Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Balancing Act

Hello New York Ranger Fans we are now less than 24 hours away from the first New York Ranger prospect reporting to his junior team's training camp. Surprise hockey is now officially back and congrats to Samuel Noreau as he has the honor of being the first prospect to report.

The Ranger's second 2011 5th round pick, Noreau reports to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar training camp on Monday looking to get ready for their 2011-2012 season. It gets even better as the Drakkar open their exhibition season on Friday.

It also means that we here need to get serious now about the prospects and that means throwing some cold water on what some fans may have for expectations from the prospects during what honestly is a not at all typical training camp and exhibition schedule.

Right off the bat we know and expect that every single prospect reporting on September 8th has the goal of making the Ranger opening night roster on October 7th. The problem here is the Rangers need to balance out the value of keeping some prospects for the European trip versus what is best for the overall development of said prospects.

There is no question that yes the prospects gain valuable experience by playing in NHL games whether they are exhibition or regular season. Under normal conditions it is our own belief that the Rangers should reward the prospects who have the best camp by letting them see what an NHL opening night is like.

For us there is no more motivating experience than for a Ranger prospect to witness a regular season game. It would be better if it was the Ranger home opener but even a road game we would hope had a powerful impact upon a prospect.

And there lies the biggest problem as this (or the next 2 seasons) will be anything but normal for the Rangers because of the renovations of the Garden. So now the Rangers have to make the tough choices (and to many a fan they will be unpopular) by putting the prospect's development first.

Take JT Miller for example as the 2011 first round pick so far has had a very good summer so it is important to keep that going. The best way to do that is to get him playing as much hockey as possible given his transition from the US National Training and Developmental program.

So we take the Ranger schedule and compare it to the team that Miller is expected to spend his 2011-2012 season with the Plymouth Whaler's. The Whalers open their regular season on September 21st on the road then have games on the 24th and 30th.

The Rangers will leave for Europe no later than September 27th after playing the Flyers on the 26th. They have exhibition games on the 29th, 30th then October 2nd and 3rd before opening the regular season with 2 games on October 7th and 8th.

The Rangers then return to the US on the 9th and are off until October 15th when they take on the New York Islanders. In the meantime the Whalers in October will have games on the 1st, 6th, 7th, 9th, 13th, 14th and 15th.

For us that means we would want to send Miller to Plymouth after playing the Flyers on the 26th so Miller could start seeing action on the 30th. It really makes more sense to leave the prospects home unless they are going to make the team not for a couple of games but the entire season.

If this was a normal situation then sure it would be great for someone like a Christian Thomas to experience a couple of NHL games but he too would miss 8 games in the same time frame. For Thomas as much as we would like to see him make the NHL this year that is our selfish dream and not what would be in his best interests.

What we want to do is to circle January 5th 2012 when we would like to see JT Miller leading Team USA against Christian Thomas and Team Canada for the gold medal at the World Under-20 Championships (yes that is also selfish of us we know).

Who is Playing for Who?

As of right now this is how the Ranger junior prospects are expected to line up for in the 2011-2012 season. It is subject to change due to trades and what have you.


Samuel Noreau (2011 5th) Baie-Comeau Drakkar

Ryan Bourque (2009 3rd)  could have an overage season but the odds are so slim of that happening that the Quebec Remparts are not even listing Bourque on their roster.


JT Miller (2011 1st) Plymouth Whalers

Christian Thomas (2010 2nd) Oshawa Generals

Peter Ceresnak (2011 6th) Peterborough Petes

Andrew Yogan (2010 3rd) Peterborough Petes

Scott Stacjer (2009 5th) also has an overage year remaining for use but like Bourque he is not listed on the roster of the Owen Sound Attack. In his case because the Rangers have a total of 6 goalies under contract and really only 5 spots then Stacjer could find himself back in the OHL.

Wonder if Glen Sather has a 3rd favor he can ask of Mike Pelino and the Peterborough Petes? Stajcer would be an improvement over the current Pete goalies so it would not be like it would not help them out either.


Dylan McIlrath (2010 1st) Moose Jaws Warriors

Michael St. Croix (2011 4th) Edmonton Oil Kings

Shane McColgan (2011 5th) Kelowna Rockets

**Steven Fogarty (2011 3rd) has stated he intends on playing for the Penticton Vees in the BCHL in order to remain eligible for the NCAA. The Edmonton Oil Kings currently hold Fogarty's WHL rights and so if Fogarty decides to change his mind.............

(Ranger logo courtesy of the New York Rangers)

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