I know Dave wrote an Around the Farm today but as my ego demands it from time to time I wanted to share my thoughts from the Whale win last night as well. Sometimes, a variety of opinions suggest different things. (p.s. I hadn’t yet read Dave’s write up as I wrote this)
As the Whale managed to beat the Flyers affiliate Phantoms 3-1 last night there was plenty of positives to take out of the game from both a Whale and a Rangers perspective. Here are a few thoughts should excite Rangers fans going forward;
- Chris Kreider just gets it. Perhaps the most exciting part of Kreider is that he knows how to use his physical tools to the absolute maximum. He’s intelligent to boot and if he can put it all together, coupled with experience, then look out. Kreider regularly blew past opposition using his speed, used his body to win physical battles practically every shift and even gets ‘The Rangers way’, trying to play defensively and blocking shots. There’s very little, if anything at this stage, not to like.
- I tweeted last night about the Rangers ability to find undrafted gems. Kyle Jean seems to be another, although it’s too early to get too excited. He has size, seems to use it well and appears comfortable on the puck.
- One of the reasons the Red Wings are/were a perennial NHL contender is the depth right through the organisation. These days the Rangers have this. Not just with draft prospects but guys like Kris Newbury and Chad Kolarik. Neither may be able to stick long term in the NHL but they are examples of quality AHL’ers who do have NHL ability. Whether they provide veteran leadership for the Whale or are needed as a call-up, both can do a job wherever they find themselves.
- Jason Missiaen’s impressive display won’t go unrewarded. If the giant goalie can find some consistency to match his incredible Pekka Rinne like size then the Rangers may have a legitimate prospect to work with – another by the way, that was a free agent signee. Missiaen played excellent positionally, stayed within himself and was quick to react to any rebounds that he did give up. The Rangers still need to draft a goalie sooner or later but if Missiaen (or Talbot or Stajcer for that matter) can develop this year it will reduce the anxiety Rangers fans suffer every time the Zak Rinaldo’s of this world crash Lundqvist’s net.
- My major concern, despite a few players missing from last night, is the Rangers lack of depth on the blueline in the event of further injury at the NHL level. Throughout last night no one on the back end for the Whale inspired much confidence and if he can get in the line up and be an impact player at the AHL level, we may yet see Matt Gilroy in Rangers blue again. Dylan McIlrath can’t get fit quickly enough in my opinion.
- I really like Andrew Yogan as a prospect. Big, willing to use his body, plenty of talent to go with it. He has a chance to stake a claim over the next few weeks.
- My three Whale Stars: 1) Jason Missiaen 2) Chris Kreider 3) Andrew Yogan
Overall there was plenty to be happy with for the Whale and the Rangers last night and with team management in attendance (very exclusive seats it seems – just 17 people watched the game) plenty of players will have put down a marker. When you think the likes of Gilroy, Christian Thomas, Marek Hrivik and Ryan Bourque didn’t play – against a team featuring genuinely elite NHL talent in the form of Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier – it certainly bodes well.