It's hump day, and here are some notes for ya.
Some more thoughts on Lee Stempniak and Matthew Lombardi, two low-cost replacements who could make a big impact nonetheless. [Blueshirt Banter]
A little late on adding this story to notes, but a topic that's certainly discussed in this community at length: With his newest opportunity, J.T. Miller needs to take advantage. [NHL]
Wanted to add a few other Traverse City and prospect thoughts:
- Pavel Buchnevich will not be attending the Traverse City tournament, as the KHL season begins in early September. Buchnevich was rated in Corey Pronman's top 100 prospects (full disclosure: that's an ESPN Insider story linked) while Anthony Duclair was listed as a player who "just missed." Buchnevich has a year left on his KHL contract, so he can't make the jump to North America this season. Duclair could play on the Rangers this season, but that doesn't make sense. Here's why:
- Duclair is a developing, offensively gifted player. The key word there is "developing," and when dealing with an 18-year-old, the Rangers will do whatever helps Duclair improve the most. Would he supplant the likes of Rick Nash or Mats Zuccarello on the depth chart this season? Absolutely not, so instead of cramming him into a diminished role, give him another year to grow in the QMJHL.
- In saying that, Duclair could be set up for a very nice situation next year. His linemates on the Remparts have never been spectacular (and that's putting it nicely). If a player like, say, J.T. Miller can find his NHL game this season, and the Rangers have two young, dynamic players to group together moving forward.
- Mat Bodie won't make the Rangers this season, but has an NHL career ahead of him.
- The Rangers will get their first real look at Ryan Haggery, who's been around for a while, has an NHL-caliber shot, and is an intriguing prospect.
- When I saw Adam Tambellini play in late November, he was still a member of North Dakota, and looked absolutely lost. He's since jolted the collegiate ranks to the Western Hockey League, and is another player who is supposed to be much improved.