It seems kind of strange that of all the New York Ranger prospects the one who has seen the least amount of attention during this off-season has been Dylan McIlrath the Ranger's 2010 first round pick. McIlrath who's selection last season was questioned by many a Ranger fan when Cam Fowler was still out there reports tomorrow to the Moose Jaw Warrior training camp.
8 AM is going to come early for McIlrath, Traverse City Invitee Colin Bowman and the rest of this rather long list of players wanting a shot at becoming a Moose Jaw Warrior (not a chance that we were going to count up that list). The person we feel for is Marnel Rasmussen the Warrior's media relations person as she only has to keep track of all of those trying out for Moose Jaw and their new head coach Mike Stothers.
For McIlrath, he could not have asked for a better selection for a new head coach with Moose Jaw in Stothers. Stothers was a 1980 first round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers who at 6'4 played knows what is going to be asked of McIlrath from the Rangers.
McIlrath we have been told has been working his butt off trying to polish his game up and further improving what is starting to look like a MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) shot from the point. The current prediction is that McIlrath is going to hurt at least 5 players before people stop trying to block what might be one of the heaviest shots in the CHL.
In our eyes McIlrath still needs some work on his footwork and reaction time but right now we have to say that McIlrath is 2 years (this one and next) before he can become an NHL regular. We want to see less fighting from him this season and become more of a "take charge" player for Moose Jaw.
Can We Attend Please?
Wish I was a kid as this week as the Oshawa Generals are hosting their "Future Generals Summer Hockey Camp with Adam Graves and newly named assistant captain Christian Thomas as your head coaches.
For those who do not know but Adam Graves is one of the owners of the Oshawa Generals and Christian Thomas if you need us to introduce him then shame on you. Seriously since Graves returned to work for the Rangers with the prospects; every one we have talked to has mentioned Grave's teaching skills.
What has been so outstanding about Adam Graves the hockey teacher has been his use of the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Silly) as his hockey drills are not at all complicated or high tech. Instead they are easy to learn and as low tech as a can and some strings to help someone improve his side to side movements.
Yesterday we talked about how we feel the New York Islanders need to keep Nino Niederreiter this season. Today we get the list of the Portland Winterhawk's training camp roster and look who is not on it.
Portland also opens their camp on Wednesday and Nino is nowhere to be seen on it and to us that is a good thing, even though the Winterhawks still retain Niederreiter's junior rights. It may not seem like a big deal to anyone but it is Portland's message that they do not expect to see Niederreiter returned to them for the 2011-2012 season.
Good for the Winterhawks as they still have a very good team even without Niederreiter (actually we expect them to lose Ryan Johansen and Brad Ross as well). But if you check out the names of the teams playing for the Cam Neely Cup you will get an idea about the kind of players that Portland has produced.
Finally we got confirmation from Owen Sound that they still retain the rights for Scott Stajcer. Stajcer signed a contract with the Rangers but with 6 goalies on the roster and only 5 spots in the system, someone might not have a place to play.
Highly doubtful that Owen Sound would keep Stajcer as he would count as an overage player and they have 2 sound younger goalies. We do not expect Stajcer to be sent back to the OHL but it will be an option for the Rangers if everyone plays well in training camp.
(McIlrath courtesy of Moose Jaw, Graves/Thomas courtesy of Oshawa, Niederreiter courtesy of the New York Islanders)
43 minutes ago