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12-29-2005, 12:31 PM
  #1
Anthony Mauro
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Four Reasons

Since the New Year is coming up, I thought of the bright spots for the Rangers. Besides the record, there have been four reasons and counting why this season has been a success:

Henrik Lundqvist

Hank has emerged as our go to goalie. Early into his rookie season he enacted a role reversal. Rather than have doubts and concerns about Lundqvist, as the rookie, we're reliant on him like he's a seasoned veteran. Often, Weekes has given us the rookie type vibes. Its not that Weekes is terrible, some beg to differ, its just that Henrik makes the saves he's expected to make plus the difficult ones that separates the good from the great. He's our workhorse, as far as I can see for now, and it is just great that he is prospering. Gone are the myths of his transition from Sweden to North America. He has done more than just adjust himself. A calming influence, he's big, has great lateral movement, a quick glove, and has an energetic stick. To be honest, he reminds me of Richter whenever we have a shootout. He'll be in the Calder race, but I dont think he can upset Crosby, Ovechkin. We've got a younger talent coming up in Montoya, but for now we've found our cornerstone goalie.

Petr Prucha

This guy has Jed Ortmeyer's hustle and hitting with Milan Hejduk's hands. He has come out from the depth's to provide the Rangers with a future top six scoring forward. He just wont stop. Just like Hank, with each game I expect him to do something. He can dangle, shoot, hit, and provide support defensively. Originally bouncing in and out of the roster, taking a short stint with Hartford, he has forced the Rangers to keep him in the lineup and now receives primo ice time. Its just plain refreshing to see this guy go. His size may catch up to him as he has been getting battered recently, but it is what it is. Its amazing to think that a few months ago he wasnt even a lock to be here. Dare I say we've got a legitimate goalscorer on our hands?

Now taking it a step away from the big league:

Al Montoya

AlMo has turned his outlook as a prospect around in the first half of his first year season. Silenced were the doubts of his ability. Last year he had a very shaky WJC’s combining that with a mediocre junior year at Michigan. He was gaining the critics attention as a wasted pick. He had a good record, mostly indicative of a solid Wolverine squad, but subpar stats of .895 save percentage and 2.52 GAA. This year he has regained all status as a top goalie prospect. He’s 16th in AHL goalies in wins with 8 but the leader at 18 wins has played 14 more games. He has 2.20 GAA with a .930 save percentage. Montoya has been a bright star down in HFD holding the team up. The Wolfpack fluttered for a bit relying on Holt, Gherson, and Bruckler. It was obvious they missed him. Alvaro’s reemergence as a top prospect has reinforced our depth in between the pipes. We now have a solid young pro in Lundqvist and a blue chipper in Montoya. We can only hope a Beezer v. Richter scenario comes about…

Moving from the pro’s to junior’s:

Marc Staal

With question marks Hugh Jessiman and Lauri Korpikoski as recent first round picks, it was imperative that the Rangers get a player with their 2005 first round pick. And they did just that. Executing a draft day move-up to get this Sudbury Wolve, it was seen as a solid but safe move. Good in all areas but not great. Great bloodlines, but would he really make a difference? Seen as a 3rd-4th defenseman by mostly everyone, Staal started his ascension at the Ranger prospect camp. He then moved on to the Ranger camp and played in the preseason. This was his coming out party. Only 18 years old, he stood out for his poise. Combining great passing, skating, and positioning Staal showed he will be a shutdown defenseman for us. A staple on defense. Fearing the unknown, the Rangers sent him back to Sudbury for the mere fact that this mystery team may have relied on him too much too early. Its now late December and Staal has put up 30 points in 28 games. He’s undoubtedly the leader on the backend for Canada that features Barker, Bourdon, and Parent. I can’t wait for him to lead a future D of Staal, Tyutin, Sauer, Kondratiev, Baranka, and Pock…

These four are not alone however…

Dawes, Helminen, and Immonen are producing with the Wolfpack. Helminen has come out of nowhere to look like a player; he didn’t even produce this well in Charlotte. Dawes has adjusted well and has put up points. Both these guys can fly and their size—one of few knocks— has not affected them thus far. Immonen has transitioned well and seems like he’ll make an easy move up to the big club soon. Pock has rebounded tremendously from a terrible ’04 season where he struggled getting 6 points in 50 games. This year, he has 21 in 29 games. Colby Genoway has been a decent free agent addition; anything from him—whether it’s on the AHL or NHL level—is a plus. Baranka doesn’t have great stats, but it can be seen as a learning first season. Reports say he’s looked like a player who will make it to the NHL level. He hits, can skate, and is a good passer.

