By Matt Calamia
Each week, BlueshirtsUnited.com will update Rangers fans on what the organization's prospects have done statistically over the past seven days for their respective teams in the AHL, ECHL, NCAA, CHL and European leagues. For a full listing of all prospect statistics, click here.
The Rangers’ three NCAA prospects all finished the regular season and began their conference championships strongly, starting with 2012 first-round pick Brady Skjei.
The Minnesota defenseman registered three goals in his final two games, including two in the regular season finale against the University of Michigan. The 6-foot-3, 206-pound sophomore finished the season with six goals and five assists in 35 games with the Golden Gophers. Although Minnesota lost their final game against Michigan, the Gophers defeated the Wolverines a day prior, 3-2 in overtime, to capture the inaugural Big Ten title. Skjei scored the game’s first goal of the game.
Skjei eclipsed his totals from last season in all three offensive categories.
The Golden Gophers enter the Big Ten tournament as the No. 1 seed, and will face the winner of Ohio State and Michigan State this Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota.
Fellow 2012 draftee Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves of the University of Michigan had one assist over the final two games against Minnesota. The sophomore finished the season with three goals and 18 assists.
Michigan will host Penn State on Thursday afternoon in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Lastly, Notre Dame forward Steven Fogarty notched three assists in three games, including one in the series-clincher over Boston College in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. The 2011 third-round pick has three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 31 games this year for the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame will face UMass-Lowell on Friday in the Hockey East Semi-finals.
The Hartford Wolf Pack went 1-2 this week, with the only victory coming in a shootout over the Adirondack Phantoms. Forward Jesper Fast had one goal in the three games, giving him 27 points in 39 games this season, his first as a pro in North America. J.T. Miller continued to shine in Hartford, picking up an assist to give him 35 points in just 32 games with the Wolf Pack.
Forward Josh Nicholls was re-assigned to Hartford this week from Greenville of the ECHL.
Rangers 2013 third-round pick Adam Tambellini continued to thrive in the Western Hockey League, posting a goal and four assists for the Calgary Hitmen. The 19-year-old finished the regular season with 17 goals and 22 assists for 36 points in just 31 games after leaving the University of North Dakota.
Calgary will face fellow Rangers 2013 draftee Mackenzie Skapski and the Kootenay Ice in the first round of the WHL playoffs.
Rangers 2013 fourth-round pick Ryan Graves registered an assist in two games for Val- d’Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The defenseman finished the season with five goals, 17 assists and was a plus-20 in 65 games split between Charlottetown and Val-d’Or.
Val-d’Or will take on Acadie-Bathurst in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs beginning Friday.
Graves also signed an entry-level contract with the Rangers on Monday.
Defenseman Troy Donnay had two assists in two games this week for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-7, 185-pound blueliner registered two goals, 17 assists and was a plus-40 with 92 penalty minutes this season for Erie.
Erie takes on Saginaw in the first round of the OHL playoffs beginning Friday.