Three things to look for at Traverse City

Ty Ronning

The Traverse City Tournament kicks off today, with the Baby Rangers taking on the Baby Stars tonight at 7pm. The team will play four games between now and Tuesday, just in time for training camp to open. This year’s tournament has a different feel, as more eyes are on the prospects with the Rangers expected to be bottom-feeders. There are a few things to focus on, if you’re new to following this tournament.

1. The Top Prospects

Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson are going to garner a significant amount of attention, and rightfully so. The two first rounders from 2017 are expected to make the Rangers roster this year and be the faces of the rebuild.

Andersson, the 7th overall pick, is already tabbed by many fans to be the future captain. He may not be an elite level talent, but he’s still a very talented prospect who could, at his peak, be a middle-six/top-six (2C) center. However with Andersson, there is unneeded –and probably unwarranted– pressure on him to ensure the Derek Stepan trade doesn’t turn into a total bust. That’s unfair for Andersson, but that’s how it goes for most fans, unfortunately.

As for Chytil, he is an elite level talent and one of the youngest players on the Traverse City roster. Let that sink in for a moment – one of the youngest players on the roster is an elite level talent expected to make the Rangers. Chytil just turned 19, and his play will be under a microscope. Can he play well enough to impress the coaching staff?

2. The Dark Horses

Ty Ronning, Tim Gettinger, and Brett Howden form a third line that has me giddy. Howden often gets overlooked with Chytil and Andersson in the mix, but he’s a first round pick of his own right. He might be a sleeper for the 4C role to start the season, and that begins with a strong showing in Traverse City.

As for Gettinger, he’s made huge strides since the Rangers took him in the 5th round in 2016. This kid is huge at 6’6″ and 220 lbs, and he has the skating ability to make opponents look silly, at least in the OHL. He may not be on the Howden/Chytil/Andersson tier in terms of expectations, but he could turn in a dominating performance. After all, he is on the third line, garnering lesser quality of competition.

If there is a polar opposite of Gettinger’s size, it’s Ty Ronning. The diminutive forward is my dark horse to make the roster outright this year, ahead of Howden and Gettinger. The kid is feisty, skilled, and quick. He needs a dominant performance at Traverse City to start that train, though.

3. The Deadline Acquisitions

Libor Hajek and Ryan Lindgren are going to get a lot of pressure from fans, although most of it is unwarranted. The Rangers specifically targeted these guys at the trade deadline, so there is an expectation that they wow us. The thing is, neither of these guys play a “wow” game. If you aren’t noticing them, they are doing the right thing.

What I want to see from them is solid positioning, rarely getting caught flat footed, and a good first pass for zone exits. Neither of them are expected to make the team this year, as noted by the full blue line of established NHLers. If the fundamentals are there, it bodes well for the future.

"Three things to look for at Traverse City", 4 out of 5 based on 10 ratings.
Show More


  1. Well if you recall, last year Clark chewed the crew out and msg later pulled the video (no chytil) . So no pressure guys….

    1. Do you remember any specific things that Clark said? I’m usually pretty updated on my NYR news but they must have pulled down that video pretty fast.

  2. Look for me sleeping in the stands: fire alarm at the hotel at 4 in the morning got me & the Hurricanes up because some dumbass started a paper fire in the kitchen.

    1. By the presumptive defensive pairs, the Rangers are putting all the top prospects on their (natural) left side. Given that thy don’t need so many left defensemen, do you like this?

      It sure is rough on the kid Gross who has to play on his off hand. hard for him to impress. OTOH, Crawley has a chance to leapfrog some guys if he can succeed on the right.

      1. In 3 years, how many LD will they need? Staal will be gone, they’ll need competition at a couple of different roles.

        And now with expansion likely delayed, will need extra bodies when losing someone.

        1. Fair enough. My problem is that they sort of need RH defensemen even sooner. They only have four and one of them is Kampfer. I don’t see a future for DeAngelo and even Pionk is not a sure bet.

