Since it is the holiday season and gift giving is supposed to be the norm then who are we not to offer presents to our favorite Ranger prospects. Our gift list here is offer Ranger prospects what we think they will help bring out their best.
We Start with Ryan Hillier of Halifax who we want to give the gift of a strong second half. The knock on Hillier has been season long consistency and if Hillier repeats his first half numbers of 21-22-43 then a Ranger contract will be his summertime gift.
Ryan is one of the nicer prospects we have gotten to know, a really good person who has a very strong work ethic so yes we want to see him make it because we do believe hard work should have it's rewards.
For Bobby Sanguinetti of Brampton we wish to give him some Respect. By Respect we are talking about Sanguinetti not getting any credit for the work he has done in improving his defensive game. While everyone talks about the offensive weapon Sanguinetti is (including us), we also disagree with those who label Sanguinetti as a one way player.
Sanguinetti will surprise you with his defense as he has worked very hard to get better and if there is one thing that nobody talks about is Sanguinetti's work ethic. Trust us it is very high and no other Ranger prospect knows those MSG critics better than Sanguinetti.
For Tomas Zaborsky of Saginaw we wish for him to be more selfish on offense. At 18-17-35 in just 32 games (last season he was 19-23-43 in 59) we think that on a rebuilding Saginaw team that Zaborsky has the ability to score 40 goals on the season. If the Spirit do not move Zaborsky to an OHL contender then we want him to show Ranger fans that he is a legit prospect.
For Eric Hunter of the University of Alberta, we wish for him to get a second chance with the Rangers. The leading scorer for the Golden Bears at 10-10-20 in 17 games, we are wanting Hunter who is a power forward to earn a second chance before the Rangers lose his draft rights.
At the very least one more chance for Hunter who plays the physical game is not too much to ask from a system that has so many finesse players. The Rangers have nothing to lose by bringing Hunter in for one more look.
Danny Hobbs of the Columbus Junior Bluejackets deserves two gifts, first some good luck and the other some offense. No other Ranger prospect can identify with the current Ranger offensive woes and bad luck than Hobbs and his Junior Bluejackets.
A team that has lost 5 overtime games, that has lost 6 one goal games and has only scored 54 goal (2nd fewest in the USHL) as we said can identify with the Rangers. It has been a long frustrating season for young Hobbs but he has a college scholarship waiting for him at UMass-Amherst next season.
For Carl Hagelin of the Michigan Wolverines, he was really hard to find a gift for since he has been giving Ranger fans some early Holiday presents this season.
At first we thought a medal at the World Under 20 Championships but we want that as an extra present for Bobby Sanguinetti. So for the freshman from Sweden we would like to see a NCAA National Championship for him.
Hagelin has been the eyeopening prospect of the year playing a totally unexpected excellent 2 way game for the nation's top ranked college hockey program. What is scary is like we said Hagelin is just a freshman, can you imagine what he might be like in 4 years?
Max Campbell of Western Michigan our wish is simple, we would like to see this promising center receive some recognition for his efforts this season. His best efforts at times have sadly not counted in either the standings or in the stat book.
If they did then Campbell would have 5 more goals than his numbers of 3-8-11 in 16 counting games shows. Just last week against Team USA in an exhibition game, Campbell scored both of Western Michigan's goals but Campbell will not receive official credit for those goals.
Campbell is a freshman who like Carl Hagelin was unknown prior to this season but how could we not like seeing him show he can play against what is supposed to be some of the very best American players in his age group. Also like Hagelin we like his potential.
For Antoine Lafleur of the Prince Edward Island Rocket we normally would not wish this but for this young man, a fresh start on another team. Lafleur has had a very tough year on a PEI team that got off to a very bad start that led to the firing of their coach and Lafleur basically losing his starting job.
A change of scenery for Lafleur is what we believe is in his best interests as he needs to play and despite the official word that Lafleur is "sharing" the goalie job, that really has not been the case.
For goalies to be able to develop they need to play and that does not appear going to happen for Lafleur. Prince Edward is rebuilding with some very young defenseman so in order for Lafleur to either regain his confidence and his possible NHL future then let him go elsewhere.
For our last prospect David Skokan of the Rimouski Oceanic our present for him is to be given some respect from those who have said he has been a disappointment.
How quickly people forget that it was Skokan who set up the winning goal in the Traverse City Championship game. You remember as part of his 3 assist effort in that game as he set up Alex Bourret twice and Bobby Sanguinetti.
A 3 assist game from a player who is supposed to be a defensive specialist is not something to ignore. Skokan is playing on a struggling Rimouski team but not because Skokan has not been trying.
We believe that when Rimouski's season is over that Skokan will be heading to Hartford because while others may not respect him, the Rangers do and will give him that shot.
Finally our last gift is to all of you who take the time to read this and our work at the Blueshirt Bulletin. That gift is of thanks for your support, your encouragement and your help at improving what we are trying to do.
We are not perfect but we try and with the support of the many hard working people who never get credit for their efforts (we will take care of that tomorrow) we are able to help Ranger fans realize that there truly is a bright future ahead for this franchise.
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