Rangers Rumble: Prospect Report

By Brandon LeBourveau

Back Down to Hartford

Jamie Lundmark was recently demoted to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL, where the Rangers hope the 22-year-old will play a ton of minutes and regain his confidence. The move, however, would appear to have come at the least opportune time. Lundmark, the team’s first round pick in 1999, had a fantastic training camp and made the opening night roster. In nine exhibition games, the Edmonton native scored six goals and was arguably the best Rangers’ forward throughout the pre-season. After struggling at the start of the season and bouncing around between lines, he began to settle in and get adjusted to the NHL in his last couple of games. He started to use his speed and skill effectively to gain chances for himself and his teammates. As a result he was gaining more ice time and even played on the second power play unit. He hit two posts in back-to-back games against Tampa Bay and Phoenix and was all over the ice. Lundmark was on the verge of making an impact, but that’s is when management decided it was best to send him down to Hartford.

Although many fans were left pondering why he was sent down, Lundmark took the demotion like a true professional. He didn’t pout nor whine about it and went back to Hartford with pride and an excellent mindset. That was evident in his first game back with the Wolf Pack, an 8-2 domination over the St John’s Maple Leafs. He recorded the first hat trick of his professional career, while adding an assist and totaling five shots on goal. He finished the game with four points and was a +2. In three games with the Wolf Pack, Lundmark has three goals, two assists and five points, including no penalty minutes. The Rangers’ top prospect is picking up right where he left off last year, when he finished with 27 goals and was second in scoring among AHL rookies. Unless an injury occurs to one of New York’s best forwards, you shouldn’t expect to see him back with the Rangers until perhaps after the New Year. They’ll give him time to further develop and make the necessary improvements in his game. With 14 NHL games under his belt, in which he totaled one assist and four penalty minutes, he has a much clearer idea of what he needs to do to make an impact at the big league level.

Organization Concussed Again

As if Eric Lindros’ fragile head was not enough to worry about, prospect Ryan Hollweg’s season-ending concussion certainly will be. Hollweg, the Rangers’ 8th round selection in 2001 and one of the organization’s top prospects, suffered a concussion October 8th when his Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) played against the Vancouver Giants. Hollweg played four games for the Tigers, scoring one goal and adding an assist, before he went down with the injury. He had been out of the lineup ever since taking a knee to the head from one of the Giants’ players, but it was confirmed yesterday that he is expected to miss the entire season while recovering.

Tiger’s General Manager Rick Carriere released in a statement, “Ryan is suffering from a cerebral hematoma, which is a bruise on his brain. An injury of this type is not measured as easily as a broken bone in terms of the length of time for recovery. Ryan met with a leading neurologist in Montreal [Karen Johnston] who confirmed the results of his previous tests and has indicated Ryan will miss the remainder of the season. This is the same doctor that dealt with Eric Lindros and Boyd Devereaux who have now resumed their careers in the NHL. Ryan’s on ice leadership and competitiveness will definitely be missed. It will be very important for our veteran players to dig down and provide these qualities in Ryan’s absence. An injury of this type is certainly devastating to Ryan, his family and our organization. He is a tremendous competitor who will overcome this adversity and I am confident he will resume a productive career in hockey.”

Hollweg, who posted a career-high 30 goals and 70 points in 58 games for Medicine Hat last year, was looking forward to having another big season. He impressed the Rangers when he came up to the Hartford Wolf Pack last year after Medicine Hat’s season ended, when he recorded a goal and an assist in eight regular season games, and another two assists and nineteen penalty minutes in nine playoff matches. Not only does this concussion end Hollweg’s junior career (he’s eligible to play in the AHL next year and he most definitely will), he will not be able to participate in this year’s 2003 World Junior Championships, which are being held in Halifax, Novia Scotia during the holiday season. Ryan was a physical force for the Americans last year and unfortunately will not have the opportunity to put forth a repeat performance. Concussions are a very serious thing and it would be a shame if this injury alters his chances at a professional career. Here’s hoping that Hollweg can come back from the injury and continue on his road to the NHL. Get well soon, buddy.

