Skip to main content
The Official Site of the New York Rangers

Kakko Takes First Steps as Rangers' Prospects Hit the Ice

by Michael Obernauer

STAMFORD, Conn. -- The past week has been life-changing for Kaapo Kakko, and he has spent that week under a spotlight that has never been so bright in his life. He arrived in Vancouver with most of the eyes and cameras trained on him and one other prospect. On Friday night he stepped onto the mantle, and into the Blueshirt, as the No. 2 pick in the NHL Draft. On Sunday he stepped foot in New York City for the very first time.

Monday, then, was a chance for him to return to a place that has always been familiar, somewhere he knows he always belongs: Kakko was back on ice again, and for the first time wearing his new Rangers colors.

He has won three major international tournaments in the past year; he has broken records in his home country's domestic league; he fulfilled his dream of being drafted into the NHL. Where does Kaapo Kakko go from here?

"It's easy. My next goal is to play in the NHL next season," Kakko said on Monday. "So that's it."

Kakko was speaking after the 2019 Rangers Prospect Development Camp kicked off on Monday morning at Chelsea Piers Connecticut. There are 37 players on the roster for the weeklong camp, seven of whom were drafted by the club on Saturday afternoon, and one other, Kakko, who was the Blueshirts' prize in Friday night's first round.

View More

Rangers Prospect Report: 04.08.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

Three Stars of the Week

  • Igor Shesterkin appeared in four playoff games during the past week as SKA faced CSKA in the Western Conference Finals of the Gagarin Cup Playoffs. Shesterkin earned a win in three of the four games during the week, allowing two goals or fewer in each contest, and he made 27 saves to earn a win in Game 6 of the series on Apr. 7 and force a Game 7. The Rangers' fourth round pick (118th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has posted a 1.94 GAA in nine playoff appearances with SKA this year. Shesterkin appeared in 28 games during the regular season in 2018-19 and posted a 24-3-1 record, along with a 1.11 GAA, a .953 SV%, and 10 SO. He led the KHL in both GAA and SV%, and he was tied for first in the KHL in shutouts this season. In addition, Shesterkin's 1.11 GAA during the regular season in 2018-19 is the second-best GAA a goaltender has posted in one season in KHL history, and his .953 SV% in 2018-19 is tied for the second-best a goaltender has posted in one season in league history. He also became the fourth different goaltender to earn at least 10 shutouts in one season in KHL history.
  • Nils Lundkvist recorded a goal, which was his first career SHL playoff goal/point, registered three shots on goal, and posted a plus-one rating in Game 1 of Lulea's series in the SHL Semifinals against Frolunda on Apr. 7. The Rangers' first round pick (28th overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft is the only SHL defenseman younger than 19 years old who has registered a goal/point thus far in the playoffs this year. In addition, Lundkvist is one of only two defensemen younger than 19 years old who have recorded a goal in the SHL Playoffs over the last four years (dating back to the 2016 Playoffs), along with Rasmus Dahlin. Lundkvist registered 10 points (three goals, seven assists) and posted a plus-seven rating in 41 SHL regular season games with Lulea in 2018-19. Over the last 30 seasons in the SHL (since 1989-90), Lundkvist is one of 14 defensemen younger than 19 years old who have recorded at least 10 points in a regular season, and his 10 points during the regular season in 2018-19 were tied for the 10th-most by an SHL defenseman younger than 19 years old over the span.
  • Riley Hughes registered a point in both of Victoria's playoff games during the week (one goal, one assist). Victoria was eliminated in the third round of the BCH Playoffs. The Rangers' seventh round pick (216th overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft registered 21 points (four goals, 17 assists) in 15 games in the playoffs this year. Hughes leads the BCHL in assists and ranks third in the BCHL in points in the playoffs this year; he also leads BCHL rookies in points. He registered 58 points (24 goals, 34 assists) in 53 regular season BCHL games in 2018-19; he ranked fourth among BCHL rookies in goals and assists, and tied for fourth among BCHL rookies in points during the regular season. Hughes is committed to play at Northeastern University for the 2019-20 season.
View More

