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Rangers Prospects Playing Well At Traverse City
The Rangers are 1-1 thus far at TC, but top prospects Derek Stepan, Evgeny Grachev, Ryan McDonagh and Dylan McIlrath have played very well...

Ryan Bourque's monster preseason has continued at TC

Ryan Bourque's monster preseason has continued at TC

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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 each scored.

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 on Wednesday.  

Posted by Kevin Baumer | September 13, 2010 at 02:45 pm

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