Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Score One For St. Croix

If you are a New York Ranger fan and you are trying to get a good read on 2011 4th round pick Michael St. Croix then good luck to you. We say that because when it comes to St. Croix the scouts are very much divided as to his potential.

You will not find any grey areas when it comes to what the scouts think of St. Croix as they are going to either like what they see or they won't. Ask 10 scouts and 5 will say NHL future while the other 5 say not a chance.

Our own notes from 2010 said that he needed a lot of work with his skating which is not really a big deal as these days it is harder to find prospects who don't need help with their skating. St. Croix suffers from being a "generic" player which means between his size (5'11 180) and his game that he does not stand out enough that he has to find a way to stand out.

St. Croix was originally seen as a late 2nd, early 3rd in the 2011 NHL draft but we hope that St. Croix does what many of those who fall into the 4th and 5th fail to do and use this drop to motivate him to get better.

In his 2011 season debut for his Edmonton Oil Kings, St. Croix got off to the right start with a power play goal as Edmonton jumped out to a 3-0 lead before holding off the Medicine Hat Tigers 3-2.  St. Croix scored in the 2nd period to give the Oil Kings at the time but this is what he has to do all year if he wants that contract.

At the junior level 9 power play goals will not help you stand out so we want to see this number doubled this year. FYI write down this name Griffin Reinhart (6'4 205) looks very promising for the 2012 draft.

New York Islander 2011 5th round pick John Persson would prefer if you used John not Johan as many places have listed him as. The Red Deer Rebel left wing had the day off as his Rebels in a wild one defeated the Swift Current Broncos 5-4 in overtime.

Sadly this game saw 6 players ejected for either fighting or major penalties and sorry if you do not like our soapbox but this is not helping your team win.

In the OHL, JT Miller (2011 NYR 1st) again was a healthy scratch as his Plymouth Whalers skated to a 3-3 tie. Yes that is correct a tie as the OHL does not play overtime or use the shootouts during the preseason.

Again no big deal as most CHL teams held out those prospects who are going to be leaving for NHL training camps. The smarter run teams act like they will not see their players for a long time and look for replacements.

Good idea with good intentions that also help the NHL team protect their draft picks. Though JT Miller in a way we feel for as he is going to have the weight of the world on his shoulders this season.

Can we start by setting reasonable expectations for Miller like 20-25 goals and maybe 50 points for a player in his first year at this level? Take anything above that as gravy.

We apologize but the OHL does not put out game sheets during the preseason either so we can't tell you if either Andrew Yogan (2010 3rd) or Peter Ceresnak (2011 6th) played for their Peterborough Petes in a 5-1 loss to the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors.

The only thing we do know is that the Ranger prospects are expected to leave their junior teams no later than Thursday to report to New York so the prospect team can fly out together on Friday.

And if you had any doubts about how bad the Ranger prospects want to win Traverse City then one of the prospects who talks to us all the time said that if it was up to him then they would report Wednesday and get in a couple of practices before leaving for Traverse City.

We are happy that the Rangers are going to televise the Traverse City tournament but we would like if they took some of the circus out of the coverage. Yes interview the kids but between periods or before or after the games.

Our message to the Rangers is to not lose sight about the real reason behind playing at Traverse City which is the building blocks of tomorrow. Yes this will be unpopular but we want the players focused on winning the tournament not preparing for an interview.

We think that if you really want to get the Ranger fans pumped for the 2011-2012 season then win Traverse City. Winning Traverse City goes a longer way at building bonds among the prospects (which is why they play in this tournament) but it will do a lot to generate fan excitement.

Not trying to throw water on the coverage as we are glad the Rangers are putting in the effort, we really are but our concern about turning the coverage into a circus will distract the players.

To the fans it is a look at the prospects but to us and the kids it is much more. We want to see the Ranger prospects win it, get to skate around with that trophy and earn the right to bring that trophy to the Ranger training camp.

Yes winning even Traverse City matters.

Stick Tap to our friend Gregg Drinnan
who shared this one

F Adam Hughesman of the Tri-City Americans has signed an ATO with the NHL’s New York Islanders. Hughesman, a 20-year-old from Winnipeg, is coming off a season in which he totalled 81 points, including 39 goals, in 60 games. He is preparing for his fifth full season with the Americans

Good signing for the Islanders as been wondering why nobody had not invited Hughesman as one thing about those who play for the Americans is that they work their tails off or coach Jim Hiller sends them to the press box.

Tri-City has worked hard at becoming an annual playoff contender and Hughesman has shown forward progress since joining the Americans

(St. Croix courtesy of the Edmonton Oil Kings)

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