Guest blogger: Lowell … scouting the first two Traverse games

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My review includes both games. I had high expectations going in and my expectations were exceeded. Each of our top prospects played exceedingly well and they showed extraordinary chemistry as a group. I was amazed at the team speed, above average puck skills and high hockey IQ of this group. For the most part they played tight defense, displayed a suffocating PK and a remarkably fluid power play; very surprising in that they only had a couple of hours practice prior to the tournament.

Some observations and conclusions:

· With so much talent on the blue line it seems inevitable that the Rangers trade one of these assets or perhaps create a package in order to get a top-three or at least an above average top-six power forward. Something similar to the Pens trading Goligowski for James Neal.

· Although the Rangers prospects include a number of undersized forwards that isn’t nearly as much of a concern as it once was. The new rules and the expected downsizing of hockey violence are accommodative to the smaller player. Every team has “Smurfs,” many of whom are thriving. Just the other day Tyler Ennis of the Sabres (49 points and 20 goals) said he played at 155 pounds last year!

· The Rangers NHL squad is on the threshold of dramatically increasing their overall team speed. Several of their top prospects are in the Gaborik class of speed.

In evaluating the players who participated in these two games I’m focusing on those I consider to be the most viable prospects and omitting or merely mentioning those who seem unlikely to wear a blue shirt any time soon.

Tim Erixon: Calm and composed. Above average skater with excellent agility and balance. Sees the ice very well and is a plus passer consistently delivering the puck for easy handling. Has a very powerful left-handed slap shot which was very accurate and was invariably on net for redirects or forcing the goalie to make the save. He has no hesitation about shooting, but he was unselfish and often faked a shot and passed instead. He was excellent quarterbacking the power play. He is a very confident player but not flashy. In the first game his defense was very soft on a couple of occasions where he lost the battle on the boards without much of a fight, but in the Dallas game he was much more physical and threw some nice checks. He said he was still getting used to the smaller rink. Does he make the varsity out of camp? My guess is he’ll start out in CT, where he can play major minutes, get mentored by Redden and their coaches rather than play 10 or 1l third-line minutes with the parent club.

Ryan Bourque: Probably the best player on the ice. He is a superb hockey player who is small but seems to have an impact on every shift. His on-ice work ethic is off the charts. He is an exceptional backchecker and penalty killer. He has top end speed and can easily beat most defensmen to the outside. He has good shot strength with a quick release and will definitely score some goals at the NHL level. He makes his linemates better because of his high energy and skill. I think it’s time for him to take his game to Broadway. He’s a veteran of International play with two years of major junior experience. He can make an impact as a fourth liner and penalty killer.

J.T. Miller: Had an up and down opening game. Showed some good things but also a lack of discipline when he tried to do too much stick-handling and turned the puck over a few times. In the Dallas game he really stepped it up. He has only average speed at this point but above average agility and balance. He is a left-handed shot and is not afraid to shoot. His shot strength is only average at this time. He also tried three backhand shots and they were lacking in velocity and accuracy. He has exceptional hockey sense and is consistently around the puck. He is very physical, has a high compete level, is difficult to knock off the puck and wins more than his share of battles. He was outstanding on faceoffs, winning most of them cleanly. He plays a two-way game and was effective on the pp and pk. One thing to remember: He was one of the standout players on the ice and yet he was perhaps the only one who had no junior, college or pro experience; He was playing in under 18’s until now. My feeling is that he is a sure-fire top-six prospect who can play all three positions and may ultimately be a top-three player. He is a very mature kid who seems to be all business.

Christian Thomas: I had heard that he was strictly a give and go type player who lacked the skill to create his own shots. What I saw was someone with above average puck skills with top end speed who easily beats the defense to the outside and who can wiggle his way through traffic until he either shoots or passes. His work ethic is relentless and he did something positive on every shift. He didn’t score but he drew at least three penalties. His hockey sense is supreme; no surprise because of his DNA. He is always looking to shoot and he has a very heavy slap, snap and one-timer with a lightning quick release.  He can score from anywhere on the ice. He has a top compete level and is fearless about going into the dirty areas where the giants roam and doesn’t back down to anyone. Defensively and on the PK he sticks to his man like glue. He was outstanding on the pp usually stationing himself on the goal line where his superior on ice vision resulted in many excellent passes leading to scoring opportunities for his team mates. Ultimately I see him fulfilling a power-play role similar to Stamkos where he positions himself in the circle for his quick release and powerful one timer.

