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Posts tagged: Scott Stajcer

Rangers Win and Post Game Thoughts

The Rangers kicked off their European trip with a solid 2-0 victory over Prague. Aided by second period goals from Artem Anisimov and Ruslan Fedotenko, the team was led by the strong play of Martin Biron who played very well in earning a shutout victory. According to beat writer Jim Cerny Biron made several impressive saves throughout.

Given the lack of TV coverage that is the shortest recap you’ll ever likely to see on the site so we’ll just get to some thoughts I have over the game.

  • Artem Anisimov scored the game winner. I have a feeling this won’t be his last of the upcoming season. With so much talent, he started to be more consistent last year. Hopefully, with Brad Richards commanding so much attention Artie will have more freedom to have a big year.
  • I know it’s pre-season but with his goal, did Fedotenko once again prove how nice a pick-up he’s been? All that from a camp try-out. He’s a great depth piece that can be moved up and down the lines and gives 100% every game. Good teams need foot soldiers and that’s exactly what Feds is.
  • Take a bow Marty Biron. Yes, I am biased but health allowing I firmly believe the Rangers have the best 1-2 in the entire league. A perennial Vezina candidate aided by a guy in Biron that could probably still be a solid starter for 10+ teams around the league. Have to love that combo.
  • Erixon and Del Zotto got on the board. Hopefully their assists help raise their games. By all accounts, Del Zotto’s pass in particular was a great play. That’s what he’s capable of.
  • Brutal Schedule! Following the Prague game yesterday the Rangers now do all this, prior to next Friday’s opener: They resume play against Frolunda in Sweden on Friday, Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia on Sunday, and Zug in Switzerland Monday. That’s going to be taxing. 3 more countries in 4 days before going back to Sweden for the opening weekend. Hopefully they get a rest day or two in the next week.
  • I would love to see Scott Stajcer get some time in net. He’s got good talent so don’t let him rot in the stands for the next ten days. Given the schedule, giving Lundqvist and Biron some time out of the pads would be good.
  • A week today is the opening game! I can’t wait to be there. If you’re anything like as excited for the opening weekend as I am, good luck to you.
  • I truly believe we’ll see a strong first weekend from the Rangers. 1-1 would be fine, given all the travel, the injuries on D etc but I have a feeling the Rangers take both games.

Rangers, Prospect and Whale Puck Talk (Part Two)

Earlier this week, we ran the first part of our most recent Q&A with Brian Ring of the CT Whale who has kindly taken time out to discuss a whole array of things with us such as the Whale, Rangers’ prospects and his candidates for breakout performers in the future. Today we have the second part of the Q&A.

Today’s final part looks at the Whale’s potential season, more prospects, the goaltending carousel and MVP candidates for the 2011/12 season. Happy reading…

  • What achievement would be considered a good season for the Whale in 2011-12?

Brian: The benchmark of this franchise has always been to make the playoffs, as the Wolf Pack/Whale have made the playoffs in 13 of 14 seasons in their history. But I think that may be setting the bar low this season, as the upside given the talent and skill on this year’s team should be more than enough to set their sights on making a deep run into the postseason and going for the Calder Cup.

  • Chad Kolarik is another relatively young forward that played well for the Whale. What can Rangers fans expect from Kolarik and does he have a chance at cracking the NHL this season?

Brian: Kolarik is a highly-skilled player with a great sniping and playmaking ability. He had a bit of a nagging injury last year which kept him from being completely healthy but he still managed nearly a point a game during his time in a Whale uniform (17-14-31) in 36 games (he also played 13 games for Springfield). I would say he certainly has a chance of spending some time in New York this season, battling it out with guys like Kris Newbury, John Mitchell and Dale Weise, among others, for potential call-ups.

  • A relatively unknown name to most fans is that of Kale Kerbashian. Can you provide fans a brief ‘scouting report’ on the young winger and where is he expected to begin the new season?

Brian: Kale really broke out last season with a pretty big junior year for Sarnia, totalling 37-51-88 in 68 games for the Sting. I haven’t seen enough of him to really make a solid judgement, but I did watch him a bit at the Rangers’ development camp and he seemed to be one of the more confident players on the ice and had no problem rushing the puck and making plays. All evidence points to Kale being a rugged guy who is not afraid to get physical on the ice, and the team was impressed enough to lock him up to an AHL deal this year.

