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03-20-2004, 08:16 PM
  #1
Park #2
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Rangers/Young Players

I am really just posting this to try and create a little fodder on the board. I know it's common to hear how the Rangers organization "Destroys" prospects, or hurts their progress - as is being talked about on this board with Lundmark.

I posted elsewhere today and ask the following: Which prospects were really destroyed by the Ranger Organization? I understand that the Rangers, especially in the mid-Smith/Sather era have little patience for youth, and trade them away (To bad they can't have Mattias Norstrom back). That is obvious, and is known throughout the league. I also understand that the Rangers, especially under Neil Smith from 95-99, drafted horribly. There were few good prospects brought into an organization that had traded away some good young talent to win a cup (Weight, Marchant, Amonte, etc.) .

That said, looking back, I have trouble remembering a good prospect that was actually destroyed by the NYR. Malholtra is a common thought, however the truth was that Malholtra over hyped by Smith and said to be something he wasn't. Muckler said it best that the kid will be a 3rd/4th line checking center and nothing more. That is what he has turned out to be. The Rangers didn't destroy him - rather he played for them as he plays now. Everyone knew the kid had questions about his goal scoring ability coming into the draft. Young players who turn into solid NHL'ers have found a way to succed with the Rangers - even if they are eventually traded elsewhere: Savard, York, K. Johnsson all showed skill- even in limited action at first - and produced respectably in NY.

It's common to hear or read about how "Young players do nothing here/aren't given a chance and go on to become good players...." and frankly - not one of these comes to mind. Favorites recently have become Nils Ekman and Marek Zidlicky. No doubt, Ekman has played well with San Jose - but honestly to most that is quite a surprise. Ekman has always been fast and a good puckhandler - but in years past he has been frequently knocked off the puck. He is playing in the perfect system for his game right now, but let's not forget that 2 other organizations gave up on him as well (CAL, TAM) and he was floating around Europe when Slats traded for him. Hindsight is 20/20 and he has produced, but the Rangers felt they improved upon Ekman by signing Hllavac (who is younger then Ekman BTW). Most would have agreed with that assesment. Heck, Hllavac has the skills to move on next year, and playing in the proper system with proper linemates (Calgary, LA come to mind) could put in the 20 goals that Ekman has. Zidlicky still is weak in his own end - and the Rangers knew he was a gifted offensive defenseman when they traded him.

I think the bigger truth that is often unmentioned is that Smith's pure drafting was the poison that really weakend this organization. Just trying to create a little fodder - Swing Away!

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