Dylan McIlrath: The captain. Showed tremendous poise and exudes confidence. The swagger factor is very evident. An excellent skater both forward and backward.  Has a very good first step and gets to full speed in a hurry. Very athletic with excellent balance and agility. Built like a bank vault and players bounce off him. He was physical but didn’t give up his assignments just to hit someone. He passes aggressively and for the most part delivered the puck on target. He makes good outlet passes and has a good knowledge of angles and positioning along the boards. He uses his stick very well and defends a lot of ice because of his long reach. He had one fight when he went to the aid of a teammate and the Ref had to break it up before DM killed the guy. He has a heavy snap and slap shot which was on net every time perhaps a result of his short backswing on the slapper and the fact he’s seems willing to sacrifice velocity for accuracy. He’s going back to Juniors this year although I think he could actually play in the NHL now on a team that wasn’t as flush on the blue line as the Rangers.

Carl Hagelin: Another speed demon along with Bourque and Thomas. Hagelin is smallish and appears to me to be a career special teamer. He is an excellent defensive player who goes all out on each shift but doesn’t have great offensive skills. He was outstanding on the PK. The fact that he’s five years older than some of the other players who already have more offensive skills than him tends to reinforce my feeling about his future as a special teamer.

Blake Parlett: What a pleasant surprise. This guy’s got game. Smart, steady, composed, rarely makes mistakes. Above average skater, decent shot, very good passer. Can QB the PP. Defensively responsible. Probably a victim of a numbers game because of all the defensemen ahead of him. I like his game better than Sanguinetti’s and BS fetched a second-round draft choice so a trade may be his ultimate fate.

Andrew Yogan: Played very well. Excellent size. Needs work on his skating but is a smart player who gets into position to score around the net. A very good passer with good hockey smarts. Physical and steals a number of pucks. Will probably play with the Whale where he had two goals in two games last season. Had shoulder surgery last year and they said he hurt a shoulder late in the Dallas game. Don’t know the extent of it or whether it was the same shoulder.

Michael St. Croix: Showed very well in both games. A tenacious two-way player who has an uncanny knack of winning battles along the boards despite a lack of size. Good puck skills, good passer, average shot. Only 18 with a nice upside.

Shane McColgan: Similar in many ways to St. Croix. Small, fast, smart, tenacious. Probably not more than 170 lbs yet he went to the aid of a teammate and fought a much bigger guy and gave a good account of himself. He may be more of a goal scorer than St. Croix but not as complete a player. Also 18 with a good upside

Scott Stajcer: Played well in goal. His butterfly coverage was good. He squared up very well. He protected the five hole and covered his angles well on first shots. He easily directed pucks out of danger, trapped pucks easily against his body, had decent lateral quickness. He has above average size and athletic ability. He does well under fire and finds the puck when there’s a scrum in front of the net. For a while he was perhaps the best goalie in the OHL last year before suffering a hip injury. The Rangers apparently like him a lot. He’s already signed his pro contract and he may supplant someone with the Whale this season.

Jason Missiaen: 6-foot-8 goalie who is very raw. He does have some athletic ability and with that size maybe he’ll amount to something in time.

There are some other guys who showed well particularly Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Jason Wilson and they too could end up on the Whale this year.

Conclusion: I think it’s definitely Ryan Bourque time. Personally I see him an a replacement for Avery. He can do a lot more for this team than SA, imo. I can see a fourth line of Bourque, Hagelin and Rupp. Super high energy providing excellent defense with some scoring potential. Hagelin would replace Christensen.

I hope Thomas is so good at camp that he forces his way on the team. This kid is going to score a lot of goals in the NHL. The question is where do you play him and whose spot does he take. He doesn’t really have anything more to prove in Juniors and he’s too young for CT so we’ll have to see how it plays out. If he shines in camp, maybe a nine-game trial with the varsity and he can then either stay or return to Oshawa for another year.

Go Rangers!

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107 Comments

  1. Lowell, thanks – i love reading about our youngsters in the off-season, and that was a great piece with plenty of detail.
    I cant wait to see Thomas, Bourque, Erixon and especially McIlrath in Ranger blue.

    I think the players like Wolski, Christensen and Avery are going to have a hard time hanging onto their roster spots this year and defence is anyone’s guess, maybe we put together a package for a top line LW, who knows? Slats is the master of the surprise trade!

