Okay, lets slow down here. Stepan does have first line potential, but that is potential at this point.
I am certain that he will attend prospect camp and then Traverse City. It is also almost certain that he will also attend at least the beginning of the main training camp (before guys are sent to the AHL training camp). At that point, the Rangers will know much more about how ready Stepan is for professional play.
This is a good move for Stepan, given what is happening with the defections from Badger hockey this coming season. Worst case scenario, he plays with a highly competitive WHL team.
we really wouldnt be that bad next year if we went with a youth movement. This is what our line-up looked like to end the season(I am going to put callahan and avery in there just so it's the best possible line-up)
09-10*Brandon Dubinsky - Erik Christensen - Marian Gaborik
09-10*Vinny Prospal (A) - Olli Jokinen - P.A. Parenteau
09-10*Avery - Chris Drury (C) -Callahan
09-10*Jody Shelley - Artem Anisimov - Brandon Prust
10-11* Dubi-Christensen-Gabby (Same line wash, if anything better with a healthier dubi and more confident christensen)
10-11* avery-stepan-mza (vinny and avery isn't much of a diff. if avery plays consistent. Also, prospal is due for a down year anyway. MZA= upgrade over pa. and I would hope to god anyone on skates could do a better job than joke did here.
10-11*Byers-Anisimov-Callahan (Pretty similar in skill level to the average skill of out typical kind of 3rd line last year)
10-11* prust-drury-weise (Better 4th line than last year other than the monster 2 weeks our 4th line had last year)
10-11*Staal Girardi(another year of experience=better)
10-11* Rozi-MDZ(another year of experience=better)
10-11* McDonaugh-sangs(at the very least equal to our bottom pair of last season)
This is if we went with an absolute 100% youth movement
very similar to last years team
Great in theory... but we need at least one point man to have a decent shot. I'm pretty sure Kovy plays the point anyway. Kovalchuk and Gaborik on the same pp is insane though. That's like only can happen in a video game scary good.
Koavluck (One timer) Stepan
Problem is that Kovalchuk and Stepan like to play on the same side on the PP.
I don't think I can see him going to the WHL, but it won't be that bad if he does. Didn't he and his coach say he played his best hockey when he is playing physical? if he goes to the WHL, he has no choice but to play physical as the WHL is the toughest of the 3 junior leagues.
He dominated college hockey in his soph year and was the leading scorer in the WJC. It's not just the 54 points in 41 games, it's his hockey sense. The kid has nothing to prove against kids anymore. If he dominated down there because of his size or skating, I'd say keep him and let him round-out his game.
But Step's game is perfectly well rounded out, at least for a college kid. He didn't dominate because of his size, skills or skating. He played great because he was able to play like a vet, putting all his assets together.
Thanks inferno, and Kovalchuk definitely seems possible if lets just say Sather was telling the truth and wanted to go with young guys. I haven't heard of any potential bonus money tied to Stepan, so if he makes it you could see our line up something crazy like this...
Total for all that runs 56.447 only missing potential bonuses of McD and Stepan. There's also just over a million of rollover bonus money in Del Zotto and MZA that can create more cap space.
I think RangerBoy said that if the cap goes up that 2 million and change it comes to right around 59.54 million. Leaving just over 3 million to absorb Voros & Brashear if we have to. For the remaining talent I'd ship christensen and lisin to whoever wanted them, and Rozsival for a pick and of course Redden welcome to Hartford.
It's got youth, key veterans, and for those two younger centers each has a star player to help carry the line.