With the Traverse City tournament still a month away, a lot of Rangers prospects will be getting in shape ahead of the tournament. Will this be the Rangers strongest, deepest roster in all the years they have attended?
One thing the Rangers prospects will need to deal with during the tournament is expectancy. The team being sent to this year’s tournament promises to be deep in talent as well as featuring some serious top end skill. Throughout the roster there is likely to be game breakers at every position.
With a potential top six featuring Christian Thomas, Carl Hagelin, Ryan Bourque and new draftees Mike St Croix, Steve Fogarty and Shane McColgan the roster offers a glimpse at players that could be NHL ready as well as provide an insight into the next few years of the prospect pipeline.
With all that talent, the Rangers team will be expected to do well in the upcoming tourney. Goals should not be a problem and when you look at a back end featuring Dylan McIlrath, potentially Tim Erixon, and unheralded prospect Blake Parlett nor should defending their own zone be a concern.
Other than how these young prospects handle the pressure of growing expectancy what else can Traverse City tell us? In my opinion, not a great deal – at least publicly. It’s more of an opportunity for the franchise to get a closer look at the nuances of certain players, a chance to develop some chemistry and a chance to influence individual players’ developmental paths.
Rangers’ fans should not be overly concerned if a particular prospect doesn’t blow the tournament away either. Traverse City is an indicator and a development tool but is just that. No player earns a roster spot solely on the back of a prospect tourney.
That said, who are you most intrigued at seeing? This will be my first chance at seeing proper game action from Tim Erixon and I’ll be intrigued at what Shane McColgan brings to the table given his apparent high skill level. In the period of the year with little hockey to talk about, wondering what prospects will throw up glimpses of the future seems a good place to start. We’ll discuss the various positional depth – heading to the tournament – in the coming weeks.