  2. Good morning, ‘heads!

    It’s hot here. We are staying in a little town called Tzfat before heading south to the Red Sea tomorrow morning.

    I stayed up late and watched Traverse City game against Dallas using my Slingbox. So far I saw the last period of their game against junior JD team and this one. It’s a bit too early to say who is projected to be what, who is going to make it to NHL or whatnot. But one thing is impressive- the style this team plays. Aggressive, going after the puck, great shots, impressive passing, hard work, physicality. I’ll tell you something. I believe Ken Gernarder just might finally find his place in NHL after all. As a good head coach one day.

  3. I watched most of the 1st game and about 1/2 of the 2nd game and like the article’s author, came away impressed. That said, let’s not forget this is a tournament made up primarily of kids who haven’t played even a single game in the NHL so it’s not quite time to predict a bunch on are their way to hall of fame careers (the fact that Ryan Bourque is leading the team in goals is proof enough of that, IMO).

    Still, one cannot argue about the over speed of the Ranger team and the fact that regardless of the score, how they kept coming at their opposition in waves, handling and passing the puck impressively.

    The only real negative aspect about the games so far are the two idiots in the broadcast booth; their incessant inane babbling that all too often spills over into the actual play I found infuriating. It’s difficult to figure out who’s who on the ice and it would nice to actually hear the names being called out, rather than being forced to listen to who’s leading who in the number of twit followers.

    Ridiculous…

  4. jim

    NOw do you see why I spent so much energy trying to find a roster of the players number early on so that they could be memorized and the reason being the idiots in the booth who always gab it up about inanities whlle the action is under way.

    I think that the best trade the Rangers could make this year is for Chuck Kaiten of the Canes.

  5. billybleedsblue on

    Nice write-up! If you’re right about Bourque and Hagelin, that’s exciting to think about even though that could mean bye-bye to Avery (I like him).

    Jim, from what little of the games I caught I can’t agree more about the broadcasting. Even though it’s an exhibition for prospects, only real hockey fans are watching this stuff and the guys in the booth should take it more seriously.

  6. Lowell – I didn’t watch the games with a scout’s eye, but I think your evaluations are spot on. I wasn’t that impressed with Missiaen except that the guy is huge.

    Jim, I felt the same way about the broadcasting. I didn’t know the numbers and half the time can’t make them out anyway and these guys are spouting off about who has the most twitter followers. Ugh!

    Fran, since I’m in NC I get to listen to Chuck Kaiten quite a bit on the radio, but John Forslund does the TV broadcasts. Kaiten is good. He does not work with a commentator. The only knock that I have on him is that when listening in the car there are times when I can’t make out what he’s saying because he’s talking so fast.

  7. I really hope Sean doesn’t read this: I assume Sean Avery is going to get tested and pushed at the beginning of the season. I mean something big like First Line minutes. If he doesn’t live up to that I don’t really see him on this team for very long. He could end up Whale’d in a hurry. In that case, please get Ryan Borque up here so he can step in.

  8. Interesting assessment of the prospects and I generally agree. One thing I think you’re wrong on is this bevy of talent foretelling a trade. The Rangers are riding a very fine cap line right now. They’ve made some really stellar cap moves in the past two seasons and pretty much now have it set up where they’ve spaced out the cap needs of the team’s core. That means they can focus on signing two key players, replace less crucial elements with young players and keep enough space open to sign a UFA if need be necessary.

    Next year, we can assume Wolski is all but gone, barring a crazy resurgence this season. Likewise with Avery, Christensen, Fedotenko and Eminger. All of those guys can be replaced with guys in the minors this season. Guys like Bourque, Hagelin, and Weise. But if they force a guy like Thomas into the lineup early, they also start his contract clock ticking. Than means they could end up having to negotiate more than just a couple of big contracts each summer.

    Besides, I say let the kids hone their skills at the lower levels and then in Hartford. I love what Gernander has done with that program. I can wait an extra year for guys like Thomas or Bourque and don’t mind doing it, considering they’re not going to get the ice they need on fourth with Rupp. But we’ll see in camp. I suspect we’ll see a few more blemishes when these guys start playing with real NHLers.

  9. Funny. Of the ‘bubble’ Rangers, the two guys I never hear about training hard in the offseason are Sean Avery and Erik Christensen. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if either disappears after camp. Two bad attitudes. Two bad apples.

