|(courtesy NY Rangers)|
The just drafted Ranger prospects will join Ranger prospects already in the system as well as some rather interesting free agent invitees. The importance of this camp can't be overlooked as from an introduction to the Tortorella system to individual fitness testing to perhaps the most important part of the camp; the beginning of building chemistry for the prospects as New York Rangers.
It is a program that has worked for the Rangers the last few years as players get to know each other on and off the ice. I have seen it work firsthand as the prospects stay in touch with each other when they return to their junior/college teams.
The prospects think of themselves as Rangers, they encourage each other, get together to work out and by the time the prospects enter the system; already know what each other plays like.
Here are your Ranger campers:
Andy Bathgate (Plymouth Whalers OHL): Teammate of J.T. Miller and grandson of Ranger legend of same name. Originally a Penguin draft pick has battled injuries as a junior but when healthy a very solid 2-way center. Stay healthy and could be a nice addition
Luyke Esposito (Brunswick Prep NEPSAC): Honestly no idea other than he was listed as a "C" level player by CSB. Most likely to the USHL before attending a college.
Jesper Fast (HV71 SEL): Fast is here for the camp only and will be returning to Sweden to play. Really hope that they show highlights from the camp because what I've seen of Fast is that he lives up to his name. Will be interesting to see how he handles North American physical play.
Ben Foster (Choate-Rosemary NEPSAC): played in the same league as "Boo" Nieves sharing all-league honors with him. He's headed to Princeton via the USHL so this is a player to keep an eye on.
Dane Fox (Erie Otters/London Knights OHL): this is another good invite as Fox played well for the Erie Otters and showed he can be a good 2-way center. Surprised that he did not get drafted but remains draft eligible so he can only be signed if he made the Ranger roster. Neate Sager of Buzzing The Net did this feature on Fox
Barclay Goodrow (Brampton Battalion OHL): The 6'2 210 RW was second on the team in scoring 26-21-57, the Rangers saw him last year at Traverse City playing for Carolina; call this one a late bloomer but anyone who plays for Stan Butler plays defense or hits the press box. Also has draft eligibility remaining.
Marek Hrivik (Moncton Wildcats QMJHL): Here's an example of somebody who was given an opportunity and ran with it. Coaches always say play each shift as it was your last and Hrivik turned an ATO into an entry level contract. Good speed good work ethic, and you always liked the guy who gives you 100% no matter what the score is.
Kyle Jean (Lake Superior State University CCHA): This one is pretty interesting as Jean a 6'4 215 forward still has a year remaining of college eligibility. Decent numbers for a Junior 12-12-24 but it was a breakthrough season for him. Not sure what his college status is but you can't teach size so he is somebody of interest to keep an eye on.
Tomas Klima (HC Karlovy Vary U20 Czech U20): Wish I could tell you something about him but the best I can find is that he is a forward playing second division in the Czech league. He was a slow grower adding 4 inches in the last couple years, not exactly sure what he will bring to the ice
Oscar Lindberg (Skelleftea J20 Super Elit): As soon as he touches the ice, Lindberg will be one of the best face-off man the Rangers have franchise wide. Rock solid defensively with a touch of offense but plays a physical game and does not mind playing physical. Rangers got him in the Ethan Werek trade and in my eyes got the better end of the deal.
Shane McColgan (Kelowna Rockets WHL): This is going to be a very important camp for one of the 2011 fifth round picks. McColgan badly needs to show some consistent play here and needs to have a strong camp to remain in consideration for a professional contract by the Rangers. One of the smaller guys who needs to do something to stand out among the Rangers smallish forwards.
J.T. Miller (Plymouth Whalers OHL): Last year's first-round pick kind of faded in the second half with Plymouth. He has an opportunity to join the CT Whale due to a loophole in the CBA. However what Miller must do is also show some consistency. At this camp want to see Miller take on more of a leadership role as well as a goal scoring role. He has one of the best one timers among Ranger prospects.
Cristoval Nieves (Kent School NEPSAC): On his way to join the Michigan Wolverines has the tools to be a power forward but needs to improve all-around strength and needs to play with more physical attitude. Michigan will polish all the raw edges in his game but it'll take a couple of years.
Alex Rauter (Choate-Rosemary NEPSAC): another interesting invitee as Rauter is headed to Cornell of the ECAC in 2013. Skinny on him is that he's a good scorer but needs work everywhere else. Might be something to keep an eye on for 2013 draft.