  • Is it fair to suggest that the Whale’s biggest question marks are in net and how do you see the goaltending position playing out heading in to the year?

Brian: I think it will be one of the more intriguing aspects of the preseason and the Whale training camp to see how Chad Johnson, Cam Talbot and Jason Missiaen will compete and battle each other for spots on the team. Throw Scott Stajcer into the mix and things get even more interesting. Johnson is certainly someone that has had success at the AHL level and has spent time with the Rangers, and Talbot has as well. If I had to venture a guess, I think Johnson and Talbot will be splitting time with the Whale, and I’m willing to bet that goaltending ends up more of a strength than people think, especially considering the team’s corps of defensemen.

  • How is the organisation able to balance the almost conflicting priorities of prospect development and competitiveness in the American Hockey League?

Brian: I think the biggest thing is that the Rangers have continued to draft and acquire high-end talent that allows the Whale to both develop players and win hockey games with those player’s abilities at the same time. Even when the Rangers make a trade for a player that is likely to play in Hartford, such as a Kris Newbury or a John Mitchell, those are players that are able to step right into an NHL line up but are also excellent AHL players. That, combined with the solid drafting the Rangers have done for some time now, has led to good organizational depth and this lessens the need to compromise either player development or competitiveness. Development is certainly the first priority for most AHL clubs, however winning is always a nice side effect of generating top-tier talent.

  • If you had to say one name today, who will be the CT Whale MVP at the end of the 2011-12 season and why?

Brian: Such a tough question because there are a lot of factors regarding who will be here to start the year, who will miss a lot of times with call-ups or injuries. I’m going to take Kris Newbury, who I’ll project to finish top ten in the AHL in points this year. I think there will be a lot of goals scored this season and he’ll have plenty of guys to dish the puck to.

 

A final big thanks to both Brian Ring and the CT Whale for participating with the Q&A. It’s always interesting to hear insight from Brian about the Whale and the Rangers prospects. Be sure to follow both Brian and the Whale on twitter at @brianring and @CTWhale. Make sure you check back throughout the season for updates on how the Whale (and the Rangers future) are getting on with their season and be sure to check out the Whale’s own website  too.

Musings: Return Of The King, Real Scouting Reports, & More

That title is my highly inflated ego talking, but all jest aside – I haven’t been around on the site much recently but I’m back now and it’s a Musings day! Time to throw my random thoughts at you before I throw the mike over to the Suit; yes – it’s a double barrelled Musings (gasp!).

So the Rangers apparently won’t be skating on to the ice via center-ice anymore? Is it that big a deal, I mean really?

I’m really excited at the organisational depth at the moment evidenced by my genuine excitement at following the CT Whale this coming season. There’s a lot to monitor down on the farm. Depending on the training camp shake down there could be some serious NHL potential starting the year in the AHL. Depth wins baby.

Random me: I’m probably going to a Wedding in California in November. If I do, I’m not even paying for my flight, which means there’s a good chance I’ll be in the US twice in 6 weeks. Check me out, the high flyer!

I’m sure, as an ambitious prospect he won’t like my theory but I really hope Scott Stajcer ends up back in the OHL this season. Why? The kid has legitimate talent and I’d rather not see him rot away in a three man rotation in the minors or be sent to the ECHL. Staying healthy and playing a full year with an OHL club surely is better than a handful of appearances as a minor pro.

Christian Thomas reported to his OHL Generals on Tuesday. Chance he starts the year there? Probably headed to the OHL due to numbers and age and if he does spend another year in the OHL, I expect another monster year from the blue chipper scorer.

Keeping on the prospect theme: Andrew Yogan was recently traded to the OHL Peterborough Petes. Like Thomas it’s not a given where he will play this season yet and could be a dark horse Rangers candidate but…very likely a candidate for the Whale. The kid has great size and good talent and is healthy. One to watch for sure.

More me: By the time you read this I’ll have picked up my new car! Went and got myself a shiny VW Golf. Definitely an upgrade.

So, Henrik Lundqvist is seventh on Yahoo’s top 100 fantasy hockey players? That’s high (and deserved) praise. I firmly believe the Rangers have the best goalie in the league and with more offense in front of him it’s hard not to love him as a fantasy pick this year.