  10. Nice job, Lowell. I, too, watched the games and couldn’t have done the write up better.
    One area that does need replacing is the broadcasters. They get more annoying each year, EXCEPT Dave Maloney. I really enjoy his point of view, he knows his stuff and he takes his job seriously, whatever the topic may be. He deserves to be in the booth permanently.

  11. tomb – That’s what Avery’s cap hit is: Half that. The other half is being paid by the stars. But I’m doubting whether he’s even worth that much.

  12. I think Erixon makes the team for sure. He always looks like he knows what he’s doing. Lots of offensive skill, which we need desperately. He may allow us to deal Del Zotto if he pans out.

    Don’t know about any of those forwards yet- the scoring in all those rookie games is fairly high.

  13. billybleedsblue on

    it’sabouthockey — you are right about Maloney IMO. The fact that he is on the radio is great, but get him in the TV booth please. The fact that he’s on radio and not TV makes me imagine there are some kind of politics involved with who is calling the games and where. I listen to the radio lots of times as an alternative to Sam and Joe… Sam is the man, but for some reason, I can’t stand the combination of him and Joe (at times). I’ve said it before, at least years ago, JD kept Sam in check, while now, Joe is largely an annoying yes man.

  14. great post lowell. i wish thomas hagelin and bourque had some more size but think they’ll be nhl’ers soon and will be ny rangers just like duby cally,step,artie sauer staal and the res of the kids who made the jump. guy im worriedabout is del zotto. with parlett and erixon and soon mcilrath will be ready for the big team, the one thing he has going for him is his offense, and i’d hate to see him not make it this year over another solid but mostly defensive type of player. ya gotta think richards and staal will be playing pp on the point, so hopefully he can get on teh team and play the 2nd unit and 3rd pair but for a 1st round pick, i would hate to see another bust. yes, alot ofthe players we have drafted have turned out very well, but mostly the 2nd,3rd, 4th rounders. its vey frustrating having to wait for kreider and then watch dz suffer so bad last year with his setbacks. i’d like to see some of our 1st ronders be successful besids staal. sangs, cherry(obviously cant),kreider,dz,mcilrath an miller. only 1 plays on the rangers. thats 1 player so far out of 7 drafts. talking 1st rounders only. does anyone know how long kreider will be staying in college?

    as far as players making the team, i dont think avery is goin anywhere. ec and mza are most likely gonna lose their spots. i think bourque and hagein, who is not big either should not be on teh 4th line together. need more size and toughness but maybe one of them on a line with prust n boyle, and one with feds and rupp. i do not think avery will be pushed out, but he probabnly wont play every night and if he doesnt improve his scoring i guess he will be pushed out. imo he has to quit all the fashion crap and other stuff tha takes time away from his main job!!

  15. Good morning all! Lowell, that was an incredible write-up! You get the C for guest blogger.

    I am ignoring some of the other comments :)

  16. I don’t think they’re going to deal Del Zotto with 1 year left on his ELC and his first RFA year that doesn’t include arb rights.

  17. phil,

    Rangers cap situation after this year actually opens very nicely. Most likely UFAs such as Avery, EC, Feds and Eminger will not be brought back and they could take Wolski to arb and walk away from the award. Add in a stepdown of Drury’s buyout cap hit and they’ll have a good amount of space.

    On the RFA front they’d have Del Zotto hitting his first year, meaning he’d have no arb rights. As for their UFAs there’s Prust and Biron. None of those 3 should command a huge commitment to re-sign.

    Given that most of the UFAs that I’d expect to see walk are bottom 6 forwards and a 6th/7th D, I think they could fill most of the spots from Hartford. There would still be a need to find a top 6 LW to go with either Richards and Gaborik or Anisimov and Callahan.

  18. Blogmama: If I get the C, you get an A.

    Grabby: Kreider is going to summer school so he can graduate and turn pro next year.

  19. DJK,
    It also means he’s essentially team controlled for another year. And with forwards like Thomas and Kreider in the the pipeline along with basically 3 of the 4 top wingers (Gaborik, Dubinsky, Callahan) there’s very little reason to trade for another winger. If anything they could sign one as a holdover until one of the younger guys are ready for a bigger role.

    There’s also no guarantee that Erixon becomes the team’s answer to a puck moving defenseman right away. And even if he does initially succeed, the experience with Del Zotto should be reason to enough to expect some regression. Or at the very least the need to exercise some patience with letting these guys develop on a gradual curve and not start moving them up against competition they’re not ready for.

