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Prospect Update

Brandon Halverson (Soo Greyhounds)

Brandon Halverson (Soo Greyhounds)

In case you don’t know this but having surgery as it is royally sucks and having it in the summer makes it twice as bad. Sitting down at a computer for extended periods just was not happening so please accept the apologies for the lack of reporting on the New York Rangers and the prospects.

Team USA Announces Rosters for the Summer Evaluation Camp

There will be two Ranger prospects attending Team USA’s Summer Evaluation Camp for the Under-20 players which will run Aug 2nd-9th at Lake Placid. Goalie Brandon Halverson (2014 2nd) will play for the Blue team while forward Keegan Iverson (2014 3rd) will be a member of the White team. The way the camp works is that for the first 4 days of the camp, the two teams will play against Sweden and Finland.

On August 5th there will be cuts made and the remaining players will play games against Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic. I honestly believe there will be mixed results from the Ranger prospects in this camp.

Going into the camp the early favorite to be the starting goalie on Team USA has to be Thatcher Demko of Boston College. He was a member of last year’s Under-20 team that finished 5th even though he did not see action. Demko was 16-5-0-3 on a Boston College team that spent most of the year ranked either 1st or 2nd in the college hockey polls.

Brendan Burke of the Portland Winterhawks on paper should be number 2 goalie based on his record last season. Keyword is on paper as I would not go to the 2015 World Under-20 Championships with Burke as my starter. This will get me in trouble with the Winterhawks fans but Brendan Burke is not a big game goalie despite his numbers.

Brandon Halverson will be the youngest goalie on the camp roster and I think the coaching staff will look at experience first at this camp. Halverson might get cut on the 5
th but if he has the kind of season I expect him to have with his Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds then come December, Halverson will get a 2nd look at the final camp.

Keegan Iverson has one big advantage going into the camp which is that he doesn’t mind being a role player or in the case of Team USA a player willing to be a defensive forward. Iverson played that role for the Winterhawks last season and played it well.

It also helps that Iverson will play a physical game whether it is along the board or in the crease which the Team USA coaching staff looks for at this camp. Iverson will also bring some scoring with his game so really if Iverson had continued his progression from last season then pencil him in past the first cut.

More Prospects

It has been officially announced but 2014 4th round pick Ryan Mantha is expected to join the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL. Mantha a 6’5 225lb. defenseman played last season for the Indiana Ice of the USHL and originally had signed with North Dakota. Mantha reportedly saw the depth chart at North Dakota and changed his mind about playing there.

Normally a project player like Mantha would be one who be better served by 4 years of college but in this case playing in the OHL is the best move for him. For starters, the IceDogs are a younger team so playing time will be there for Mantha and I am a fan of Marty Williamson who is the coach of the IceDogs.

Nothing against North Dakota as I have a ton of respect for that program but Mantha getting to play over 70 games with the IceDogs this season. A young defender like Mantha needs to play as much as he possibly can which makes Niagara the ideal place for him. The question mark on Mantha here though is how will he adapt to the faster pace of the OHL?

2014 5th round pick forward Richard Nejezchleb of the Brandon Wheat Kings is in an interesting/awkward position as the 20 year old from Slavia Praha in the Czech Republic would be an overage and import player if he returns to the Wheat Kings. It is more awkward as most Canadian junior teams do not like to use up 2 slots on one player.

Brandon in the 2014 CHL Import Draft selected a Russian defenseman which gives them three import players which is one more than a team is allowed to carry. Brandon will be allowed to keep all three for a short period if the Rangers do not keep Nejezchleb but expect the Rangers to have a vested interested wherever Nejezchleb winds up.

Posted by Jess Rubenstein | July 30, 2014 at 02:42 am

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New York Rangers VS Boston Bruins
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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