Friday, December 21, 2007

Getting Ready for the WJC

Today we are going to simply let the pictures tell the story as we proudly show you the Ranger prospects who will be representing their national teams.

While there is no Ranger prospect playing for Team Canada there are several Ranger prospects playing for teams that give hope that the Ranger prospect Gold medal streak started by Nigel Dawes in 2005 will continue.

I know some of you will say "What about Al Montoya who won in 2004?" but Montoya was drafted AFTER he won his gold medal while Dawes and company won it after becoming Ranger prospects.

Along with Dawes, Marc Staal and Tom Pyatt have 2 Gold Medals each. We expect that the streak will continue but we are going to predict an upset as we think Bobby Sanguinetti and Team USA are going to sneak in and steal the gold from Russia and Canada. We will explain why on Tuesday.

From Russia we have two key Ranger prospects, first 2007 1st round pick Alex Cherepanov and 2006 2nd round pick (and current Hartford Wolfpack member) Artem Anismov. This will be the second Under-20 championship appearance in a row for the duo and we are looking to see if they will be used on the same line.

Both prospects played well last year in Sweden so we fully expect to see more of the same. If you get any chance to watch these two very talented players and see why Ranger fans have a lot to look forward to.

Another prospect to watch is this season's surprise prospect and that is Carl Hagelin of Sweden. Hagelin who is playing for the Michigan Wolverines this season. The 2007 6th round draft pick is no stranger to international play having represented Sweden against Team USA during their evaluation camps.

Hagelin is another player if you get a chance to watch make the effort as this is a mature freshman who plays a solid 2 way game that is only going to get better.

Then we have David Skokan who is making his 3rd appearance for the Slovakian National team. As we reported yesterday, Slovakia's goal is to avoid being demoted in the relegation round.

Our final prospect to highlight is one who we do not cover much since he has returned to his native country and the host of this year's championship.

David Kveton who was the Ranger's 2006 4th round pick has been having a decent year for Trinec Ocelari of the Czech Extraliga. Kveton at last check was 10-5-15 in 28 games.

That makes it 6 Ranger prospects playing in the World Under-20 Championships which might be a record but even if it is not, it still represents a vast improvement when one considers how badly barren the Ranger farm system was over the previous decade.

(Picture credits: Sanguinetti-Brampton Battalion, Cherepanov-Avangard Omsk, Anisimov- Hartford Wolfpack/Chris Rutsch, Carl Hagelin-Michigan Wolverines, David Skokan-Rimouski Oceanic, David Kveton-HC Vsetin)

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