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Traverse City Cup: New York Rangers vs. Buffalo Sabres (7:00 pm) MSG (HD)

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Old
09-14-2011, 11:24 PM
  #251
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Regarding McIlrath: again, I see the tools. I hope that he realizes his potential. I really do - he'd be an awesome addition to the blue line if he does.

But am I the only one starting to have flashbacks to a certain "huge" first round pick who had a lot of great tools that completely flamed out? Remember the focus on picking out the 1 in 5-10 plays where he made it all work? The glossing over of all the other, unimpressive plays due to the fact that we were all hoping he would pull it all together?

(I know I was guilty of all of the above...)

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09-14-2011, 11:48 PM
  #252
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Originally Posted by BrooklynRangersFan View Post
You greedy rat *******. (Completely agreed.)

Miller looked great this game - very enthused about his upside. As did Erixon - again. He's legit. This was also Hagelin's best game, which is encouraging against the best competition.

Bourque was good, buuuuuuuut not to the level we've seen in previous games - which perhaps goes to the issues we worry about when it comes to his size in the pros. Then again, it took Cally a while. All in all, Bourque made a believer out of me for the first time in this tourney. I think he has an NHL future.

Thomas looked worn down and trying too hard. He's got the skills and I am very encouraged by his upside - but not quite yet this year, I think.

McIlrath looked mediocre again. I see the tools - I get what they liked when they drafted him. That's good. But this is his second prospect tourney and by the end he looked as out of his element as the rawest guy there. That's bad. (Really, really bad.) He's got a looooooong way to go. He's making me more worried that we wasted that pick, not less.

I know we had some debates about him after game one and I don't mean to hype him up unduly, but I honestly think that Yogan's absence really hurt this team in the last two games. He has the skill to play with the Bourques, Hagelins, Thomases, etc... but he also has strength and size. He allowed the team to control the puck along the boards, he generated scoring chances (even though he only converted one), he cleared space and disrupted the defense when he skated through the middle... he made the little skilled guys that much more effective. In short, he was a difference maker. Yogan was the size + skill forward whose absence Pizza was lamenting tonight. (Miller as an 18 year old also showed flashes of being that guy - and definitely will be next year.)

Lastly, as most of you know, I am NOT a goon fan, but I was surprised by McNaught. He may have the raw tools to be a legitimate 4th liner - who can also kick ass. I am now counting him as a legit, albeit longshot prospect.
McIlrath IMO is just a big, raw kid that will take some time. He looks like a big bag of door knobs. Gangly and no where near grown into that body of his.

I like the things he has you can't teach and the fact that he can skate very well. Better than I thought actually.

He's a smart kid and his decision making will get better. With more playing time and physical maturity he'll be fine. He'll do what it takes to make himself better. I see him with the Rangers in 3/4 years. Which should be fine given all the talent in front of him.

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09-15-2011, 01:57 AM
  #253
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrooklynRangersFan View Post
Regarding McIlrath: again, I see the tools. I hope that he realizes his potential. I really do - he'd be an awesome addition to the blue line if he does.

But am I the only one starting to have flashbacks to a certain "huge" first round pick who had a lot of great tools that completely flamed out? Remember the focus on picking out the 1 in 5-10 plays where he made it all work? The glossing over of all the other, unimpressive plays due to the fact that we were all hoping he would pull it all together?

(I know I was guilty of all of the above...)
Not at all. You're not the only one. McIlrath has a looongggggggggg ways to go still -- and I mean longggg. This is why I'm not so high on ever going after a project when there's a safer option available. Load up on safe picks. Stock up on safe talent. At the time that was Fowler.

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09-15-2011, 02:36 AM
  #254
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After the tournament here's my list of top prospects and when I believe they will be close to making the show:

1 - Erixon (11')
2 - Kreider (12')
3 - JT Miller (12' late-season or 13')
4 - Hagelin (11' mid-season)
5 - Bourque (11' mid-season)
6 - Valantenko (11' or trade)
7 - Yogan (13' if healthy)
8 - Fasth (13')
9 - Thomas (12 or 13) (needs to be a more complete player or Torts will NEVER play him)
10 - Kundratek (11', 12' or trade)
11 - Mclogan (13)
12 - Parlett (12 or 13)
13 - McIlrath (14') - bubble

Not enough info:
14 - Lindberg (13' - not enough info)
15 - Fogarty (14? - not enough info)

Outside shot:
Grant, Wilson, McNaught, Weise, St. Croix.

