The Rangers will have a very keen eye (or at least they should) on the OHL playoff finals which start on Tuesday. Rangers draft pick and Owen Sound goalie Scott Stajcer kicks off in the finals against Mississauga after beating a good Windsor Spitfires team in their conference finals, 4-1.
Stajcer – a goalie not yet even guaranteed to be offered a contract by the Rangers – has been a difference maker for Owen Sound. The 2009 5th round pick boasts an 8-1 record along with an impressive 2.08 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. Stajcer has risen to the challenge of playing his best hockey at the right time, the most important time, of the year. With Owen Sound making their way to the Memorial Cup after the league finals, the Rangers will also be represented in the Canadian Junior’s showpiece event.
Stajcer’s play should earn him a Rangers contract. One minor concern in the organisation is that there is no real clear cut NHL calibre goalie on the horizon should anything long term happen to Henrik Lundqvist’s situation. Stajcer’s play is suggesting he could be the one to change that. A low draft pick who has had , at times an indifferent junior career, Stajcer started this year on fire and got injured but came back to play brilliantly in the playoffs. With minor league veterans and unproven goalies in the system (Grumet-Morris, Missiaen) the Rangers could do with a young goalie with some pedigree to come up and look like being able to be an NHL goalie.
Since Lundqvist established himself as an NHL elite goalie the Rangers goalie situation beyond the NHL level has been a bit of a mess. Come and gone have been the likes of Chris Holt, Miika Wiikman, Antoine LaFleur, Alvaro Montoya, Cam Talbot, Matt Zaba and Chad Johnson – none of whom made themselves irreplaceable in the system. Stajcer, should he get his deserved contract, should have a chance to make inroads in to the franchise regardless if he starts in the ECHL or AHL. Chad Johnson is coming off a disappointing year, surely the organisation won’t see veteran Grumet-Morris as a long term solution and Talbot has already won and lost a starting job at the AHL level. As you can see, Stajcer may have an opportunity.
The OHL finals start on Tuesday. Rangers’ fans should monitor the progress of Stajcer as he may become a recognisable face over the next few years with a bit of luck.