Update on the prospects in Traverse City

Brad Morrison is looking like a nice value pick in the 4th round

Seven days folks. Just seven more days until the first preseason game against the New Jersey Devils. Until then, some of the New York Rangers prospects and invites have been participating in a week long tournament in Traverse City against seven other NHL teams. While it has been pretty much impossible to watch, there are some people at the games that have been able to keep fans updated on how players are doing

Brad Morrison

All aboard the Brad Morrison hype train. I have been praising this kid since about March, then I wrote about him here a few weeks before the draft, and then finally I was elated that the Rangers actually chose the guy I wanted. With the barren offensive prospects the Rangers have at their disposal this year in Traverse City, Brad Morrison was asked to be part of the go to guys on offense and hasn’t disappointed. In the first game he was constantly getting chances, but just shooting high. That all changed when he provided the first goal of the tournament by using his shifty skating to cut right into the slot and go top shelf on the Minnesota Wild goalie.

In the second game of the tournament, Morrison was visible on the powerplay andd just missed tipping a Brady Skjei shot before the team got shutout. Morrison has talent that should translate to a pro game and plays with his heart on his sleeve. He isn’t afraid of the corners and isn’t afraid of being in traffic to make a play happen. He has been able to make opportunities out of situations where he was out manned by the opposition. I really love this kid and think he will be an NHLer. His play in Traverse City gives me high expectations for his next season in the WHL. Here is a video that the NYR posted of his goal. Included is a beautiful deflection by training camp invite and another prospect I’m intrigued by, Adam Brooks.

Brady Skjei

Brady Skjei is the captain of the Traverse City team. I just really feel that I need to point this out, the kid is the real deal. His poise, maturity and talent made him a wonderful pick three years ago, and I simply find it hard to believe that he won’t see some NHL time soon.

Calle Andersson/Petr Zamorsky

Calle Andersson and Petr Zamorsky are giving me hope for the Hartford Wolfpack. Andersson is a pretty talented puck mover, as we’ve said here a few times, but not many know about Zamorsky. He is a wonderfully talented offensive defenseman that really brings the boom when it comes to his slap shot. He is a great skater. which he uses to his advantage at both ends of the rink. He has small stature for a defenseman, but he has a mean streak and is known for trying to throw huge hits.

Both of these players have skating prowess and offensive abilities that stick out, and the Rangers’ brass saw what can happen when you have two offensively gifted right handed point men on the powerplay yesterday. Andersson set up an opportunity for Zamorsky to unleash his slap shot on a 5-on-3 power play, leading to a 2-0 lead for the Rangers against a very talented Columbus Blue Jackets team. It really was a blast that beat the goalie low. Andersson scored the next period with his own blast from the slot, and the Rangers won 4-0. Video of the goals can be found here.

I expect Zamorsky to surprise people in camp, but with the depth on defense, he probably won’t make the roster. That said, I really think both Andersson and Zamorsky will be key pieces to Hartford and provide them with two capable power play quarterbacks who already have experience with pro hockey in Europe. Ken Gernander has had some difficulties developing offensive prospects in the minors, so that’s worth keeping an eye on.

Jayden Hart

Jayden Hart has shown some capability in the tournament. That should be expected at his age (20 years old), but he hasn’t wowed anyone yet. He had a solid 11 games with the Rochester Americans, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Rangers offered him an AHL contract to show his stuff for a full year. He is nice gritty player who can chip in on offense, plus you can never have enough depth. Maybe he can become a homegrown quality 4th liner, but he needs the contract offer first.

Adam Tambellini

A lot of people are pretty excited for Adam Tambellini. Personally, I am keeping my expectations low because I am keeping in mind that he was older than most players that he played against last year. Don’t take that the wrong way, he was still pretty impressive and he improved his two-way game, so you have to give him credit. He had been fairly quiet in the tournament before he recorded a goal yesterday. I hope that we see more from him in Hartford. He has talent and a wonderful shot, something that the Rangers need in the system.

