Time for Brendl and Lundmark to make an impact

By Jonathan Litterine

The Rangers failed in the free agent market this summer and they would not give up the talent Penguins GM Craig Patrick wanted in exchange for Jaromir Jagr. Well now that talent , mostly Pavel Brendl and Jamie Lundmark must prove to GM Glen Sather , there future teammates and millions of Rangers fans that Sather made the right choice by keeping them.

Brendl and Lundmark although both forwards play a different style of game. Brendl is your typical sniper with a big shot , who it seems like can score from anywhere anytime. No one in the Western Hockey League has more goals over the past 3 seasons then Brendl. Yet some question his desire. 2 years ago he came to training camp out of shape and it showed. He played terrible and was sent back the juniors in Calgary without hesitation. Last year he was in better shape and his game improved but with the large amount of forwards on the Rangers he was sent back again. In the end though it was probably for the best as the Rangers didn’t make the playoffs and Brendl got much needed seasoning. He went on to lead all scorers in the 2000 World Junior Championships. A tournament that features all the top junior players in the world including Ilya Kovalchuk , Jason Spezza and Lundmark. The 4th overall pick on the 1998 NHL Entry Draft (Only Patrik Stefan and the Sedin Twins were chosen higher) Brendl is expected to produce and produce soon. The Rangers need his scoring touch. He is in New York almost a month before training camp begins , training with Lundmark and other Rangers prospects. All we know for sure this season is that Brendl isn’t going back to Calgary. If he has a poor showing he will be sent to Hartford of the American Hockey League.

The story of Jamie Lundmark is different. Lundmark a crafty playmaker with hands of gold has been compared to Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman already. Although he was taken very high in the 1998 draft (9th Overall) many experts still consider him to be a steal for the Rangers. Over the past 2 seasons Lundmark has performed well and he too was superb at this years World Junior Championships. Lundmark had gone thru some rough times in junior, including sitting out in a trade dispute. He eventually got his wish when he was dealt from Moose Jaw of the WHL to Seattle. He was traded for Scott Kelman. He started off slow with Seattle and a broken wrist shut him down for a few weeks. Yet he got it together and finished the season with 77 points in just 52 games. Lundmark has impressed at his first two NHL training camps. Yet again the opinion of the front office was to send him back to juniors. Like Brendl his junior career is over. He will either be with the Rangers or with Hartford when the season begins.
As much as the Rangers want to see these 2 kids come along, they are not rushing them. They have already stated that they would not hesitate to send both to Hartford. Yet both have the talent to stick with the Rangers and play well. Looks like we will find out there fate in the coming weeks.