  20. Having Hagelin and Bourque on the team also means that Cally and Dubi can have their pk minutes substantially reduced keeping them fresh and keeping Cally out of the line of fire of those bone breaking slap shots. Bourque is awesome on the pk. His coaches at the World Juniors raved about his defensive prowess. Hagelin is excellent as well.

    Btw, Rangers vs. Carolina from Traverse live at 3:30est today. MSG and NHL have it live.

  21. Billybleedsblue, ditto on your point of view. Most times I’m listening to the radio, too. And you’re right – the combination of Sam and JD was unbeatable. Even the brief stint JD did Sunday had me wishing he was back behind the mike. He just seemed to naturally go into analyst mode.

  22. Great write up. Don’t if I share your optimism regarding Borque or Hagelin making the big club this year, but that would definitely be something to see. Borque certainly looks like he’s nearly NHL ready, he was skating in circles around many of the players on the ice.

    One thing I think some of you guys are forgetting is that Avery has shown up to camp the last two years and been in incredible shape. He knows the deal.

  23. A couple of thoughts about Richards. MDZ talks about quarterbacking the pp. Not going to happen. Richards is one of the best in the league at running the pp and having him qb the pp was a big reason for bringing him here.

    Also, Richards is a minus 77 on the plus minus for his NHL career. Gabby is also challenged defensively. If you don’t line someone up on the other wing who can play defense, you may find that line giving up more goals than they produce.

  24. Blogmama: When John Davidson did the booth interview Sunday, I said to my self, “How about if we trade Joe M. to St. Louis and make him the President and get back JD and make him the analyst. He was the best ever.

  25. Great thinking Lowell – I really think the top line needs one guy who can get back there and play some Defense. Throwing Arti-Partie on that line could be disasterous. Boyle could be an OK suggestion at LW if he plays his size (I know I harp on that a lot). Anybody got any other suggestions?

    I really think that LW Top Line spot is going to rotate a LOT this year.

  26. Speaking of MSG broadcasting, I think its about time for MSG HD to be available to Verizon and all the other cable/satellite providers. Its absurd that people spend so much money buying top of the line HD TVs to not be able to watch their boys in HD. Anyone else in here have an amazing tv but lack the MSG HD feed? Its ridiculous! Power to the People! Libertad! Libertad! Libertad!

  27. Mundo: I agree with you. I have Time Warner and once in a while the game is on MSG2 and it’s BRUTAL to see it. I can’t imagine watching every game in non-HD. How did we live before this!?

  28. While I appreciate the details of your scouting reports and agree with some of what you said, I think you are over optimistic about all these players making it, especially this year. Usually in a prospect tournament like this one, if 4 to 5 players make it to the big club that’s a huge success. It’s very easy for guys to shine against their peers. That’s why they set this tournament up. As a way to judge your talent against the other 7 teams’ talent at this level. It’s a monumental jump from this level to the NHL.

    With that said, none of the forwards have a shot at the big club this season. While Bourque is the most polished, he’s a year away. Plus, the Rangers have a set 13 forwards going into camp (a positive sign that club has a plan and organizational system in place). Hagelin will be a good AHL player (NHL player on a bad club – like Parenteau). Thomas, who clearly has some upside, is still at least one year away. JT Miller still needs work.

    On the back end, Erixon has a legit shot to play for the Rangers this year. I think they will let Del Zotto have the chance to lose his job to start the year, which will actually be a benefit to Erixon starting the year as the number one in Ct.

    As for the “Undertaker” McIlrath – all that can be said is – THEY PICKED HIM OVER CAM FOWLER!! I’m sorry but this one still burns me as a first guess. To pass up on the lead PP QB of the Gold Medal US Junior Team for a guy who wasn’t invited to the Team Canada camp the same year made no sense at the time and is even more glaring now with Fowler a fixture already in Anaheim and Dylan barely making a ripple in a tourney where 85% of the players will never see an NHL game.

    Actually the one true eye-opener is Parlett. If he can pass the puck and move around like this during training camp, he will put a scare into Michael Del Zotto. Parlett has a lot of the same skill sets and it will be interesting to see if he can push Del Zotto to improve his offensive game.