Michael St. Croix(Edmonton Oil Kings WHL): The Predator has arrived in New York and a lot of people be watching to see if the numbers he put up in the WHL were for real. They were and I think St. Croix is going to have a much better camp this year thanks to all the hard work he has put in during last season. It's just not that he can score from anywhere on the ice but he's also good at setting up others and his defense is greatly improved. Not to mention a WHL champion
Christian Thomas (Oshawa Generals OHL): The problem with being an elite scorer is that when you only have 34 goals then it becomes a bad year for you. Thomas just did not have the support from his teammates like they had in previous years. It was no question an off year but can we get him off the trade market and let him show the Ranger world what he can do? Not only is he an elite sniper but one of the very best power-play quarterbacks in the OHL, got to find a way to get Tortorella to overlook the small size and use him
Andrew Yogan (Peterborough Petes OHL): Here might be the most gifted offensive prospect the Rangers have. The question is has he grown up yet and learned that he has to play with teammates? Yogan one-on-one is almost impossible to stop as he is a big kid with all the tools to be 30-30 player in the NHL but at times Yogan is also his own worst enemy. Doesn't always play with discipline and sometimes forgets that he has teammates on the ice with them. Get this kid's head on straight and you have a very effective weapon.
Calle Anderson (Farjestad JR. Swe-JR.): I kind of hope somebody warns Calle not to play Tommy Pokecheck defense around John Tortorella. Offensively he will be the most talented defenseman in the camp. His defense according to reputation just might cause John Tortorella to blow a gasket. But to his credit, he will only make a mistake one time as he is a fast learner. Would like to see a race between Calle and Jesper Fast.
Myles Bell (Kelowna Rockets WHL): This one is not going to be popular when word gets out about his past. Bell at 17 was involved in a car accident in which a passenger was killed. Bell was reportedly intoxicated and pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death. I am not going to sit here and pass judgment but this is Glen Sather and his own belief in giving someone a second chance at life.
Peter Ceresnak (Peterborough Petes OHL): Good first half weak second half, was pretty good 2-way defender not afraid to shoot the puck from the point but still has a lot of work to do. Hopefully he has improved his footwork and reaction time. Still could be a steal in the sixth round
Brandon Devlin (Windsor Spitfires/Barrie Colts OHL): suffered from inconsistent play that cost him a chance to be drafted this year. Still draft eligible has to go back to the OHL. Had a great rookie year but fell off the map with the up-and-down season this past year.
Igor Golovko (Vityaz Chekhov KHL): In all honesty not a single clue as I don't have a reliable source in Russia. All I know is he is 6'3 205.
Kyle Hope (Owen Sound Attack/Oshawa Generals OHL): Kind of surprised that the Rangers invited him as like Devlin just didn't bring enough consistency. He has almost no offense to speak of and playing for two poor defensive teams does not help his cause. Not serious NHL material
Dylan McIlrath (Moose Jaw Warriors WHL): Struggled adapting to new rules regarding hits to the head in the first half, missed time due to what I believe was a concussion but had a very good second half and an even better playoff run. People I fear will put too much pressure on McIlrath to make the Rangers this season but this is a player you need to let develop naturally. Still just a kid so he still growing and best move would be a year in the AHL. But I have to acknowledge I love watching him play because he plays old-school hard-hitting hockey and "The Truck" if he doesn't hurt you with the bodycheck, is going to hurt you if you try to block his shot.
Samuel Noreau (Baie-Comeau Drakkar QMJHL: Have to admit I didn't think much of him when he was drafted (5th 2011) but to his credit he has worked his butt off and while he has a ways to go has shown he wants to be more than than a goon. Best bet is a 7th dman.
Brady Skjei (U.S. National U18 Team USHL): This is going to be interesting to watch as Skjei is going to play against guys who are bigger than him in some cases for the first time. I want to see him go "hit for hit" with McIlrath because both of them in their own ways are cut from the same mold. The Ranger fans will like him very quickly.
Nikita Zaytsev (Sibir Novosibirsk KHL): Sorry another Russian I have no idea about
Troy Grosenick (Union College ECAC): This one is a major coup for Gordie Clark and Jeff Gorton as we are talking about last season's number two goalie in all of college hockey. If he was to walk in Ranger camp tomorrow, I would put him third on the Ranger depth charts. Led Union College to the Frozen Four and if he is wanting to turn Pro give him a contract.
Gabe Grunwald (Michigan Warriors/Kenai River Broan Bears NAHL): I would love to know when did the Rangers become a summer camp for prospective college hockey players? Grunwald is actually not going to attend Wisconsin until 2013 and will be playing Junior "A" hockey next season in Ontario.
Jason Missiaen (Greenville Road Warriors ECHL): Benoit Allaire's pet project from last season wound up having a pretty good season in the ECHL. Twice named "ECHL goalie of the week" has worked his way at least into a backup role at the AHL level (if the Rangers do not sign Grosenick)
Scott Stajcer (Owen Sound Attack): I like Scott, really nice kid who's battled back from hip surgery. Having said that I think he made terrible decisions last year not accepting a trade from the Owen Sound Attack. The end result was Stajcer had a very weak season after missing most of the previous season. Instead of competing for a job with the CT Whale; there's a good chance that Stajcer spends the year in the ECHL.
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