Chasing Jamie: Rangers hope Youngster can Fill in

By Michael Theodore
Regardless of what “experts” say, Jamie Lundmark had a very good year for a very poor team. Maintaining a 90 plus point pace on a team that lost far more game than it won proved to be a challenging task for the 19-year-old Edmonton native who now appears ready for a new challenge in the NHL.

The Rangers fully expect 1999 first round blue chipper Jamie Lundmark to make a run for a shot in the 1999-00 NHL season. His work ethic isn’t a problem, nor is his world class skill level but still he isn’t a sure bet to make the team and one must wonder why. The answer to the riddle is simply a lack of space for the young speedster. Where can the Rangers find room with Petr Nedved anchored on the first line, soon to be hot shot sophomore Mike York on line two and most likely Tim Taylor and Manny Malhotra on the remaining two lines? All this and still the possibility of a Mark Messier return looming. One possible solution being thrown around is possibly turning Manny Malhotra into a left winger. Malhotra has proven a little lost at center at the pro level and turning the 6’2 210 center into a winger might solve two problems. Still Malhotra does appear a lot more comfortable at a pivot position.

Mike York was a surprise rookie who blossomed into a legit NHL threat. But his top end is as a second line center. Petr Nedved isn’t going anywhere either so the possibility is open to a trade. Remember the Keith Tkachuk situation in Phoenix still isn’t totally healed yet if at all. Rangers might look to package Manny in for a Tkachuk player as they try to build a team that actually competes. The most logical scenario involves Manny in package for a legit NHL scorer that the Rangers so badly need.

Jamie really has nothing left to prove at the Junior level. He’s been great on average teams and is starting to gain some NHL size. He is expected to show up at camp this year at around 190 or 195 pounds. Some late reports also had him listed at a legit 6’1 now. Guaranteed the Rags are hoping for a Boyd Deveraux type growth spurt (from 6’0, 175 to 6’2, 195). But the Rangers are going to have some choices this summer and it involved a log jam at center. One man is likely to go, and hopefully for a good winger who can actually put the puck in the net. Without a scoring winger it makes no difference who is centering the Rangers because all their chances will go to waste.