    Overall, one has to remember the Rangers, in general, are a VERY young team at the NHL level. People forget, because of how well they played, that Sauer and Mcdonagh were not supposed to make it to the big club last year out of camp and instead turned into their best pair on the back end. To say the Rangers are set at the blueline position is really not true. While I do think they are set up front, if this team truly wants to scare the Eastern Conference, they need to make a move for a Top 10 in the League Defenseman. That’s where the money and assets should be pulled. You will not win a Stanley Cup with Mark Staal as your number one D (considering Chara in BOS, Pronger and Timonen in PHI, Letang in Pitt, Green and Carlsson in WSH).

    That’s where trading contract and assets should be directed.

  29. Lowell,

    While Richards is a PP machine (in his past 5 seasons he’s had a hand in about 50% of his teams PP goals) I think it’s important for the Rangers not to believe that he can cure the problems with the extra man all by himself.

    Dallas hovered around league average conversion rates during Richards tenure there. The top PPs in the league have multiple threats and if you look at the year by year stats for league leaders in PP points you’ll notice that there’s clusters of players from the same team.

    I suppose my point is that while Richards might take the lead when transitioning the puck from defense to offense, it will still be important to have other players that can create scoring chances. If the Rangers PP strategy revolves around Richards trying to get Gaborik the puck then eventually teams will adjust to take away that option and force the lesser skilled guys to beat the PK.

  30. Hockey fan,

    Definitely agree with your asessment of the prospects vis a vis their chances at making the Rangers this year. The current roster and contract situations along with AHL/junior and waiver eligibilities would suggest that almost none of the forward prospects have a shot at big club this year. Down the middle the Rangers are set as are top 2 RW and mostly every slot at LW except for 1st/2nd line which I think is going to be done by committee. As tempting as it is to bury some guys in Hartford, the usual suspects being Christensen and Avery, there’s also veteran player limits in the AHL that they must follow.

    As for McIlrath vs Fowler, this is going to be a debate that rages on until McIlrath plays in the NHL. Fowler was able to crack the Ducks roster because they had less depth on the blueline than the Rangers did. And he had very much a Del Zotto-like rookie season defensively. Also, consider that Fowler was playing on a team with the league’s leader among points for a defenseman in Visnovsky, as well as feeding a forward corps that had 1 50 goal scorer in Perry, 2 30 goal scorers in Teemu and Ryan and Getzlaf who still put up 76 points despite missing 15 games. I’m sure playing with those guys helped with his stats.

    While I think a premier D would help, it looks like the Rangers are willing to take their chances with what they’ve got for now. Staal isn’t in the league of Chara or a healthy Pronger, but he’s also a much different D than Letang or Green. However I just don’t see them acquiring that substantial an upgrade for the one stud defenseman without giving up a lot in return given the value teams have started placing on premier D.

  31. Hockeyfan,

    McIlrath and Fowler are nowhere near the same style of player. While our PP has been lacking for years for someone to run it, we have players now to fill that need (Richards) and other prospects that are pucking moving defenseman. Every team wants a hard hitting, crease clearing, standup DEFENSEMAN. These types of D-men are more rare in the league and are keepers if you can snag one. Buekeboom was the last as a Ranger and nobody has come close to him in the system since. McIlrath was worth the gamble and from what I’ve seen so far, is better and farther along at least then what I expected when drafted. He can skate very well for his size, has good vision and decent hands, a pretty accurate shot from the point and the greatest part is he is not done growing yet. If the pick pays off, we will have our big punishing defensemen ALONG with puck moving D and PP threats in MDZ and Erixon. I do agree Fowler is an awesome player and would love to have him, but I’m not disappointed in picking McIlrath over him just yet.

  32. Did someone mention sour power and mcdonut? Cannot wait to see those guys on the ice.

    May need dubi with gabby and rich-man for corner work and 2 way play

  33. Boom Boom Bathgate on

    Superb, substantive analysis, Lowell, let’s hear more from you as the season progresses. Even with all the progress these younger players are making, I still cannot help but wonder if Kreider is the best of them all, and wish to hell he had opted for the professional/ Ranger system ranks, rather than play another year in college, which I hope doesn’t slow his rate of development.

    Anything you know about him and care to add about him would be appreciated. I am especially wondering how you would compare him with what the Rangers had in Stepan, a year ago?

  34. Cross check

    That’s true about Kaiten, because I used to follow him when he was with Whalers and most of the time it was when i was driving so it would have been radio…he’s always been a radio man and he knows the game and the players inside and out. He talks fast because he gets a lot of info into his broadcasts and he makes sure that it comes across. ( you gotta listen faster!)

