Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What have we learned

Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings)
So after opening weekend in the Canadian Juniors what have we learned from the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects? For starters, there is a lot of fire and hunger in these prospects that is going to help both franchises down the road.

Teammates now but down the road Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) and Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) are going to be a whole lot of fun to watch going against each other. Playing on the defending WHL Champions the Edmonton Oil Kings, the duo are already off to fast starts leading the Oil Kings to 2 wins.

Michael St. Croix has 3 goals in 2 games to start the season, a fast start for a player known to be a slow starter. St. Croix has his Ranger contract already signed and while everyone wondered how St. Croix would top last season's 45-60-105; St. Croix wants more.

Michael St. Croix (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Maybe he wants a shot at a Ranger training camp should the NHL/NHLPA work out their differences or maybe he wants a spot on Hockey Canada's Under-20 squad after being snubbed this past summer.

Griffin Reinhart is 0-2-2 in his 1st 2 games but it is clear the Islanders made the right choice when they selected Reinhart with the 4th pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Only 18 and the captain of the Oil Kings, Reinhart plays with a poise and maturity that is way beyond his years.

If both stay with the Oil Kings then the chances of a repeat as WHL Champions is a realistic possibility. If they play for Canada in the 2013 World Under-20 Championships then a medal is very possible too.

Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) is another player off to a fast start. Unlike St. Croix; McColgan doesn't have a Ranger contract just yet.

If he keeps playing like he has started with the Saskatoon Blades then the contract will be a sure thing. McColgan has gone through a makeover from head to toe and perhaps all the criticism that he was subjected to after being traded by the Kelowna Rockets has motivated him.

McColgan is playing with 2 guys who know how to finish plays something he didn't always have in Kelowna. McColgan is also defining himself as a player too and if he is embracing being a playmaker/Power Play quarterback then his value to the Blades as well as the Rangers will be greatly enhanced.

Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) if he wants to play in the NHL this year needs to play like he doesn't belong in the OHL. Strome has to play more like the guy who helped Canada come from behind to beat Russia in the summer than the guy who has disappeared in the big games for the Niagara IceDogs.

I admit I am not a fan of Strome's mainly because I know there is a world of talent there. The problem is I want to see Strome raise his game and carry his team because I know the ability for him to do that is there.

Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) is a prospect people like to tell me who is more geared for the "pro" game. If Pedan doesn't start showing me some on-ice discipline then he won't make it to the NHL or any other North American league.

Nothing is more frustrating than seeing clear talent and it not being developed to the best of it's ability. Coaching can only go so far as it is up to the player to his share and so far I am not seeing it from Pedan.

Going to give a "wait and see" to Islander prospects Adam Pelech (2012 3rd), Loic Leduc (2012 4th), Jesse Graham (2012 6th), Brendan Kichton (2011 5th) and Mitchell Theoret (2011 7th). Same for Ranger prospects Samuel Noreau (2011 5th) and Peter Ceresnak (2011 6th).

First College Poll is out

The first USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey poll is out and Ranger as well Islander prospects are playing on some top ranked teams.

1-University of Minnesota: Brady Skjei Defense (NYR 2012 1st)

3-University of Michigan: Cristoval Nieves Forward (NYR 2012 2nd)

5-Union College: Cody Rosen Goalie (NYI 2010 7th)

8-University of Denver: Scott Mayfield Defense (NYI 2011 2nd)

10-University of Notre Dame: Anders Lee Forward (NYI 2009 6th), Robbie Russo Defense (NYI 2011 4th), Steven Fogarty Forward (NYR 2011 3rd)

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