Brennan Othmann on the ice at the Rangers Prospect Development...

Brennan Othmann on the ice at the Rangers Prospect Development Camp on Tuesday. Credit: Corey Sipkin

GREENBURGH – This was something of a pre-audition for Brennan Othmann.

The 21-year-old left winger was matched up against his Hartford Wolfpack teammate Brett Berard in a close quarters battle drill as Rangers executives, including team president and general manager Chris Drury, watched from a perch above the ice.

They saw Berard carry the puck, weaving in and out, forward and back in an attempt to create space. And they saw Othmann stay with him step-for-step.

It was a brief moment in the first of two on-ice days at the Rangers’ development camp. But for Othmann, it was an opportunity to showcase his development.

“My biggest goal is to prove people wrong,” Othmann said following Tuesday morning’s 75-minute session at the MSG Training Center. “I’ve proved myself as a player, my capabilities, and I want to keep proving myself. I’ve established I can win hockey games: two World Juniors, an OHL championship, U-18, so I think I’m a winner.”

Noted. The question then becomes: Will he be an NHLer when the 2024-25 season starts?

That is to be determined.

Othmann, the 16th overall pick in the 2021 draft, could be in contention for a job at training camp in September following a strong first professional season with AHL Hartford in which he recorded 21 goals and 28 assists for 49 points in 67 games.

“He’s a young kid with a lot of talent,” said Jed Ortmeyer, the Rangers’ director of player development. “We’re excited that we get a chance to work with him.”

In part because he could help fill Drury’s stated desire for the Rangers to become “a heavier, more physical team,” in order to be better equipped for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Even though Othmann is 186 pounds, he plays a straight-ahead game and possesses a bit of an edge as his 65 penalty minutes at Hartford indicate.

And it does not hurt Othmann that he spent some time on the right wing at Hartford. Because that is a glaring organizational need, even with the acquisition of Reilly Smith from Pittsburgh on Monday.

The Rangers have lacked a top-line right wing since trading Pavel Buchnevich to St. Louis in July 2021, and rumors have swirled since the end of the season that third-line right wing Kaapo Kakko could be traded.

So, is Othmann, a natural left wing, comfortable playing on the right side?

“I really liked it,” Othmann said. “I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it and developed as a right winger.”

Relatively quiet  

On the second day of free agency, the Rangers were relatively quiet, their only moves being to sign two players for their AHL affiliate in Hartford, defenseman Casey Fitzgerald and forward Bo Groulx(cq).

Fitzgerald, 27, is 5-11, 179 pounds and a righthanded shot. He was a third-round draft pick by the Buffalo Sabres in 2016 and has played 63 NHL games over five professional seasons. He played 69 games last season for the Charolotte Checkers of the AHL, scoring four goals and 17 assists, with 65 penalty minutes.

Groulx, 24, a 6-2, 200-pound native of France, was a second round draft pick in 2018 by Anaheim, for whom he played 45 games last season, with two assists. In 65 career NHL games, he has one goal and four assists.

Fitzgerald, a North Reading, Mass., native, signed a two-year contract, and Groulx signed a one-year deal. -- COLIN STEPHENSON

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