Archive for Traverse City
Now that the pesky lockout is done, the teams participating in the 2013 Traverse City Prospects Tournament have been released. Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch has noted that the Rangers will participate again this year. Detroit, Buffalo, Carolina, Dallas, Minnesota, Columbus, and St. Louis are the other seven teams participating.
Last season MSG televised the tournament, and most are hoping they will do so again this year.
The Rangers prospects lost what looked to be a relatively lopsided battle with the Baby Sabres, dropping the championship game 5-2 last night. Here’s one last bulleted list going through this game, and the tournament in general:
- It is very clear that the Rangers Traverse City roster was top heavy, especially on defense. There was very little in terms of quality after Dylan McIlrath and Tim Erixon. At forward, it was a little less obvious, but the lack of depth definitely hurt the Rangers. Ryan Bourque, Christian Thomas, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Carl Hagelin, and Shane McColgan can only do so much.
- Blake Parlett really fell from grace fast, eh? He had a marvelous first game, a mediocre second game, was scratched the third game, and had a miserable finale. He still has holes in his game, and will work on them in the AHL this season.
- Let’s not forget Jyri Niemi was a veteran and played in the AHL prior to this tournament, but was no where to be seen. He has a lot to prove this season if he wants to remain with the Rangers organization long term.
- Tommy Grant is another relatively old guy who left me wondering what he was doing, same with Lee Baldwin.
- Sam Noreau can’t skate, at all. It is painfully obvious that he was getting burned by pretty much every opponent.
- Jason Wilson has a lot to prove now. He left a lot to be desired this tournament.
- As for the non roster invitees, it wouldn’t shock me to see them all let go
OPPONENT: Buffalo Sabres
TOP PROSPECTS (SKATER): Luke Adam (2nd round, 2008), Zack Kassian (1st, 2009)
TOP PROSPECT (GOALIE): Nathan Lieuwen (6th, 2011)
LINEUP NOTES: The people you would expect to be in the lineup tonight are in the lineup, and Scott Stajcer is in net. As for the scratches, I’m not going to try guessing yet, nor am I going to try and guess line combos. As soon as we get word I will post them.
CRAZY THOUGHT: Bourque gets a hat trick.
OPPONENT’S BLOG: Die By The Blade
PREDICTION: Rangers 4, Sabres 2
The tournament is being televised this year on MSG. Game time is 7pm.
Looks like the Baby Rangers won’t be going undefeated in the tournament after all, dropping the last game of round-robin play to the Baby ‘Canes 4-3 in overtime. It stinks to see them lose, but they will advance to the finals of the TC tournament anyway. Some notes:
- Christian Thomas’ giveaway led to the winning goal, but the kid has had a strong tournament regardless. He also added a goal and an assist this game. He’s young and small, but he has the elusiveness and the offensive skill to make it in this league.
- Tim Erixon is going to make the Rangers.
- Shane McColgan is looking more and more like a steal every second he plays. Sure, he has flaws and needs to refine some aspects of his game, but in a few years, he could be scary good.
- I’m making Jon Audy-Marchessault’s nickname JAM. Not because he goes and hits everyone, but because they are his initials. I’m creative.
- Speaking of JAM, the kid sure does have some hands, doesn’t he?
- Most of the Rangers prospects getting the top minutes are showcasing speed, skill, character, and grit. That’s a quality combination there.
- Jason Missiaen rebounded nicely from what I thought to be a mediocre performance in the first game. They weren’t all pretty, but he made 38 saves, which is a nice accomplishment.
- Tommy Grant is one of the oldest players at the tournament, but he looks lost, doesn’t he?
- J.T. Miller didn’t have an offensive touch this game, but he still plays the part of the grinder pretty well. In a weak 2011 draft, at least he gives you the effort you want from a player.
- Has anyone seen Michael St. Croix?
- Or Sam Noreau?
- Let’s end this on a positive. Tim Erixon. Period.
OPPONENT: Carolina Hurricanes
TOP PROSPECT (SKATER): Victor Rask (2nd round, 2011)
TOP PROSPECT (GOALIE): The ‘Canes top goalies are not in the tournament this year.
RANGERS ASSUMED LINES:
CRAZY THOUGHT: A non-roster invitee nets a goal.
OPPONENT’S BLOG: Canes Country
PREDICTION: Rangers 6, ‘Canes 2
The tournament is being televised this year on MSG. Game time is 3pm. I am at work unfortunately, so I will be unable to post a review until I watch the game on DVR later tonight. Expect a review up for tomorrow morning.
The Rangers dominated the Dallas Stars last night, winning 6-2 to improve to 2-0 in the tournament. Dallas has a deep prospect pool, so dominating them sends a statement to the rest of teams in the tournament. Now on to the bullet points:
- Christian Thomas and Ryan Bourque are doing it all for the Rangers. They have been fantastic in all three zones, and have been excellent in creating chances.
- Shane McColgan. Period.
- Tim Erixon did a great job of directing traffic on the power play. It is clear he has played professional hockey, and it is clear he is going to make the Rangers roster in October.
- Blake Parlett may not make the Rangers this year, but this kid is good. He does the little things so well.
- The entire Traverse City roster sticks to Hockey 101: Go to the net, shoot low and hard and create rebounds. All of their goals came from crashing the net. That’s how you play hockey.
- Speed, skill, character, and work ethic are the common traits of all the Rangers prospects on this team. It is a mold that the Rangers draft to, and it has been working.
- Dylan McIlrath is very well spoken. He is also very good with the puck, and has a great shot. He may still be a few years away, but he is going to be a good NHL defender.
