Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Are You Ready?

(Updated 6:45PM: RedWingsCentral.com has Ranger roster for Traverse City, Thanks to Lee and Sasky Stewart for running down more names for Traverse City roster)

You know it is kind of fun to see all the "Countdown to Hockey" stuff all over the web. For those who are interested in the New York Rangers then there are 23 days left before training camp starts.

23 days for you guys but not for us as our season is now starting thanks to the prospects who will be playing in the 3 Canadian Hockey Leagues, the QMJHL, OHL and WHL. For those young prospects training camps started opening this week so let us start by playing catch up with what we know for Traverse City.

Andy Kemper who is the voice of the Portland Winterhawks reported at his website After The Whistle that Luke Walker who led the Winterhawks with 29 goals last season received an invite to Traverse City. Walker is a 6'1 180 Center who we see as a left wing on the Rangers.

Andy was also kind enough to provide us with a scouting report on Walker:

Walker is a good skater who uses his speed well...drives hard down the wing and to the net. Above average wrist shot but scores more goals from in tight around the net. A slight body build doesn't stop him from playing physical or winning battles in the corners.

We saw Walker a couple of times last season, and in his 2nd game he got our attention scoring 2 power play goals that gave the Winterhawks a 3-0 lead they would not give up against Kelowna. On that afternoon Walker was the Game's First Star and deservedly so for his performance

Walker as a typical 19 year old prospect needs work on all areas of his game but under current Winterhawk and former NHL coach Mike Johnson; we think is going to have an even better season this year. Walker is not afraid to go into traffic and get his hands dirty, Rangers could have themselves a steal here.

Walker joins Craig Cunningham of the Vancouver Giants as known tryout invites but we expect a few more including at least 1 goalie (maybe Antoine Lafleur we keep hearing).

So as of this writing this is what we are starting to see shape up for the Traverse City roster.

Goalies: Chad Johnson of the University of Alaska (2009 Trade), Scott Stajcer of the Owen Sound Attack (2009 5th)

Defense: Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd), Michael Del Zotto (2008 1st), Sam Klassen (2009 UFA), Tysen Dowzak (2008 UFA), Daniel Maggio (2009 6th), Iikka Heikkinen (2009 UFA), Matt Gilroy (2009 UFA), Mitch Gaulton (2008 6th), Trevor Glass (UFA 2009), Mike Berube (UFA 2009)

Forwards: Evgeny Grachev (2008 3rd), Ryan Bourque (2009 3rd), Ethan Werek (2009 2nd), Chris Chappell (2009 UFA), Chris Doyle (2008 5th), Ryan Hillier (2007 3rd), Roman Horak (2009 5th), Luke Walker (ATO), Craig Cunningham (ATO), Dale Weise (2008 4th), Justin Soryal (2008 UFA), Paul Crowder (2009 UFA), Daniel Bartek (ATO) and at least 2 more free agents on tryout status.

Now we know the first question everyone is asking is where is 2009 First Round pick Chris Kreider and why is he not attending Traverse City? On this one the Rangers are not to blame as NCAA rules make it next to impossible for college prospects to attend Traverse City.

Kreider as well as Derek Stepan (2008 2nd), Ryan McDonagh (2009 Trade), Max Campbell (2007 5th), and Carl Hagelin (2007 6th) at last check are all planning on attending college this season. The prospects would in order to attend Traverse City need to pay their own expenses to attend Traverse City.

For the Rangers, it does not make any sense to bring the college prospects in since they are wanting to fill rosters not only for the Rangers but also Hartford and Charlotte. We do expect that of the college prospects that come next season Stepan and McDonagh will be in Traverse City.

We will not talk about those prospects in Europe as they have already started their preseason games over there which is a sure sign that none are intending to play for the Rangers this season.

We will get more info up ASAP.

Luke Walker Courtesy of the Portland Winterhawks)


Amos said...

i'm totally jazzed about the calendar page turning... it means hockey's just around the corner! to me hockey season starts at traverse city, since that's really when a steady flow of hockey news starts up and it carries through the end of the season. the dog days of hockeyless summer are soon over! thanks for the update jess, this walker kid seems like a solid invite.

Lee said...

Thanks JR - so of course, I am curious about the names not mentioned. Why not Didiomete if Soryal and Weise and maybe Williams? Zaborsky along with Hillier? Ambuhl as well as Heikkenen? Any precedent/liklihood that either of the 'Pack's overage WHL D signees (Trevor Glass,Mike Berube) are invited? Was Heikkenen playing at the highest level in Finland? if so maybe he's not at TC. Great to be talking hockey, thanks for all your great work.

Jess Rubenstein said...

Soryal and Weise are considered as possible NHLers whereas Didiomete is not.
Nigel Williams remains a possibility but as someone who has pro experience under his belt does not really need to attend.
Heikkenen is on list because he is just coming over to North American.
Hillier because he was out injured at start of camp and never got his season going.
Zaborsky could attend but already has been to 3 TC camps.

The list will grow and change so we will see more names added in the coming weeks.


This was the longest off-season I have experienced and I do not want to repeat it LOL

Amos said...

This offseason has been bad... part of the reason I'd been (selfishly) leaning on you to do some kind of prospect overview, i'm starved for any kind of hockey info. my usual offseason routine (watching baseball) was actually more helpful this time since the braves have managed to hold off on sucking completely this year (atlanta native, sorry mets and yankee fans!), but despite the distraction of baseball, i find myself checking blueshirt bulletin and kuklaskorner practically every ten minutes haha. i popped NHL 09 in the ps3 yesterday just to see how crazy different the squad is going to look this season. i truly think that arnason is slotted to replace anisimov's AHL production, that he wasn't signed with intentions of becoming a ranger. i'd really like to see byers in the lineup over voros... i feel like they would've gotten more production out of myself in voros's equipment.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for this tournament to begin. Not just to see hockey, but to see our home grown prospects in action. I find it great that the Rangers elect to take part in this great event.