With the 2003-04 campaign
getting ready to begin the New York Rangers won’t have a single prospect in
their starting lineup. Fedor Tjutin was the last one to be sent down.
But because of the age of the team, injuries will come into play and it’s
likely that a few prospects will see some playing time this season.
Fedor Tjutin is clearly the
top prospect in the organization and will be the first defenseman to be
recalled from Hartford (AHL) if an injury should occur. This skilled skater can
get the puck out of the zone quickly and knows how to jump into the play for
some instant offense. Tjutin needs to
work on his positioning but already possesses good defensive instincts.
“He’s mobile, he sees the
ice, he seems to be able to handle the game,” said Rangers President, General
Manager and Head Coach Glen Sather. “He’s a good young prospect, he’s gonna be
a good player. I think he’s played fine all the way through training camp. He
should be a bit more alert around the puck sometimes. I think he’s going to be fine.”
Tjutin, 20, scored his first
NHL goal against a depleted Boston Bruins squad recently. The Ex-Guelph Storm
blueliner made a strong move around the net and eventually knocked in the puck
to help the Rangers win the game.
“I understand it depends how
I will play there (Hartford) and that if somebody gets injured I can come back
and get a chance,” said Tjutin. “It’s a little bit different, but not that much
than playing in Russia.”
Tjutin may get a chance this
season but when the Rangers picked up veteran defenseman Joel Bouchard in the
waiver draft to fill in for the injured Brian Leetch the possibility was
Former Harvard standout
center Dominic Moore (was the Rangers third- round selection, 95th
overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft) could be the next in line for some NHL
action this season. This 2003 All-American ended his collegiate career 11th
Harvard’s all-time scoring list. If he starts out strong in Hartford, the
Rangers may give him a look at some point this season.
Next up could be Garth
Murray (Rangers third-round selection, 79th overall, in the 2001
NHL Entry Draft). Murray would have to play better than Moore to get the call,
but his 6’2” frame could be what the Rangers will need later this season.
Murray is a PIM collector and that is the kind of fourth-line player the
Rangers like to have.
Richard Scott, no longer a
prospect, could get the call if the Rangers want an enforcer for a particular
stretch of games or one game against a divisional rival. Scott had one fight in
five games for the Rangers last season.
Dan Blackburn is currently
sidelined with a shoulder injury so the Rangers don’t have to make a decision
on him right now. It seems like he will start the season in Hartford but it’s
anybody’s guess until he is healthy.
The Rangers are a veteran
team that could use an infusion of young talent, and the Hartford shuttle might
be working overtime this season.