A few interesting notes:
1) Can you imagine a 2012-13 lineup that has a top 9 of - Gaborik, Richards, Dubinsky. Callahan, Stepan, Kreider. Miller, Hagelin, Anisimov?

2) There is an influx of D ready to make the jump this season and next. Next year, an influx of forwards. So, lots of interesting choices ahead. I have a feeling some of these kids will be turned into future draft picks aka The Sanguinetti Solution.

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09-15-2011, 02:43 AM
  #255
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At next year's draft - the rangers #1 priority should be a goalie. Not with their first pick, but with at least one of their picks. Their goalie prospects are all mediocre at best and biron is only signed through this year.

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09-15-2011, 03:00 AM
  #256
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Erixon -- It's his spot to lose. Love how smooth he skates & gets into position. His vision on the back end is superb. Him and Richards on the point for the PP is going to be dynamic. It's going to keep PK'ers honest which should give Gaborik some leeway. I expect 40 goals minimum for Gaborik. Hopefuly he stays healthy.

I seriously see Erixon as a consistent version of Tom Poti who has better vision and a tad more engaging physically. Yeah....that name (Poti) is criminal around these parts but he's been a very good player for both the Islanders and now Washington. I think he'll be what the Rangers brass hoped Poti to be when he was acquired.

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09-15-2011, 03:49 AM
  #257
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrooklynRangersFan View Post
Regarding McIlrath: again, I see the tools. I hope that he realizes his potential. I really do - he'd be an awesome addition to the blue line if he does.

But am I the only one starting to have flashbacks to a certain "huge" first round pick who had a lot of great tools that completely flamed out? Remember the focus on picking out the 1 in 5-10 plays where he made it all work? The glossing over of all the other, unimpressive plays due to the fact that we were all hoping he would pull it all together?

(I know I was guilty of all of the above...)
Its important to remember that hug[e] lesson.

Sometimes it seems like people, the brass goes like don't even mention Jessiman, he was such a bad pick. He sucked.

Well, he didn't suck suck. Or maybe he did, but he wasn't without abilities. Thats really what I am trying to say. Hugh's last season in HFD (47 pts) would have ranked him 3rd overall in scoring on last years team in HFD. He got into the NHL last season for a couple of games. He had a decent wrister, wasn't a stiff, had a fairly good stride while having balance issues. And he had monster size.

Its perfectly possible that we might look at a situation with McI were he never will get into the NHL for example if we do not make room for him by dumping at the time better players, bring him to the big league after a year or two in HFD and develop develop develop him. Accept a smaller role for him at first. Etc. The reward could be big. Because McI has alot of tools to have a impact that a contending team wants. McI is a good hitter. I don't think we have seen much of that in Traverse, but he is a very good hitter. If he develops well and gets to a level were we can play him against someone like Malkin, if they go up against each other 8 times a season, I have a hard time not seing McI laying him out outleast once.

We were not willing to do that with Jessiman. For diffrent reasons. For starters, the game changed alot from when HJ was drafted to when he arrived. In a post lockout NHL you had much more room for a player like him. Maybe we didn't see much potential anyway.

But, I think we should look at Jessiman and I think we should learn from that situation instead of just repress his selection.

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09-15-2011, 03:51 AM
  #258
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Originally Posted by gravey9 View Post
At next year's draft - the rangers #1 priority should be a goalie. Not with their first pick, but with at least one of their picks. Their goalie prospects are all mediocre at best and biron is only signed through this year.
Nah, we have Hank, don't draft goalies ever again!!!

Seriously though, you can pick up a good goalie as a UFA anytime really. Like just sign the best AHL goalie thats a UFA (and keep Biron). I actually think thats enough.

