Hockey's future has released the bottom of half of their annual top 50 prospect list and two rangers have made the cut. At number 39 we had the newly acquired, via the Scott Gomez trade, Ryan McDonagh.
McDonagh was Minnesota’s reigning "Mr. Hockey" when he was selected first among the US defensemen available in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, 12th overall by the Montreal Canadiens. A quick-skating, big, powerful, offensive blueliner, he entered the University of Wisconsin in the fall of 2007. A steady presence along the blue line, McDonagh was a solid performer on defense for Team USA in the 2009 U-20 WJCs. The 20-year-old was recently named a tri-captain of the 2009-10 Badgers as a junior. With the departure of Jamie McBain (CAR), McDonagh will get the opportunity to show more of his offensive skills in the coming season.
McDonagh is outside of Del Zotto our top defensive prospect at the moment and while he had a slow start last season at Wisconsin he picked up late in the year and his Junior year should be one in which he takes the next step due to an increased role in the offense and the trust in leadership shown from being a tri-captain. At this point in comparing him with MDZ he is probably more prepared defensively but similar in the ability to head man the play on the other side. For Ranger fans Wisconsin will be a place to keep an eye on as two prospects that should be ready to at least challenge for spots next season in McDonagh and Derek Stepan will both be taking on huge roles for this program and hopefully building a level of chemistry between each other that can help the Rangers down the road.
In at number 33 was Artem Anisimov:
33. Artem Anisimov
With good size, work ethic and solid two-way play, Anisimov has made an excellent adjustment to the North American game over the past two seasons in the AHL. The 21-year-old has the hands, instincts, and vision to be a top player in the NHL. Anisimov had an outstanding regular-season sophomore campaign with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2008-09. Fifth overall in the league in scoring, Anisimov was the top point producer among AHLers under the age of 25. A reliable contributor, he didn't miss a single game last season. He is expected to center a line with the New York Rangers roster this fall.
Anisimov had an excellent season with Hartford showing the strides he needed to on the offensive end down there and has carried that over with added confidence in training camp. He is clearly ready to be a top 9 forward who i think down the road is probably an excellent two way 2nd line center in the league. He really has little to gain by going back to Hartford, but at the same time I would really hate to see him on the 4th line. In that vain, Steve Zipay, who's opinion I normally respect very much put out an article this morning claiming that because Torts said he didnt see Artem in his top 6 that somehow it means he is on the bubble. I understand that was probably based on position but if Torts doesnt find a way to get this kid on the top 3 lines with the way he has played this preseason than I will lose a lot of faith in the idea that spots are not decided before camp starts and that the kids based on their play will get what they deserve to have. It would also make me think they are keeping MDZ for the first 9 and then sending him back to Juniors while hoping another veteran D-man becomes available.
As for the rest of the Hockey's Future list I would certainly expect to see Grachev in the top 25 and probably no one else as he is the only one in the Ranger Top 20 they put out that was ahead of Artem and McDonagh. I guess it is possible because this list was compiled later that preseason and TC play could be in the equation, but I would not hold out for a Gilroy or MDZ inclusion.