That’s all for my ramblings today folks. Carry on down for some expert talk from The Suit.

********************************

Chris, until you learn how to correctly place commas, you need to take that ego down a notch…damn Brits

Just kidding bro. I love English Muffins. 

Dan David over at the Rangers Offiicial site had a great article on Christian Thomas, which included some excellent scouting/analysis by Adam Graves. Here’s one quote:

His (Thomas) shot is as good a shot as I have seen in a long, long time,” said Graves. “Inside the top of the circles, he has a special shot. He knows where it’s going and he can move it and he can change the angle on a goalie in a hurry. When the goalie is looking at him, he can change the angle because he drags the puck with equal amount of zip. I used to have to bring the puck in tight to my body where I had all my strength to change the angle like that, but by just movement of his stick and his sense of scoring, Christian is very good at changing the angle on the goalie.”

That’s analysis people! They need to get Adam Graves in the TV booth more often. You’ll never hear analysis in that detail from a TV commentator. Hell, you won’t even get that from “expert” prospect bloggers.

Chris mentioned that Lundqvist was ranked the seventh best overall player by Yahoo, which is refreshing to see. Yet ESPN has Hank ranked the 11th best goalie some reason beyond my comprehension. 

I know ESPN sucks at life, but really…11th?  Since the lockout, no goaltender has been more consistent than Henrik Lundqvist, save Vokoun. Miller has had bad seasons, as well as Bryz, Price, Fleury, etc. Year in and year out, Hank is up there in every goaltending category, yet the people around him keep changing.  It makes no sense to me how anyone could list Lundqvist outside of the top 5.

Anyway, last week I mentioned that we would be organizing  a Fantasy Hockey league between myself, Dave, Chris, and some of our readers. I haven’t set anything up yet, but expect an email shortly after Labor Day. If you are interested, and you haven’t yet dropped a comment, please do so here or shoot me an email.

HF: Rangers “Loaded” In Juniors

The Rangers upper management sure has been busy this month.  In all, the Rangers have signed six prospects out of the Canadian Juniors, with only one eligible player (Dan Maggio) remaining unsigned.  Leslie Treff at HockeysFuture took an in-depth look at the nine prospects that the Rangers had in juniors, which includes the six signed and three unsigned (including Maggio).  Treff predicts that only one player has a legitimate shot at making the club next year (Christian Thomas), while another top prospect (Dylan McIlrath) is likely headed back to Juniors.

It’s tough to disagree with Leslie here when it comes to where the prospects wind up.  Due to age restrictions, Thomas is either going to play for the Rangers or return to the OHL.  At the risk of repeating myself, I still think he makes the squad outright.  McIlrath is also a lock to be returned to the WHL.  As for the other players that signed (Ryan Bourque, Roman Horak, Scott Stajcer, Jason Wilson), all four will be spending at least one season with the CT Whale, as Leslie states in her article.

Where things get interesting are with Maggio, Randy McNaught, and Andrew Yogan. Treff states that Maggio likely will not be offered a contract, which means the Rangers rights to sign him will expire next week.  I am a little disappointed to hear that, because once Maggio was traded to Oshawa (Thomas’ club), he showed vast improvement in his game.  I was hoping he would be signed, and to be honest, I assumed he would be.  However, it appears that the Rangers are done signing their prospects, which leaves him out of the bigger picture.

McNaught, who was initially drafted to be a tough guy for the Rangers, he suffered a sever ankle injury that required surgery.  With last season being his over-age season in Canadian Juniors, he cannot return there next year.  Treff states that he likely will not be given an entry level deal because of this.

As for Yogan, the Rangers will retain his rights for at least another year, as he was a 2010 draftee who was not in his overage year in the CHL.  Yogan has talent, but his shoulder injury really hampered the Rangers decision making ability.  He played well in his ATO with the CT Whale this year, registering three points in two games.  With the Rangers approaching the 50 contract limit, there is no need to sign Yogan now, especially when there is a significant shoulder issue.