- Sam Noreau is slow. He needs to work on a lot of things to garner a contract offer in a few years.
- Jon Audy-Marchessault has some serious skill. He really clicks with his QMJHL teammate Ryan Bourque. He is another one, like Parlett, that may not make the team this year, but will shake things up in the preseason.
- Canadian Junior players that are going to get a long look in camp: Thomas, McIlrath, Andrew Yogan.
- Jason Wilson has been having a very rough tournament. He made up for it with a goal yesterday, but he’s been having serious issues.
OPPONENT: St. Louis Blues
TOP PROSPECTS (SKATER): Jamie Oleksiak (1st round, 2011), Scott Glennie (1st round, 2009)
TOP PROSPECT (GOALIE): Jack Campbell (1st round, 2010)
RANGERS LINES (Per Steve Zipay):
CRAZY THOUGHT: Parlett gets two goals.
OPPONENT’S BLOG: Defending Big D
PREDICTION: Rangers 4, Stars 3
The tournament is being televised this year on MSG. Game time is 6pm.
I’m a little late with this, but I had to watch the game on DVR this morning. The Rangers prospects dominated the St. Louis Blues prospects, and won 5-2 despite a good effort in net by their top prospect Jake Allen.
Prospects that impressed me:
- Tim Erixon – man this kid can play. Everything he did was so smooth, you can tell he’s a step above his competition here. He’s going to be a great two way defender in the NHL.
- Dylan McIlrath – his skating surprised me a bit. I expected him to be a little slower and a bit more of a lumbering defenseman, but he was right in on every play and didn’t look to be slow on his skates. He has a good shot too, as he showed on the powerplay.
- Carl Hagelin – this kid can fly. He is exactly how I expected him to be after watching this past year while he was at Michigan. He may not be an offensive force in the NHL, but he will turn a few heads.
- Christian Thomas – small players need “escapeability”, and Thomas has that. The little shifty move he put on in the 2nd period to set up Andrew Yogan in front of the net was a nice little move. He has tremendous skill too, but his escapeability is what will hopefully turn him into a star.
- Ryan Bourque – there wasn’t a particular moment that stood out, but he really impressed me. I’ve never been a big “fan” of Bourque –I think he’s bottom six NHL material — but he really showed why the Rangers are so high on him.
- Blake Parlett – this was the biggest surprise of the night. I did not think much of Parlett other than he impressed the organization last year. But he is a very smooth skater who is good with the puck. He ran the powerplay like a natural.
OPPONENT: St. Louis Blues
TOP PROSPECT (SKATER): Philip McCrae (2nd round, 2008)
TOP PROSPECT (GOALIE): Jake Allen (2nd round, 2008)
RANGERS LINES (Per Steve Zipay on 9/9):
Shane McColgan-Ryan Bourque-Christian Thomas
Carl Hagelin-JT Miller-Randy McNaught
Jason Wilson-Jon Audy-Marchessault-Tommy Grant
Jordan Hickmott-Michael St. Croix-Christian Thomas (double shifted)
Kale Kerbashian-Andrew Yogan-Tayler Jordan
CRAZY THOUGHT: The McColgan-Bourque-Thomas line gets two points each.
OPPONENT’S BLOG: St. Louis Game Time
PREDICTION: Rangers 5, Blues 3
The tournament is being televised this year on MSG. Game time is 7pm.
There has been a lot of hype heading into the Traverse City Tournament this year, and for good reason. For the first time, we will get the opportunity to watch the games live, instead of hearing about them from bloggers and other media outlets. We will finally get first hand looks at Dylan McIlrath, Tim Erixon, Christian Thomas, J.T. Miller, and other Ranger prospects that we have not seen play before. We have read about them and written about them, but most have not seen them play. I myself have only really seen the NCAA players and the players who played at the World Juniors.
But with the ability to watch comes some lofty expectations. The kids I mentioned about are all highly touted prospects that will see top pairing/top-six minutes. There is no doubt some expectations that comes along with the ability to play in this tournament, and some are deserved, while some aren’t. Yes, you’re getting a bullet point list of things to look for in the tournament.
- If the line of Shane McColgan-Ryan Bourque-Christian Thomas stays together, expect them to compete for the World’s Smallest Forward Line. Second place will go to Mike Cammalleri-Scott Gomez-Brian Gionta.
- Also, expect that line to wow you with skill.
- Carl Hagelin is very, very, very, very fast. Unlike Luis Mendoza, he can stop. He can score, especially since he will be paired with J.T. Miller. If the midget line is going to provide most of the offense, then expect this duo to take some of the pressure off them.
- I don’t know why Randy McNaught, a fighter/tough guy, is on that line. I would expect someone like Tommy Grant, who has an offensive skill set, to be on that line.
- Andrew Yogan and Michael St. Croix, despite being on the bottom forwards, will get a decent amount of ice time.
- Yogan is playing for a contract next year. Don’t forget that.
- Dylan McIlrath might actually kill someone if he lands a well placed hit. That is unless he goes up against the aforementioned midget line. They can just skate through his legs.
- Tim Erixon is likely going to look like the most professional player out there. The kid has already played professionally, while no one else on this roster has. No, the CHL is not considered to be the pros in my mind.
- This tournament may have a lot of say into who makes the CT Whale, and who goes to the Greenville Road Warriors of the ECHL. Blake Parlett and Lee Baldwin are two guys to watch closely. They may not realize it, but they are battling for an AHL spot.
- As Jess Rubenstein pointed out the other day, the kids invited as non-roster players are playing for contracts, but will be sent back to the CHL for their overage years.