On the Junior and Collegiate level we’ve seen some major improvements. Question marks of all question marks, MA Cliché has had a great season. If you didn’t know him before you do now. Comparable to Martin Rucinsky, he’s put up 46 points in 34 games with Lewiston and seems clear of any injury problems. Sauer’s status is a bit murkier. He slipped to the Rangers because of hip concerns. But he lost time this year because of shoulder problems. If he’s clear of hip injuries then you must worry about his shoulders. Ranger fans send him your prayers. If he can shrug off these injuries he will be a great find. A steady, reliable, two-way defenseman who competes. Lighting up CHL scoreboards are Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Ryan Russell. Zdenek Bahensky has picked up his play from last year. Tommy Pyatt has put up a little more than a point per game with Saginaw and is currently on a grinding line for Canada in the WJC. He looks to be a great energy guy along with Brodie Dupont, who has under produced but still could make the big league because of his power/checking game. Dane Byers is producing respectably, showing the Rangers more than just goonery skills. In college, Greg Moore and Billy Ryan are tied in leading the Bears with 16 points. Moore has 11 goals looking like a goalscoring power forward, while Ryan looks to be a playmaker. Moore is in his senior year and has improved mostly every year. Ryan is coming off a so so first year, but now has taken a hold of the college game. Nasty Nate Guenin is the captain of the Buckeyes and has only put up three assists. Thats fine though because he is primarily a defensive defenseman in the mold of a defense version Ortmeyer. He'll give up his body to prevent a goal and will tangle with anyone. He wont hesitate to lay a thunderous hit and all in all thrives on physical play. Joey Crabb has produced similarly to last year. I saw him play last year and hope he's the same or even better at that. He was a slick offensively gifted guy that exceeded my expectations when I saw him. This year he's getting more assists than goals but I attribute to his skills-good passer, good vision, good stickhandling. I expect him to do well in HFD after college. Disappointments have been Darin Olver production wise, Kenny Roche—who I suspect is the consummate college partier and has let that get in the way of his hockey future—and Jordan Foote. It seems as though Korpikoski has stalled due to his stats, but I don’t want to believe that. Definitely coming over next year, Lauri has the skills to succeed in North America. He’s fast, has some moves, hustles, and is defensively responsible. Give him some time in HFD next year and he’ll come around. He is currently the leader of Finland’s WJC team and has put up 2 points in 2 games. We’ll see…

If I forgot anything, please add. What are everyone's feelings?


Last edited by Anthony Mauro: 12-29-2005 at 12:55 PM.
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Old
12-29-2005, 12:36 PM
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balej's Dance
Since the New Year is coming up, I thought of the bright spots for the Rangers. Besides the record, there have been four reasons and counting why this season has been a success:

Henrik Lundqvist

Hank has emerged as our go to goalie. Early into his rookie season he enacted a role reversal. Rather than have doubts and concerns about Lundqvist, as the rookie, we're reliant on him like he's a seasoned veteran. Often, Weekes has given us the rookie type vibes. Its not that Weekes is terrible, some beg to differ, its just that Henrik makes the saves he's expected to make plus the difficult ones that separates the good from the great. He's our workhorse, as far as I can see for now, and it is just great that he is prospering. Gone are the myths of his transition from Sweden to North America. He has done more than just adjust himself. A calming influence, he's big, has great lateral movement, a quick glove, and has an energetic stick. To be honest, he reminds me of Richter whenever we have a shootout. He'll be in the Calder race, but I dont think he can upset Crosby, Ovechkin. We've got a younger talent coming up in Montoya, but for now we've found our cornerstone goalie.

Petr Prucha

This guy has Jed Ortmeyer's hustle and hitting with Milan Hejduk's hands. He has come out from the depth's to provide the Rangers with a future top six scoring forward. He just wont stop. Just like Hank, with each game I expect him to do something. He can dangle, shoot, hit, and provide support defensively. Originally bouncing in and out of the roster, taking a short stint with Hartford, he has forced the Rangers to keep him in the lineup and now receives primo ice time. Its just plain refreshing to see this guy go. His size may catch up to him as he has been getting battered recently, but it is what it is. Its amazing to think that a few months ago he wasnt even a lock to be here. Dare I say we've got a legitimate goalscorer on our hands?