          But you are probably right. It is better I suppose to find out if Hajek, Lindgren, Day are actually good before worrying about whether they can play the right side. One can always muddle through with veterans like Claesson and Smith who can play the wrong side.

          Amusing though, it is within the realm of possibility that Hartford will carry seven left defensemen.

          1. Agreed on DeAngelo.

            Pionk is the 3rd best man on the team right now and a 2nd pairing dman when he maxes out.

  3. I thought Dave was going to do a rundown on from Brooks article last night about what JG recently said.

    Andersson has to play up to half of his draft #, so at least a 1st round pick. I’m saying that he’ll be like a another Dylan Mcllrath but if he’s a lesser version of Zib than it’ll still sting. If the Rangers drafted Zib and I told you that he was going to be a 33, 46, 51, 37 and a 47 point player than I think everyone would have passed on him. At that point you’re better off at drafting JT Miller instead of Zib. At the same time both clubs passed at drafting Rickard Rakell. Btw Stepan has mastered a certain playing style of a safe game which allowed him in return to still produce with some assits, sometimes more secondary than first but no way would Andersson play like that. I doubt he would become a better PK’er than Hayes already is. A bottom 6 center who could move up and down or over, he’s suppose to be a Swiss army knife, not a top 6 centerman.

  4. I believe the Rangers have K,B,Z, Zucc, Vlad, Spooner, Hayes, Fast, Chityl, Andersson, Vesey, McLeod, Beleskey as the expected forwards with Holland, Howden, Lettieri, Nieves as the second tier and the other seven guys not in the short term picture.

    The first group is certainly shallow enough that they won’t block Howden when he is ready and frankly they wouldn’t block a surprising third tier guy (Ronning or one of the young Swedes) either.

    What the young forwards do at Traverse City really counts as I believe that anyone who deserves to make the team will do so.

    The defense is basically the reverse. Barring injuries, the Rangers start with Shatty, Staal, Skjei, Pionk, Smith, DeAngelo, and Claesson. It will be exciting for us to watch the young defensemen in action, but they are not really playing for anything now, except maybe Crawley (could be sent to Maine because of numbers). They will start in Hartford regardless.

      1. To be clear, my list is not supposed to be the thirteen best forwards (or for that matter the seven best defensemen). That list is my presumption of the roster management is expecting to put forth.

        Personally I hope that with respect to players like Chityl, Andersson, Howden, Ronning, the Rangers strive to play them at the level which best advances their development. If they are NHL-ready, they should play in NY. If they would be embarrassed in the NHL – or simply require extreme sheltering – they belong in Hartford. [Being a Wolfpack first liner might be more valuable experience than a Ranger third liner getting only offensive zone starts.]

        I would be far less interested in how they stack up against McLeod, Beleskey, Holland, Nieves. So, if Howden is ready, I would use him even if McLeod is better. If he is not ready, I would send him to Hartford even if McLeod is worse.

        My own guess now is that Chityl and Andersson are ready and Howden and Ronning are not. I am least sure about Howden.

        1. Why are you sure about Howden ? Have you ever seen him play? I have. He outplayed Lias in the WJC and was outstanding last season in the OHL regular season and playoffs.

          1. I said LEAST sure about Howden. My comment was meant as a hedge, not a proclamation. I would be very surprised if Chityl and Andersson did not start in NY. I would be very surprised if Ronning did start in NY.

            From the little I know, I expect Howden to start in Hartford, but I would not be surprised if I was wrong.

  5. To answer a question from back a few weeks, the Rangers won the tourney in 2007.

  6. I am looking forward to watching the games. Apparently they are available of the Fox Go app.


    1. Late in 1st 2-2 Rangers give up a PP goal then tie it on a goal from Anderson from Stuckel on a giveaway behind the net

      1. What’s Anderson and Chytil face off % looking right now? Every time I see them in the circle it looks like they’re losing the draw.

