Friday, June 8, 2012

Looking back in order to look forward (Part 3)

(courtesy NY Rangers)
Looking back at the season that the New York Ranger prospects had during the 2011-2012 hockey season; there is very good reason to be positive about the future. For the first time since the 1990s the New York Rangers can say that they have some talented players working their way towards that Ranger uniform.

It was a very good year for Gordie Clark and his staff of scouts as the players that they picked showed some very good potential that's going to help the Rangers hopefully for years to come.

Shane McColgan (2011 5th)- McColgan despite an 18-48-66 season one could say that his season was a disappointment. The one thing that the 5th round draft pick has to show more than any other round is forward progress and a strong case can be made that McColgan actually wound up with a backwards type year.

(Kelowna Rockets)
While McColgan was the leading scorer for the Kelowna Rockets, a couple of things really stood out. The first was that McColgan had way too many goalless droughts of five games or more (5 of them including a 10 and 11 game droughts).

The other was that McColgan only had one multi goal games the entire season along with just three game-winning goals. Those are not the kind of statistics you want your best player to be having.

Still McColgan winds up in a very good situation for next season after Kelowna trade him to the Saskatoon Blades. The Blades will be hosting the 2013 Memorial Cup so they have already qualified but more importantly McColgan will have a lot more support than he did in Kelowna.

McColgan's got a lot of work ahead of him this off-season, he has to hit the gym and put some muscle all over his body. He needs to be stronger because he is generously listed as being 5'9 170.

McColgan will also need to improve his defense as well as his forecheck. It will be can be an uphill battle for McColgan next season as the Rangers have plenty of forwards who are under 6 foot tall. Right now I would not offer McColgan a contract because I don't see forward progress and without it there is no potential for development.

(Blueshirts United)
Chris Kreider (2009 1st)-there is not really a whole lot you can say about a prospect who wins an NCAA championship and then joins an NHL team for the playoffs where he sets a new NHL record for most goals scored in the playoffs before appearing in a regular season game (5).

Kreider proved that he belonged in the NHL by making his debut under such high expectations and in such a pressure filled atmosphere. Was it worth burning a year off his entry level contract; on one hand the answer has to be yes because Kreider reformed well.

The only concerns remaining now will start with the NHL and NHLPA working out a new collective bargaining agreement that does not cause any stoppage in the 2012- 2013 hockey season. I acknowledge that I don't trust Gary Bettman and the NHL to freeze the rosters in the event of the lockout and keep the Rangers from sending Kreider to the CT Whale.

My other concern is colored by my dislike of John Tortorella and how he handles young players. It doesn't give me great confidence when I watch first Michael Del Zotto then Derek Stepan struggled in their second year in the NHL.

I will be very happy to be wrong if it does not happen to Chris Kreider (or Carl Hagelin) but as a player; I don't think that the Rangers have anyone even close to Kreider's potential as a player.

If developed properly you're looking at at the very least a 30 goal scorer who can play first-line duty as a responsible two-way player. Chris Kreider has star written all over him but there is one area where Kreider must change how he works.

Chris Kreider needs to become more selfish, he needs to take the shot if he has it not defer to other players. The other thing is the number of shots a game as with Chris Kreider the more he shoots the greater the chances of him put up points.

At Boston College his numbers proved that when Chris Kreider had at least four shots a game that Boston College typically won the game and that Kreider wound up in some points. They may not be are shattering but in college hockey 23-22-45 in 44 games is nothing to sneeze about.

A star will be born.

(NY Rangers)
Danny Hobbs (2007 7th)- there is always a part about doing this job that bluntly sucks and that is when you have to say somebody's just not good enough to earn a professional contract from the team that drafted him. Unfortunately that is the case with Danny Hobbs as for whatever reasons injuries, and being on really bad teams, or it just didn't click; Hobbs just does not have NHL potential.

Five years is a long time to cover somebody especially somebody who dealt with as much adversity as Danny did over the years. Never complained about his lot in life but always came back time after time to do the best he possibly could. It just seems like every time Danny would get going an injury would happen and it would just set him back.

Coming to a Blueshirt Season real soon

The Rangers added Jesper Fast (2010 6th) and Oscar Lindberg (trade) just days after the Ranger season ended and it was good moves at both of these young prospects. They're two entirely different players but they have one thing in common and that is they both will be bringing an excellent work ethic with them.

Fast is going to be more entertaining of the duo as is the two way solid high energy player who if he was a baseball player would always that dirty uniform. A very good skater, not the biggest dog but not afraid to go into traffic or the corners in order to make a play.

While people are saying that Fast will be a role player for the Rangers; I'm going to disagree as I see a young man who still has an offensive upside that has not been tapped. Fast was a North American style player playing in Sweden and I think coming over to North America will bring out the best of the young forward.

(SkellefteƄ AIK)
At least a year away in order to allow his body to mature but it's kind of scary thought adding another fast skater to the lineup.

Oscar Lindberg is not going win any scoring championship but Ranger fans are going to love that he likes to play a physical game. Don't let his size fool you as he can take somebody out with a very clean very hard bodycheck.will
The Rangers are bringing him over because he also happens to be one very good face-off center. In time I can see him taking over as the key defensive zone face-off specialist for the Rangers as well as the leader of the penalty killing units. The question is going to be how soon can he adjust to North American game.


Dan Shea said...

So, of all of these prospects, excluding Kreider because we know he is the real deal, which players have very real shots at being top 6 forwards... on the Rangers?

Jess Rubenstein said...


I really like Steven Fogarty, he doesn't have Kreider's speed but he has his instincts.

Andrew Yogan has a ton of talent but with him he has to get his head on right. He is the most creative offensive weapon.

Michael St. Croix has a great coach in Edmonton who is teaching him the things he needs to become a top 6 forward.

JT Miller needs consistency and if used with a play maker should wind up as a Top 6. I can see him also as a Adam Graves garbageman player.

Christian Thomas could develop but I have doubts that Torts will open the game up to get max use of his skill set