You know it seems like only yesterday Dubi Silverstein talked me into covering New York Ranger prospects but as I get to enter my 6th season of doing this I thought about how cool this really has been. This was supposed to be a "one and done" kind of deal before I started writing about the San Jose Sharks.
I was tired of Glen Sather, the Dolans and the nonsense that sadly still happens with the New York Rangers. Hockey was no longer any fun but then I met Brandon Dubinsky, Ivan Baranka, Nigel Dawes, Marcus Jonasen and Ryan Callahan.
Here were these young kids all chasing a dream of playing not only in the NHL but they wanted to become New York Rangers in the worst way. They reminded me why being a Ranger fan was special as even though they were getting to play hockey in the Canadian Juniors they still were fans of hockey.
They gave me the gift of enjoying the sport that I grew up loving back to me. Hockey is special because it is not your size that matters as it does in other sports but instead it is the size of your heart that does.
Then what I was not expecting was the support I got from you guys; to say that the feedback and kind words caught me totally off-guard would be an understatement. It may not seem like much to some people but to read something as simple as "I enjoy reading about the prospects" means more to me than any of you will ever realize.
I bring all of this up because while this may be the anniversary of Prospect Park, it is also the start of a new hockey season as well. I spent the last 2 days working on my contribution to the first issue of the season for the Blueshirt Bulletin.
It is going to be a lot of fun covering the Ranger prospects this season as there is some really good talent now a part of the Ranger pipeline. The talent level has greatly improved and instead of 1-2 prospects who are going to have a shot at becoming Rangers we can honestly say there 15 legit prospects in the system.
For the season opening issue of the Blueshirt Bulletin I decided to make a case for the defense as it is without a doubt the deepest area within the franchise but within 2-3 years, there will no longer be the need to overpay for free agents.
I got to have the fun of interviewing Ryan McDonagh who the Rangers got in the Scott Gomez trade and then 2 undrafted free agents who Ranger fans will love because of not only their work ethic but also their great personalities in Sam Klassen and Trevor Glass.
Give Glen Sather credit here as getting the Canadians to give the Rangers the 12th pick in the 2007 was a great pick up. McDonagh is not only best 2 way defensive prospect the Rangers have but he is also a natural leader who his teammates at Wisconsin voted as the "Most Competitive" on the team.
Then you have what I have to call the "odd couple" in Klassen and Glass as they have paired up with each other at Traverse City. Klassen is the kid from the small farm town who at Traverse City had a goal, an assist, a fight and a +4 to lead Ranger defenders.
Want to talk about a person who you can take an instant liking to and you have Sam Klassen. I am still waiting for someone to say any kind of bad word about him.
Then we have Trevor Glass who like Klassen is a stay at home defender. "Glasser" as he is called knows how to win as he is bringing 2 WHL championships as well as 1 Memorial Cup in which he scored what proved to be the Cup clinching goal.
Glass comes to the Rangers from Calgary via the Spokane Chiefs and while Klassen is the physical defender, Glass is the Professor of Defense out there. An excellent skater who as a hockey tactician can see a play develop before the offense knows what they are going to do.
They make an odd pairing but they will make an effective one.
Then this season there is some talent as well as some possibilities that will give you reasons to get excited about the future. From the newest draft picks to possibly as many as 6 Ranger prospects playing in the World Junior championships, this season looks to be a ton of fun.
So thank you all for everything you have done to make this place the best job among those covering the Rangers. There are some exciting things going to happen this season because of you and hope you guys like what happens here.
(Pictures Courtesy of Dubinsky: Portland Winterhawks, Nigel Dawes: Kootenay Ice, Ryan McDonagh: Melody Hasse, Sam Klassen: Saskatoon Blades, Trevor Glass: Spokane Chiefs)
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