Now taking it a step away from the big league:

Al Montoya

AlMo has turned his outlook as a prospect around in the first half of his first year season. Silenced were the doubts of his ability. Last year he had a very shaky WJC’s combining that with a mediocre junior year at Michigan. He was gaining the critics attention as a wasted pick. He had a good record, mostly indicative of a solid Wolverine squad, but subpar stats of .895 save percentage and 2.52 GAA. This year he has regained all status as a top goalie prospect. He’s 16th in AHL goalies in wins with 8 but the leader at 18 wins has played 14 more games. He has 2.20 GAA with a .930 save percentage. Montoya has been a bright star down in HFD holding the team up. The Wolfpack fluttered for a bit relying on Holt, Gherson, and Bruckler. It was obvious they missed him. Alvaro’s reemergence as a top prospect has reinforced our depth in between the pipes. We now have a solid young pro in Lundqvist and a blue chipper in Montoya. We can only hope a Beezer v. Richter scenario comes about…

Moving from the pro’s to junior’s:

Marc Staal

With question marks Hugh Jessiman and Lauri Korpikoski as recent first round picks, it was imperative that the Rangers get a player with their 2005 first round pick. And they did just that. Executing a draft day move-up to get this Sudbury Wolve, it was seen as a solid but safe move. Good in all areas but not great. Great bloodlines, but would he really make a difference? Seen as a 3rd-4th defenseman by mostly everyone, Staal started his ascension at the Ranger prospect camp. He then moved on to the Ranger camp and played in the preseason. This was his coming out party. Only 18 years old, he stood out for his poise. Combining great passing, skating, and positioning Staal showed he will be a shutdown defenseman for us. A staple on defense. Fearing the unknown, the Rangers sent him back to Sudbury for the mere fact that this mystery team may have relied on him too much too early. Its now late December and Staal has put up 30 points in 28 games. He’s undoubtedly the leader on the backend for Canada that features Barker, Bourdon, and Parent. I can’t wait for him to lead a future D of Staal, Tyutin, Sauer, Kondratiev, Baranka, and Pock…

These four are not alone however…

Dawes, Helminen, and Immonen are producing with the Wolfpack. Helminen has come out of nowhere to look like a player; he didn’t even produce this well in Charlotte. Dawes has adjusted well and has put up points. Both these guys can fly and their size—one of few knocks— has not affected them thus far. Immonen has transitioned well and seems like he’ll make an easy move up to the big club soon. Pock has rebounded tremendously from a terrible ’04 season where he struggled getting 6 points in 50 games. This year, he has 21 in 29 games. Colby Genoway has been a decent free agent addition; anything from him—whether it’s on the AHL or NHL level—is a plus. Baranka doesn’t have great stats, but it can be seen as a learning first season. Reports say he’s looked like a player who will make it to the NHL level. He hits, can skate, and is a good passer.

On the Junior and Collegiate level we’ve seen some major improvements. Question marks of all question marks, MA Cliché has had a great season. If you didn’t know him before you do now. Comparable to Martin Rucinsky, he’s put up 46 points in 34 games with Lewiston and seems clear of any injury problems. Sauer’s status is a bit murkier. He slipped to the Rangers because of hip concerns. But he lost time this year because of shoulder problems. If he’s clear of hip injuries then you must worry about his shoulders. Ranger fans send him your prayers. If he can shrug off these injuries he will be a great find. A steady, reliable, two-way defenseman who competes. Lighting up CHL scoreboards are Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Ryan Russell. Zdenek Bahensky has picked up his play from last year. Tommy Pyatt has put up a little more than a point per game with Saginaw and is currently on a grinding line for Canada in the WJC. He looks to be a great energy guy along with Brodie Dupont, who has under produced but still could make the big league because of his power/checking game. Dane Byers is producing respectably, showing the Rangers more than just goonery skills. In college, Greg Moore and Billy Ryan are tied in leading the Bears with 16 points. Moore has 11 goals looking like a goalscoring power forward, while Ryan looks to be a playmaker. Moore is in his senior year and has improved mostly every year. Ryan is coming off a so so first year, but now has taken a hold of the college game. Disappointments have been Darin Olver production wise, Kenny Roche—who I suspect is the consummate college partier and has let that get in the way of his hockey future—Jordan Foote. It seems as though Korpikoski has stalled due to his stats, but I don’t want to believe that. Definitely coming over next year, Lauri has the skills to succeed in North America. He’s fast, has some moves, hustles, and is defensively responsible. Give him some time in HFD next year and he’ll come around. He is currently the leader of Finland’s WJC team and has put up 2 points in 2 games. We’ll see…

If I forgot anything, please add. What are everyone's feelings?

In College what about Nate Guenin and Joey Crabb????

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Old
12-29-2005, 12:44 PM
  #3
Anthony Mauro
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Originally Posted by JOrtmeyer41
In College what about Nate Guenin and Joey Crabb????
Ok, lol I was getting tired. ill keep adding in.

