For the sixth consecutive year, the New York Rangers will be participating in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan. The tournament has provided great competition for prospects, and current Rangers such as Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Marc Staal have represented the team at Traverse City. The Rangers' roster includes 24 of the top prospects in their organization. Here are five players that could be standouts in Traverse City, and mainstays on Broadway down the road.
1. Christian Thomas (Right Wing, NYR Second Round/40th Overall, 2010 NHL Entry Draft)
The son of former NHL player Steve Thomas, Christian Thomas has been a star in juniors. Playing for the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Thomas finished sixth in scoring in the OHL last year with 54 goals and 45 assists for 99 points in only 66 games. Although he is only 5'9'' and weighs 165 pounds, his speed and scoring touch around the net have made him successful. At 19, he still has one year of junior eligibility left.
2. Ryan Bourque (Forward, NYR Third Round/80th Overall, 2009 NHL Entry Draft)
The son of Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, Ryan Bourque is a very good two-way forward who developed into a good scorer last season in juniors. Playing for the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Bourque finished last season with 26 goals and 33 assists for 59 points in 49 games. Bourque signed a three-year entry level contract with the Rangers in March, and will most likely begin this season in Connecticut with the Whale.
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3. Tim Erixon (Defenseman, CGY First Round/23rd Overall, 2009 NHL Entry Draft)
The son of former Ranger Jan Erixon, Tim Erixon was acquired by the Rangers this June in exchange for two draft picks and a prospect. He has yet to play in North America, but will play either in the AHL or NHL this season. Erixon is considered a good two-way defenseman with offensive skills. Erixon will be considered for either the sixth or seventh defenseman on the Rangers' roster.
4. Dylan McIlrath (Defenseman, NYR First Round/10th Overall, 2010 NHL Entry Draft)
The Rangers' first round pick in 2010, McIlrath is a defensive defenseman who is known for being a punisher. At 6'5'' 215, McIlrath was nicknamed "The Undertaker." McIlrath played last season in the Western Hockey League (WHL) for the Moose Jaw Warriors, where he racked up 23 points and 129 penalty minutes in 57 games. Although not expected to be in New York this year, McIlrath still has one year of junior eligibility left.
5. J.T. Miller (Center, NYR First Round/15th Overall, 2011 NHL Entry Draft)
Miller was selected by the Rangers because his style of play fits John Tortorella's system perfectly. At age 18, he bypassed going to the University of North Dakota to sign an entry-level contract with the Rangers. Assuming he doesn't make the Rangers' roster, Miller will be playing for the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.