Rangers Prospect Report: 04.01.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

Three Stars of the Week

  • Morgan Barron tallied a goal and posted a plus-two rating to help Cornell earn a win in the NCAA East Regional Semifinal on Mar. 30 against Northeastern. Cornell's season ended in the NCAA East Regional Final against Providence on Mar. 31. The Rangers' sixth round pick (174th overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft skated in all of Cornell's 36 games during the 2018-19 season, registering 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 points, along with a plus-nine rating and 26 penalty minutes. Barron was named to ECAC Hockey's First All-Star Team and the All-Ivy League First Team in 2018-19, and he was also named a finalist for ECAC Hockey's Best Defensive Forward. He led Cornell in several categories this season, including goals, points, power play goals (seven), and shots on goal (152). Barron also tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (four), tied for second on the team in assists, and tied for fifth on the team in plus/minus rating in 2018-19. He registered a point in 19 of the final 26 games of the season, recording 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) over the span. Barron tallied a point in 24 of 36 games in 2018-19 (Cornell posted a 17-5-2 record in games which he recorded a point and a 4-6-2 record in games which he did not tally a point this season). He ranks fourth in the NCAA in shots on goal per game this season (4.22), and he is tied for 16th among NCAA freshmen and sophomores in points per game this season (0.94).
  • Patrick Newell agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with the Rangers on Mar. 30 (the contract begins in 2019-20). Newell, 23, skated in 39 games with St. Cloud State University this season, registering 21 goals and 26 assists for 47 points, along with a plus-35 rating and eight penalty minutes. He has been selected as one of the finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top collegiate player, in 2018-19. In addition, Newell helped St. Cloud State University win the Penrose Cup as the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Regular Season Champions. He was a unanimous selection as the NCHC Forward of the Year, was named to the NCHC First All-Star Team, and received the NCHC Sportsmanship Award this season.
  • Riley Hughes tallied three points (one goal, two assists) in Game 7 of Victoria's second round series against Powell River in the 2019 British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) Playoffs to help Victoria advance to the third round. The Rangers' seventh round pick (216th overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft has recorded 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 14 games thus far in the playoffs. Hughes leads the BCHL in assists and ranks third in the BCHL in points in the playoffs this year; he also leads BCHL rookies in points. He registered 58 points (24 goals, 34 assists) in 53 regular season BCHL games in 2018-19; he ranked fourth among BCHL rookies in goals and assists, and tied for fourth among BCHL rookies in points during the regular season.
View More

Rangers Prospect Report: 03.25.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

Three Stars of the Week

  • Tarmo Reunanen tallied three assists/points in three playoff games in Liiga over the past week, and he logged at least 24:00 of ice time in each of the last two games during the week. The Rangers' fourth round pick (98th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has registered five points (one goal, four assists), 28 shot attempts (14 on goal), and a plus-two rating in four playoff games this year, and he has averaged 22:04 of ice time per game thus far in the playoffs. Reunanen leads Liiga in shot attempts, is tied for first in assists, and is tied for third in points in the playoffs this year, and he leads defensemen in the league in assists, points, and shot attempts. Reunanen also ranks 14th in Liiga in average ice time in the playoffs. He has registered 30 points between the regular season and playoffs in 2018-19. Over the last five seasons (since 2014-15), he is one of four Liiga defensemen in their U21 season or younger who have registered 30 regular season and playoff points in a single season (along with Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell, and Sami Niku, all of whom are currently playing in the NHL). Reunanen tallied 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) in 58 games with TPS during the regular season in 2018-19. Reunanen, who turned 21 years old on Mar. 1, 2019, led Liiga defensemen who were in their U21 season or younger in goals and points, and ranked second in assists during the regular season in 2018-19. Over the last 10 seasons (since 2009-10), Reunanen is one of five defensemen in Liiga who recorded at least 25 regular season points in either their U21 season or younger (along with Sami Vatanen, Esa Lindell, Ville Pokka, and Sami Niku). He also ranked 12th in Liiga in average ice time during the regular season (21:14), and he ranked second among players who are in their U21 season or younger in the league in average ice time.
View More

Hard Work Comes First for Lauri Pajuniemi

by Pasi Tuominen

Finnish forward Lauri Pajuniemi, a fifth-round draft choice of the Rangers in 2018, is enjoying an upward trend with TPS Turku of the Finnish Liiga.

