Heading into camp, Rangers' top prospect Brennan Othmann feels ready to take NHL leap

New York Rangers left wing Brennan Othmann (78) looks out during warmups before a game against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden
New York Rangers left wing Brennan Othmann (78) looks out during warmups before a game against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden / Jessica Alcheh - USA TODAY Sports

As we draw closer to the start of the NHL season, Rangers rookie camp has gotten underway, and among the young stars hitting the ice is top prospect Brennan Othmann.

Othmann, a 20-year-old former first-round pick, is coming off a season in which he put up 29 goals and 67 points across 56 games with the Peterborough Petes and Flint Firebirds of the OHL.

While his offensive numbers were down a bit, Othmann feels he learned how to play a complete 200-foot game and showcased his defensive abilities. He has also been extremely impressive and consistent at each level as he's worked his way through juniors.

After participating in rookie camp, which ends on Sept. 19, Othmann will transition to the team’s main training camp where he has an outside chance of cracking the opening night roster.

While it’s considered an extreme long shot, and he seems destined to at least begin the year with the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL, the youngster is just excited for the opportunity to take the next step in his pro career.

“What I’ve always wanted is to have that status of being a professional hockey player,” he said. “I’ll miss juniors and my team in Peterborough, but now it’s about being a pro hockey player. That’s what I’m most excited for whether it’s in the NHL or American League.”

The Rangers have a bit of a log jam at his natural left wing position, so in an attempt to showcase his versatility and perhaps make the leap a little quicker, the youngster will flip over to the right side during camp.

It’s a switch that he feels comfortable with and is ready to make.

“I know it says I’m a left winger, but I can play the right side as well,” he said. “It’s kind of the same thing. At the end of the day, you’re really only playing left wing, right wing, or center at a face-off.”

Othmann put on an extra 10 pounds of muscle this offseason and is feeling good heading into camp, where it sounds like he'll receive plenty of run.

"We're thrilled with the progress he's made since the draft," General Manager Chris Drury told reporters Thursday. "Things evolve over the next three weeks. He'll be given opportunities in practices and preseason games to show what he can do.

"I'm hoping there's some good surprises and maybe he's one of them."

Despite that notion from the GM, it would still be a bit of a shock if he is able to scratch his way onto the opening night roster. If you ask Othmann though, he feels he's ready to take that next step.

“I think I’m ready, but it’s not up to me,” he explained. “It’s how I perform, it’s how I do. If I don’t do well then it’s gonna be a little time in the AHL, and if I do perform well maybe it’s still more time down there.

“I’m excited for the development part of things. If I’m playing this year I’m gonna love it, if I’m in the American League it’s the same thing, just trying to make the NHL as fast as possible.”