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09-15-2011, 03:57 AM
  #259
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Originally Posted by gravey9 View Post
After the tournament here's my list of top prospects and when I believe they will be close to making the show:

1 - Erixon (11')
2 - Kreider (12')
3 - JT Miller (12' late-season or 13')
4 - Hagelin (11' mid-season)
5 - Bourque (11' mid-season)
6 - Valantenko (11' or trade)
7 - Yogan (13' if healthy)
8 - Fasth (13')
9 - Thomas (12 or 13) (needs to be a more complete player or Torts will NEVER play him)
10 - Kundratek (11', 12' or trade)
11 - Mclogan (13)
12 - Parlett (12 or 13)
13 - McIlrath (14') - bubble

Not enough info:
14 - Lindberg (13' - not enough info)
15 - Fogarty (14? - not enough info)

Outside shot:
Grant, Wilson, McNaught, Weise, St. Croix.

A few interesting notes:
1) Can you imagine a 2012-13 lineup that has a top 9 of - Gaborik, Richards, Dubinsky. Callahan, Stepan, Kreider. Miller, Hagelin, Anisimov?

2) There is an influx of D ready to make the jump this season and next. Next year, an influx of forwards. So, lots of interesting choices ahead. I have a feeling some of these kids will be turned into future draft picks aka The Sanguinetti Solution.
Instead of timelines... let's just hope we get 4 legitimate career NHLers...

The only guys I have total confidence in being NHL players on that list is..

Erixon
Kreider
Miller

After that you have a really mixed bag - hopefully two-three other guys can really establish themselves..

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09-15-2011, 05:02 AM
  #260
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Erixon and Hagelin really stood out to me this year as well as Ryan Bourque. Erixon has a strong shot of making the big boys this year.

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09-15-2011, 05:34 AM
  #261
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McIlrath still looks VERY raw to me. He has a pretty long road to the NHL, but I think he'll make it once he fills out that huge frame of his.

Sometimes, you can tell that his body and brain are just a little out of sync. For example, he moves in to pinch, but is literally a split second late. Or, he loses gap control while a speedier forward is making a move to the outside, and just barely lets him squeeze through. My point is, you can tell that he knows what he should be doing in most situations, but his lack of coordination with his gangly body is magnifying any slow reads/mental errors he makes. In time, I think this will get better. I think most of us remember how uncoordinated Chara looked in his early years in the league. Once the dude filled out his frame and got comfortable with the limits of what his body could do, everything about his game improved. I'm not saying McIlrath is going to be Chara, only that their physical awkwardness may be similar.

We also have to remember that, prior to his draft year, McIlrath had been playing hockey full-time for something like just 2 years. Viewed through that lens, his development has been incredible. His decision-making and hockey sense should only get better. How much better, though, is the big question.

Maybe my asessment is a little rosy and homerish for McIlrath. I'll readily admit that it's hard for me to remove my bias from the sitaution. The kid's a Ranger now and I'm cheering as hard as I can for him to succeed. However, despite my inherent bias, I do feel that I've brought some points to the table that are worth considering. I'd love to hear what others think.

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09-15-2011, 08:14 AM
  #262
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I think, so far, the players who to me have a real shot who are outside of the "should make-it group" (McIlrath, Erixon, Thomas, Miller) who really impressed were:

Noreau - New Carkner? Simple plays, big body who will drop the gloves.

Wilson - skills to be a NHL 4th line player with his size,s peed and pugilistic abilities.

Yogan - Looks to be a Brooks Laich Clone IF he can stay healthy.

Hagelin - Whoever said Pascal Dupuis IMO is dead on. I also see a bit of Marty Straka in him too.

McColgan - IMO he will end up being the Rangers steal of the draft. His offensive skills are super high and his motor is up there with the best of them.

Parlett - I was high on him before this tournament for the reasons you all saw. Smooth-skating, safe defenseman who actually brings some snarl to his game. He just makes the right choice with the puck practically every time. Now you all see why he was being compared to Dan Girardi.

McNaught - For a player who everyone thought was a terrible pick and had given up on, now you all see what the Rangers saw in him before his draft year. The kid is HUGE and he can actually get around the ice pretty well. Keep in mind he missed all of last season with an injury and what he did this tournament was even more impressive. The Rangers seem to want to develop an enforcer from within and IMO, McNaught is the best of the bunch.

Bourque - The speed has always been there and he has always been a very responsible player but the injuries are scary to think about. He needs to stay healthy this year and continue to fill-out. I still think NCAA's would have been the better decision for him.