Pajuniemi, 19, finished the regular season with five goals and 13 points in 44 games played. In late February, he clocked his career-high time-on-ice and later got some chances in the top six.

"I was able to do better and better as the season progressed," says Pajuniemi. "I started relatively slowly and was struggling a bit with self-confidence. But later things started working out and the coaches gave me more responsibility. As the playoffs started, I felt it was the best time of the year."

A skilled right-hand shot with some penalty killing chops, Pajuniemi is hoping to become a key player for TPS in the playoffs. He won't take anything for granted, though.

"I've improved my all-round game. Consequently, I've seen more time on ice on the penalty kill. I've gained more trust, but on the other hand, I wish I had scored more points during the regular season."

View More

Rangers Prospect Report: 03.18.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

Three Stars of the Week

Jake Elmer agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with the Rangers on Mar. 15, and he registered three points (one goal, two assists) in two games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League (WHL) during the week. The 6-1, 190-pounder finished the regular season with a WHL career-high 18-game point streak (19 goals, 16 assists over the span), including a nine-game assist streak. Elmer established WHL career-highs in several categories in 2018-19, including goals (39), assists (42), points (81), plus/minus rating (plus-26), shorthanded goals (seven), shots on goal (253), and game-winning goals (eight). Elmer led the WHL in shorthanded goals, tied for ninth in game-winning goals, tied for 12th in goals, tied for 13th in points, and ranked 15th in shots on goal this season. In addition, Elmer received three of the Hurricanes' team awards in 2018-19: Three Stars Award, Fan Favorite Award, and Community Relations Award. Lethbridge begins the first round of the 2019 WHL Playoffs on Friday, Mar. 22 against the Calgary Hitmen.

Morgan Barron tallied two assists/points and recorded 10 shots on goal in three games during the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals, helping Cornell defeat Union, two games to one, and advance to the ECAC Hockey Semifinals in Lake Placid. In addition, Barron was named to the All-Ivy League First Team and was named a finalist for the ECAC Hockey's Best Defensive Forward award in 2018-19. The Rangers' sixth round pick (174th overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has tallied 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) in 32 games this season. Barron has registered a point 17 of the last 22 games, and he has recorded 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) over the span. Barron has tallied a point in 22 of 32 games in 2018-19 (Cornell has posted a 15-5-2 record in games which he has recorded a point this season). He leads Cornell in several categories this season, including goals, points, power play goals (six), and shots on goal (141). Barron also ranks second on Cornell in assists and ranks fourth in plus/minus rating (plus-nine) in 2018-19. He ranks third in the NCAA in shots on goal per game this season (4.41). Barron is currently one of 14 NCAA freshmen or sophomores who are averaging at least 1.00 points per game this season. Cornell plays Brown in the ECAC Hockey Semifinal on Friday, Mar. 22.

Tarmo Reunanen registered two points (one goal, one assist) and posted a plus-two rating in his final game of the regular season on Mar. 14 against Ilves, and he also recorded two points (one goal, one assist) while making his Liiga playoff debut on Mar. 16 against JYP. The Rangers' fourth round pick (98th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft tallied 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) in 58 games with TPS during the regular season in Liiga in 2018-19. Reunanen, who turned 21 years old on Mar. 1, 2019, led Liiga defensemen who were in their U21 season or younger in goals and points, and ranked second in assists during the regular season in 2018-19. Over the last 10 seasons (since 2009-10), Reunanen is one of five defensemen in Liiga who recorded at least 25 points in either their U21 season or younger (along with Sami Vatanen, Esa Lindell, Ville Pokka, and Sami Niku). He also ranked 12th in Liiga in average ice time during the regular season (21:14), and he ranked second among players who are in their U21 season or younger in the league in average ice time.