Brandon Halverson

Just want to point out that goalie prospect Brandon Halverson has been injured throughout the tournament, and I expect the Rangers would have a better record if he was in net.

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  • Hey Josh, Awesome review. Do you feel Skjei is ahead of Mcilrath as far as making the big club??, I know they have totally different styles, what is your opinion? How did Cameron Askew look during the tournament? Did he play??

    • I’ll also be interested in what Josh has to say about this. However, I don’t think Skjei, Zamorsky, Andersson will get serious consideration for the opening day roster. With McIlrath and Bellemore, the Rangers have nine defensemen to look at who can’t just be sent to Hartford without likely losing them. So the Rangers will be cautious and send down everyone who doesn’t need waivers – AT FIRST. A month in, who knows what will happen.

      • Yeah I don’t think those 3 make the NHL at first. The 2 euros need another year at least in the AHL anyway but they should still look not too bad in camp. What I know is that Hartford will actually have some nice defensive prospects this year.

        Askew has played in every game so I assume they like him. That said I haven’t heard much updates on him.

      • The entire squad looked much better yesterday compared to Saturday and got better as the game progressed.

        Neither Zamorsky or Andersson will get a sniff of the big club next year, doubt they ever will given roster construction. Good players but I think the A is their ceiling. Ryan Graves is better than either player.

        Askew played fine, I think he’s still draft eligible, only had one shift where he showed something. The ice was usually tilted away from him.

        Hart has played well in the games I saw with Tambellini, definitely earned an invite to Hartford.

        I think the Rangers are playing Dallas today because our GD was -1 even though they lost H2H with MIN.

        • To add a little bit more about Askew, it’s really hard to judge him with so few touches, his responsibilities were to be 3rd man high in the offensive zone. He’s responsible defensively, hopefully when he goes back to junior he’ll get a shot at putting up points.

    • I don’t see these guys making an impact this year, and will get some seasoning in the AHL. Don’t be suprised if Skjei isn’t Yandel’s replacement next season. He is a left handed shot, and will be in line to replace Staal long term on the left side……

  • Any word on Skjei’s injury?

    “The New York Rangers earned their first victory in the tournament despite being short one defenseman after Brady Skjei sustained an upper-body injury in the first period of a 4-0 victory against the Blue Jackets.”

  • Mantha wearing 3rd A

    Simpson looks good, needs to bulk up, become a poor man’s Brian Boyle

    Morrison blew a red line in breakaway, couldn’t calm puck down, followed up with 2 good set ups for Iverson.

    Iverson doing nothing to stand out until burying Hawk into the penalty box, then scoring on the same shift.

    Zamorsky has a heavy shot from the point, but knows to mix it up. Decision making skills in his own end so-so

  • So the wheels have fallen off with the Hawks scoring 4 unanswered in 10 minutes of the 2nd. Hart dropped the gloves as the 4th was getting scored

  • Just watched Andersson lose a footrace to Ryan Haggerty with a head start. Zamorsky’s decision making is scary. If I had to rank the D-men in this tourney:
    1: Skjei
    2: Graves
    3: Andersson
    4: Ottenbreit
    5: Mantha
    6: Smith
    7: Zamorsky
    8: Zborovsky

  • Thanks for the info, nice to get a bit more details on some interesting names further down the prospect chart

    To me, Skjei shouldn’t be a Yandle replacement but rather a cheaper way to fill the shut-down D role provided by Girardi/Klein/Staal. I’d rather have a Skjei-Yandle pairing in 2 years than a Skjei-Klein pair

    The Euro D could have some nice upside and glad to hear both have a bit o offensive skill, something will need to be replaced following Boyle’s likely retirment next summer

    Morrison seems like he a could be a similar type to Callahan as a mid-round pick with some offensive skill but largely gets by on effort

    Tambellini will be in CT for a few years and he’s got plenty of time to develop as the foward core is locked in / RFA for another few years

    Gropp seemed to get some appreciation from outside observers, as his skating and puck skills were acknowledged

    Didn’t hear much about Graves during the tournament, any insight as to how he looked?

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