Another day of forgetting about the misery that is the current New York Rangers' lineup by looking at the future. Today, it's Anthony Duclair that leads the pack with yet another spectacular game. Last night helped the Quebec Remparts to a 7-3 win with three goals and an assist. Here is video of the goals.
Bonus points for the first two goals being scored on Anthony Brodeur. Yes, THAT Brodeur. Duclair now has 46 points in 32 games, and is second in the QMJHL in goals, with 27. All three goals show off Duclair's combination of speed, hands, and offensive instincts. For me, the third goal is the most impressive. Shorthanded, he came all the way from the other end of the ice, where he previously had a scoring chance, and made the defensive play to steal the puck. He then used his speed to give his team an odd-man rush, and finished it off with the goal. Points on the stat sheet in juniors do not always translate to success at higher levels. It's plays like that which display Duclair's well-rounded ability and which make me believe he has what it takes to become an NHLer.
Keep reading for some other prospect updates.
Kevin already posted highlights from the Wolfpack's shootout loss. However, I did watch the full game so I can give a few thoughts of my own aside from what can be seen from that small video pacakage.
J.T. Miller looks very good. I know people are going to question why he's in Hartford when there are a few redundant (to put it graciously) players on the NHL roster. However, I don't think we can look at it in a vacuum like that. Miller is only 20 years old and would be a junior in college right now. Theoretically, he could spend a full two seasons in Hartford beyond this season and still have plenty of development in him. I don't see that happening, but the point here is that he's still incredibly young and incredibly raw. I think he's much better suited getting first line minutes and top PP time in Hartford on a consistent basis right now rather than being shuffled through the lineup in New York as Vigneault tries to figure out something that will work.
I keep getting asked about Kristo. Yes, he had a good game in Hartford last night and has been great in most games. However, he is not ready for the NHL. I can not stress that enough. If Vigneault could pinch hit him from Hartford as a PP option then sure. However, his play away from the puck and defensively are not at NHL standards yet. Again, people might ask what harm it would do to bring him up. The harm to be done is not to the Rangers; it's to Kristo himself. He still has a lot to learn by AHL standards, and therefore he's best suited learning that against AHL competition.
Connor Allen is still learning clearly but is progressing nicely from where he was in the September. Sometimes he fumbles with the puck in his own zone and forces a pass or two but that's to be expected for a young defenseman. He'll figure that out. His skating is very good and his positioning matches that. Same can be said for Lindberg, overall. Not lighting the world on fire, but slowly showing progress with every passing game. Does a lot of simple but important things in all zones.
Now for a final roundup on some of the other prospects in other leagues.
Mackenzie Skapski: Made 26 saves on 29 shots in a 4-0 loss (empty netter) for Kootenay. I did not see the first two goals allowed, but he was strong from the second period onwards and could do nothing on the third goal, which was an odd-man rush as Kootenay was throwing players forward in an attempted comeback late in the game.
Ryan Graves: A secondary assist and two PIM in Charlottetown's 2-1 win.
Adam Tambellini: Four PIM in North Dakota's 4-1 win.
Thomas Spelling: Primary assist in Sonderjyske's 3-2 shootout win.
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Let's not forget the last prospect who was tearing it up, Michael St. Croix...who currently has played a total of 9 AHL games with 0 pts and is a -3
So Duclair is a player with a ton of speed who actually knows how to handle the puck. Maybe he should teach Hags a thing or two about stickhandling.
Side note, anyone got an update on Brady Skjei, who I would argue is our best defensive prospect not up with the big club... Cant wait to watch him in the World Juniors
Can we bring him up? But seriously just wondering what the process is for Duclair? If he is ahead of schedule even, and lets say skips the "AHL" step, how long until he is with the Rangers? 2-3 years still at least, right?
@BrendyJohnson Not at all the same situation. There was a lot of skepticism regarding St. Croix' play away from the puck and willingness to battle and how his skillset would translate to the pro level. Duclair is a more complete, well-rounded player.
@KreiderisTheChosenOne I gave a bit of info on Skjei in the last Prospect Update http://www.nyrangersblog.com/2013-articles/december/prospect-update-mackenzie-skapski-plays-the-game-of-his-life-brady-skjei-updates.html
@KreiderisTheChosenOne He has to spend at least one more year in juniors (unless he makes the NHL roster out of training camp next season, which is improbable). After that... who knows. I think he'll need a bit of time in Hartford but I'm optimistic about his future.