The New York Rangers' roster for the annual Traverse City Tournament -- our first true taste of hockey since the season ended -- was finally released early this week. See the full roster below.
Also, before I get going, a big thanks to Mike for organizing the report cards and posting most of them. I went on vacation for a week in early August, moved into a new house and then a tree fell on said new house so I've been a little pre-occupied but hopefully all of that is over with. Anyway, let's get on with the show:
- First I'd like to post a general reminder that while it's nice to see players and prospects thrive in this tournament, it doesn't really mean much. If my memory serves correctly Anthony Duclair was held scoreless during last year's tournament and that obviously wasn't a proper indication of his skills. So just take everything that happens with a grain of salt.
- There are a few players on this year's roster that will inevitably draw a lot of attention, as they should. Brady Skjei -- who is probably the organization's top prospect outside of Pavel Buchnevich -- leads that list along with Adam Tambellini, Ryan Graves and perhaps even Calle Andersson depending on whether or not you follow Alex Nunn on twitter. I'm going to be particularly interested to see how Tambellini does; especially after his outstanding (overage) year in juniors.
- Ryan Gropp (the Rangers' first pick -- 41st overall -- in this year's draft) is another player I'll be curious to see in action. Grpp has undeniable skills (Adam did a pretty comprehensive review of him and ranked him ninth in the team's prospect pool) but his numbers were a little underwhelming in a vacuum considering who the Rangers passed on to take him. However, he has an NHL-ready shot and seems to have a knack for getting into the soft areas of the ice. This pick has grown on me a lot since it was made, but I'm at optimist at heart so I'm excited to see him live.
- The Sergey Zborovskiy selection -- 79th overall in this year's draft -- earned my worst grade in my draft day grades. From that story:
The only thing saving this pick from being an "F" is the scouting community I talked to expressing their love of Zborovskiy being a late blooming player other teams had been contemplating reaching for as well. He's an enormous defender and he has some significant offensive upside from those I've talked to -- although you'd never know it from his 19 points in 72 WHL games. There is a ton of truth behind it being his first year in North America, though, and adjusting to a completely different country isn't exactly easy.
The problem with this pick is how early it came. ISS had him ranked 145th and I've also seen him ranked 179th and off the board completely. I'm all for going boom or bust, but there were safer options in the third round.
So, yeah. I'm happy to finally see him in person too. It should be noted that these tournament are usually much higher scoring so it will be tough to judge a defenseman on his actual defense, but I'm looking forward to seeing the first step in Zborovskiy's second year in North America.
- The Rangers did a very good job drafting for skill with a few of their selections this year, even if there was a risk associated with the pick. Brad Morrison was one of those players, falling to the Rangers at 113th overall. Morrison made a believer out of Adam after some rough scouting and I can't wait to see him in action at Traverse City.
I have something I need to say. I think I might like Brad Morrison more than Timashov.— Adam Herman (@AdamHerman_BSB) July 12, 2015
- The Rangers have a few "higher level" players on tryouts. Cameron Askew, Adam Brooks and Jerret Smith topping out that list. Askew, specifically, has been tagged as a sleeper in terms of undrafted players so it will be worth keeping an eye on him. Artem Artemov is also a player on a tryout and with a name like that how can you not root for the guy?
- Also note: Players playing overseas usually do not participate in this tournament. So don't be concerned about Buchnevich, Robin Kovacs or Aleski Saarela not being included.