Chris Doyle should be smiling as his 2009-10 season got underway on Saturday evening with a pretty solid performance. Doyle who was a 2008 5th round pick of the Rangers had a goal in regulation and one on the shootout as Doyle's Prince Edward Island Rocket defeated the Halifax Mooseheads 6-5 in the exhibition opener for both teams.
Doyle was a +1 with 7 shots on goal and 3 good hits as he looks to bounce back from a season where a back injury cost him dearly. Doyle last season was leading Ranger prospects in scoring for the first half of the season until a back injury took the energy out of his game.
Doyle as well as 6th round pick Mitch Gaulton are the only members of the 2008 Ranger draft class who have not been signed to contracts. Doyle was having a break out season last year until he was injured is coming off career highs in both goals and points (30-42-72)
Doyle led Ranger prospects in power play goals (14) and fighting majors (5) as he was the only Ranger prospect to register a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (goal, assist, and fight in same game) but his defense is what is holding him back. Doyle is going to need a monster season in order to earn a contract as well as improvements on defense.
The 2 teams are supposed to play the 2nd half of this home and home on Sunday but Hurricane/Tropical Storm Bill is playing havoc in the area.
Ryan Bourque sat out as his Quebec Remparts had little trouble with the Rimouski Oceanic winning their exhibition opener 4-1. Bourque is expected to play on Sunday when the same teams play the second half of their home and home.
Sources tell us that for now Tomas Kundratek is not reporting to the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL but rather is going to prepare for Traverse City/Ranger training camp by working out in Montreal. Not a good move in our eyes as Kundratek did not have as strong a season as he could have last year.
The odds are good that the Rangers might want to see him return to the WHL this season so getting to play with the Tigers now only helps him during the season. If Kundratek did not want to report to the Tigers then why not instead of Montreal work out at the Ranger practice facility.
Working out at the Ranger facility gets him access to Ranger trainers as well as some of his possible future teammates. From a skill standpoint, Kundratek is ideal for the Tortorella system as he plays the style of defense (good skater, strong defensive skills and good passer) made for the system.
Sam Klassen did an interview with us for the Blueshirt Bulletin on Saturday and we really liked his own scouting report:
I guess most people would label me as a defensive d-man. I think my strengths as a hockey player are my skating, physical play, and able to read the ice well. Something that I can work on is my offensive zone. I hope that one thing the fans of New York will like about me is my physical play, as that is my favorite part of the game. I love making a big hit.
And Sam the Ranger fans will love you making those big hits but seriously it was one of the better interviews we did as Sam is a very thoughtful young man who we think makes the jump to Hartford this year.
Look for Sam's interview in the season opening issue of the Blueshirt Bulletin.
(Chris Doyle courtesy of the Prince Edward Island Rocket)
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