The New York Rangers kicked off the 2022 prospect development camp on Monday.
It was the first time the team was able to see all six selections of the 2022 draft, as well as some of the top prospects on the team.
Two of the best prospects the Rangers currently have are Will Cuylle and Brennan Othmann. With both forwards having experience in the OHL just last season, the two young phenoms have seen plenty of each other over the last year.
It also helps that they both dominated in the OHL for their respective teams as well.
“Definitely, I think my defensive game and playmaking took a big step. Obviously my points went up with more ice time and opportunity but I was really proud of my defensive game.” Cuylle said.
In 59 games played last season for the Windsor Spitfires, Cuylle totaled over 80 points with 43 goals. In the 2021-22 postseason, Cuylle was dominant with 31 points: fourth in the entire league.
With prior experience in Hartford for the Rangers AHL affiliate, Cuylle was far more accustomed to being back at development camp than last year.
“I’ve had a different experience with obviously being here last year, having gone to some of the team events. I feel more comfortable than last year.”
The goals for both Cuylle and Othmann are the same though.
“Obviously I want to play on the Rangers. That’s my goal last year and this year is another opportunity to make the team. This week I’m just taking it one day at a time and being a leader around here.” Cuylle said.
Rangers see big things coming with Othmann
While Cuylle is a second round pick back in the 2020 draft, Othmann has shined as the Rangers first round selection back in 2021. After a 97 point season that saw the center finish second in goals scored for the Flint Firebirds of the OHL, Othmann is back for his second season at Rangers development camp.
As a first round pick for New York, some athletes may feel added pressure to perform and stand out in camps such as these. Othmann though doesn’t think that way.
“I think they (Rangers development team) know where I was drafted but they are also looking at everyone else. They aren’t really focused on one player, but they are focused on both groups. There’s good players everywhere, but the position I was drafted in was great, I’m not too worried about being the best player on the ice.” Othmann said.
Othmann’s goal scoring capabilities are more than just for show. The 19 year old set a Flint record for goals in a single season (50), and put up over 20 points in the playoffs.
“I feel like I was one of the best players in the league. I feel like I accomplished all the goals I set out for. I wanted to be a top five player in the league and I think I established that.”
The Ontario product also noted that getting to the NHL is the main goal for him.
“The NHL’s a big step. Playing for the Rangers is a big step. They have a good young team with veteran leadership. If I can learn and get a few games in, I think that would be good for my development and good for everybody.”
It’s a decision that will be at the center of the Rangers front office in the coming months. For their development camp though, it’s the first time the group of young prospects can be seen together and get their first chance to put on a Rangers jersey.
Director of player development, Jed Ortmeyer, understands the difficult decisions the team has to make but is just focused on getting the young prospects ready for the next step.
“It’s important for them to come here and compete. We just try to motivate them and keep them going.” Ortmeyer said. “I think it’s a good challenge for them with the World Juniors and those tournaments and playing against the best players at their age in the world…we’re trying to facilitate whatever we can to have these guys playing at their best.”
For the Rangers top prospects like Othmann and Cuylle, day one of development camp is just the first step on a season-long journey to get to the NHL.
For more New York Rangers news, turn to AMNY.com