In July of 2021, Brennan Othmann seemed to be a confounding first-round selection in the NHL Entry Draft for the New York Rangers. Why did the team feel the need to draft another left-wing, especially one that had just come off an underwhelming season playing in Europe? In doing so they had passed on a few credible centers, which the team is in dire need of.
In April of 2022, Brennan Othmann seems to be a brilliant first-round selection in the NHL Entry Draft for the New York Rangers. Sixty-one games for the Flint Firebird later, and the young winger has scored 43 goals and 46 assists for the OHL team, breaking the franchise regular-season goals scored record in the process. Another game or two and Othmann may be the sole owner of the regular-season points scored record as well, as he sits one behind the current leader with 89 points.
When it comes to draft picks, it’s easy to scoff at a successful development season. Perhaps make a sly remark, indicating that success in the prospect leagues is all well and good, but let’s wait and see how this translates into the NHL. In our position, it’s easy to be a cynic, but with Othmann sitting third in goals scored, and in the top ten in points overall in the OHL, the Rangers couldn’t have asked for a better performance from him. Remarkably these lofty heights at which he sits in the points standings aren’t even the most impressive part, it’s how he’s doing it.
Othmann was involved in over 33% of any goals scored this season by the Flint Firebirds. He has vastly outpaced the rest of the Firebird roster, as the closest player has 31 points less. He has dragged a mostly mediocre team—that is in the midst of yet another eventful year—by their skate laces and pulled them into the playoffs in what will surely end up as their best season in franchise history.
While also labeled a creative player capable of playmaking, the draft report for Othmann focused on describing his elite shot. He was tabbed as one of the best pure goal scorers available in the draft, and Othmann has not disappointed us. Playing on both the penalty kill and power play, he has scored prolifically in all situations. He plays tenaciously and has shown that with his fearless forechecking and willingness to drop the gloves, having fought three times already this year. Othmann plays hard and puts in the extra effort, often putting his body on the line to make a big play.
Big shorthanded swipe from @NYRangers prospect Brennan Othmann (@BOthmann78) sends Sahil Panwar in alone for the game winner in London as the @FlintFirebirds take their third straight win pic.twitter.com/ei1cGxkbR8— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) April 2, 2022
If Othmann continues along this trajectory, he could end up at worst an impact top-six winger, who plays a big role on the power play. He just turned nineteen years old this past January, which means that because of his age, we likely won’t see Othmann play more than 9 games in the NHL until 2023-24. The CHL-NHL Transfer agreement, states any player who is not twenty years old by December 31st, cannot play for any minor league affiliate, simply put Othmann can’t play in Hartford for the majority of the regular season. This means he either makes the Rangers roster or he goes back to the OHL.
If we bust out our nifty Venn diagram, Othmann’s age would fall right in the middle of being both good and bad for the team. Good for a couple of reasons, it allows the current prospects and younger players a few more years to develop so the front office can further understand what their ceilings may be, and second because while this may seem ludicrous to discuss right now, Chris Kreider’s modified contract years start in the 2024-25 season. Depending on our depth and how the team is performing, Othmann may give us cost-controlled flexibility, or at the very least some depth on the wing.
Now if we turn our attention to the bad, Othmann must make the NHL roster to stay in the Rangers’ system. As a young player, it’s probable that if he did make the team, he’d be buried in the depth chart and either be scratched or consistently play less than 10 minutes a game. If Othmann didn’t make the team, he’d have to return to Flint and play a second post-draft year in the OHL. Returning to the OHL, it’s possible his development could stagnate or plateau, and he wouldn’t be getting the experience he could if he were allowed to play in the AHL.
Where to place Othmann next year will be a tough decision for the Rangers, and neither option is entirely conducive to the young player’s development. But regardless of where he goes, two things will remain true, Othmann is bound to score, and his future in the NHL shines splendidly.
Take a bow @BOthmann78, you officially stand alone in the @FlintFirebirds record books!— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) March 19, 2022
Brennan Othmann now holds the franchise record for most goals in a single-season, as the @NYRangers prospect tallies his 40th goal of the season ️ pic.twitter.com/MudB94Jock