Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kids They Do The Cutest Things

Day 2 of the New York Ranger prospect camp was highlighted by a scrimmage between the prospects. It is nice to see the Ranger beat reporters be surprised by what they saw on the ice as it is a good gauge for how far the older prospects have come in a year.

Dylan McIlrath was the star of the show with a 3 point effort as that was something none of the folks there were expecting. It is not a knock on those guys as they do not follow the prospects all year long as we do here.

But what an effort out of McIlrath, Thomas and the returning draft picks goes to show just how important this camp as well as Traverse City is these days. Someone like McIlrath is going to get the individual coaching that he would not if this was the main training camp.

Nobody should be expecting McIlrath to become the next Brian Leetch but adding a cannon shot from the point will force teams to have to defend against him. One of the biggest reasons why the Rangers are so easy to defend on the power play is because the other team is not worried about point shots.

That is giving them good reason to pack it in tight and not give the forwards any space to operate. McIlrath has been working hard on improving not only his shot but his own confidence in using it.

I kind of feel bad for Ryan Bourque as he at times gets overlooked but he really is going to be an important player down the road. Bourque is a true team player who will do whatever is asked of him if it helps the team win.

People overlook him as a player because of his size and that is their mistake as Bourque is a solid 2 way player who can play any role that the team needs of him. Forget the concern on his size as his speed and smarts more than makes up for it.

On special teams Bourque does his best work as his on-ice vision allows him to read what the situations will dictate allowing him to make plays. Maybe we do not talk about this enough but it is more than talent that is changing the shape of the prospect pool.

The Rangers are drafting/signing a smarter brand of player these days which makes them more open to being coached on how to get the most improvement. That Bourque and Thomas have click really should not come as any surprise to anyone as you have two very smart player working together.

And do not worry if the goalies do not have great performances here as most of them are not in any real game shape at this point in time. Stajcer will be alright down the road by the time they get to Traverse City.

Stajcer has had a rough go because the hip problem back in November so if his timing is off now then it will be much better come Traverse City. Not hearing much on the other goalies in camp but Jason Missiaen is under contract but he really is a project of Benoit Allaire's it will be interesting where the giant goalie experiment winds up.

Going Whaling

Other than Dale Weise signing there has been no word as to who on the CT Whale were offering qualifying offers. Weise is in a really tough spot as right off the bat he is going to be the guy in the Derek Boogaard roster spot.

It is one thing to replace an injured player but having the inside track on a roster spot due to someone's passing is a situation is rough. Weise is really on his last shot to make the Ranger roster as Jason Wilson is waiting in the wings.

Still there is no word on the status of other CT Whales who are in RFA status as for all we know all or none were given QOs. But Ryan Bourque, Kale Kerbashian, Tommy Grant, Jason Wilson, Scott Stajcer and/or Jason Missiaen, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, and Max Campbell all have contracts for next season.

There is no guarantee that Michael Del Zotto, Tim Erixon or Carl Hagelin will start the season with the Rangers but if sent to the Whale then the Rangers will want them used as much as possible for callup duty.

Stajcer and Bourque could be sent back to their junior teams for an overage season but Stajcer would have a hard time finding a spot. Few teams look for 20 year old goalies unless they are loading up for a Memorial Cup run.

For Bourque it would be a waste of his time as he is not going to gain anything from another year in the QMJHL. So that leaves as few as 7 or as many as 10 new faces on the Whale.

Wade Redden the rumor has it if he can not find a new NHL home (highly unlikely as of this writing) is open to returning to the Whale. If he does then give him the role of a player coach as he did a very good job as a teacher for the younger players.

Countdown to Friday

Those of you who like us were hoping for a shot at adding Brooks Laich will not get that shot as Laich re-signed with Washington on Tuesday. He signed for what was thought to be his UFA price of 4.5 million a year for 6 years.

Kevin Bieksa re-signed with Vancouver on a 4.6 per year deal that has a no-trade. Bieksa actually saw his stock drop with his play against Boston in the finals may open the door for former teammate Christian Ehrhoff's rights to the Islanders.

If we were Ehrhoff and we just saw what Bieksa signed for then the Islanders better hurry up and make him an offer that tops what Bieksa got or Ehrhoff should test the UFA market.

The bad news to other NHL GMs is that Bieksa and Laich are setting the bar for the selling price on what is seen as a weak UFA offering this season. There are going to be way too many players winding up with inflated salaries that in a good year none would come close to.

At only 28 and coming off a deal that paid him only 3.4million, Ehrhoff is going to attract a lot of interest after back to back 14 goal seasons. Even more valuable was that out of the 94 points that Ehrhoff put up in the last 2 seasons combined; 51 came on the power play.

Phoenix VS Winnipeg VS Dallas

It is ironic that the former Atlanta Thrashers were able to make a smooth move up to Winnipeg and already have sell out crowds to look forward to. Yet Phoenix and Dallas, both embarrassing messes can not get anyone to buy them after all this time.

Why was it that the Winnipeg deal was virtually accepted by the NHL from the start but Phoenix is so important to be kept where they are?

And it is getting worse for the NHL as the whispers are saying if those two franchise could ever get their act together then Florida will be the next problem child. Gary Bettman there are 3 people who if you were smart would beg them to take these teams even if you have to allow them to relocate.

Dallas goes to Tom Garibaldi and he is allowed to move the team up to Saskatoon. Garibaldi is a real hockey person who would have a fresh start by leaving a Dallas franchise that is now really is piling up the debts.

Florida goes to Bill Gallacher and he is allowed to move the team to Seattle (provided Seattle agrees to build a new arena). Gallacher is the owner of the Portland Winterhawks and would be one of the few owners who could claim his son was an NHL draft pick.

Gallacher's son Ben was a 2010 4th round pick of the same Florida Panthers. Ben is a defenseman who will be attending Ohio State on a scholarship this year.

Finally Gary Bettman swallow your pride and go back to the only person who really wanted to buy the Coyotes in Jim Basillie. Compromise Gary and let him move the franchise to Quebec.

Do that and restore some stability to the NHL before the current CBA expires as the NHL can ill afford another year long shutdown.

CHL Import Draft

Wednesday is the annual CHL Import Draft and the only possible Ranger draft pick who might wind up being picked is Peter Ceresnak the 2011 6th round pick. Glen Sather having sold his share of the Chilliwack Bruins no longer has his own personal team to stash a prospect.

IF Ceresnak is open to coming over then Glen pick up the phone and talk to one of your "disciples" who owe you in the WHL. If Ceresnak wants to come over send him to the WHL or the OHL where his development would be greatly helped.

6'3 defensemen are always welcome in either league so think about it Glen.

(McIlrath courtesy of the Moose Jaw Warriors)

1 comment:

Kalel9 said...

Ceresnak gotten taking by the Petes.

I agree with you about Bourque. All he has done is work and succeed and be "pointsy." He and Thomas connected for another Blue goal again on Day 3. Why it that only the really hounds are excited? He's got the name, the numbers and the drive.