Monday, January 12, 2009

Not This Month

As busy as we have been trying to keep track of Ranger prospects who have been all over the place, we almost forgot to name our Dean Prentice Prospect of the Month.

So when the email exchanges started up about who deserved it; there was more discussions saying why a player did not deserve it than one who did. In the end it was decided by yours truly that we have a set of standards that say a prospect must play above and beyond in order to merit consideration.

The closest anyone came to earning the honor was Chris Doyle as he was 7-3-10 for the month but 5 of his goals came in 2 games which took the luster off those 7 goals.

Also given the current climate where it seems people have gotten this idea that Ranger prospects are not all that good makes it very important for us to keep our own standards high. This was not a down month for the prospects as the combination of holiday break, the World Under-20, and injuries disrupted play.

As it is the beginning of this month shows that the Ranger prospects are in fact doing quite well for themselves and we will keep saying this: The best is yet to come from the Ranger prospects and that is not just talk; it is fact.


One area that you are going to hear from us during the next couple of months is post-season competition as if you are a Ranger fan then this is where your prospects are going to make or break their potential.

Remember how Marc Staal joined the Rangers last season? It was his play during the 2007 OHL playoffs that showed us that there was not going to be any stop in Hartford for Staal. Staal picked up his Sudbury Wolves and carried a then 6 seed all the way to 6 games in the OHL finals.

That player who Ranger fans today think so highly of, made his final leap during that playoff run and that is what we are looking for from the prospects.

So over the next couple of months the teams to watch are the London Knights (Del Zotto) and the Brampton Battalion (Grachev) of the OHL, Medicine Hat (Kundratek) of the WHL, Rouyn-Noranda (Lafleur) of the QMJHL, and Wisconsin (Stepan) and Michigan (Hagelin) of the NCAAs.

How far these teams go in their respective leagues or NCAAs will provide information for us but a valuable teaching tool about playing in pressure situations for these prospects. No coach, no classroom can teach a prospect about playing in high pressure situations as playoffs do.

We believe that we will see at least one prospect in the Memorial Cup and one more in the NCAA this year and then in a couple of more years wearing Ranger blue.

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