Monday, August 15, 2011

The Skinny On the Invitees

While the New York Rangers themselves have not officially named who is going to be on their 2011 Traverse City Roster;  we know the 3 reported non-roster invitees who reportedly are going to Traverse City.

The first 2, Taylor Jordan and Colin Bowman we have been able to confirm as for sure invites but not Jordan Hickmott.

In fact with 26 days remaining before the start of Traverse City then any roster even one released by the Rangers has to come with the disclaimer "Subject to Change."

We can however clear up some information that is not accurate starting with the status of Kale Kerbashian. He is not a free agent on a tryout with the Rangers as in fact Kerbashian already has earned a contract with the CT Whale that he signed back in March.

Since Jim Schoenfeld is the person who made the announcement then we can safely say that the Rangers consider Kerbashian as their property.

And we have to admit that seeing all the bloggers worrying about the Traverse City goalies is actually rather amusing. Good thing that Gordie Clark and Beniot Allaire think that Scott Stacjer happens to be a pretty good goalie.

Please read between the lines as if you forget the injuries then Stacjer was poised to have a monster of a breakout season for Owen Sound. He did not lose until his 10th start of the season, he was the CHL goalie of the week and Stacjer's 21 save performance against the Russians in the Subway Super Series was the best of any CHL goalie.

Think about a kid who misses almost 4 months then comes in off just 8 minutes of play and reels off 8 wins in 9 games to win 2 OHL playoff series. Is he a superstar in the making we do not know but right now we would suggest to Chad Johnson and Cam Talbot to show up ready to fight it out for the Whale starting job.

Gordie Clark flat out said that if Stacjer had not come back and played the way he did on the OHL playoffs that the Rangers never would have signed him to a contract.Stacjer was the only prospect goalie to show any sign of forward progress last season despite the injuries.

Oh and Stacjer has been spending his summer working with Benoit Allaire too. We think Stacjer should have a good TC.

Exit Soapbox

We really do think the Rangers invited 2 young men who are the kind of people that Ranger fans would like seeing in a Ranger uniform. When you talk about having character in the locker room then these are the kind of players you like to see.

Taylor Jordan-- Portland Winterhawks

Jordan is a 6'6 203 left wing who was the heart and soul of the Portland Winterhawks. He is not going to score 30 goals but what he will bring is a Brandon Prust work ethic and a "cop on the beat" mindset to anyone thinking about running one of his teammates.

But our own notes on Jordan reminded us that he plays the same way whether it is 3-0, 13-0, or 0-13. Never going to win any awards for being a pretty skater but we do like how he plays defense as well as brings energy to the game.

Not going to kid you folks as Jordan's potential is as an enforcer as well as an energy guy who can kill penalties. Still Jordan's huge body would be perfect to tell him to set up in the crease while opening up the ice for guys like Christian Thomas and Ryan Bourque.

It is going to be funny to see when the Baby Rangers at Traverse City because someone will need to remind Jordan, McIlrath and Randy McNaught that they are all on the same team now. All 3 players have fought the others over the years in the WHL.

Collin Bowman-- Moose Jaw Warriors

If you go only by the numbers then Collin Bowman is never going to impress you as the 6'2 200 lb defender has not put up numbers until this past season when he went 11-37-48 104 PIMs (4th on Moose Jaw) as a teammate of 2010 first round pick Dylan McIlrath.

Bowman is a physical defender who has decent size at 6'2, is not afraid to drop the gloves and has been a solid leader (assistant captain)for Moose Jaw on and off the ice. We first saw Bowman with the Kelowna Rockets in 2008-2009 where he was part of the WHL Champions.

We want to see Bowman use his shot from the point more and he does need to improve on how fast he makes decisions on the ice. Skating is not bad and his hockey IQ is pretty good.

The director of community relations for the Moose Jaw Warriors Marnel Rasmussen told us that Bowman was a great player on and off the ice. From her that is high praise as Bowman is one of the few Warriors we have heard her single out.

Jordan Hickmott -- Edmonton Oil Kings

Got to admit this invite is puzzling as yes Hickmott is a good character person and a 2 time 20 goal scorer in the WHL and that is about it. Why Hickmott is on the Traverse City roster and Max Campbell (who has a AHL contract) is not makes us wonder if this is a mistake here.

Hickmott is a nice guy and a teammate of 2011 4th round pick Michael St. Croix but we have no expectations that Hickmott is going to earn an invite to the main Ranger's camp. In fact Hickmott is actually scheduled to enroll at the University of Alberta Golden Bears for the 2011-2012 season.

It is also the reason why we are questioning the accuracy of the invite list because is that the Golden Bears actually announced Hickmott's signing with them 5 days ago on the 10th. So either this is just a body filling up a spot or we might see a change in the Traverse City roster before it becomes official.

Not a chance Hickmott would make John Tortorella a fan of his game as defensively Hickmott is not that great and at only 6' 180; Hickmott fits in what we call the generic category of forwards. To give you an idea of what we mean, Hickmott's 28-38-66 might look decent but in the WHL that means he was 53rd in scoring.

Not wanting to disrespect Hickmott as he does work hard but when you can put up 66 points and still wind up even for the season then questions will be asked about your defensive game.

(Jordan courtesy of the Portland Winterhawks, Bowman courtesy of Cory Kerr Photography/Moose Jaw Warriors, Hickmott courtesy of the Edmonton Oil Kings)

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