In regards to long-term development of these prospects, Thomas is the only one likely to be with the Rangers next season.  McIlrath is also going to be a Ranger at some point (barring a significant trade).  Stajcer’s path is blocked by Henrik Lundqvist, so the best case scenario is that he becomes either a viable backup for The King.  Bourque, Horak, and Wilson will likely be in CT for at least a season and a half, possibly longer.  None really project out to be top-six guys at the NHL level.  It doesn’t mean they aren’t useful pieces though.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them packaged in a bigger deal.

Scott Stajcer Press Release

Here’s the press release for the Scott Stajcer signing:

RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH GOALTENDER SCOTT STAJCER
New York, May 20, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with goaltender Scott Stajcer.

Stajcer, 19, will participate in the 2011 CHL Memorial Cup in Mississauga, Ontario, after capturing the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Championship with the Owen Sound Attack. Stajcer led the Attack and ranked fourth in the OHL with a career-high, eight playoff wins, posting an 8-4-0 mark with a 2.79 goals against average and a .909 save percentage in 13 postseason contests. He also ranked fifth in the league in playoff minutes played (688), sixth in saves (321), seventh in goals against average, and eighth in save percentage. Stajcer posted an 8-1-0 record with a 2.08 goals against average in nine starts to begin the 2011 OHL Playoffs, recording all four victories in both the OHL Western Conference Semifinals against Plymouth and OHL Western Conference Finals against Windsor.

During the regular season, Stajcer posted a 10-3-0 record with a career-best, 2.99 goals against average, a .901 save percentage and one shutout in 14 games with Owen Sound. Stajcer was named CHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending October 3, registering a 3-0-0 mark with a 1.00 goals against average, a .972 save percentage and one shutout in three games over the span. He posted a career-high, eight-game winning streak to begin the season from September 25 at Guelph to October 20 vs. Plymouth, registering a 2.12 goals against average, a .936 save percentage and one shutout over the span. Stajcer recorded his second career shutout with a 36-save performance on October 2 vs. Kitchener. He missed 50 games due to a lower body injury suffered on November 20 vs. Mississauga.

The 6-3, 195-pounder has appeared in 110 career OHL contests with Owen Sound, posting a record of 47-44-12 along with a 3.57 goals against average, a .900 save percentage and two shutouts. In 2009-10, Stajcer established career-highs in games played (55), wins (21), saves (1,620), and total ice time (3,041:54). His 1,620 saves ranked fifth in the league, while he finished sixth in total ice time. Stajcer posted his first career shutout with a 36-save performance on December 6, 2009 at Kingston, and recorded a career-high, 49 saves in a 4-3 win at Barrie on December 31, 2009. He led Owen Sound and ranked 12th in the league with a career-high, .906 save percentage in 2008-09. Stajcer registered 24 saves in a 5-3 win vs. Niagara while making his OHL debut on November 17, 2007.

The Cambridge, Ontario native was originally the Rangers fifth round choice, 140th overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Rangers Sign Scott Stajcer?

As per CapGeek, the Rangers have agreed to terms with 2009 5th round pick Scott Stajcer, goalie from the Owen Sound Attack.  The signing itself isn’t a surprise, but the fact that it hasn’t been reported yet is a bit of a surprise.  Stajcer had an injury filled season this year, but he has been progressing nicely after working with Benoit Allaire this training camp.  He finished his final year in the OHL with a 2.91 GAA and a .901 SV%.  His numbers aren’t overwhelming, but he has shown vast improvement each year.

The signing of Stajcer likely means that one of the goalies in the system will not be re-signed, and my money is on Chad Johnson.  With no viable backup for Henrik Lundqvist in the system (other than Martin Biron), the Rangers just need to go with the players showing improvement, and Johnson just hasn’t shown any improvement this year.  Stajcer, on the other hand, has shown steady improvement since the Rangers drafted him.  He will likely start in the AHL next season.

Stajcer Watches OHL Victory From Stands

Despite being part of a the Ontario hockey league championship victory and having the Memorial Cup tournament coming up next, it hasn’t been a great end to the season – on a personal note – for Scott Stajcer. Stajcer’s future professional career and last few weeks in junior have been affected by the musical chairs being played in the Owen Sound Net. Despite these musical chairs in net, Owen Sound managed to come back in impressive fashion against the Mississauga St Mike’s Majors to win 3 of the last 4 games and claim the championship in thrilling style, winning game seven 3-2 in overtime.

