Yesterday, Puck Prospectus released it’s Top 100 prospects, and it is nice to see four Rangers on this list, all within the Top 80. The five Rangers within the top 80 shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, as these are generally the top five prospects that we all want to see wearing Rangers blue in the very, very near future. What is very nice to see is that three of these prospects sit in the top 35, something that Rangers fans are not used to.
The highest rated prospect starts at #23, where Evgeny Grachev sits comfortably. Despite his off year in Hartford, the 19 year old LW has some of the highest potential in the Rangers farm system. What many Ranger fans forget is that Artem Anisimov had a rough start to his AHL career, but he came back and averaged a point per game the year after. AA is now one of our favorite rookies with some great potential. It isn’t far fetched to see Grachev follow that same route, assuming he figures out how to play without the puck.
Just two spots below Grachev, Wisconsin center Derek Stepan sits at #25. Stepan was one of the highly touted prospects in the system before the World Juniors. After captaining the US team to Gold while leading the tournament in scoring, his value skyrocketed. Stepan has all the tools to be a top six forward. The 20 year old center will be spending at least one more year at Wisconsin, where his Badgers were the Frozen Four runners-up in this year’s tournament. Stepan will also serve as an assistant captain next season for the Badgers.