The Rangers’ 2017 Development Camp ended yesterday morning with a very exciting scrimmage. It was the third day in a row that the prospects scrimmaged; and with each day, the two 25-minute period game grew more intense and physical.
The Camp itself was a five-day event that highlights nutrition and sleep training, physical programs, trips, and on-ice work. Attended by 38 young players, all but 15 are on the Rangers’ protected list. Of the 15, all but one (AHL signee Brenden Kotyk) are free agents.
The final score of today’s scrimmage was 5-4, with the final goal being scored with 23 seconds left in the game. But, frankly, the score is much less important than what the players displayed while on the ice. Here are some of my thoughts over the three days of scrimmages.
Lias Andersson, C (first round, # 7 overall, 2017)–Obviously very skilled, Andersson is very well filled out for his size and skates really well. He had a beautiful goal yesterday, but I did not notice him today, when he played with two free agent invitees on his line.
Morgan Barron, LW (sixth round, #174 overall, 2017)–Barron was a surprise this camp. After playing Canadian High School hockey last season (with a very short stint in the USHL), not much was expected at this level. He played on the bottom line in the three scrimmages, and at times, he looked raw, but he kept up with the play, and definitely has potential. He is big, but skates decently. Barron will be going to Cornell this fall and will continue his development there.
Filip Chytil, C (first round, # 21 overall, 2017)–The star of the camp. Chytil can skate, dangle the puck, has a high hockey IQ, and never gives up on the play. In addition, he is always looking to shoot the puck. Chytil was the high scorer this camp–the player that brought everyone out of their proverbial seats. At age 17, he was the youngest player in the camp (by three days) and still has a lot of growing to do, but he is sneaky fast and able to avoid hits. He looks to be the real deal, and maybe even a steal at the 21st pick in the draft.
Sean Day, LD (third round, #81 overall, 2016)–Day has filled out and he is confident on the ice with and without the puck. He looks poised, but he did not make his best showing this week. He often made very short passes, was not in position, and did not shoot enough. It was frustrating knowing that he is so talented. We will be expecting to see more from him this fall.
Adam Huska, G (seventh round, # 184, 2015)–Huska had a rough day today, but overall he is progressing very nicely. He is athletic and covers the net well.
Tarmo Reunanen, LD (fourth round, #98, 2016)–This was the first time that I have seen him play in person. I had to search for him whenever he was on the ice. Maybe it was me, but I did not see anything particularly good or bad about Reunanen.
Ty Ronning, RW (seventh round, #201, 2016)–Ronning very impressive last year at camp and continued to make the Rangers take notice this summer. He can skate extremely well, has a very high hockey IQ, and a nose for the net. Ronning is very small, but knows how to maneuver around defensemen. And he can score, which he showed twice in today’s scrimmage, when he scored two goals in the matter of one minute.
Calle Sjalin, LD (fifth round, # 145 overall, 2017)–Sjalin is another player that I had never seen play in person before. He was very impressive in all three games; he is the kind of blueliner you don’t notice and then all of a sudden see an excellent play and say, “who was that?” He skates well, distributes the puck quickly and efficiently, and makes quick excellent decisions. His gap control needs some work, but he is still just 17 years old (three days older than Chytil).
Joseph Snively, LW (Free agent)–After a forgettable first scrimmage, the diminutive Snively came back to make some excellent plays and be very visible for his work on the ice the last two days. He skated on the top line with Chytil and Ronning both days, and provided them with outlet passes that helped his two linemates stand out. At 21 years old, Snively recently completed his sophomore season at Yale. Expect him to play at least one more season in New Haven, but with his speed and hockey IQ, he will get some NHL looks, for sure.
Patrik Virta, RW (seventh round, # 207 overall, 2017)–At 21 years old, Virta was the oldest player the Rangers selected in the entry draft. He can skate and he can score (he scored twice in the last two days). He should be able to increase some of the offensive numbers in Hartford, when he gets there. The question is, when will that be (he has another year on his contract in Sweden)?
Tyler Wall, G (sixth round, #174, 2016)–Like Huska, Wall had a tough morning scrimmage. But despite this one game, he looked good earlier in the week. His rebound control was good, as was his lateral movement. It was just today–expect Wall to go back to U Mass Lowell, where he has three more years of eligibility.
Sergey Zborovskiy, RD (third round, #79, 2015)–I was excited to see Zborovskiy play, as he had improved his numbers so much in Regina this past season. He is big and filled out well in the two years since his selection by the Rangers, but for the most part he did not make his presence felt in any of the three scrimmages this week. We will have to see how he plays in Hartford this fall.