Prospect Watch; WJC update and Injuries AboundDecember 30, 2010, by
As most of the Rangers prospects find themselves in the middle of their long seasons, four Rangers prospects are fighting it out in Buffalo at the World Junior Championship. Chris Kreider (2 assists in 2 games) and Ryan Bourque are key parts of Team USA who have won their first two games. Meanwhile Chilliwack Bruins center Roman Horak hasn’t had as much success as the two young Americans, going scoreless thus far as the Czech entry has struggled in the WJC this year. Then there is Jesper Fasth of Sweden. Largely unknown to Rangers fans it is the first real glimpse into his play for many and he has already shown some promise. Scoring 1 and assisting on another the young winger has 2 points in as many games to go with a solid +2. On the whole, a good start to his first WJC for Team Sweden. It will be interesting to see how the four prospects continue their tourneys, whether it be in the medal round (USA, Sweden) or likely in the relegation round (Czech Republic).
Injuries affecting prospects
Back in junior and it hasn’t been a kind period for other prospects. Ethan Werek recently missed his 5th straight game and given his poor plus/minus it’s being speculated that a overage season in the OHL may be the best course of action for the talented pivot. Given the fact he was considered a dark horse for the Rangers this past pre season its not a good development for Werek but on the flip side, given the new found (young) depth the Rangers have at center it may be a good career choice for Werek to go back, stay healthy and dominate. He’s clearly still in the minds of the Rangers management given how talented he is and there’s no rush in pushing a prospect when he needs more development.
More bad news comes in the shape of Scott Stajcer. The goalie, who enjoyed an excellent start to the year and who subsequently cooled off prior to injury has now had surgery and isn’t expected to be back for 6-8 weeks. It’s a major set back for the young netminder who was in the midst of a critical season in his development. This injury set back may see the Rangers draft another goalie this summer given their lack of depth at the position, even in spite of another solid year from Chad Johnson in the AHL.
Another prospect badly affected by injury is Randy McNaught. The tough draftee has been ruled out for the rest of the season and given the fact he was in his overage season he will never play in the WHL again. The Rangers now have to decide whether to offer the prospect a contract based on a very small sample size of play, leaving the most likely course of action an AHL contract or maybe a spell in the ECHL next year, should the Rangers want to keep him within their organisation.