Home, Sweet Home

Defenseman Fedor Tjutin, one of the top prospects in the organization, has went back to Russia to resume his hockey career. Tjutin, New York’s second round pick (40th overall) in 2001, enjoyed a fabulous season with the Guelph Storm of the OHL last year, his first in North America. He tallied 59 points, 19 goals and 40 assists, in 53 games and anchored the Storm’s defense. He came to training camp this year in hopes of making the team. He put forth a solid effort and was impressive in a few exhibition games, but was assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL after the team realized he would be better off getting top minutes in the minors instead of keeping him in the NHL and watching him get minimal ice-time. At 19-years-old, it would be best for his development anyway to learn the ropes of professional hockey in the minor leagues first before being thrown to the wolves in the NHL.

The Rangers had to first offer Tjutin back to his former team in Russia before he was allowed to play in the AHL. If the Rangers could reach a settlement with the Russian team, he would be eligible to stay in North America and play in Russia. Unfortunately, that settlement never came to fruition. Tjutin went back to Russia and signed a contract with Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian Super League. He was able to escape from his contract with SKA St. Petersburg since he had an out clause that allowed him to leave the club if a coaching or GM change takes place, in which one did. However, Max Dostoevsky of Hockey’s Future claims there is an ongoing controversy as to whether Tjutin can actually suit up for Ak Bars Kazan.

According to Dostoevsky, “Fedor Tjutin has signed two-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan. By doing so, the Rangers’ prospect found himself in the middle of controversy, as SKA St. Petersburg management presented to PHL’s Arbitration Committee an agreement reached with Tjutin’s NHL right holder – the New York Rangers. According to the agreement in question Tjutin is loaned by NHL club to St. Petersburg team until the end of the current season. Therefore under the IIHF/NHL agreement, Ak Bars has no rights dress Fedor in RSL action without the Ranger’s permission. Arbitrary committee will now decide where the talented rearguard will play this season. From the NY Rangers’ standpoint, St. Petersburg seems to be the preferable venue, since due to SKA’s lack of depth on defense, Tjutin shall receive premium ice-time there. While despite being (Ak Bars’ assistant coach) Vladimir Plyuschev’s favorite, Tjutin isn’t guaranteed to play a top role in Kazan.”

Drawing Rave Reviews

Prospect Garth Murray, currently in his first full season of professional hockey with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), is drawing rave reviews down on the farm and has quickly become a fan favorite of the Hartford faithful. Through nine games, Murray has recorded two goals and six assists for eight points, along with 27 penalty minutes and is a +7. He had been playing on a line with NHL veterans Dixon Ward and Ted Donato before Donato recently got a call-up. He has impressed his teammates, as well as the coaching staff, with his gritty, hard-nosed play. Murray is as tough as they come, and he has proven time and time again that he won’t back down from anyone. He’s not normally a scapper, but he will throw ’em with the best if the situation arises.

The former captain of the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League, Garth enjoyed a highly successful junior career, one in which he totaled 78 goals, 77 assists and 595 penalty minutes in 266 games. He participated in the Memorial Cup Championship with the Pats’ in 2000-01 before they were ousted from the tournament. Last year, he won a silver medal with team Canada at the 2002 World Junior Championships, a tournament featuring the top players under 20 years of age in the world. After Regina was knocked out of the playoffs last spring, Murray joined the Wolf Pack for the final four games of the regular season, and played in nine playoff contests. He went scoreless during the regular season, but tallied a goal and 3 assists during the playoffs.

There was the possibility of Garth returning to Regina for a fifth season of junior hockey, but he was able to come to terms on a contract with the Rangers nearly at the last minute, enabling him to play in Hartford this season. Both sides have got to be happy that the contract got done after seeing how things have turned out. There seems to be little doubt that Garth Murray will be a mainstay on the Rangers’ second or third line in the future. He may need another year or two in the minors but it’ll be worth the wait.

