In it—as you should be able to take from the headline, "Searching for Diamonds in the Rough,"—is a list of up-and-coming players who could make an impact this year: quiet acquisitions, unknowns to pick up at the end of your fantasy draft, and all-around "sleeper"-type players.
The Rangers lead the pack with 4 players listed. Artem Anisimov (pictured), Matt Gilroy, Brian Boyle and Bobby Sanguinetti are named. As a fan who is quite familar with the Rangers' minor league pool of prospects, I'd add Corey Potter and Evgeny Gratchev to that list (even though, for yet another year, I'll argue Dane Byers as a fourth-line guy).
Am I the only one who finds this to be tremendous? Ryan McDonagh and Mike Del Zotto—quite possibly our two best defensive prospects—aren't even listed! Nigel Williams, a very highly regarded defenseman we picked up from Colorado, could be there as well.
Unlike some other bloggers on this Web site, I am not 16 years old. I'm 30. I was there for the Stanley Cup run and the following decade of absolute futility. I saw the Rangers give tons of time to disappointments (in Ranger blue, not in their career) to the likes of Luc Robitaille, Russ Courtnall, Dave Karpa, Bruce Driver, Alexandre Daigle, Stephan Quintal, Valeri Kamensky, Bobby Holik, Kirk McLean and Guy Hebert. At NO TIME were the terms "Rangers" and "youth" ever found together in the same sentence. Unless it was sarcastic and the author was making fun of our team.
During that era, I watched TONS of promising prospects be given no chance or time to develop; and without that, most prospects fizzle out to become nothing. Jamie Lundmark, Pavel Brendl, Christian Dube, Jan Hlavac, Manny Malhotra, Tony Amonte, Doug Weight and Todd Marchant are just a small grouping of youth that the Rangers either traded away before we could ever get a good sense of what they could do, or players we just walked away from.
Some of these players went on to have great careers. Others did not. Who knows what would have happened if they would have been given a serious opportunity here on Broadway?
To my point: The Rangers are truly in uncharted territory. Have kids made it before here? Sure. Most, however, don't, and our drafting has been atrocious for the most part.
Those days seem to be over.
With the influx of talent we have—especially on defense—we should be proud of our team. And with talk of Sather pursuing Phil Kessel, we could be acquiring arguably one of the most exciting youngsters playing the game today. As many terrible moves and trades he's made—I'm sorry, but let's be honest—it seems as if Glen Sather really has started to change the culture here in Manhattan.
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