The first scrimmage of the Rangers 2013 Prospects Development Camp took place on Tuesday morning at the MSG Training Center. For what it's worth, the White Team---featuring Brady Skjei, Marek Hrivik, Pavel Buchnevich, Kyle Jean, and Ryan Graves among others---defeated the Blue squad 4-2. That Blue team had Dylan McIlrath, Christian Thomas, Boo Nieves, Michael St. Croix, and Conor Allen, among others, on it.
Three notable forwards missing from the scrimmage were Steve Fogarty, Adam Tambellini, and Michael Kantor. Fogarty has yet to arrive at the camp, as he is taking summer classes at Notre Dame; while Tambellini (tweaked knee) and Kantor (whose left foot is in a walking boot) were held out of the scrimmage after being hurt on Monday.
Andrew Yogan---on a deflection in front, Thomas Spelling---off a pretty set up by St. Croix, Alexander Krushelynski---an impressive finish from an unsigned camp invitee, and Skjei---into the empty net---were among the goal scorers Tuesday. While Skjei surely was pleased with his goal, it was the strong positional play and shot-blocking of the Rangers 2012 first rounder which stood out the most during the scrimmage. That and the fact that Skjei has added ten pounds of muscle and now boasts a solid 205 pound frame surely had the Rangers brass feeling good.
Seeing goals and strong play from past draft picks like Yogan (4th round, 2010), Spelling (5th round, 2012), and St. Croix (4th round, 2011) was a plus, as was the physical play of McIlrath (1st round, 2010) and Graves (4th round, 2013). At one point McIlrath hit Hrivik so hard, he lifted the strong forward off his skates and delivered him hard into the back boards. And Graves opened the scrimmage with a punishing hit in the corner after only ten seconds or so of play.
Offensively Anthony Duclair (3rd round, 2013) was among the standouts, seemingly always on the puck, though he was unable to showcase that great speed we have heard about. He was also very responsible on the back check. Nieves (2nd round, 2012) stood out as the best playmaker on the ice, creating a string of scoring chances with his excellent vision and precise passing. Buchnevich (3rd round, 2013) showed a quick release and has the look of a sniper, always putting himself in position to shoot and to try and score. He rang one of his shots off the post from just inside the right circle at one point.
And keep an eye on Sergey Tolchinsky, a Russian unsigned camp invitee with an outstanding offensive skill set. He may look like he's 14 years old, but this undrafted 18 year old can hang with the much bigger boys by the looks of it today. Tolchinsky scored 26 goals playing for Sault Ste. Marie in the OHL last year, and many scouting reports had stated that if he was only a couple inches taller than his listed 5-foot-7 he would have been selected within the top three rounds of this year's draft .
Last year Kyle Jean impressed enough as a development camp invitee to earn a pro contract. Tolchinsky is among several players hoping for the same positive fate this summer.
Finally goaltender Mackenzie Skapski (6th round, 2013) surrendered just one goal in 20 minutes worth of action. He looked solid tracking the puck, though might need to work on his rebound control. Skapski spent several minutes after the scrimmage chatting with the Rangers goaltending coach Benoit Allaire.
We will have complete coverage of wednesday's prospects scrimmage right here on BlueshirtsUnited.com.
Jim Cerny-July 2, 2013