View More

Elmer Excited to Show Rangers What He Can Do After Signing ELC

by Michael Obernauer

It was either 2½ hours or 12½, and it was either too early or just in the nick of time. It all depends upon your point of view, and Jake Elmer is the kind of hockey player who knows where he stands.

Elmer was born on Dec. 31, 1998 - "it was at 9:30," he says, "but whether it was a.m. or p.m. I just don't know." It is a birthdate that by conventional wisdom puts a hockey player at a disadvantage before he even loses the umbilical cord.

"Not a lot of guys are born December 31," Elmer said in an interview with NYRangers.com. "It's a pretty cool little fact about me. And it's always given me something to prove."

Of course, the timing back in 1998 is something that Jake had no control over (his parents, different story), but if the chronology of his life has brought him to the point he is at today, then he doesn't want to complain about one detail. He is right in the thick of the best hockey season of his life, playing for a Lethbridge Hurricanes team that is expected to make a run at a championship. For the week ending March 3, he was named the Western Hockey League Player of the Week, a window of recognition for a season stretch drive during which Elmer has put together a 18-game point streak and scored in 13 straight games.

On Friday he reached a major milestone of his hockey life: At 20 years, 75 days old, Jake Elmer signed a contract with the New York Rangers.

View More

Rangers Prospect Report: 03.11.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

Vitali Kravtsov tallied an assist, recorded four shots on goal, and posted a plus-two rating in Game 4 of Traktor's Quarterfinals series against Avtomobilist; the game was Kravtsov's final contest of the KHL season, as Traktor was eliminated. The Rangers' first round pick (ninth overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft tied for the team lead in assists (two), ranked second on Traktor in shots on goal (12), and tied for second in points (two) and plus/minus rating (plus-one) in the playoffs this year. Kravtsov is tied for first among KHL players younger than 20 years old in assists and points in the playoffs this year. Kravtsov skated in 50 regular season games with Traktor in 2018-19, registering eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points, along with six penalty minutes. He led all KHL players younger than 20 years old in goals, assists, and points this season. Kravtsov's 21 points in 2018-19 are tied for the ninth-most by a KHL player younger than 20 years old in league history (tied with Artemi Panarin, who recorded 21 points in 2010-11), and his 13 assists in 2018-19 are tied for the eighth-most by a KHL player younger than 20 years old in the league's history. In addition, Kravtsov represented Traktor at the 2019 KHL All-Star Game. He tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (three), ranked third on Traktor in points and shots on goal (114), tied for third in assists, and tied for fourth in goals during the regular season in 2018-19. Kravtsov has recorded 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 26 career playoff games in the KHL. During the 2018 Gagarin Cup Playoffs, he tallied 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 16 games; in the process, he recorded more playoff points in one year than any other teenager has in their career in KHL history. Kravtsov's seven career playoff assists and 14 career playoff points are the most by a teenager in KHL history, and his seven career playoff goals are the second-most in KHL history, trailing only Evgeny Kuznetsov (eight).

K'Andre Miller's freshman season concluded on Mar. 10 when the University of Wisconsin was eliminated by Penn State in the Big Ten Quarterfinals. Miller, who missed the final nine games of the season due to injury, registered 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) and posted a plus-seven rating in 2018-19. Among NCAA freshmen defensemen who have skated in at least 25 games this season, Miller ranks first in assists per game (0.65) and points per game (0.85). In addition, in the 26 games Miller played with Wisconsin this season, he was on the ice for 37 of the 76 goals the team scored (48.7%).

