Rangers’ 2021 prime choose Brennan Othmann attends NHL draft

MONTREAL — Brennan Othmann never got the true NHL draft experience.

The 16th-overall pick in 2021 had to hear his name called during a virtual version of the entry draft due to the coronavirus pandemic. There was no grand stage to walk. No echoing sounds of applause around an NHL arena. No members of the Rangers’ front office with whom to shake hands.

Othmann finally got his draft moment Thursday night at Bell Center. Taking advantage of the fact that one of his closest friends, Shane Wright, was up to be drafted, Othmann came to Montreal to support him and also get to see what an in-person draft is like. Wright, with whom Othmann said he has been friends for around six years, was ultimately taken fourth overall by the Kraken.

The Rangers made a point to include Othmann in their draft-night agenda, bringing the 19-year-old winger down to the floor to meet management. I’ve finally got those handshakes.

Brennan Othman
bill kostroun

Othmann will be at the Rangers’ development camp, which begins on Monday at the MSG Training Center in Tarrytown, as well as at training camp. After a standout season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Flint Firebirds, for which he served as captain and scored 50 goals with 47 assists, Othmann is aiming to make the Rangers’ opening-night roster.

“I want to make the team,” said Othmann, who was named a first team All-Star left winger in the OHL this past season. “I feel like I can.

“I think the goal is to try to make the team as best as I can. I know they’re a strong team with good young players and good leadership there, too. If I can make the team, I think it would be great for me, it would be great for the organization. We’ll see what happens and I’m excited.”

Should Othmann, or 2020 second-round pick Will Cuylle, impress during Rangers camp, the organization may have to consider what they could bring to the team depending on what their situation is in terms of personnel. Both carry a cap hit of well under $1 million and would fit under the Rangers’ current cap crunch.

The Rangers, however, probably wouldn’t want to rush the development of two of their top prospects.

“That’s why we have a training camp and a tryout,” Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury said Thursday during the first round of the draft. “I’m glad that’s what his goal is. Obviously he had a heck of a year last year and it was really good to see him today. Those kids, a lot of them missed out on this experience. I know some other teams did it too, but it was certainly good to see him here today. … We’re looking forward to seeing him at development camp next week.”

After participating in the Rangers’ camp last year, Othmann said he had a lot of confidence heading into his second season with the Firebirds. It showed as the Ontario native pieced together a standout season, which included nine goals and 15 assists in 19 playoff games.

Asked what he focused on during this past season, Othmann said his defensive game and overall confidence.

“I think coming out of my rookie year, I was just a little bit down in the dumps and stuff like that,” he said. “We had a good team and with COVID and you kind of get down. I just gained a lot of confidence at Rangers camp and this year in Flint. I worked on my defensive game a lot, I know that was the biggest thing for me. Working on my defensive game and skating. “I worked on that a lot during the season and I’m still working on it now in the offseason. Hopefully I can bring that to camp on Monday and the season this year.”

Othmann also plans to spend some time with his family after not seeing them for some nine months. But when Othmann hits the ice at development camp on Monday, there will be just one thing in mind: earning a spot on the NHL roster.

“Just trying to be a little bit confident,” Othmann said. “I had a good season. I played well, I did well for myself, I did well for my organization. If I can come with that amount of confidence to Rangers camp, hopefully make the team, it’ll be something really special.”


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