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12-29-2005, 12:50 PM
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That was a good read. Nice.

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12-29-2005, 12:51 PM
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The only thing bothered me and still does, it how much Montoya has to battle to seem to get respect from this board.

The kid is a legit bluechip prospect who had an off year last year (though not nearly as horrible as its been made out to be on this board.)

The kid has just as much talent as Lundqvist, I'm not saying he's going to beat him out, but he has just as much talent. I think too many people reacted waaay to swiftly after last season and it seems to follow the pattern or extremes we see around here.

Other than that, (which isn't even your fault so much as an observation of what people's opinions were) I agree with just about everything you said.

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12-29-2005, 04:44 PM
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You should also give a little credit to Jessiman. I haven't seen him play in the minors and it's disappointing that he's down in Charlotte, but he's responded well to that demotion - he's scoring over a point a game. I still have a lot of hope for this power forward prospect.

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12-29-2005, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BrooklynRangerFan
I still have a lot of hope for this power forward prospect.
I have hope for Jessiman still. I think that he is no less than two years away. And those two years should probably be spent in Hartford. A troubling sign would be if he still could not handle the level of play in the AHL next year.
And I agree on Montoya. People are so quick to either trade him or pencil in Henke as the "thing" for the next 10 years. Both need to be given an equal chance.

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12-29-2005, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by True Blue
I have hope for Jessiman still. I think that he is no less than two years away. And those two years should probably be spent in Hartford. A troubling sign would be if he still could not handle the level of play in the AHL next year.
And I agree on Montoya. People are so quick to either trade him or pencil in Henke as the "thing" for the next 10 years. Both need to be given an equal chance.
I know he has his doubters and critics, but, IMO, missing a year, holds back his development one year. And, we knew he was a project from the beginning. I don't think we have another Brendl on our hands in Jessiman.

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12-29-2005, 06:58 PM
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And, we knew he was a project from the beginning. I don't think we have another Brendl on our hands in Jessiman.
Agreed on both parts. Like him or not, when he was drafted, it was acknowledged that Jessiman would be a project. That said, he seems to be able to play at the ECHL level. He is putting up some impressive numbers there. But now, he will need to translate that to the AHL. IMO, I would be worried if he could not make the 'Pack out of camp next year. He will have nothing to prove in the ECHL next year.
As for attitude, they are entirely different. Brendl was/is a lazy, underacheiving dog. Jessiman seems to work hard and has a very good attitude.

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12-29-2005, 07:08 PM
  #10
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Originally Posted by BrooklynRangerFan
You should also give a little credit to Jessiman. I haven't seen him play in the minors and it's disappointing that he's down in Charlotte, but he's responded well to that demotion - he's scoring over a point a game. I still have a lot of hope for this power forward prospect.

Be honest with you, I just never saw it with him. Not even in his draft year.

I haven't given up on him or written him off, but as oppossed to Montoya who had AN off year, I see several missed chances with Jessiman. From rookie camps to college seasons, to WJC and then the way this year has gone. From a personal standpoint my view is what it is because there's never been a balance, it's been one thing after another. Now if he rebounded like Montoya or other prospects have I'd probably have an altered view. But unfortunatly none of these event have happened in a vacuum and seem to display a pattern.

Was Hugh a project? Yes, that was never in doubt. Personally though I just don't think he has the hockey sense to make it though. It's nothing personal, he just can't seem to hang with any fast paced game and with the new NHL I'm even more concerned.

But I WANT him to prove me wrong.

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12-29-2005, 07:59 PM
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i have lost faith in jessiman....no lie....but i still think he can be a 2nd line winger.....i lost faith in 1st line

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12-29-2005, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Nich
i have lost faith in jessiman....no lie....but i still think he can be a 2nd line winger.....i lost faith in 1st line
I think we were all hoping and thinking...3rd line checking forward

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12-29-2005, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Edge
Be honest with you, I just never saw it with him. Not even in his draft year.

I haven't given up on him or written him off, but as oppossed to Montoya who had AN off year, I see several missed chances with Jessiman. From rookie camps to college seasons, to WJC and then the way this year has gone. From a personal standpoint my view is what it is because there's never been a balance, it's been one thing after another. Now if he rebounded like Montoya or other prospects have I'd probably have an altered view. But unfortunatly none of these event have happened in a vacuum and seem to display a pattern.

Was Hugh a project? Yes, that was never in doubt. Personally though I just don't think he has the hockey sense to make it though. It's nothing personal, he just can't seem to hang with any fast paced game and with the new NHL I'm even more concerned.

