After two straight days of on-ice activities, the New York Rangers conducted their first scrimmage of training camp earlier this afternoon. Luckily for us, the Rangers decided to live stream the game on their website, so we were able to get our first glance of this year's training camp.
Evan is going to be posting a ton of GIF's from the scrimmage later today, so before we get to enjoy that, here are a few post scrimmage thoughts.
- J.T. Miller really stood out in all three zones today, and most notably, the offensive zone. It appeared as if the light bulb finally clicked on during the summer for Miller, and so far, he's showing solid potential. He had tremendous poise with the puck, and was dishing off some pretty passes in close. Miller was doing much of the same last year in the AHL, but the biggest question this year is if he can translate that level of play to the NHL level. Thus far, it all looks good, but he needs to keep it up.
- Anthony Duclair, and Ryan Haggerty also impressed quite a bit with their play in both ends. Duclair is ridiculously fast (we already knew this), and he setup a few beautiful chances, including a breakout pass to spring Rick Nash on a breakaway in the second period. Haggerty was fairly quiet on the score sheet until the third period, but he put his stick handling ability on full display with a few great chances.
- Another surprising standout today was Oscar Lindberg, who seemed to have a nose for the net anytime he had the puck. Lindberg was ripping shots from in close all afternoon, but unfortunately, he was shooting on Henrik Lundqvist so nothing squeezed through.
- Dan Boyle and Marc Staal spent the entire scrimmage as a pairing, and for the most part, they looked pretty good. There was some early chemistry there with the defensive zone breakouts, and they both seemed very comfortable with each other from the start. The way Boyle was playing today, you could tell he has the chance to become a difference maker for the Rangers. He loves to skate the puck up ice, and rip shots on net, so it will be interesting to see how everything turns out in a game situation.
- Chris Kreider was Chris Kreider today, and pretty much ran over anything that came in his way. He had a handful of scoring chances off of the rush, and connected with Kevin Hayes a few times in the offensive zone as well. Speaking of Hayes, he didn't necessarily stand out among the rest, but he didn't have a terrible outing either. He used his size in the corner to shield off the defensemen, and more or less played the power game everyone expects him to play. He'll get the chance to show off his skill in the preseason game tomorrow against the New Jersey Devils.
- Group A is expected to suit up tomorrow for the Rangers against the Devils, which includes the likes of Dan Boyle, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, Matthew Lombardi, Kevin Hayes, Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Malone, J.T. Miller, Martin St. Louis, and Marc Staal to name a few.
- Derek Stepan is also in Group A, but after sitting out today's scrimmage with a foot contusion (bruise), the Rangers probably won't rush him to play in tomorrow's game. Stepan has been skating during the on-ice sessions earlier in the weekend, so his injury isn't expected to be anything serious.
That's all we have for now, but remember to keep an eye out for Evan's GIF's later, because everyone loves GIF's. We'll see you all back here tomorrow night for the Rangers first preseason game against the New Jersey Devils. Hockey is back!