During the game 7 victory Scott Stajcer didn’t even find himself in uniform as Jordan Binnington was in net and the previously impressive Michael Zador – who took Stajcer’s place – was named back up. Game 6 was the same set up in goal while Stajcer was in net for game 5 (conceding 5) before being replaced by Zador. Indeed, each of the three goalies saw significant ice time during the finals series and given the short leash being used by Owen Sound, who knows who will get the bulk of the playing time in the Memorial Cup, being held later this month.

Despite losing playing time Stajcer’s overall playoff numbers have been solid, even if they came back to earth in his final few games. He boasted an 8-4 record, a .909% and a 2.79GAA; all solid numbers but admittedly not nearly as good as just a few games ago. Stajcer’s next steps in the hockey world are a lot less clear than they were before the OHL finals began. Given the lack of depth in the Rangers organisation Stajcer may yet receive a contract but what seemed a sure thing a little while ago is no longer that. With an injury prone season almost behind him, maybe the Rangers should look to get him into the fold by other means (AHL contract?) and make him play a full year at a lesser level to see if he is deserving of a NHL deal but that’s pure speculation on my part. Benefiting from good size and clearly talented it would be a shame if Benny Alleire and the Rangers didn’t at least try and work with the young goalie and turn Stajcer into something better.

 

Stajcer Benched in OHL Finals

After losing the first two games of the OHL finals, Scott Stajcer’s Owen Sound Attack have shown some resiliency over the past two games as they have come back to tie up the series 2 each. The two teams head into a huge game five tonight in Mississauga.

Unfortunately for Stajcer it appears that he has taken some of the blame for the losses in games one and two as during the two Owen Sound wins Stajcer hasn’t featured. The young netminder didn’t dress for game three and was the back up in game four. The first win for the Attack was a wild 6-5 affair, but the second win (the series tier) was a tight 2-1 victory in Owen Sound. During that game goaltender Michael Zador stopped 41 of 42 shots as Stajcer watched on from the bench. Unfortunately for Stajcer, with his competition in goal playing so well it’s highly doubtful the Rangers prospect will get a chance in net until Zador falters. After all, stopping 41 of 42 shots in a huge finals game is pretty impressive.

Has Stajcer played his last junior game? With at least two games left in this OHL series and the Memorial Cup to come later in May it’s hard to tell but should Zador play another game like his game four performance in this series it’s hard to see how Stajcer will feature again. The worst news for Stajcer is the fact that sitting on the bench greatly harms his chances of a Rangers’ contract. Had he played well and backstopped his side to an OHL playoff victory and then played well on the biggest stage in Canadian Juniors, the Memorial Cup, it’s hard to see why the Rangers’ wouldn’t offer the netminder a contract. However, with his recent ‘faltering’, doubt has now crept in even further regards to his future beyond this year. Stajcer’s future will an interesting one to watch over the summer.

Stajcer in Game 2 Finals Loss

Special teams were the undoing of Scott Stajcer’s Owen Sound Attack in game 2 of the OHL finals Thursday night. Having lost the first game of the finals, Owen Sound lost 6-2 to Mississauga, primarily on the back of the St Mike’s Majors going 4 from 8 on the power play. Any time a team scores that often on the power play it’s tough to win a game. Stajcer himself stopped 33 of 38 shots that he faced over the contest, again being outdueled (at least statistically) by JP Anderson in the opposite net.

Once more, key players for Owen Sounds didn’t turn up (Joey Hishon is -4 in the 2 games so far) as their parade to the penalty box really was a deciding factor. On the other side, key players for Mississauga did show up. A two goal night from Justin Shugg (41 goals in the regular season) paced the Majors to their game 2 win. Owen Sound and Stajcer have an immediate opportunity to get back in the series tonight as game 3 is the second half of back to backs. Tonight will be pivotal. Lose and Owen Sound have a huge hole to get themselves out of, win and new life is breathed into their series (and title) hopes.

It will be interesting to see how Stajcer fares in such a pivotal game tonight. Can he be the spark for his side like Henrik Lundqvist so often is for the Rangers? Stajcer doesn’t have many games left in his junior career. With a little better support maybe he can win one or two more games over the OHL finals and Memorial Cup series’.

 

Scott Stajcer; Prospect Diamond in the Rough?

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.