But I WANT him to prove me wrong.
I hope so too. Its only an example, but maybe Bertuzzi's career can justify our hopes. Big guys take longer too develop. I think this kid will have a career, hopefully it happens in Manhattan and not in some far off land like Vancouver.

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12-29-2005, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edge
The only thing bothered me and still does, it how much Montoya has to battle to seem to get respect from this board.

The kid is a legit bluechip prospect who had an off year last year (though not nearly as horrible as its been made out to be on this board.)

The kid has just as much talent as Lundqvist, I'm not saying he's going to beat him out, but he has just as much talent. I think too many people reacted waaay to swiftly after last season and it seems to follow the pattern or extremes we see around here.

Other than that, (which isn't even your fault so much as an observation of what people's opinions were) I agree with just about everything you said.
I think it's because Lundqvist has played so well that we tend to take Montoya for granted. Also because he's still a few years off while Henrik is paying immediate dividends. I remember reading a Renney quote that most goalies dont establish themselves until their mid-twenties while Henrik has had a leg-up due to so much experience in europe.

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12-29-2005, 08:22 PM
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i expect al to make a push next year..but more likely is 2 years away...

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12-30-2005, 03:19 PM
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Excellent post Balej. There was alot I wanted to say regarding your post, but it will have to wait. For now I just wanted to chime in that I saw my first Livestream WHL game last night. Portland vs Kamloops. Sauer and Dubinsky. Both were impressive, but both also have a long way to go. They make lots of mistakes, but have the talent to correct and overcome. Sauer can skate and play a physical game. Has a decent shot. Has to work on setting himself up better to take it. Did not seem to be bothered by his recent shoulder problem. Needs to work on his passing. Made a lot of reckless passes and passes that were not handled by his team mates. Sauer can be very good player given time and if he stays healthy. I'm thinking he goes to overage in the WHL and then maybe even two years at Hartford. So in four years max to build and smooth his game and we could see him in NYC. He would be 22-23 by then. Great 2nd round pick right now.

Dubinsky was a big surprise. Much bigger than I thought he would be. No giant, but certainly not a gnat either. Skates way better than I thought he would. Is much more than an agitator/pest w/offensive upside. Just takes over the game at points with skating and stick handling abilities. When he breaks himself into the open or gets room he is a dangerous player. All over the ice and in your face. Not w/o faults. Will also make the bonehead play. Late in the game, on the PK, failed to make an easy clearing play that lead to a goal. I'd say maybe the same time line as Sauer, but maybe not. Good solid "D" is much tougher to learn. So Dub could move up in the system faster, cause he could be an impact player faster. These two are just more good news for Ranger fans. Hey, we may lack elite or even high end prospects, but we sure as heck have a ton of depth. That is where you want to start IMHO.

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12-30-2005, 06:20 PM
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Thanks for this, BD. I am always interested in hearing about how our guys are doing in the system. Great post.

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12-30-2005, 07:01 PM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizza
Excellent post Balej. There was alot I wanted to say regarding your post, but it will have to wait. For now I just wanted to chime in that I saw my first Livestream WHL game last night. Portland vs Kamloops. Sauer and Dubinsky. Both were impressive, but both also have a long way to go. They make lots of mistakes, but have the talent to correct and overcome. Sauer can skate and play a physical game. Has a decent shot. Has to work on setting himself up better to take it. Did not seem to be bothered by his recent shoulder problem. Needs to work on his passing. Made a lot of reckless passes and passes that were not handled by his team mates. Sauer can be very good player given time and if he stays healthy. I'm thinking he goes to overage in the WHL and then maybe even two years at Hartford. So in four years max to build and smooth his game and we could see him in NYC. He would be 22-23 by then. Great 2nd round pick right now.

Dubinsky was a big surprise. Much bigger than I thought he would be. No giant, but certainly not a gnat either. Skates way better than I thought he would. Is much more than an agitator/pest w/offensive upside. Just takes over the game at points with skating and stick handling abilities. When he breaks himself into the open or gets room he is a dangerous player. All over the ice and in your face. Not w/o faults. Will also make the bonehead play. Late in the game, on the PK, failed to make an easy clearing play that lead to a goal. I'd say maybe the same time line as Sauer, but maybe not. Good solid "D" is much tougher to learn. So Dub could move up in the system faster, cause he could be an impact player faster. These two are just more good news for Ranger fans. Hey, we may lack elite or even high end prospects, but we sure as heck have a ton of depth. That is where you want to start IMHO.
Thank you for your recap, I was wondering if someone saw the game last night. I'm dying because I forgot the promo was on.

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