Having the day off after last night's 2-1 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings, the New York Rangers don't have very much going on today. However, there is plenty to talk about in regard to the organization's prospects this afternoon.
The Connecticut Whale of the AHL announced yesterday that they have signed youngsters Andrew Yogan and Peter Ceresnak to amateur tryout contracts (ATOs), and that the two players will be with the club for the final few weeks of the season beginning this weekend.
Yogan, in my opinion anyway, is a very underrated prospect in the Rangers' system. He had a terrific year with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL this season, registering 41 goals and 37 assists in 66 games.
Yogan, a 4th-round pick of the Rangers, has a big frame at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, and he uses that size well when going into the corners and around the net. From what I've heard, he is a smooth skater with great hockey awareness. Noticing something? This is the exact profile of a prototypical New York Ranger at the moment. I'm not joking when I say this kid may not be as far from reaching the NHL as many think.
Yogan is 20-years-old and has just finished his final eligible year in Juniors. Yogan made his pro debut with the Whale last season, scoring 3 goals in two games.
Now, for the name every Ranger fan is aware of: Chris Kreider. Kreider was the Rangers' first-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and he was a big name then. Now, a few years later, he's shown improvements in every area of his game and is destined for stardom. He is now playing with the Boston College Eagles in the NCAA, and has nearly doubled his stats from one season to the next. The speedy center/winger has 20 goals and 21 assists in 40 games with BC this year.
This will be Kreider's final year at the collegiate level, so it is expected that he will be joining the New York Rangers next season. However, there's a good chance we may see him before then as the Eagles are currently in the NCAA playoffs and depending on how far they go, may have an earlier end to their season than was expected. If that's the case, reports are that Kreider immediately plans to sign with the Rangers for the remainder of the regular season and into the playoffs.
Head coach John Tortorella may not be thrilled with the idea of throwing a non-pro player in the mix at this stage of the season, but he's not going to have much of a choice if Kreider's college team does get eliminated and he signs a deal with the Rangers.
BC's first game is this weekend against Air Force.
And last, but certainly not least, is Mats Zuccarello. Now you may not consider Zuccarello a 'prospect' at this point, but still, there has been some news surrounding his name as well. According to Andrew Gross, GM Glen Sather has stated that the Rangers would like to re-sign Zuccarello when his contract expires this summer and he becomes a restricted free agent.....
“We want to re-sign him,” Rangers general manager Glen Sather told The Record Tuesday. “But there are a lot of guys we have to deal with. Usually, we handle it at the end of the season. We don’t want to throw anybody off their game.”