Tuesday, September 10, 2013

One To Watch: New York Rangers

The New York Rangers had a pair of rookie skaters play their way to the NHL last year in forwards J.T. Miller and Chris Kreider. The 2013 draft wasn't a banner day as the club didn't have a selection until the 3rd round. Still, there are a number of intriguing prospects in the system for the Rangers but one in particular is coming to what could be a telling year.  

2012 Choice: Michael St. Croix - The Edmonton Oil Kings leading scorer compiled 92 points including 37 goals. Both his goal and point total were down from the previous season when the team went on to capture the WHL championship. St. Croix had a good, not great year, which didn't help answer my question last summer; is he a NHL prospect or a career minor leaguer? At this point I lean towards the latter. 

My pick for One to Watch in 2013 after the jump.

Cristoval "Boo" Nieves (C)
6'3, 192-200 lbs
Drafted 59th overall in 2012

Photo: Michigan Athletic Communications
One of the top ranked high school players in the 2012 NHL draft class, Boo Nieves began his NCAA career last season with the Michigan Wolverines. His 8 goals and 29 points were promising as a freshman especially on a team that largely underachieved last year. 

Like most young players breaking new ground for themselves at a higher level, Nieves' production was sporadic. I don't know if that is a reflection of his actual performance on the ice or not but the points came in spurts. His most consistent stretch of games came in February when he compiled 10 points in 6 games. 

Michigan lists Nieves at 6'3 and 200 lbs while the Rangers website has him at 192 lbs but I think it's fair to expect the New York native to end up around 210-215 lbs. 

There is lots to like about Boo Nieves. My questions for this year is how much better will he be as a sophomore at Michigan than he was a freshman? Could he even lead the Wolverines in scoring? Assuming he has the year most expect, is he a two-and-out collegian? Is the 2014 World Junior Championship in his future?

That's why Boo Nieves is my NYR pick for "One To Watch" in 2013-14.

Up Next: Chicago Blackhawks              

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