New York Rangers: A way-too-early look at the Traverse City tournament
New York Rangers should have targeted free agent Calvin de Haan
The New York Rangers will be back in the Traverse City prospect tournament this September. Let’s take a quick look at what the roster may look like.
We have officially reached the point of summer where looking on Twitter to see nobody is signing anywhere becomes even more boring than watching paint dry.
That’s why, although it is just about two months away, I’m salivating at the thought of the Traverse City Tournament.
The New York Rangers, along with the Red Wings, Blackhawks, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Stars, Wild and Blues will be participating in the tournament’s 20th edition beginning on September 7.
The tournament is not happening for a while and many things could happen in the interim. Regardless, while we are sitting here desperately waiting to see men in red, white and blue sweaters glide down the ice, let’s begin to think about what the Rangers’ lineup could look like in game one.
The Rangers will almost certainly be without ninth overall pick Vitali Kravtsov in the tournament as the KHL season begins on August 21. With the exception of him, more or less every Rangers’ prospect forward will be available for the tournament.
Here’s what the lines could look like:
|Filip Chytil||Lias Andersson||Ville Meskanen|
|Michael Lindqvist||Brett Howden||Ty Ronning|
|Ryan Gropp||Morgan Barron||Lauri Pajuniemi|
|Tim Gettinger||Gabrielle Fontaine||Dawson Leedahl|
There are a few reasons I think Filip Chytil will play on the wing, at least to start the tournament. The Rangers’ NHL center situation will probably knock Chytil over to the wing so the team may wanna see what he can do there. With less defensive responsibility there, he may be the best offensive player in the tournament in that slot.
The second reason is that the Rangers have, by far, the deepest center unit in the tournament. They wouldn’t wanna shove Brett Howden to the third line when they think he should be able to crack the top six. Morgan Barron is also a guy who the team has high hopes for and he should get top-nine minutes.
The top line of Chytil-Andersson-Meskanen could be special. You have three guys who can pass with the best of them. Andersson is the net front presence, Meskanen is the playmaker and a guy who’s very strong on the forecheck and Chytil is the finisher.
The rest of the lineup is extremely intriguing too. It’s amazing how much deeper the forward group looks than it did last year. And this isn’t even counting the team’s top pick this year and a guy like Vinni Lettieri who might have graduated from tournament eligibility.
These pairings are assuming that John Gilmour, Neal Pionk, Rob O’Gara are aged out of the tournament and both K’Andre Miller and Nils Lundkvist both won’t participate.
|Libor Hajek||Joey Keane|
|Sean Day||Jacob Ragnarsson|
|Ryan Lindgren||Brandon Crawley|
I mentioned it in the forwards portion already but you can already see how much deeper this defensive unit is then last year’s. The 2017 squad featured Day, Crawley, Pionk, Alexei Bereglazov, Brendan Kotyk, Vince Pedrie and Sergey Zborovskiy.
The only issue with this group is that it will feature five left-handed defenseman. Ragnarsson has played the right side before so he’s be okay over there. The Rangers will likely carry Brogan Rafferty, a right-handed defender, as well.
This corps is a well skating, smooth with the puck on their stick group that is easily the best group “on paper” that the Rangers have ever brought to this tournament.
Last year, the Rangers brought just two goaltenders and will likely do the same this time around. It might actually be the same goaltenders, too, in Alexander Georgiev and Chris Neil.
If the roster reflects these in any way, shape or form, this tournament is going to be really fun to watch. On paper, the Rangers probably have the best roster in the tourney so there will be high expectations going in. It will be interesting to see if David Quinn will be behind the bench for the tournament, too.
Even though the Rangers’ first match of the tournament is on September 7 against the Stars, the excitement is building already. Hopefully MSG is televising it so we can get our fix.