If there is one thing we can take away from the Traverse City Tournament, aside from the fact that the kids can score and are very talented, it’s that Ville Meskanen may have gone from relatively unknown to dark horse to make the Rangers out of camp.
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Finland, Meskanen had a breakout season last year, putting up a line of 24-20-44 in 48 games in SM-Liiga. The Rangers have a history of signing undrafted free agents to try to fill the ranks, and for every Mats Zuccarello, there are 14 others that never seem to make it. Meskanen wasn’t necessarily overlooked, but cause for excitement wasn’t there.
Meskanen came to Traverse City as someone who wasn’t even on the list of players to watch. Sure, he was going to be there and we were going to be watching, but there was more interest in Andersson, Chytil, Howden, Lindgren, Hajek, and so on. With so many solid prospects there, the unknowns, including Meskanen took a bit of a back seat.
But Meskanen impressed. Aside from the scoring, he was just overall solid in his play. He made smart decisions with and without the puck, and he found a way to get in the right spots for scoring chances. He has shown to be a very smart player and has a skill set to match.
That said, Meskanen is far from a lock to make the club. A lot of things need to go his way, first and foremost being continued solid play at camp. He has certainly piqued the interest of more than a few people, including myself, who wrongly overlooked his signing and presence at Traverse City. Let’s see what comes of it.