3 Stars of the Week: European Rangers Prospects Edition
New York Rangers Hockey is back! I say again, NEW YORK RANGERS HOCKEY IS BACK! Ok, ok, I know it is just pre-season but can anyone honestly say they weren’t pumped at seeing Neil Pionk spin his way to pre-season glory against the Islanders? And oh by the way, Lias Andersson assisted on that goal and made his presence known throughout the night.
With the pre-season underway it is time for the next installment in our 3 Stars of the Week, European Edition.
Vladimir Tkachyov is not officially a Rangers Prospect. However, he was supposed to come to the Rangers prospect development camp earlier this summer and there was talk of him receiving an invite to Rangers camp prior to signing a one year deal with Admiral. In 9 games so far this season, Tkachyov has put up 8 points (2G, 6A) and has shown the dynamic ability that has made him an attractive target the past few years. Here’s a clip from last week.
— КХЛ (@khl) September 15, 2017
Filip Chytil is doing everything he can possibly do to force Alain Vigneault to make a hard decision. On Wednesday night Chytil showed everyone why he was chosen in the first round of this year’s entry draft. Chytil was electric, creating offense and scoring opportunities every time he stepped on the ice. Playing with Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello, Chytil showed that he can play with the big boys. In OT Chytil took a cross ice pass and buried it in the back of the net for a beautiful game winner against the Devils.
Chytil, again will suit up tonight (Friday) and will be the center of attention as his audition continues.
Lias Andersson participated in the Traverse City Prospect Tournament and while he only had one assist in the tournament, he showed improvement each game. Andersson was, and still is, getting used to the smaller ice surface in North America. AV said that Andersson (along with Filip Chytil) will be a serious contender for a roster spot on opening night. Andersson’s progression continued Monday Night as the Rangers took on the Islanders in a pre-season match. Andersson was noticeable all night, playing physical, getting opportunities and playing the great all-around game that he is known for. He was not afraid to hit, go into the corners, or battle for the puck. He showed great poise and skill in all situations. The night was capped off when Andersson assisted on Neil Pionk’s game winning goal in overtime.
While not the most electrifying assist, it was well deserves as Andersson played well all night. Andersson played again on Wednesday. However, he was in a 4th line role, seeing only 12:14 of ice time. Andersson will continue to be one of the main attractions in the pre-season.
Patrik Virta, the Rangers 7th round selection this year, was not a member of the Rangers Traverse City Roster. However, Virta was already playing with his club, TPS, in Finland. In five games so far, Virta has accumulated 3 points (0G, 3A) along with a plus 3 rating. While Virta is not a blue chip prospect like Filip Chytil or Lias Andersson, Virta is a player that could soon step into a role in North America. If Virta can continue to improve in Finland he could be in North America as soon as next season with the chance to make the Rangers as a depth forward. In the meantime here’s a clip of Virta from last season. Virta is number 37.
Was it going to be anyone else? At this rate, I may have to change the eligibility for the 3 Stars to exclude Igor Shestyorkin or we will not see any other players in the number one slot.
Igor Shestyorkin continues to dominate the competition in the KHL. Shestyorkin has not lost in the 8 games he has started so far for SKA St. Petersburg. Since the first edition of the 3 stars of the week Shestyorkin has gone 5-0-0. He continues to be dominant as he has only given up nine total goals on the season and sports a 1.41 GAA and a .944 Save Percentage. The only thing that can be said against him is that he has only faced an average of 22 shots a game and plays on a very talented team.
— TheBrothersBlueshirt (@BlueshirtBros94) September 17, 2017
While Goalies are notoriously hard to predict and project, Shestyorkin is showing incredible promise. If he can continue his ascension, we will all be cheering for Czar Igor in a few years after the King has retired.