  35. While I’m all for the likes of Hagelin and Bourque, keep in mind all the points we stole last year with Christensen in the shootout. He deserves some PP time with his quick release (and to keep him loose for shootouts). With Hank as good as he is in shootouts, we can’t overlook the importance of Christensen in that situation, regardless of his attitude (doubt anyone on that team really trusts him after the Avery comment from the Edmonton brawls).

  36. Lowell nice coverage on the 2 Traverse games. I was very impressed with the cohesiveness
    of the team in all aspects of the games. I loved the passing and defensive play. I won’t be disapointed if none of these prospects make the team. They need to play where they will get maximum ice time, but many will be knocking on the door in a years time.

  37. Excellent review, Lowell! Thank you! It is definitely Bourque time!

    NHL 12 is out today!!! Gonna pick it up after work! Who has PS3? Find me CCCP_94.

    CT – you should get PS3!

  38. As it stands right now, Zach Parise will be our #1 UFA target next summer, but I agree, our most pressing need is for a superstar defenseman, which we haven’t had since Leetch.

  39. Boom Boom: Here’s the skinny on Kreider from talent evaluator Corey Pronman. I too feel that Kreider hasn’t shown a high hockey IQ thusfar. I think that will change with more playing time, coaching and maturity.

    Chris Kreider, Left Wing
    Date of birth: 04/30/1991
    Age: 20
    Height: 6’2”
    Weight: 214
    Shoots: Left
    Statistics: 32 GP, 11 G, 24 P (Boston College-Hockey East)
    Acquired: First round, 19th overall in 2009 by New York Rangers

    The Good: Kreider is a very athletically-gifted forward who has an all-world combination of speed, power and shot. You don’t need to be much of a scout to know that Chris Kreider can skate. In fact, several sources have told me that they think Kreider right now could be one of the best skaters in the NHL, and I would have to agree. He’s an explosive, dynamic mover with a very rapid yet powerful stride, allowing him to accelerate at an elite level. Kreider has an above-average physical game as he possesses a desirable frame and uses it well. He’s aggressive on the forecheck, physically takes his assignments on the backcheck, and is a pain in the rear to get off the puck. In one viewing, I saw a large defenseman try to check Kreider on the rush only to see Kreider simply bowl him over and continue his drive to the net. He has a plus shot and is a very deadly goal-scorer, with an extremely accurate wrist shot and the ability to score from way out. He’s decent with the puck and has the ability to be a solid distributor.

    The Bad: Kreider has all the raw hockey tools to be a first line forward if not an All-Star caliber forward, but his hockey sense is just so, so bad. On the 20-80 scale, I’d likely grade it anywhere from a 30 to a 35 grade. His decision-making is poor, his reads are poor, his positional play is poor, he consistently makes horrid passes and he just truly lacks a significant feel for the game. His defensive game has shown some improvement, but a lot of that is due to his physical game and his on-ice work ethic.

    Projection: An above-average second line forward ceiling though he could end up as an above-average to average third line forward.

  40. No but I can watch it on my blu ray DVD player.

    Ok, you’ve convinced me CCCP. I’ll just use your credit card info that I got when Lulz Sec hacked the PS servers.

  41. Manny I’ll order you a PS3 too, and put it on CCCP’s tab. We’ll order a few for each of us. After we’re done playing one game we can throw the PS3 out and open up a new one.

  42. Thanks, CT. Can you get me some awesome “gaming” clothes, too? As long as CCCP is paying I would like to make sure i have really flexible and athletic clothing for my gaming sessions.

  43. I have never seen McIlrath play. Does he have a Chara type game or more a Beukeboom/ Komiserek game?

    As far as not picking Cam Fowler, the Rangers already have Del Zotto, Staal and McDonough, they needed a bruiser back there.

    They also had Gilroy who they let walk.

  44. Mundo- with Fios and CV you get to play my LEAST favorite game… choose the lesser of two evils.

    I live in Staten Island so we don’t have Cablevision at all. Our choices were Time Warner or Satellite. Time Warner has the worst service ever. We would literally watch games and it would freeze or pixelate several times in a five minute span.

    When Fios came, we were thrilled…. except there’s no MSGHD. So we have to choose: Do we get Time Warner with MSGHD, but have to watch the picture freeze several times a minute OR do we get Fios with no MSGHD.

    It sucks, really.

  45. That is perfect, CT. That will really go well with the theme of my apartment that my wife has setup. It will really tie the room together. I will take two (2).

