Prospect Updates: Future Looks Bright For Rangers

Your SEL playoff MVP, Oscar Lindberg! (Photo: Anders Henrikson/flickr)

Your SEL playoff MVP, Oscar Lindberg! (Photo: Anders Henrikson/flickr)

In the mess of games and playoff implications all week, I’ve slacked off in writing about news regarding players in the Rangers organization not currently in New York. While all of this is probably known, it’s been a busy week in Rangers-land.

On Wednesday, the Whale signed defenseman Charlie Dodero and forward Michael Kantor to Amateur Tryout (ATO) agreements. Both players had played for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL this season and are from Illinois (more Americans in the system!).

Dodero had 7 goals (highest for defensemen in Sudbury this season) plus 20 assists and 97 penalty minutes in 67 regular season games plus one goal, two assists and 18 penalty minutes in nine playoff games. Kantor had 20 goals and 13 assists along with 93 penalty minutes in 56 regular season games plus 2 goals, 2 assists and 12 penalty minutes in nine playoff games. Sounds like two bruisers for the Whale’s playoff run although neither played in the Whale’s game last night.

Thursday morning, the Rangers announced they had signed Kantor to an entry level contract starting next season. Here’s an idea of what Rangers fans can expect from Kantor:

The next shift, Kantor is unleashing his version of hell again. This time, he takes charge of the puck through the neutral zone and sends it deep into enemy territory.

He quickly follows and nearly drives a defender through the boards.

He makes a nifty pass to a teammate and hurls himself into heavy traffic and slams in a rebound to score a goal, while being knocked flat to the ice.

Just another typical shift for Kantor.

The best comparison I’ve seen is to this years’ version of the Flyers’ Zac Rinaldo, a.k.a. the one who decided he wanted to be more than a goon. (I still consider him one but he has manged to at least play hockey this season which is more than he did last year.) As long as he stays on the right side of the line, this could be a big signing for the Rangers. I’m sure he will start with the Whale next year but I can see him being one of those guys who is randomly recalled and never leaves.

Then later that night, Oscar Lindberg (who the Rangers received from the Coyotes in 2011 for Ethan Werek) won the Stefan Liv Memorial Trophy as MVP of the Swedish Elite League playoffs. (If you recognize the name of the trophy, you will realize it was renamed recently in honor of Stefan Liv who died in the Lokomotiv plane crash.) His team, Skelleftea, won their first post season title in 35 years easily winning three rounds of the playoffs 4-0, 4-1 and 4-0.

Lindberg had 12 points (4 goals and 8 assists) and a plus-13 while going 60% on face-offs in 13 playoff games. I know it’s the SEL but if he can bring any of that over to North America he will be a fun one to watch.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like he will be getting the chance to play here this year as the Whale have one game remaining tonight in the regular season and are in a 4-way tie for seventh and eighth place. The other three teams have two games remaining (today and tomorrow) so unless two of them lose out, expect to see a lot of new and familiar faces in New York sometime this week.

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