Ville Meskanen: The sleeper we may not have expected

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.

Show More
  • At Traverse City, I basically ignore the goals and look at play off the puck and what they do when they get the puck. Meskanen was always finding holes when they had possession and supported the play if not 1st man in on the forecheck when they didn’t have it.

    • So my question is “What is the point of giving a thumbs down to this comment?” In the first sentence, he gives insight into how he looks at the games. In the second, he comments about how he saw Meskanen. I suppose if you personally thought Meskanen looked lost out there and wasn’t finding holes, then criticism is warranted. But not otherwise.

      A prospects tournament is not just about winning. The results need to be evaluated with some perspective. Different people may have different perspectives, but there is nothing better than someone who tells you what his/her perspective is.

      • With friends like you, who needs enemies? 😉

        But seriously, the gutless wonders wouln’t know what support would be beyond the depends they’re wearing and couldn’t engage in a cogent argument if Moose wrote it for them.

        So thumbs down a blazin!!

        • Unlike your original, my response and your follow up are certainly fair game.

          I like thumbs up, down, but a lot of usage is bizarre.

  • This kid is the real deal, with a season under his belt of playing against men. He needs to make the team and play some 3rd line. By my count, there are 27 forwards in camp with 17 making the grade. He may be in competition with Ronning and Lettieri for that 16th spot.

    I can see him taking time away from Vesey.

  • Always a good thing when one can get something for nothing. It’s like shopping in the bargain basement.

  • I think it’s pretty clear the NYR are leaning more towards prospects that have opportunities to develop in professional men’s leagues over Jr’s and Colleges. Obviously not 100% of the time, but there is a trend there. I think if two prospects are very close talent-wise, the NYR brass gives the upper-hand to those players already playing professionally.

    Chytil, Andersson, Kravstov, and Nils Lundkvist are just some recent examples. It could very well have been a part in picking Kravstov over Wahlstrom.

    Hockey is so close I can taste it! Let’s get going already. I could care less how their record looks. Just give us 100% effort and we’ll be fine. Take a look at the games in mid-January from last year and just do the opposite. Quinn too… if you see AV munching hard on gum, chew yours softly. Hell, maybe even go gumless altogether.

    • Gumless, definitely. Would like to see Quinn behind the bench with a flask instead, old-school style.

    • I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the way the CBA is set up you’re better off using those long shot picks on players you can control for 4+ years (via Europe or NCAA) without starting the waivers clock instead of CHL kids.

      The CHL kids you draft at 18 need to be ready to go at 20; everybody else (like Keane & Crawley) you can wait u til they turn the corner. Slow developing players like D & G, you can always wait. McIlrath ran out of runway for this very reason.

  • It’s a tough day,” Brad Marchand told NBC Sports’ Joe Haggerty. “It’s difficult losing Quaider, who has been an incredible teammate for a long time. When you look around the room, you want guys like him. He’s just an incredible guy off the ice, and in the room. He’s a great friend, and as a teammate he’d do anything for the team and for each individual player.

    For those who are bashing the deal…stats are important but so are comments like these.

    • Just using the Nick Holden trade to the Bruins as a measuring stick, here we have a LH defenseman going there for a third rounder. Whereas, McQuaid being RH and more in demand with seemingly better intangibles coming here for a 4th & conditional 7th. I don’t have a problem with the cost. But OTOH will he impede the young players? Looking at the entire picture, I don’t have a problem with this at all.

      • If Marchand loves McQuaid that much, how come he didn’t have the influence to keep his friend in Boston?

        Oh, I know, because McQuaid is not even in the top 7 of Boston’s vaunted D corps?

    • #1) The Rangers are winning anything this year.
      #2) They are on a SELF imposed REBUILD, so WHY are they trading draft picks for 32 year old D men who have no future here?
      #3) They could have signed Chris Stewart for less than half of McQuaid’s cap hit and not giving up anything in trade. Not to mention that Stewart is a better fighter and better hockey player.

      How many wins is McQuaid good for?

      • Indeed. McQ for Kampfer straight up I would have been just fine with, personally. While McQ is slightly more effective on the ice outside of fighting than Kampfer, that’s kinda like saying a punch to the nose is better than a punch to the nuts…both suck, but obviously you prefer one over the other just a little bit. Had it been straight up, Boston’s return is the cap space, room in their pipeline to further figure out what appears to be a strong system developing on the defensive side, and a player who doesn’t really belong in the NHL for more than an injury call-up. In return, a locker room guy and willing pugilist who, chances are, barely moves the needle on the ice and is basically a 7D on most teams whose blue lines aren’t complete dumpster fires right now. The inclusion of draft picks is the issue most have, and that is a very fair issue to take here IMO.

        Maybe Gorton was having restless nights as a result of ripping his former team off so badly in the Nash deal, so had to even his conscience out a little with this one. Maybe he looked at zero stats from recent years and operated solely on the skill level he witnessed from McQuaid back when Boston acquired him. I dunno. But, I was real surprised to see anything other than a throwaway prospect included with Kampfer, personally. As Sean Tierney wrote on Twitter, “If you swept up a couple of draft picks in this trade, you’re the winner.”

  • I have to say I was disappointed in what we saw at T City. I expected them to match up better against other teams prospects.

    • Yes Joen, Idid too. I thought that they did not look like they had a cohesive system together.

      In the final game, they scratched Chytil, Howden, Andersson and Hajek. Boy did it show!

      I will be watching the pre-season games with great interest.

    • The goal-tending was terrible!!!!!!!

      It’s only an exhibition to help evaluate players, it means nothing else………..

  • And Seguin is off the board as a potential free agent. I really hope we develop our centers because no one is hitting free agency in their prime anymore in that position (Tavares excluded).

    • I tried to warn most people over here that he would like to resign with them during the JT fiasco. I never understood the fantasies that he would even want to resign here and push down Hayes and Zib. The guy has been on the record talking about how Dallas is his true home through online vlogs.

      Banking on Chytil to turn into a elite center while we still have Hank is risky af. I hope Zib and Hayes could finally crack the 55+ mark and maintain their goal scoring from last season, more opportunity and system should help with that. We need a better 1 and 2 punch than what Brassard and Stepan were in previous seasons. I already see a improvement in special teams so hopefully they could finally breakout.

  • This kids got a shot, i watched some video of him and read his scouting report. He’s a complete player. If he does not make the team out if camp watch him for a call up.

  • I know Traverse City isn’t all about wins and losses, but c’mon guys. Last place?!? With a fully restocked prospect pipeline (supposedly)?!?

    Who had the most points? Did anyone get more than 3? This isn’t a good sign for the prospects we traded for. It took only 4 days for the brass to realize they do not have a blue line and needed to make a deal (and overpay in my estimation). We have some serious issues if these prospects cannot push guys like O’Gara and Gilmour out. JG definitely expected more than what he saw.

    I know we shouldn’t look too deeply here, but this isn’t a good start to Camp.

  • Back to top button