6. Zac Jones
The New York Rangers brass looks like they may have found a major steal in the Third-Round of the 2019 Draft where they were able to select defenseman Zac Jones 68th overall. The now 20-year-old had a fantastic draft eligible season with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, posting 52 points along with a plus / minus rating of plus 38 in 56 games played. Those numbers suggested he should have been taken significantly higher in his Draft, but his size made teams hesitant as he is currently listed at just five-foot-ten and 172 pounds.
Despite his small stature, he is still a very exciting prospect thanks to his raw offensive abilities. He played the 2019-20 season as a freshman for the University of Massachusetts Amherst and impressed in a big way, finishing third in team scoring with 23 points in 32 games. He’s having an even better sophomore season to this point, with 16 points in just 19 contests. It will be interesting to see how Jones adjusts to the pro game once the time comes, but first he will need to get an Entry-Level deal put in place as he has yet to sign with the Rangers.
5. Vitali Kravtsov
One of the hardest prospects to rank on this list was Russian forward Vitali Kravtsov. He is extremely talented, proven by being selected ninth overall at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, but he struggled during his first professional season in North America last year, posting just six goals and 15 points in 39 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. In fact, his season started so poorly that he elected to return home and play in the KHL for 11 games. Unfortunately, things didn’t go any better as he recorded just two goals and one helper with Chelyabinsk Traktor before returning to Hartford.
With the start of the 2020-21 season in both the NHL and AHL being delayed, Kravtsov chose to once again suit up with Chelyabinsk. Thankfully for both him and the Rangers, he has been much better this season, scoring what currently stands as a team high 15 goals and 23 points in 46 games to this point. It is important to remember with him that he is still very young and, while he does have room to grow, his talent level cannot be denied.