        I hope Andersson said thank you. I didn’t even know someone assisted on that.

        1. Not a lot of stoppages. Looked let Stuckel intercepted the puck in the corner and threw it in front to Anderson all alone

          Watching on my phone so it’s hard to pick up everything.

          Chytil made a couple of strong moves but could not get through.

        2. Chytil won some faces offs and made some strong moves.

          On Anderson’s goal looked like Stuckel stole puck in the corner and threw it out front to him all alone

          Watching on phone so hard to pick evreything up

    2. tied at the end of one 2-2 Rangers were out shot 13-11 in evenly played game. The rangers were a little sloppy in their own end one giveaway leading to a goal and they were saved by the post on another.

    3. Rangers go head with PP goal by Hakek on a shot from the point through a screen from Howden and chytil

    4. Rangers get a PP goal with less than 10 seconds to go in the 2nd Lindqvist from Ronning 4 to 3 after 2

    5. Rangers strike early in the third on a great cross ice diagonal pass from Lindqvist for a backdoor goal by Stuckel. Anderson gets another assist on the play.

    6. 7-5 loss with the 2 quick goals with 5 to play plus the EN goal. We were not good in the 3rd. As expected weak in the net. Hajek by far was the best D, but Lindqvist did move the puck well. The centers were our best players up front. Chytil needs to stop trying to stick handle through multiple people will not fly in the NHL. Forwards did nothing, Gettinger was the most disappointing. Did not skate like I thought he could and for a big guy he takes the body like Willie Huber if you remember the 80’s.

      1. You’re completely wrong about Gettinger. His skating was VG tonight, took the body, play off the puck was VG as well. Ronning, not so much. Size was stopping him dead in his tracks tonight, but tomorrow is another day.

        The Lindgren/Lindqvist/Lundqvist thing is going to be brutal, luckily the problem should be in Hartford. Lindgren nor Lindqvist did anything to show they should get a long look at camp.

        1. I’ll reserve judgement on all of this until we see these guys in preseason. I admitted watching the game on the phone its hard to get a good handle on whats going on. I did not see Gettinger taking the body and he looked slow but maybe I’m wrong (i hope).

          AS far as the defense none of these guys are NHL ready Hajek is close from what I see. I saw Lindqvist make some nice passes is all I will say, but like the rest of them They are not ready for NY.

          1. Hopefully even via your phone you saw Gettinger destroy a guy, then score off the breakaway against Minnesota in the 1st. Was battling along the wall and closing guys out all period.

  7. The after 20 minute final judgement for a player this season:
    Lindgren: not ready
    Lundkvist: not ready
    Fontaine: not strong enough on puck
    Chytil: looks like a hoss out there
    Day: playing within his game
    Andersson: looking good
    Howden: looking good
    Hajek: looking good
    Crawley: needs a little more zip on his passes
    Meskanen: looks good, will surprise in camp
    Leedahl: looks like he’ll stick in Hartford
    Stukel: hit and miss:
    Jeans: has looked pretty good
    Gross: hasn’t looked out of place

    1. After 40: 4-3 Rangers. Keane sold pass, let seeing eye puck on goal that made things happen. Nice win on the FO by Fontaine.

      I wonder in Chytil might be more suited on the wing, as his game opens up on his off hand, gets too fancy in the middle with the puck on his stick. Just a thought.

      If Day keeps playing like this, will get a longer look at camp. Has been judicious on when he jumps in, isn’t chasing in his own end. Still wish he had a little more piss & vinegar in his game, but it is what it is.

  8. 7 -5 loss with the EN goal, So some pretty shaky play in the 3rd. We were weak in net as expected. Hajek was by far our best D. Though Lindqvist did move the puck well. Up front the 3 centers were our best forwards. Chytil seems to try and make too many plays trying to go through multiple people that will not fly in the NHL. The wings did nothing Gettinger was really bad I thought we was a better skater and he does not use that big frame thought I was watching Willie Huber.

Back to top button