Rangers prospects facing cuts

By Leslie Treff

Eight prospects remained on the New York Rangers’ roster prior to tonight’s preseason game with the Islanders. Defensemen Fedor Tyutin, Maxim Kondratiev, and Thomas Pock are still with the club. Fedor Tyutin, the Rangers’ second round pick in the 2001 entry draft, has played in two preseason games thus far, and has one assist, six shots, and two penalty minutes.

Maxim Kondratiev, who came to the Rangers on March 3, 2004 as part of the deal that sent Brian Leetch to Toronto, has also played in two of the three Ranger preseason games; he has one assist with five shots on goal. Although, at times, he has appeared a bit shaky in his puckhandling and defense, Kondratiev’s shot from the point looks like it will be a powerful weapon for the Rangers, either this season or in the near future. Thomas Pock has appeared in one game for the Blueshirts, garnering one assist and one shot on goal.

Forwards Ryan Hollweg, Jarkko Immonen, and Petr Prucha are also still playing with the NHL club. Ryan Hollweg, drafted in the eighth round of the 2001 entry draft, is a favorite among the Rangers’ coaching staff for his gritty play and great effort, and according to coach Tom Renney, has been filling the role he is assigned.

Hollweg has played in two preseason games, garnering 6 PIM. Jarkko Immonen, who came to the Rangers from Toronto with Kondratiev in the 2004 Brian Leetch trade, has not been particularly effective in his two preseason appearances. He has registered three shots, but holds a -1, and has not really performed up to his skill level in the preseason games.

Petr Prucha has played in all three preseason games and shown that despite his small size, he can be a force on the ice. He has 11 shots on goal, a shootout goal, and given fans and the coaching staff a good look at his puck handling and skating skills.

Dominic Moore, third round pick in the 2000 entry draft, has played in two games and incurred four minutes of penalties. So far, he has three shots on goal and has shown some of the grit and hard work that the Rangers’ coaching staff has been looking to him for.

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers’ seventh selection, 205th overall, in the 2000 entry draft, has been sparkling in his two appearances. He has played 88 minutes, and in made 44 saves, allowing four goals (2.73 GAA, 90.9% save percentage). According to Lundqvist, the greatest adjustments he has had to make are the speed of the NHL game and the smaller pads, “especially because of my style, being a butterfly goalie.” Lundquist, like most goalies, has had to cut one inch off his pads, and finds the change difficult, particularly because he “plays a lot on the ice.”

“Every time I am down I can feel the difference… I have to be faster.”

Given Lundqvist’s play, it appears that he has the ability to make the necessary changes, and, according to Tom Renney, will keep the goaltending situation interesting.

Yesterday the Rangers assigned prospects forward Garth Murray, defenseman Bryce Lampman, and goalie Al Montoya to Hartford.

Hartford Prospects

Today the Hartford Wolfpack cut 20 players from their roster, including prospects, Jonathan Paiement and Rory Rawlyk. Rawlyk, who played most of last year in Charlotte of the ECHL, will most likely start the season with the Checkers. Paiement, unsigned, will likely return to junior.

Hartford has been successful in both of its current preseason games, and prospects have been a big reason for that success.

Goalie Chris Holt, who was chosen by the Rangers in the sixth round of the 2003 entry draft, played for the Wolfpack last night and registered 22 saves on 27 shots.

Forwards Bruce Graham and Jakob Petruzalek have both made major contributions to their club. Graham, who was selected in the second round of the 2004 entry draft, had 2 goals and 12 assists on Tuesday night, and then registered one goal and one assist last night. Petruzalek, also had a big night on Tuesday, scoring two goals and registering one assist.

Other forwards with goals over the last two nights were Ryan Callahan, Dwight Helminen, and Hugh Jessiman, who had a short-handed goal in Tuesday night’s game.

Prospects in Juniors

Brandon Dubinsky of the Portland Winter Hawks, who was selected by the Rangers in the second round of the 2004 entry draft, has six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in two games. Two of his three goals were on the power play. He and four other players share the scoring lead in the WHL. Teammate, Michael Sauer, chosen 40th overall in the 2004 entry draft, has three points (2 goals, 1 assist) in the same number of games. Both are +3.

Forward Brodie Dupont, selected 66th overall in the 2005 entry draft, of the Calgary Hitmen, also has three points (1 goal, 2 assists). Dupont is +2, and has 2 PIM. Forward Roman Psurny, who was chosen by the Rangers in the fifth round of the 2004 entry draft, has scored two goals in the same number of games for the Medicine Hat Tigers. Dane Byers, picked in the second round of the 2004 draft, has served 11PIM, and has registered two assists with a +2.

The Sudbury wolves captain Marc Staal, chosen in the first round of the 2005 entry draft, has scored one goal in the only game he has played since returning to juniors.

QMJHL standout, center Marc-Andre Cliché, who was chosen 56th overall in the 2005 entry draft, has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in three games for the Lewiston, MAINEiacs. Cliche also has 11 PIM.

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