JAM - WHAT A SURPRISE! I knew the kid had some skills but the way he plays was outstanding. People saying names like Hamilton and Parenteau IMO are off-base. This kid has a legit shot at the NHL, all he needs to do is continue to develop physically because he has the offensive skills.

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09-15-2011, 08:25 AM
  #263
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Here's what I don't get about McIlrath...he's been labeled the baddest man on the planet by all the WHL folk and yet aside from the fight there was not one instant where he made life difficult for anybody. That stuff in general is completely overblown...when there are pucks in the crease even the biggest players in the world are still sweeping their sticks at it instead of taking names. But with McIlrath the physical stuff was completely nonexistent.

Also, on the late penalty you could clearly see that Erixon would have been the first man to the puck or at least arrived to the puck at the same time as the Buffalo forward to break up the rush. The camera showed Erixon shaking his head and giving a look like "Why am I playing with such a dumb partner, can I play with pros yet". Hopefully he doesn't request a trade out of frustration.

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09-15-2011, 09:55 AM
  #264
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Best player at Traverse City....Timmy

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=588517

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09-15-2011, 11:45 AM
  #265
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Really like JT Miller's overall game and there is a lot to like about McIlrath's game -- yes, young defensemen have their "what the heck" moments but as he smooths those out of his game, he'll offer a heck of a presence on the Ranger blueline.

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09-15-2011, 01:18 PM
  #266
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McIlrath still looks VERY raw to me. He has a pretty long road to the NHL, but I think he'll make it once he fills out that huge frame of his.

Sometimes, you can tell that his body and brain are just a little out of sync. For example, he moves in to pinch, but is literally a split second late. Or, he loses gap control while a speedier forward is making a move to the outside, and just barely lets him squeeze through. My point is, you can tell that he knows what he should be doing in most situations, but his lack of coordination with his gangly body is magnifying any slow reads/mental errors he makes. In time, I think this will get better. I think most of us remember how uncoordinated Chara looked in his early years in the league. Once the dude filled out his frame and got comfortable with the limits of what his body could do, everything about his game improved. I'm not saying McIlrath is going to be Chara, only that their physical awkwardness may be similar.

We also have to remember that, prior to his draft year, McIlrath had been playing hockey full-time for something like just 2 years. Viewed through that lens, his development has been incredible. His decision-making and hockey sense should only get better. How much better, though, is the big question.

Maybe my asessment is a little rosy and homerish for McIlrath. I'll readily admit that it's hard for me to remove my bias from the sitaution. The kid's a Ranger now and I'm cheering as hard as I can for him to succeed. However, despite my inherent bias, I do feel that I've brought some points to the table that are worth considering. I'd love to hear what others think.
I'm pretty much in agreement with you. Also I'm biased as well. I'm really pulling for this kid. That said, his overall performance in the tournament was not as good as I would have liked. It's obvious that he's got some way to go.

But for all the reasons you state above, I'm not concerned. He's smart, coachable, and extremely athletic in addition to the things he has that you just can't teach. His stock may have dropped a bit as a result of this tournament, but given the time this organization will give him he'll be fine.

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09-15-2011, 03:04 PM
  #267
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More Tim Erixon accolades

Quote:
Tim Erixon, defenseman, New York Rangers -- Erixon was quick to adjust to the smaller ice and was so calm and poised with the puck that it's easy to see him in the NHL immediately. Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster was in a bad spot when it looked like Erixon was headed back to the draft, so give him credit for getting assets for Erixon. But losing him in a trade to the Rangers could haunt Flames fans for years. Erixon wasn't exactly eager to talk about the Calgary standoff.

"We couldn't really agree on a contract," he said. "I really didn't feel like it was the right fit." He has great pedigree and will get every opportunity to make the Rangers after honing his game in the Swedish Elite League and playing at a high-level internationally.

"The guy has seen a lot of things," Rangers assistant GM Jeff Gorton said. "His heart rate stays the same the whole game, which is hard to find for a young defenseman. For us, it was a no-brainer. He's a great player, a great kid."
http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/blog/...r-jeff-skinner

Great player.

Craig Custance of ESPN wrote about 5 standouts at Traverse City. The 4 others

Ryan Murphy
Zach Kassian
Ryan Johansen
Brendan Smith

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