Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Nuclear Weapon

If you have been reading what I have been saying over at the Blueshirt Bulletin about Bobby Sanguinetti (2006 1st), then what he did on Sunday afternoon did not come as a surprise. I have described Sanguinetti as a nuclear weapon on offense who could put up some very huge numbers this season.

Sanguinetti gave Ranger fans an example of what I was talking about with an exceptional 5 point (2 goals 3 assists) performance against the Niagara Ice Dogs Sunday afternoon. Sanguinetti and his Brampton Battalion defeated the Ice Dogs 5-4 as Sanguinetti was involved in every Battalion goal.

As the Battalion website called it, this was the Bobby Sanguinetti show . Read their game report and you will see why. This is the kind of game report that will remind you of a former Ranger blueliner who is getting his number raised to the Garden roof this year.

We are talking about one player taking total control over a game and dominating it. Gord Clark (Ranger director of player personal) talks about how important it is for a player to dominate the league he is playing before moving on. I am pretty sure this is exactly what Clark means

In 2 OHL games, Sanguinetti already has 6 points and a +4 to show for himself. Granted it is only 2 games but it is clear that Sanguinetti is on a mission this year. Whatever the Rangers told him they wanted to see from him at this level is sinking in.

If you go back to the other day when I was talking about how I rank prospects number 4 was: What kind of situation is a prospect playing under. Last season Sanguinetti and Owen Sound simply did not work even though numbers (23-30-60) made it seem like it was a decent season.

For Sanguinetti was not the kind of season where he could show forward progress. The knock on him was his defensive play (a knock even I was guilty of doing) and perhaps it was wrong given the lack of a real supporting cast.

Sanguinetti has had to listen to a lot of criticism about his defensive play so imagine how dumb all of us experts looked when Sanguinetti joined the Wolfpack for their playoff run and more than held his own defensively. It was great to see Sanguinetti earn first star honors today not only for his offense but because of the +4 as well.

More Prospect Action

Ryan Hillier (06 3rd) continued his very strong start to this season earning his 3rd straight star (2nd Star) with 2 goals (#'s 3 and 4) as his Halifax Mooseheads had to go to the shoot out before edging the Moncton Wildcats 5-4 in the QMJHL action on Sunday. Hillier also had one of the Moosehead goals in the shootout period to help seal the win.

Of the 2 goals the second of the game had to be the better one as Hillier cashed in a shorthanded goal for the 2nd time this season. Offense on the penalty kill is always a welcome sight and a sign that a player is developing a complete game.

Overall it was a strong game as Hillier had 8 Shots, was a +2, was credited with 1 good hit and even was 1-1 on faceoffs. Going to be hard for Coach cam Russell to drop Hillier to the 2nd line if he gets back some of his players still attending NHL camps.

For Hillier, this string of games hopefully is a sign of things to come. There is no question that Hillier can play and that he has a lot of talent. His problem has been that he has not shown it over a full season.

Hillier is one of those who I have been saying is a player to watch this season. His career high in goals is 32 and if he stays healthy then I can see Hillier forcing a Ranger contract with a 50 goal season.

Meanwhile the player who it so far has been the hardest to get a read on David Skokan showed he is consistent in one area; being curiously inconsistent with his face off numbers. In the five games Skokan has played this season he has yet to have 2 straight games where he won more than 50% of his faceoffs.

Even more interesting is that when he does not score like he did not do today then his face off numbers improve. For the game Skokan's Rimouski Oceanic lost 4-3 to the visiting Victoriaville Tigres.

Skokan went 13-12 on his faceoffs, "Even", and was credited with a good hit. He did not take any shots which I for one think he has to show more offense if he wants to earn a Ranger contract.

Overall after the first full weekend of CHL action, Ranger fans can be happy with the play of their junior prospects. If some of these trends continue then the Ranger scouting staff will have once again done an outstanding job.


The Dark Ranger said...

Jess,...nice post on Bobby Sanguinetti. I have actually seen this kid play on the local level in Cherry Hill, NJ area - near Philadelphia, I think he's from Lumberton. He has always stood out as a strong & steady team player - though, he may need more cultivating and time to play the pros (and who really knows?) he will contribute to the Blueshirts of Tomorrow. I also hugely admire that he has remained a Rangers fan in Flyers country. As I share the same story and even used to cut Bobby Clarke's lawn a couple of decades a go, to remain with the blue when they bleed orange is one of determination.


Takashi said...


Great to see that you have started your own prospect blog. I have subscribed it on my RSS reader.

From my kid-days checking Providence Reds stats on the Hockey News, I think I can enjoy reading your entries here.

Keep up the great work and don't be surprised that there is access from Tokyo.