Thursday, April 3, 2008

Middle of the Week Fun

Update: Hartford finally announces the signing of Tomas Zaborsky to an ATO

Mister Hobbs Heads to College

In the World of Junior Hockey players move on to hopefully higher levels of player as they work their way toward what they hope is an NHL career.

For Danny Hobbs, the last 2 years have been spent with the Ohio Junior Bluejackets of the USHL. The Rangers 2nd seventh round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft played his final home game on Wednesday evening.

It must have been a combination of emotions for Hobbs as he finishes one chapter in his life and gets ready for the next one. In Hobb's case he is going to trade the uniform of the Junior Bluejackets for one of the UMass/Amherst Minutemen next year.

Hobbs and his Junior Bluejackets were playing just for pride on Wednesday when they faced the Indiana Ice. However they dug themselves a 3-0 hole and fell one goal short losing 4-3 to the Ice.

In his final home game, Hobbs had an assist on the Junior Bluejacket's first goal, a power play goal in the second period. For Hobbs, it was his 15th assist on the season and 6th on the power play.

It gives Hobbs a 15-15-30 record for the season with just 2 away games remaining in his USHL career. As for his team if they can find a way to win those last 2 home games then the 2nd year franchise will finish with a 500 record which would be an improvement of 14 wins.

It would be a nice way for Hobbs to finish his USHL career.

Hillier gets His Contract

It would have been very hard for the Rangers to explain how they did not sign a 34 goal scorer to an entry level contract. We are not saying that Ryan Hillier is not deserving of his contract but we want people to realize that Hillier still needs some work and could be 1-2 years away from the NHL.

Hillier in our eyes needs to become more consistent with his game and work on his overall game, something even Hillier has acknowledged that he needs to do so we are very hopeful that it will happen.

Hillier must understand that if he goes though a 5 week period like he did this past regular season that unlike in the QMJHL he will not drop down a line but rather find himself in the press box or sent down to the ECHL.

We are happy for him and of course we have to love the timing of his contract announcement as it came on the same day we named him as the Dean Prentice Prospect of the Month for March.

Now we want to see Hillier lead his Halifax Mooseheads to victory in what is already being called "The Battle of Nova Scotia" against province rival the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

Are You Keeping Count?

With the signing of Hillier and the still unannounced officially signing of Tomas Zaborsky that makes it 4 members of the 2007 Entry Draft who have earned contracts from the Rangers.

While the Rangers will not be able to top the 8 players who signed professional contracts from the 2004 NHL Draft Class, it is still another sign of improvement for a franchise that once had nothing of value in the farm system.

David Kveton Eric Hunter and Lukas Zeliska are the only remaining members of the draft class but so far there has been almost no sign that the Rangers will look to sign any of them.

Kveton might be the long shot hope as he is still viewed as the more talented of the trio. Eric Hunter deserves a shot (in our view) but we do not think he will get it because of missing time during the season.

The Rangers also need to decide whether or not to offer contracts to either Jordan Foote or Billy Ryan (both 2004 draft picks) but given how long it has been since either player has played it is even more doubtful that they will be offered contracts.

That is kind of a shame as it would have given the Class of 04 ten contracts.

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