Brandon Manning signing with the Philadelphia Flyers is the 4th prospect in the last 2 years who the Rangers had invested time and effort into only to let another team reap the rewards. The thing that people may not understand is that the reason they call it a prospect pipeline is that it needs to always be flowing.
There is no such thing as having enough of anything as the idea of developing a player is to turn him into a productive asset. You never know when a career ending injury, an opportunity to trade for an even better player or even a diamond in the rough turns out to be better than what you already have.
It does not matter if Manning turns out to be a superstar or a 7th defender, this was a prospect worth investing in as he offered you all 3 things you want out of a player. He worked hard, he was a natural leader and he was more than a one dimensional player.
Several people kept saying that the Rangers are set on defense and the irony is that they kept saying Dan Girardi's name. Once upon a time Girardi was an undrafted free agent who the Ranger's scouting staff did not think was worth signing.
Tom Renney disagreed and fought until he eventually convinced Glen Sather to sign Girardi. Dan Girardi is why you take that risk and sign Brandon Manning because if not then guess who never becomes a part of the Ranger blueline?
That is why you sign Brandon Manning because that is how you find the Dan Girardis of the world.
If we did not tell you his name then odds are you would not know that the image right here is New York Islander prospect Blake Kessel (2007 6th). Kessel is more known for being the younger brother of Phil Kessel than he is the junior defenseman playing for the 6th ranked New Hampshire Wildcats.
On Tuesday night Kessel and his Wildcats were 20 minutes from losing to the Brown Bears entering the 3rd period trailing 4-2, Kessel is a huge reason why the Wildcats escaped with a 5-5 overtime tie.
Kessel got the rally started when he fed Mike Sislo for a power play goal at 4:39 of the 3rd to make it 4-3. Brown scored to make it 5-3 and after using their timeout, Wildcats pulled their goalie for the extra attacker.
At 18:07, Kessel blasted a shot for his 2nd goal of the season to pull the Wildcats within 1 at 5-4. 11 seconds later the Wildcats tied the score and averted a very disappointing loss. Kessel was 1-1-2 with 7 shots on goal and a +1.
Kessel is 2-8-10 in 12 games for the Wildcats as the junior defender gave us a real good look for us tonight.
In other Islander prospect action, David Toews (2008 3rd) had a secondary assist on his Brandon Wheat Kings only goal but that was the only highlight as the Wheat Kings were whipped 7-1 on the road by the Medicine Hat Tigers. We will leave it as Toews is 4-8-12 in 16 games.
The only New York Ranger prospect to see action on Tuesday was 2007 7th rounder Daniel Hobbs of UMass-Amherst. It was the battle of bad teams as winless UMass took on 1 win Vermont in a Hockey East matchup.
UMass got their first win of the year 4-1 as Hobbs was scoreless. It was as what one expected from 2 teams having bad seasons.
(Image Kessel/New Hampshire)