Thursday, December 30, 2010

What started out as a season of great promise is turning more and more into a season of the old television show "Medical Center." The injury list is making more news than the play of the prospects on the ice as the list sadly is growing but becoming more serious.

The New York Ranger prospect pool has been hit hard by the injury bug since Traverse City and the injuries have not stopped coming. It is doing some serious damage to the development of the prospects especially a key prospect like Ethan Werek (2009 2nd)

Werek missed his 5th game on Wednesday with an injured injured wrist that originally was hurt on December 10th. Werek is expected to miss at least 2 more games as he awaits a wrist brace being sent to him by the New York Ranger's training staff.

The Rangers should sign him but do not be shocked if Werek is sent back to Kingston next season for an overage season. Werek is 15-15-30 in 27 games this season but also a -5.

Scott Stajcer (2009 5th) underwent surgery for a "lower body injury" on December 20th and is not expected to return for 6-8 weeks. Stajcer has not played since being pulled in the first period of the November 20th game against Mississauga.

That is 12 games prior to the surgery, 2 more games now that the holiday break is over and if we do the math it could be as many as 16 more games before Stajcer returns. That leaves 16 games plus the OHL playoffs for Stajcer to earn a contract from the Rangers.

Randy McNaught (2010 7th) has now been ruled done for the season by the Vancouver Giants which ends his WHL career as McNaught was in his overage season. What started out as a sprained ankle back on October 11th led to a setback during rehab and finally surgery.

8 games was his entire season and it puts the Rangers in a very tough spot as they now have to decide whether to offer McNaught a contract. Not a chance he gets an NHL contract but the road for McNaught if he decides to play professional hockey is most likely going to start in the ECHL or more likely the Central Hockey League.

Andrew Yogan (2009 3rd) is the forgotten Ranger prospect as he has not even gotten to play a single game this season. Yogan underwent shoulder surgery during training camp and there is as of this writing no timetable as to his return or if he will even play this season.

One thing that the Rangers deserve some kudos for is that they have taken care of any of the prospects who have been injured at Ranger expense. It is something that they did not have to do but the Rangers have over the years done regardless of how high or low a prospect has been drafted.

The New York Islanders have been lucky compared to the Rangers as so far only Jason Gregoire ((2007 3rd) has been the only one to miss more than 3 games as the North Dakota junior has missed 4 games with an "upper body" injury. He is expected to Thursday's game against Minnesota-Duluth but North Dakota is not scheduled to play again until January 7th.

Brock Nelson (2010 1st) who also plays for North Dakota was injured (upper body) playing for Team USA against Finland, missed the game against Slovakia and is listed as "day to day" but we expect him to miss both games the US has left in the preliminary round.

Calvin De Haan (2009 1st) sustained some sort of leg injury (believed to be left knee) during Canada's game against the Czech Republic and missed the game against Norway. His status is listed as "day to day" but Canada is off until Friday.

Prospect Action

Casey Cizikas (NYI 2009 4th) got Canada going with his 1st goal of the World Under-20 Championships as Canada had no trouble at all defeating Norway 10-1 to cinch a spot in the medal round. Cizikas stepped up his offensive attack with 4 shots with Canada missing 3 players and now faces a very good test against Sweden on Friday.

Anders Lee (NYI 2009 6th) returned from his holiday break as his 12th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish squashed Canisius College 10-2 as Lee had his 11th goal of the season and 9th assist to give the freshman 20 points on the season.

Carl Hagelin (NYR 2007 7th) earned his 11th assist of the season as 10th ranked Michigan defeated in-state rival Michigan Tech 4-2 to earn a spot in the finals of the Great Lakes Invitational. For Hagelin it gives him his 20th point of the season (9-11-20).

Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) set up what proved to be the game winning goal for his Ranger prospect leading 45th point (25-20-45) as his Oshawa Generals defeated Jason Wilson (NYR 2010 5th)'s Niagara IceDogs 4-2.  Thomas set up Alain Berger for a power play goal 15:07 of the 3rd period breaking a 2-2 tie.

Wilson had his 10th assist for his 16th point of the season in a losing effort for the IceDogs. Tony DeHart (NYI 2010 5th) was scoreless for the Generals while Dan Maggio (NYR 2009 6th) was a scratch for the Generals.

Maggio is part of the Ranger prospect injury crew as he has been limited to just 12 games due to 2 different injuries and a 2 game suspension while a member of the Guelph Storm.

(Werek, Cizikas, Yogan, Stajcer, Thomas/Aaron Bell + Terry Wilson/OHL Images, Gregoire/

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