With the NHL draft completed two weeks ago, The Rangers already deep prospect pool got a little bit deeper. Here’s your Prospect Round-Up. Despite there being no hockey in North America, European seasons started in September. Places like Russia, Finland, and Sweden—which are home to several Rangers prospects—have had their seasons underway. While not all prospects are playing, like K’Andre Miller or Alexis Lafreniére, now feels like a good time to get a nice look at those prospects overseas.
The KHL, considered to be the second-best hockey league in the world behind the NHL, had its season start on September 3rd. Playing for Traktor Chelyabinsk is winger Vitaly Kravtsov. Kravtsov, who is just 20 years old, got off to an incredible start. He scored six goals in his first seven games and eight points in his 11 games played. Kravtsov is out with a lower-body injury, not playing since September 29th. He is listed as day-to-day. The Rangers drafted Kravtsov with the 9th overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft. He is set up to make the roster this season with the departure of Jesper Fast.
Also in the KHL is defenseman Yegor Rykov playing for CSKA Moscow. Rykov, a left side defenseman, has played in 15 games this year, getting five assists and a +7 rating. While playing 27 games in the AHL last year, Rykov was not great. He looks to continue his solid year in the KHL and fight for a roster spot over players like K’Andre Miller, Libor Hajek, or even Jack Johnson.
In Sweden, top right-handed defensive prospect Nils Lundkvist is playing for Luleå HF. Through seven games, Lundkvist has two goals and one assist and is a +1. The Swedish defenseman, who just turned 20 in July, was a first-round pick of The Rangers in 2018. Lundkvist has not yet signed an Entry-Level Contract but is expected to at the end of this season. Also in Sweden is 20-year-old goalie Olof Lindbom, who plays for Mora IK of the second tier of the Swedish professional leagues. Lindbom had stopped 31 out of 32 shots en route to a victory on October 10. Lindbom was drafted in the second round of the 2018 draft.
The Rangers have a couple of Finnish prospects, as well. The first one, Tarmo Reunanen, was a fourth-round pick of The Rangers in 2016. Reunanen signed his entry-level contract with the team and is currently under contract until 2022. Reunanen, a left side defenseman, plays a very good defensive game and has solid offensive upside. The 22-year-old is currently on loan at TUTO Hockey in Finland’s Mestis League. The defenseman has three points in three games this year and had 19 points in 51 games last year. Playing one step up in Finland’s Liiga is forward Lauri Pajuniemi. Pajuniemi had an awesome 2019-20 season, where he scored 26 goals and added 14 assists. He has not played since October fourth after leaving TPS Turku’s game with an injury.
Next week, several more Rangers prospects will continue playing. Along with the six listed above, Leevi Aaltonen will continue his season with KalPa of the Liiga. Additionally, forward Karl Henriksson will continue his season with Frolunda in Sweden and Adam Huska, who played his first game back home in Slovakia, will continue his season with Zvolen HK. Finally, be on the lookout for some of the new Rangers draft picks to be getting into action over the next week.