New York Rangers: Takeaways from the 2013 Traverse City Prospects Tournament
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Jesper Fast joined in on the fun that linemates Danny Kristo and Oscar Lindberg had all tournament long on the scoresheet, according to Matt Calamia of Blueshirts United. Fast had two goals in the 5-3 comeback win over the Wild.
Kristo and Lindberg were men among boys in every game and not just in a metaphorical sense either. They were some of the older players of any team in the tournament at ages 23 and 21, respectively.
The Rangers had plenty of moments to be proud of in the tournament. Richard Spalding of Sabre Noise reported that the Rangers managed to force overtime against the Sabres' squad after heading into the third period trailing, 3-1.
According to Bryan Winter of Blueshirt Banter, the Rangers showed great offensive prowess in the tournament opener. Josh Nicholls, another tournament standout, converted a power-play goal (7:45 into the video) by knocking the puck out of the air to cut the Hurricanes' lead to 2-1. Andrew Yogan, who was a captain for the Rangers, potted a goal off a nice no-look setup from Michael St. Croix (11:11 into the video).
Yogan needed to have a strong game against the Wild, and he took over in the third period. He gave the Rangers an insurance goal in the third period and scored an empty-netter later on, bringing his total to three goals in the tourney.
Unsigned and undrafted free agent Paxton Leroux had five fighting majors—including three against the Blue Jackets with a game misconduct—for the tournament. In Game 2, he came to the defense of teammate Klarc Wilson and went after Sabres' prospect Justin Kea after a hit from behind.
Free-agent acquisition Conor Allen registered a fight of his own against the Blue Jackets and had an assist against the Wild.
Most of the standouts are players that the Rangers hope will compete for a roster spot in camp and/or provide Hartford with leadership and success this season.
Which forward has the best chance of making the New York Rangers regular-season roster?
With Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin likely shelved for the beginning of the season, Fast, Lindberg and Kristo all figure to compete for a roster spot with the big club out of camp.
The biggest immediate benefactor could be the Rangers' AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Players likely to play pivotal roles for the Pack this season had solid performances. Allen will likely compete to skate alongside Dylan McIlrath as Hartford's top-pairing defensemen to star the season.
Yogan will be expected to provide leadership in the same way he was expected to provide it in Traverse City.
Most importantly, Fast, Lindberg and Kristo looked great together. Kristo told Blueshirts United that the trio is growing as a group:
We're having some good success right now. Obviously, we'd like to tune a couple of things up. We were on the ice for two goals against today, but I think we have some good chemistry right now.
While Lindberg led the Rangers in goals, Kristo led them in assists with five.
The training camp roster has yet to be set, but the Rangers will hit the ice for official team workouts beginning Sept. 12. Their first preseason game is less than a week away against the New Jersey Devils.
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