New York Rangers Player Development Camp shows off future stars

Adam Fox, United States. New York Rangers. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Adam Fox, United States. New York Rangers. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images) /

New York Rangers fans there is hope and a good part of it was on display at the team’s annual three-day Prospect Development Camp.

When was the last time the phrases “staggering array of young talent” and “New York Rangers” were used in the same sentence when not describing their opponents? Well, they were being used together this week at the team’s prospect development camp. The quality of young players in attendance was enough to thaw even the most jaded of Blueshirts fans.

It wasn’t just that there were four former first-round draft picks and a pair of seconds there. Nor was it a bunch of promising players who showed abilities above their draft position. What made the camp special was the overall quality in attendance.

The headliner, of course, was this year’s second overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft, Kaapo Kakko. From day one of camp, he impressed. New York Rangers radio analyst Dave Maloney raved about Kakko’s skills and presence on the ice. As for the kid himself, Kakko told the media after practice the first day, he’s ready to take the next step.

"“My next goal is to play in the NHL next season, that’s it.” – Kaapo Kakko"

Lost in the hype of Kakko’s arrival is last year’s eighth overall pick Vitali Kravtsov. The Russian winger has the potential to make just as big of an impact on the New York Rangers in 2019-20 as Kakko does. He certainly got GM Jeff Gorton’s attention, who told the Journal News:

"He’s played in the KHL for a couple years and been successful. He’s doing all of the right things to try and make himself a good player.” – Rangers GM Jeff Gotron on Vitali KravtsovMore from New York RangersNew York Rangers Buy-Out Henrik Lundqvist’s ContractNew York Rangers: Forget Alexis Lafreniere for now, just winNew York Rangers will have to wait a year for Nils Lundkvist, that’s okayNew York Rangers: Former Blueshirts defenseman Kevin Lowe elected to HOFNew York Rangers: All to gain and nothing to lose against Canes"

The next wave of Rangers star defenseman also took the ice. That included 2018 first round draft picks K’Andre Miller and Mils Lundqvist in addition to recently acquired Adam Fox. All three played well but Miller’s athleticism and footwork stood out, especially for a player of his size (6-4, 200 pounds).

Rangers fans will have to wait a while longer to see him play at Madison Square Garden. Miller has committed to playing another season with the University of Wisconsin Badgers. It is tantalizing to think of what this defense group will look like in a few years with Jacob Trouba, Brady Skjei, Tony D’Angelo, Miller, Fox, and Lundqvist.

One more player that is immensely important to the Blueshirts future who participated in the camp is goalie Igor Shesterkin. He, like his fellow countryman Kravtsov, signed his entry-level contract with New York a few months ago. The 6-1 goalie dominated at the amateur levels, before stepping up in class with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. Shesterkin didn’t disappoint this week either, during his first appearance in Rangers colors.

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Without the quotation marks this time. The New York Rangers showed off their staggering array of young talent at this year’s Prospect Development Camp.