Here is how Miller, who finished the 2018-19 season with 26 games played, compares to other defensemen recently selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft through their first 26 career games in the NCAA:

Morgan Barron finished the regular season with 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 29 games with Cornell, and Cornell will begin the ECAC Quarterfinals on Mar. 15. Entering the ECAC Quarterfinals, the Rangers' sixth round pick (174th overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has registered a point 15 of the last 19 games, and he has recorded 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) over the span. Barron has tallied a point in 20 of 29 games in 2018-19 (Cornell has posted a 14-4-2 record in games which he has recorded a point this season). He leads Cornell in several categories this season, including goals, points, power play goals (six), and shots on goal (131). Barron also ranks second on Cornell in assists and ranks third in plus/minus rating (plus-10) in 2018-19. He ranks third in the NCAA in shots on goal per game this season (4.52). Barron is averaging 1.03 points per game in 2018-19, and he is tied for eighth in points per game among NCAA players who are either in their freshman or sophomore year.

View More

Goalie Prospect Tyler Wall Focused on Taking His Game to the Next Level

by Shawn Hutcheon

The Rangers selected Tyler Wall in the sixth round (174th overall) of the 2016 NHL Dntry Draft after he posted an outstanding season with Leamington of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Most junior players in Canada who are drafted come out of the three major junior leagues, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and the Western Hockey League (WHL). For Wall, it was a bit of a surprise to be selected from the GOJHL.

"I really didn't think I had a shot (at being drafted) playing in Junior B," Wall said. "I had a pretty good year but a lot of people don't take much notice of that league and so I was pretty surprised when everything fell into place there.

"It was surreal. I mean, an original six team with such an amazing fan-base. You couldn't really ask for a better team than the Rangers."

View More

Rangers Prospect Report: 03.04.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

Three Stars of the Week

  • Yegor Rykov recorded three assists/points, posted a plus-one rating, and averaged 22:52 of ice time per game over four playoff games with HC Sochi during the week. Rykov led HC Sochi in ice time in each of the final three games during the week, logging more than 23:00 of ice time in each game, and he ranks ninth among KHL defensemen in average ice time thus far in the playoffs. In addition, Rykov leads all KHL defensemen younger than 22 years old in average ice time thus far during the Gagarin Cup Playoffs. Among all KHL players younger than 22 years old (forwards and defensemen), Rykov is tied for first in assists and points in the playoffs this year, and he leads KHL defensemen younger than 22 years old in both categories. He is tied for second among all KHL defensemen in assists and is tied for fourth among all KHL defensemen in points in the playoffs this year.
  • Vitali Kravtsov registered an assist in Game 2 of Traktor's playoff series against Avtomobilist on Feb. 28, and he has recorded eight shots on goal through the first three games of the series. The Rangers' first round pick (ninth overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, who led all KHL players younger than 20 years old in goals (eight), assists (13), and points (21) during the regular season in 2018-19, is one of six KHL players who are in their U20 season or younger who have tallied a point in the 2019 Gagarin Cup Playoffs. Kravtsov has registered 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 25 career Gagarin Cup Playoff games; last year, Kravtsov registered six goals and five assists for 11 points in the playoffs, and his 11 points were the most a KHL junior player (younger than 20 years old) registered in one playoff year in the league's history, eclipsing the previous record of nine held by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Valeri Nichushkin.
  • Joey Keane agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with the Rangers on Mar. 4. The Rangers' third round pick (88th overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft also recorded a goal and posted a plus-three rating on Mar. 2 at Hamilton. Keane has skated in 61 games in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this season with the Barrie Colts and London Knights, registering eight goals and 29 assists for 37 points, along with a plus-14 rating and 91 penalty minutes. He is one of 11 OHL defensemen who have registered 37 or more points and have posted a plus-14 rating or better thus far this season. Keane ranks third among OHL defensemen in penalty minutes, ranks 10th among OHL defensemen in shots on goal (167), is tied for 11th among OHL defensemen in power play assists (13), is tied for 13th among OHL defensemen in power play goals (four), and is tied for 17th among OHL defensemen in assists and points this season.
View More