Newsday's Steve Zipay looks at how the Rangers' top prospects are faring in the AHL and elsewhere as the NHL lockout continues.
Kreider burst straight from Boston College’s NCAA championship squad to score five goals in the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Boxford, Mass., native’s upside is enormous. With the AHL’s Connecticut Whale, the 6-foot-3 forward with top-shelf speed started well, but has been quieter recently.
The Blueshirts’ No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, with both grit and a serious shot, is on Team USA for the World Junior Championships. The 19-year-old (above, left) was 5-9-14 in 26 games for the Whale.
In his freshman year at Notre Dame, Fogarty, a 6-foot-3, two-way center, is 4-1-5 in 17 games. A Minnesota native, he was the state’s “Mr. Hockey” finalist in 2011 and scored 82 points in 60 games for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League last season.
A fifth-rounder in 2011, he has 27 points so far (20 assists) with the Saskatooon Blades in what probably will be his final year in juniors. Knows what to do with the puck, but needs some discipline in his game.
CRISTOVAL “BOO” NIEVES
Considered the class of the New England prep schoolers in 2011, Nieves had three goals and six assists in his first 15 games as a freshman with the University of Michigan. At 6-3, 185, the team’s second-round draft pick last summer is creative, has great acceleration and isn’t afraid of traffic.
A freshman defenseman with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, Skjei is a smooth skater for his size (6-3, 200) who was selected in the first round of the draft last summer. Like Miller, he was invited to Team USA’s training camp.
MICHAEL ST. CROIX
A gifted scorer who exceeded expectations with 45 goals and 60 assists with the WHL Edmonton Oil Kings last season, the 2011 fourth-rounder could be a steal. He has tallied a team-high 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists) this season.
Climbing rapidly up the prospect list is this 6-2, 212-pound offense-minded defenseman who is 12-24-36 in 49 games for Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League. He was selected 119th overall in last summer’s draft.
The 6-foot-4, bruising, 2010 first-rounder’s development has been hindered by surgery for a dislocated knee in July. Plays with snarl, but was suspended twice for hits with WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors.
The son of former Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque has heart, smarts, excellent vision and a quick release. A big scorer in juniors, but with his small stature, is transitioning into more of a defensive forward in the AHL.
A second-rounder acquired in 2011 from Phoenix for prospect Ethan Werek, the Swedish center is 10-16-26 in 31 games for Skelleftea in his home country. Lindberg (above, center) is well-rounded, proficient on faceoffs and has offensive upside.
A fourth-round pick in 2010, Yogan is the first player to be raised in Florida and drafted by an NHL team. Yogan has loads of potential, but injuries have undermined his junior career. He recently was reassigned from Connecticut to Greenville (ECHL).
Selected No. 40 overall in the 2010 draft, the son of former Islanders and Maple Leaf forward Steve Thomas then scored 54 goals for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. Scouts love his hands and compete level, but at 5-9, 170, often gets knocked off the puck.
The 6-1 Slovak forward was undrafted after playing with the Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL), given a tryout and was signed after scoring six goals in nine playoff games for the Whale last season. Currently second on the Whale is assists with 13.
Currently No. 3 on the depth chart behind Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron, Talbot, 25, is 9-10 with a 2.71 GAA and a .918 save percentage for the struggling Whale. He was undrafted out of the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
Surprised everyone with his performance in Rangers development camp, the center who spent two years at Lake Superior State University before signing an entry-level deal has a good frame at 6-4, 203 pounds. At 22, has the tools to improve on his 5-9-14 start with the Whale.
A high-energy, rugged, grinder who finishes checks and styles himself after former Ranger Brandon Prust. Sidelined by a knee injury for the Whale’s training camp and first 17 games, he has been assigned to Greenville (ECHL) where he scored four goals and 10 assists and compiled 102 penalty minutes in 56 games last season.
No pun intended, but the 21-year-old Swedish playmaker can fly. Fast, seen here in yellow, is a good forechecker with agility and hockey sense. He is 8-7-15 in 24 games for HV71 in the Swedish Elite League.
Recently assigned from the Whale to the Greenville Road Warriors (ECHL) to get more playing time, Stajcer, a fifth-round pick in 2009, is 2-0-1 there, allowing just seven goals. Stajcer, 21, has the size to be an NHL netminder, but needs to be more consistent in controlling rebounds.