Prospect Park: Please No Traverse City High Expectations

In News, Prospect Park by Jess Rubenstein

Brett Howden (Moose Jaw Warriors)

Yes, the Baby New York Rangers dropped their opening game of the 2018 Traverse City prospect tournament to the Baby Dallas Stars 7-5. Maybe the problem is that Traverse City really isn’t a real tournament but a fancy rookie camp. What Traverse City does is give the Rangers a chance to see how well their prospects did with their off-season training.

If winning was the goal then you wouldn’t see seven players on ATO (amateur tryout contracts) on the Ranger’s roster. There wouldn’t be seven lefthanded defensemen and six left wings with only three right wings. Sit back and try somehow to enjoy the four games that are somewhat being shown on Fox Sports Go.

Ryan Lindgren (Minnesota Golden Gophers)

Me I am excited to see how guys like Brett Howden, Ryan Lindgren and Sean Day do for different reasons. Brett Howden for some reason people have forgotten was a first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry draft. Reading all those who were surprised by his play against Dallas was rather amusing.

Howden was 24-51-75 in just 49 games for Moose Jaw (WHL). Howden was 3-4-7 in the World Under-20 Championship and won the gold medal too. As much as people like Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil, Howden just might be the better overall center.

I for one would not be shocked if by the end of the 2018-2019 season that Ryan Lindgren is not Kevin Shattenkirk’s partner. Lindgren is a physical “stay-at-home” defenseman who in my eyes makes the perfect partner for the offensive-minded Shattenkirk. Lindgren is strong enough defensively that Shattenkirk would be free to jump in on the attack.

Sean Day (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Sean Day seems to be the forgotten prospect among Ranger defensemen. Why? Day is the best skater among the Ranger defenders, his laser shot is accurate and low to generate rebounds. Yes, Day needs work on his defensive side but his skating will bend defenses. Day (and Libor Hajek) are why I want Brian Leetch in camp working with them as both are weapons the Rangers have lacked.

If you watched the game then you saw Jakub Stukel have a 1-1-2 game. Stukel is one of those on an ATO as he was a 2016 sixth-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks. Stukel was a strong prospect who got hurt in his draft year which is why he fell to the sixth round. Last year he was the best player on a bad Calgary Hitmen team (37-27-64).

I know some folks who watch the Hitmen and they say with the right team (read that as some talent) Stukel can score from anywhere. He is on an ATO so why not see what you have and at the worst an AHL deal for say a year or two. There is plenty of room in Hartford for youth.

I appreciate that someone is streaming the Traverse City games but cmon folks eight NHL teams and Fox Sports can chip in enough money for better production. An announcer to at least tell you goals, penalties and time remaining would not hurt either. One more thing can someone send Traverse City a copy of the Rangers goal song, please? Alicia Keys is a talented singer but her part of “Empire State of Mind” just doesn’t work for me.