Traverse City Tournament: What We Learned

Bruce Bennett

What should Rangers fans take from Traverse City?

So the Traverse City Tournament is over. Usually televised, this year's tournament wasn't carried on TV or radio (although to be fair I think one game was broadcast on a Buffalo radio station) so it made the entire tournament fly by. Fans were, however, able to keep up with the tournament via twitter (thanks to the New York Rangers official feed and Jim Cerny), so the stats and information from the games were sort of available.

The short summary? The Rangers lost their first three games then beat the Baby Wild on Monday 5-2. Not the best showing from the Baby Rangers this year.

So what did we learn? Good question. Let's go through it below:

Quick note: There have been different reports on the actual stats of the players, so we're basing the numbers below off the Rangers and Cerny's Twitter feed.

1) Not having Brady Skjei and Dylan McIlrath showed how much the Rangers' Traverse City roster missed Brady Skjei and Dylan McIlrath: I don't care what you think about McIlrath and where he was drafted, and I'm pretty sure no one has any issues with Skjei as of right now, but both players are the cream of the crop in terms of Rangers defensive prospects.

And both players were sorely missed during the Traverse City Tournament.

The Rangers' defense was relatively non-existent. Both goaltenders got shelled during their time tending the pipes, and there was no calming presence on the blue line. McIlrath is projected to be that hulking stay at home defenseman who cleans the crease and provides a steady option on the back end. Skjei is also supposed to be a steady presence, a "nothing fancy" defenseman who gets the job done on both ends of the ice. You would hope things would have looked different with those two on the ice.

2) Danny Kristo couldn't have had a better start to his season: There's been a lot of talk about Kristo since the Rangers traded for him. We've spent a lot of time in this space talking about the potential impact he can have on the Rangers if he makes the team out of camp. Well, he couldn't have gotten off to a much better start.

Kristo finished the tournament with seven points in the four games. He had five points through his first two games, including a goal and three assists in the second game. Kristo obviously wants to make the Rangers out of camp. He's gotten off to a really good start in that department.

3) Oscar Lindberg was clearly a cut above the rest of the competition: So was Kristo, actually, but let's focus on Lindberg who had seven five goals (Stick tap to Alex Nunn for the correction on this. Wish they would have televised the games!) when all was said and done in the tournament. He had a hat trick in game two, and had two assists in the final game on Monday. He had fantastic chemistry with Kristo, and always seemed to be in the right areas of the ice (from the replays I was able to see) for his goals. He's in the same boat as Kristo: Trying to make the team.

He got off to a marvelous start there.

4) Jesper Fast didn't put up big numbers, but he apparently played well: Another issue with not being able to watch the games? You can never really tell who played well by the scoresheet alone. Kristo and Lindberg? It's obvious they played well. The numbers don't lie. But for Fast? He had two goals in the final game, but that's really all we know.

By all indications he was also very good in the tournament, but without watching it's hard to accurately gauge. I just didn't want people to assume he's been a disappointment before he's even started training camp. It's not how the game works.

5) Hockey is back: Training camp starts on Wednesday. That's less than 24 hours away. Hockey is back! Can you feel it?

Thoughts guys?

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