Canadian Juniors

Ryan HollwegMedicine Hat TigersWHLCenter41128-5
Bryce LampmanKamloops BlazersWHLDefense200121222-3
Rory RawlykPrince Albert RaidersWHLDefense1824620-6
Vancouver GiantsWHLDefense401110
Leonid ZvachkinGuelph StormOHLDefense1602228+1
Shawn CollymoreQuebec RempartsQMJHLCenter1997169+2
Petr PreucilDrummondville VoltigeursQMJHLCenter156111732-3

U.S College

Lee FalardeauMichigan StateCCHACenter81238-2
Nate GueninOhio StateCCHADefense900014+3
Mike WalshNotre DameCCHALeft Wing00000Even
Dominic MooreHarvardECACCenter33250
Rob FlynnHarvardECACRight Wing20000
Danny EberlyRPIECACDefense104158
Joey CrabbColorado CollegeWCHARight Wing40112
Nathan MartzNew HampshireHockeyEastCenter84150+1

U.S. Juniors

Jake TaylorGreen Bay GamblersUSHLDefense1331443-4


Jamie LundmarkHartford Wolf PackAHLForward33250+3
New York RangersNHLForward140114-6
Rico FataHartford Wolf PackAHLCenter986146+4
New York RangersNHLCenter50110-1
Garth MurrayHartford Wolf PackAHLLeft Wing925727+7
John TrippHartford Wolf PackAHLRight Wing131121328+8
Mike MottauHartford Wolf PackAHLDefense131898+15
Tomas KloucekHartford Wolf PackAHLDefense1334771+6
Matt KinchHartford Wolf PackAHLDefense20000+2
Jeff StateHartford Wolf PackAHLDefense601134-2
Charlotte CheckersECHLDefense500019+1
Craig WellerHartford Wolf PackAHLDefense50004+2
Charlotte CheckersECHLDefense210111Even
Benoit DusablonHartford Wolf PackAHLCenter1216714+10
David InmanHartford Wolf PackAHLCenter80556-1
Layne UlmerHartford Wolf PackAHLCenter91232+2
Nils EkmanHartford Wolf PackAHLLeft Wing41348+1
Bobby AndrewsHartford Wolf PackAHLCenter901112+2
Patrick AufieroCharlotte CheckersECHLDefense62466
Hartford Wolf PackAHLDefense30002-1
Dusty JamiesonCharlotte CheckersECHLLeft Wing84267
Brandon CullenCharlotte CheckersECHLCenter1115671
Jason LabarberaHartford Wolf PackAHLGoalie116322.56.922
Scott MeyerHartford Wolf PackAHLGoalie41104.47.839
Bryce WandlerCharlotte CheckersECHLGoalie40114.63.819
Niklas SundbergCharlotte CheckersECHLGoalie85303.12.898
Brandon SneeMuskegon FuryUHLGoalie32103.67.864


Marcus JonasenHammarby IFSweden Jrs.Right Wing10961510+9
Marcus JonasenHammarby IFSweden Jrs.Right Wing10961510+9
Pontus PetterströmSkellefteå AIKSwe. AllsvNorraRight Wing166176+7
Stefan LundqvistVästerås IK Ungdom Swe. AllsvSödraRight Wing16132154-8
Petter HenningTingsrydSweden 3rd TierCenter137714
Arto LaatikainenEspoo BluesSM-Liiga (Finland)Defense1813410-2
Marek ZidlickyHIFKSM-Liiga (Finland)Defense181111224+2
Kim HirschovitsHIFKSM-Liiga (Finland)Center1720210Even
Tomi KallarsonIlves TampereSM-Liiga (Finland)Defense10000-2
Juri StalsWasaFinlandLeft Wing82248
Petr PruchaPardubiceCzech RepublicCenter91232
Martin RichterSparta PrahaCzech RepublicDefense913410
Sven HelfensteinSC BernSwitzerlandCenter100008
Ilja GorokhovYaroslavl TorpedoRussiaDefense110112
Henrik LundqvistVästra Frölunda HCSELGoalie81.24.953
Johan AsplundBrynäs IFSELGoalie27.33.714