  46. Speaking of…Regardless of mainstream’s opinions, by some reason, I always liked Gilroy as a person and his style of game and still do. I’m pretty sure, and mark my words, he will absolutely blossom in Tampa.
    Meanwhile, I’m already overheated with excitement for new season.
    RANGEROS o MUERTE!!!

  47. Doodie Machetto on

    Is Lowell what the L in Greg L stands for? Someone was watching this game with the Rangers Blue colored glasses on.

  48. great write up lowell. agree with most points. i still think we trade ec before the start of the preseason

  49. LW LOL! PSTree is what i got!

    Doodie

    its not that he was watching the game in colored glasses… it was you who watched the games through heavily tinted window ;)

  50. billybleedsblue on

    Lunch: Plain yogurt with fresh pineapple and watermelon with an iced coffee, shot of milk and 2 sugars.

    lol, anyways, Our wait is almost over…I’m really psyched about this season! Can’t wait to see this team play!!!

  51. I just re-activated my gamefly membership just so i can get the NHL12 game lol

    i hope there is no need for some sort of a code to be purchased to play on line cuz that would suck!

  52. I just checked the gamefly and it say the availability for the NHL game is “Low”!! damn it! five minutes ago it was available not its low?! this is exactly the reason why i cancelled my gamefly membership in the first place! the games you want are never available!

  53. CC, I had Madden12 on top of my list for a week, and they didn’t send it to me, so I put NHL12 on my list three days ago, and they sent it yesterday, before the game even came out.

    If you put games on top of your GameQ before they come out, you automatically get a copy without waiting. The best part is, I’m getting a brand new untouched game.

    Weeee!

  54. I ordered mine through Amazon during their pre-sale. I was promised release day delivery. Have fun watching blu ray discs on your PSTree CCCP.

  55. Devils do have a serious financial problem. Van der Beek is at odds with minor partners – Brick City about organization future and is buying them out. In the same time he dodged a question if he himself keeps ownership and does desperate attempt to refinance and improve relationship with a banks. Meanwhile, we don’t feel like an only one suffering with ticket prices – Rock’s tickets are significantly up for new season.
    Kovy, predictably enough, brings them bad financial luck. First Atlanta, now Devils. He would be better off in KHL, where they don’t care much and where he could always find some “sugar owner” oligarch to buy and keep a team. BTW, he is the only one Russian player in NHL, I didn’t read and heard saying anything about Lokomotiv tragedy, but I could be wrong, just not seeing.

  56. billybleedsblue on

    4ever, the Devils and Kovy cursed your post. Typical move by the Devils. Speaking of the Devils and moving, HAHAHAHAHA, maybe the Icelanders AND the Debbies will be bought and moved! Oh man, how pathetic is that?!

  57. I have always been impressed by Gilroy’s play, and felt that he was shown little ice time to settle in as a regular D man , despite the absurd stuff that was tolerated by Girardi, Roszival, and others for much longer periods of time. I too will be following his progress
    with the T bolts, and see how he is handled by them.

  58. Wicky (Leeloo Dallas mul-ti-pass) on

    Afternoon ILB and all!!

    I agree with dan ld, Avery is always one of the best conditioned guys.

    I would love to see erixon, mcilrath, and hagelin make the big club.

    Top 7 d of staal, sauer, mcdonut, erixon, vtank, mcilrath, and eminger would be sweet!!

  59. THANKS
    for the analysis!
    only had a chance to watch part of game one
    and most of game two

    had hoped that there would have been a better
    report on Hagelin
    and while i appreciate the skill level
    and hockey sense mentioned
    the size of these forwards are a bit of a concern

    Smurfs the Sequel?

  60. Blueshirt in Paris on

    Nice write up. I can tell you follow Pronman by your ‘ranking’ vocabulary.

    I do think you we a little over-optimistic in some areas, but everyone has different opinions.

    I don’t see Miller as a top 3 guy. I like him and what he brings but don’t every see him as that. We can hope for a top 6.

    I don’t buy into the McIll v. Folwer argument. Different players, different team needs. I understand the reasoning that went into us picking him but I have to say I was quite Unimpressed (except for that 1 fight) in his performance. For his size he has some decent tools but he still didn’t impress that much. Hopefully we can chalk it up to those types of players that take a bit longer to develop but going off what I saw I don’t see him being more than a 5/6 dman. And that is not now but in the future. Dont see that he could play in the NHL now, even on the Islander.

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