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Two Traverse City
games are in the books and the Rangers have to be happy with what they’ve seen
from their prospects. Though the baby
Blueshirts fell 1-0 to Carolina yesterday, the team remained optimistic that the result was more a product of
fantastic goaltending by Mike Murphy than being outplayed by the Hurricanes.
"He played awesome," Rangers winger Ryan Bourque said
of Murphy. "I didn't even know his name, actually, but I knew he was the
CHL Goaltender of the Year two years ago (with the Belleville Bulls), so he
would be a very tough goalie to get the puck through."
In their first game on Saturday, the Rangers beat Columbus 5-4 on a
game-winning-goal by Evgeny Grachev with just over six seconds remaining in
regulation. Derek Stepan had a goal and
three assists, Grachev had two goals, and Ryan Bourque and Christian Thomas
So far the results in Traverse
City have been pretty in line with what we expected. Grachev is scoring goal, as he should, Stepan
is catching everyone’s eyes as a playmaker, as he should, and the two smaller
prospects have been able to contribute offensively against not-quite-NHL talent
and size, as they should. And by all
accounts, Cam Talbot was fantastic in goal for the Rangers yesterday, while
Scott Stajcer gave up four goals on Saturday.
Top Rangers defensive prospects Dylan McIlrath and Ryan
McDonagh have also drawn praise from the coaching staff and others, like Bob
McKenzie of TSN.
It’s good to see that the top prospects in the system are
drawing praise at TC and look like they’re developing quite nicely. But how that will translate to training camp
is anyone’s guess. As we all know, the
Rangers have a ton of players battling for just a few spots. Good showings at TC by Stepan and Grachev may
further muddy the situation, but there just doesn’t appear to be room for either
player this year.
The Rangers are off today but will play the 2-0-0 Minnesota
Wild tomorrow. If they win and Carolina loses, the
Blueshirts could still win the Gretzky division and play for the championship