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TheNYRBlog’s 20 Thoughts: Traverse Rocked City

Hockey is in the air my friends. Hockey is in the air. Training camp begins this week, while the Baby Rangers just finished up participating in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. Hope springs eternal for Blueshirt fans every September, but leave it to our beloved Rangers to dampen enthusiasm before the team even gathers for their first official practice.

1. After years of trading away first round picks, the shoe was on the other foot for the Blueshirts this June as they found themselves with two of the first 31 selections in this year’s entry draft. Adding the 7th & 21st overall picks along with savvy college free agent signings to their barren prospect pool had even the most skeptical Rangers fan anticipating a bright future for the franchise. But then reality slapped us in the face this weekend in the form of a 1-3 record for club’s prospects at the Traverse City Tournament.

2. Lias “Hugh” Andersson may go on to have a Calder Trophy winning season for the Rangers this year, but for a guy who will likely be counted to log third line minutes, 1a, 4 PIM and 9 shots in four games against teenagers is not exactly the stat line I was looking for from the Rangers #7 overall pick.

3. Andersson wasn’t the only prospect expected to battle for a roster spot in camp who struggled at Traverse as KHL defenseman Alexei Bereglazov (-3, 0 shots on goal), from what I saw, looked real slow out there and made a number of unforced turnovers in his own end. Not exactly the first impression we were all looking for from #41.

4. Having said all that, I’d take the Baby Blueshirts struggles with a grain of salt as they were playing without #21 overall pick Filip Chytil as well as #1 goaltending prospect Igor Shestyorkin.

5. So, how big of an impact could Shestyorkin have actually made?

I’d say it would have been…

6. Meanwhile, it looks like the injured Chytil, who was skating hard at the Rangers practice facility last week, will be headed back to the Czech Republic if he doesn’t make the big club out of camp:

Here’s exclusive video of Hartford Wolf Pack GM Chris Drury immediately after hearing the news…

7. But hey, at least the Rangers have figured out their depth issues at center…

8. I said, at least the Rangers figured out their issues at center…

9. No seriously, it’s been figured out, right? (via TSN)…

“There certainly hasn’t been a lack of interest expressed in Duchene. Nashville, Columbus, Montreal, Boston, Pittsburgh, Carolina and Calgary have been linked to him in rumours over the last eight months.”

Ummm, Gorton? Duchene is rumored to possibly not be reporting to Avalanche camp. You might want to place a call. Just saying.

10. No worries Rangers fans, I’m sure the club’s current centers are focused on the upcoming season…

Oh…

11. Zibanejad must be confident in his ability to take over as the #1 center if he was able to turn some of his attention towards dropping a new album this summer (via New York Post)…

“It’s obviously going to be nerve-racking, and it’s a situation I’ve never been in before.” 

At least he’s not seeing a shrink…

“To help him get his mental game back on track, Zibanejad spent some time this summer working with a person he called ‘a shrink guy.'”

12. Whatever, that’s just one player, I’m sure the rest of the team is 100% focused on the Stanley Cup, not individual achievements (via Daily News)…

“Every year I want to have the best year possible. But this year, it’s an important year for me personally,” said Rick Nash, who’s contract ends at the end of the season.

13. Dear God, can anyone give me something positive to work with?!?!? (via nyrangers.com)…

“He’s buying into it this year,” Kevin Hayes said of Jimmy Vesey. “He definitely wants to get into better shape than last year. Not that he was in bad shape, but everyone goes through their first season in the NHL and you have that wow moment where you think you’re in shape and then you play 82 games … He probably played over 100 games. He knows what he has to do.”

Whew! Thanks Hayes.

14. For the love of God keep the Rangers players away from the Mets training room…

15. And how about that Winter Classic logo for the Rangers?…

Here’s an actual photo of the logo designer in action…

Damn their uniforms better be good.

16. As always with the Winter Classic, I’ll be looking forward to the alumni game where Brian Leetch, whose role with the Rangers is becoming more defined, will be in action…

Here’s Michael Del Zotto’s reaction to the news that the Rangers have finally brought Leetch in to work defensive prospects…

17. Where are they now? (Rangers Edition)

Derek Stepan

Nah, we’re not going to miss him.

18. Brandon Mashinter

My reaction to the Rangers passing on a reunion with my old man crush…

 

19. And finally, Kevin Klein…

Hmmmm, where have I seen that goal before?

20. On the eve of Rangers training camp, I’ve got to admit I’m shocked they haven’t made a move to bring in another center/forward. While I don’t have an issue with giving Andersson a shot, I do wonder where the organization turns if he’s not ready. Was Daniel Winnik the missing piece to a Rangers Cup run? Hell no! But he would have provided necessary depth down the middle for the Rangers at a cheap price.

It’s one thing for the Rangers to hope Andersson can find his footing in the NHL fairly quickly, but to also count on Hayes and Zibanejad turning into 50 and 60 point guys respectively, that’s a lot to ask.

If AV does ultimately decide Miller is the answer to the third line center position, there is this Jagr guy still looking for work who might fit in nicely on the wing.

Remember to follow me on TwitterFacebook & Instagram or e-mail me at nyrfan94@yahoo.com.

5 thoughts on “TheNYRBlog’s 20 Thoughts: Traverse Rocked City

  1. The Rangers haven’t even taken their pre-camp physicals, but the NYR Blog is already in mid-season form!!
    In all seriousness, I think all 20 of these points are valid concerns. There is avery realistic chance that these team takes a step backwards and misses the playoffs this season. The Atlantic is a very tough division, and I fully expect the Rangers to be battling for a Wild Card spot in the final weeks of the season.
    The defense is obviously much improved, but the offense is full of question marks. I think the Rangers will win their fair share of games simply by scoring on a few odd-man rushes every game. If our mobile D can give Z-Bad, Kreider, Grabner, and Zucc 10+ odd-man rushes per game, they’re bound to bury a couple.
    Should be another gut wrenching, nail biting, remote throwing, beer pounding NYR season. Can’t wait!

    Like

    1. Ha! Yeah, I don’t think it’s irrational to have valid concerns about this team. Having said that, they’ll be in the mix all season and if they can at some point upgrade at center ice they’ll be one of the favorites to come out of the East.

      Like

      1. I agree with Kevin. The defense is so much better than most of last year. They basically played with RM and a bunch that was not ready for prime time until Brady found his game in the final 1/3 of the season. It’s hard making deals for impact players in the NO TRADE LEAGUE. Impact players are wrapped up long term and rarely move and restricted free agency is a joke. I think the Team is one impact forward away from being a top cup competitor. That guy may not get here until next season but the rebuild is off to an awesome start.

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  2. So glad your not drinking the Kool aid that most are ..buying into this team is ready as built?
    some have Staal competing for the 5-6 slot along with Holden ..O M G
    competing? ….. If both are hear were done…. no upgrade other than Derjardin & Deharnais
    combined we might get a season outta of the 2 of them with all the injuries they have had
    Slience is golden for gorts …..speech better be SIlver when he announces his 1 maybe 2 trades he could pull off for ..Dukey duchene… Holden +#1 + # 1 prospect from D pool
    Staal for JVR and we eat 1.5 mill of Staals $$$ each yr

    Like

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