Thursday was a day that highly touted prospect Jamie Lundmark did not want to come about as he knew the results of the day. The result of the day was a ticket to the insurance capital of the world, Hartford, Connecticut along with goaltender Johan Holmqvist, Ed Ward (on tryout), Mike Mottau, Martin Richter, Mikael Samuelsson, Jeff Toms, and PJ Stock while Bryce Wandler, Scott Meyer, Dean Arsene, Dean Serdachny were assigned to Charlotte of the ECHL.
While Lundmark shined at times in this camp he also seemingly had “stone hands” as his puck control skills appear to have disappeared at an alarming rate that hopefully some time in Hartford would cure. Another reason and perhaps a more “rock hard” reason is that the roster is loaded with centers including Mark Messier, Eric Lindros, Mike York, Peter Nedved and Manny Malhotra oh which atleast 2 will see time at wing and one relegated to another club (via trade) or become comfortable at the no.4 spot with limited ice time. In short.. no room at the inn for Lundmark.
The goaltending situation is no clearer as rookie Dan Blackburn has shined and the Rangers organization appears leery of sending this talented package to war against the NHL and also back to juniors which may burst his bubble. Veteran Petr Skudra is in camp and has also played superb. Skudra spurned a contract offer from Boston and came to camp as a tryout and has shined since. The Chris Osgood affair is one that could change the situation even more. Osgood would provide a great insurance package to the Rangers incase his knee gives out again. Osgood can also spell “relief” to Richter and perhaps play 35 games this year and more next. One situation standing in the way are Mike Milbury`s Islanders. They are starving for a no.1 goalie and may have the cash to pay Osgood`s huge salary. Holmqvist collapsed in his final audition by yielding several goals, some of which soft in the last audition.
Still in camp the Rangers are over the roster limit and will decide who is next to get the ticket to Hartford. As of now it is either Blackburn(perhaps to juniors). Barrett Heisten, feisty Richard Scott are two others that one or both may be sent to Hartford. With Steve McKenna, Sandy McCarthy, Dale Purinton and a host of others…operating as “special forces” the Rangers Scott may be the odd man out.
Erstwhile the Wolfpack have more than 30 in camp and must make the appropriate move with Charlotte and New Haven of the UHL being possibilities.
With the addition of NHL journeymen Igor Ulanov, Dave Karpa and Darren Van Impe one wonders what they were thinking with Mike Mottau so close… now the gifted Bryan Berard and hoping his eye is well enough to handle the NHL rigors again makes Sather`s offseason moves look more and more desperate.
With the tragedy in the US that has effected the entire world I would like to give my thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of those lost in that most horrible incident and would like to thank all those out there that have contributed to the various disaster relief efforts and please remember that after this has faded into a horrible never forgetting memory, that these organizations can always still use your help. GOD BLESS AMERICA and our FRIENDS that have supported us in these trying times!