3 things to watch for at the Traverse City Tournament
Over the past few offseasons, the Rangers have drafted and accumulated a tremendous amount of young talent that could take Broadway by storm in 2019-2020. Although training camp doesn’t begin until September 12th, the Traverse City Prospect Tournament begins on September 6th and will give Rangers fans and management another look at some of the Rangers highly-touted prospects and some lesser-known prospects that are looking to make their mark when the tourney kicks off this Friday.
Here’s a few things to keep an eye out for:
Highly-Skilled Forward Prospects
While a majority of the eyes will be on #2 overall draft pick Kaapo Kakko, it will be intriguing to see how the #9 overall pick from the 2018 NHL draft, Vitali Kravtsov, plays at the Traverse City Tournament this fall. While Kakko may garner the majority of the attention of the fans due to the hype and energy that surrounds a #2 overall draft pick, Kravtsov has the ability to turn heads and should be an exciting prospect for the Rangers in Traverse City and hopefully in New York when the puck drops on the 2019-2020 NHL season.
In addition to Kravtsov, Rangers fans should pay attention to Karl Henriksson, the Rangers 2nd round pick from the 2019 NHL Draft. Henriksson has the potential to become an important center for the Rangers going forward due to his strong 200-foot game and hopefully he can continue to impress scouts and management in Traverse City this weekend.
While offseason acquisition Adam Fox may draw the majority of the attention at the Tournament, similar to Kakko with the forward group, it’s important to remember that there are other players attending the Traverse City Tournament that are focused on a making a positive impact on the organization.
All eyes will be on Fox, especially in power-play situations where he is known to excel due to his ability to walk the line and puck-moving abilities in the offensive zone. Ranger fans should also keep an eye on Yegor Rykov, acquired in the Michael Grabner trade in 2017-2018 and a player that has an outside shot to crack the Rangers roster in 2019-2020. If Rykov wants to make the Blueshirts this season, he will certainly have to impress at Traverse City.
Another player to watch is the Rangers 2nd round draft pick from the 2019 NHL Draft: Matthew Robertson. Robertson is a lefty-shooting defenseman that has spent the past few seasons developing and improving in the WHL before being drafted by the Rangers this summer. One of Robertson’s biggest attributes is his ability to protect the puck as well as his high hockey IQ that allows him to move the puck out of his own end with aim and purpose.
Tarmo Reunanen and Hunter Skinner will be interesting prospects to watch as well. These two are definitely still prospects and will need to continue with their development, but it’s exciting to see the Rangers prospect pipeline flooded with talent at all positions.
One of the most interesting topics around Rangerstown remains the successor to Swedish netminder and Rangers legend Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers believe they have their successor to “The King” in Russian netminder Igor Shestyorkin, who posted an astounding 1.11 GAA and a .953 SVS% in 28 games playing for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL last season. Although Shestyorkin may begin the season in the AHL due to the presence of Henrik Lundqvist and fellow Russian Alexander Georgiev on the Rangers roster, it should only be a matter of time before the highly-touted Russian prospect makes the jump to NHL hockey.
Adam Huska will be another interesting goaltender to watch at Traverse City, as he will undoubtedly see playing time with the Hartford Wolfpack in 2019-2020.
All in all, there’s a lot of excitement about the Traverse City Tournament from Rangers fans and the New York Rangers organization as a whole, as there should be. Some of the players featured in this tournament will be on the roster in 2019-2020 and represent the future of the team and a new era of hockey in the Big Apple.