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31 in 31

Top prospects for New York Rangers

Kakko, Kravtsov, Fox expected to make impact this season

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the top five prospects for the New York Rangers, according to NHL.com.

 

[Rangers 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Behind the Numbers | Fantasy breakdown]

 

1. Kaapo Kakko, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 2 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

Last season: TPS (FIN); 45 GP, 22-16-38

Kakko (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) was the obvious choice for the Rangers at No. 2 after the New Jersey Devils selected center Jack Hughes with the No. 1 pick at the 2019 NHL Draft. The 18-year-old left-handed shooting right wing is expected to compete for a spot on the Rangers' top line, or at the very least as a top-nine forward this season.

"The thing I love about Kakko is he's a guy who can score goals and he's a playmaker as well," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "He's a guy who played center for a long time until he was 15 or 16, so he does have that playmaking ability, and boy, there is an awful lot of room for physical growth from him. As big and strong as he is, you look at him, boy in three or four years when he's in his early 20s, he's going to be a much bigger guy."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: Kaapo Kakko ranks No. 2 on the Top Prospects List

 

2. Vitali Kravtsov, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 9 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: Traktor Chelyabinsk (RUS); 50 GP, 8-13-21

Kravtsov (6-3, 183) signed with the Rangers on May 3 and has been spending the offseason living and training in Stamford, Connecticut. The 19-year-old right wing led all under-20 Kontinental Hockey League players in goals, assists and points last season.

"He's going to come in and try to win a job like a few of these other guys, and why shouldn't he think like that?" Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said. "He's played in the KHL for a couple years and been successful. He's doing all the right things to try to make himself a good player."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: Rangers are named No. 1 in Prospect Pipeline

 

3. Igor Shesterkin, G

How acquired: Selected with No. 118 pick in 2014 NHL Draft

Last season: SKA St. Petersburg (RUS); 28 GP, 24-3-1, 1.11 GAA, .953 SV%

Shesterkin (6-2, 192) is considered a potential heir apparent to starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist. The 23-year-old was a two-time all-star in the KHL and was 88-16-7 with a 1.68 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in 117 games.

He is expected to be No. 3 on the Rangers depth chart this season behind Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev. Barring injury, Shesterkin will play this season for Hartford of the American Hockey League.

"I'm not going to be in someone's way and tell him you have no chance to make our team," Gorton said. "He's had a lot of success where he's been at, high levels, and he's won, so I don't think I'm in the place to tell these guys they don't have a chance."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

Video: 31 in 31: New York Rangers 2019-20 season preview

 

4. Adam Fox, D

How acquired: Trade from Carolina Hurricanes on April 30

Last season: Harvard (NCAA); 33 GP, 9-39-48

The 21-year-old defenseman led the NCAA in assists and was fourth in points last season. Fox (5-11, 180) was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in college hockey.

Fox was selected by the Calgary Flames with the No. 66 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft. Carolina got him in a trade on June 23, 2018, but was unable to sign him. The Rangers signed the Jericho, New York, native to a three-year entry-level contract.

"He's a very gifted puck-mover," Gorton said. "After everything he's done and accomplished, I think he's staring at our team and saying, 'Why can't I make this team?'"

Projected NHL arrival: This season

 

5. K'Andre Miller, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 22 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: Wisconsin (NCAA); 26 GP; 5-17-22

Miller (6-5, 210) was having a strong freshman season at the University of Wisconsin before a knee injury Feb. 9 ended it prematurely.

The 19-year-old was on the Big Ten All-Rookie team and was a finalist for the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Miller was on the ice for 48.7 percent (37 of 76) of the goals Wisconsin scored prior to his injury.

The Rangers view Miller as a future staple on the left side of their defense. He is returning to Wisconsin for his sophomore season.

Projected NHL arrival: 2021-22

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