Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Son of Stumpy the sequel

Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) already has his New York Ranger contract signed, the season going all the way back to Traverse City has been one of frustration and we can say disappointment.

In many ways Thomas might have been better off if his Oshawa Generals failed to make the OHL playoffs because by next Monday Thomas could've signed an ATO and join the CT Whale. Then again it's a good statement about Thomas's character in wanting to help Oshawa make the playoffs over personal gain.

The General's season has been one of injuries, frustration and a head-scratching almost maddening inconsistency. Not one player on the roster has appeared in all 65 games that the Generals have played this season.

Christian Thomas himself has only played in 52 games because of a suspension and injuries/illness but has still managed to put up 32 goals (+32 assists for 64 points) which works out to more than a point a game. Earth shattering numbers no but the biggest difference that we are seeing now is that Thomas is making his points matter more.

In the last three games that Thomas is played in he has; set up the game-winning goal, scored the insurance goal that sealed the win and Tuesday night won the game with the game-winning goal. That folks is what you want star players on the team to do when you need it the most.

The Generals basically control their own destiny as while they trail Mississauga by 3 points in the standings, they play them on Wednesday and was a little help could pass them to wind up as the 6th seed putting themselves in a much better place to start the playoffs from.

For the Peterborough Petes with Andrew Yogan (NYR 2010 3rd) and Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th), what happened to them has been the total opposite of the Oshawa Generals as they started the season like gangbusters but have fallen badly apart to be eliminated.

What happened to the Peterborough season is not the fault of either Ranger prospect but it did affect how their season wound up. Now comes a tough decision for the New York Rangers which is do they sign Andrew Yogan to an entry level contract or not?

Before you go well he scored 37-36-73 for the season, one also has to look at Yogan being a 20-year-old in this league. Those are numbers he should've put up but Yogan's fate may largely come down to how the Rangers viewed his forward progress.

Yogan lost last year because of shoulder surgery, in brief action with the CT Whale he was not that bad a player. Yogan has size at 6'3 and there is no denying the offensive talent but there is a but.

Does Yogan fit in with the John Tortorella system especially when it comes to playing defense? That is going to be in our eyes the toughest question that Gordie Clark is going to have to answer to Glen Sather with.

If the choice is ours then we look at the current Whale roster and see that 8 of the 12 forwards on the roster are 6 feet or less. That might be Andrew Yogan's ticket to an ATO with the Whale because you can't teach size.

In our eyes Yogan has to force his way into the playoff lineup in order to get a Ranger contract. As for Peter Ceresnak, it won't hurt the Rangers to bring him also to the CT Whale so he can get some coaching in before he heads home to Slovakia for the off-season.

It'll be interesting to see if Peterborough wishes to keep Ceresnak rights for next season because CHL teams are only permitted 2 import players on the roster. We do not see the Rangers signing Ceresnak to a entry level contract at this time but it's worth another year to give Ceresnak another chance.

He is a project and this should not be taken as a downward look at his potential but the Rangers don't have to sign him to a contract right away. Ceresnak needs work on his skating as well as his decision-making speed/progress.

In the WHL, Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) and his Spokane Chiefs may have cost themselves home ice advantage in the first-round of the WHL's Western Conference playoffs after losing to the Seattle Thunderbirds 3-1. Out of fairness to Spokane, Seattle desperately needed to win to stay alive in the playoff race themselves.

Kichton was scoreless on the night unable to generate offense especially on the power play and as we keep saying for Spokane to win in the playoffs Kichton needs to score goals. Spokane has three games remaining on their schedule starting Wednesday night back home against a Kamloops Blazers team that needs a when to stay alive for a conference championship.

The other action in the WHL involved John Persson (NYI 2011 5th) and his Red Deer Rebels as they visited the Medicine Hat Tigers on Tuesday night and came away with a 4-2 win. The win allowed Red Deer to break a four-game losing streak as Persson had an assist on Red Deer's final goal which was an empty net goal that sealed the win.

For Persson, it was his 34th assist and 57th point on the season.

Jesper Fasth Update

With major thank you to twitter follower @zwintho who tweeted to us a report on the return of Jesper Fasth (NYR 2010 6th) to the HV71 playoff lineup. The report was promising as Fasth did not look bad for somebody who had been out since the early part of the season.

No scoring for Fasth and his HV71 lost game 2 of their series and are down 0-2. As we expected, the report also mentioned the need for Fasth to spend some more time in Sweden but we expected that given that he is still just 20.

Still the best news was that the injury has not affected Fasth's speed our skating ability period. We've been told by other sources that Fasth is the kind of player who would fit into Tortorella's system.

Our thanks once again to @zwintho for taking the time to update us on Jesper. If you're on twitter please send him a thank you for helping us all out.

(Thomas- Aaron Bell of OHL Images)

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