclays Center on September 21, 2013 in Brooklyn borough of New York City.The game is the first professional hockey match to be held in the arena that is slated to be the new home for the Islanders at the start of the 2015-2016 season.
(September 20, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    New Jersey off to a disappointing 12-17-7 start. The coach pays the price.

  9. More love for 3-on-3 overtime

    Dec 26, 2014, 11:59 AM EST

    Matt Duchene Getty Images

    Put Matt Duchene on the list of supporters.

  10. Orpik reflects on ‘outside pressure’ in Pittsburgh

    Dec 26, 2014, 11:17 AM EST

    Marc-Andre Fleury, Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin, Brandon Dubinsky AP

    “That was something that wore on guys.”

  11. Expect Ekblad to shatter Florida’s rookie D records

    Dec 26, 2014, 10:20 AM EST

    Aaron Ekblad Getty Images

    He already grabbed the franchise’ assists mark in that category.

  12. Canada tabs Fucale for WJC opener

    Dec 26, 2014, 9:39 AM EST

    Zachary Fucale AP

    They picked him over Eric Comrie.

  13. PHT’s top 14 of ’14: Viva Las Vegas?

    Dec 25, 2014, 10:00 PM EST

    LasVegasHockey

    The waters are being tested with a ticket drive.

Featured video

Holiday wish lists for NHL teams
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Bishop (2569)
  2. C. Perry (2168)
  3. S. Crosby (2003)
  4. B. Elliott (1988)
  5. S. Weiss (1952)
  1. J. Howard (1748)
  2. S. Varlamov (1688)
  3. J. Schwartz (1551)
  4. N. Kronwall (1402)
  5. S. Downie (1363)