This is the time of year when young prospects, either Juniors or college players, start finishing their seasons and joining AHL clubs on tryouts. Here is a quick update on where some of the Rangers’ prospects’ teams and seasons stand:
Peter Ceresnak (defenseman, Peterborough, OHL) – a teammate of Andrew Yogan (see below), Ceresnak is about to see his OHL season end Sunday, as the Petes have been eliminated from postseason contention. Ceresnak, a Slovak, was a sixth-round pick in this past summer’s draft by the Rangers and has six goals and 16 points in 60 games in his first North American season. He is also Even in plus/minus for a team that is eight games below .500 and -64 in goal differential.
Chris Kreider (forward, Boston College)- the Eagles, the #1 seed in the Hockey East tournament after winning the league’s regular-season
championship, are up against #7 seed Providence College Friday at the TD Garden in the tourney semi-finals. Even if they happen to be upset by the Friars, I would figure that their regular-season title would be good enough to guarantee them an NCAA berth. If the Whale are still playing by the time B.C. is done, Kreider, selected 19th overall by the Rangers in 2009, would have to forego his final year of eligibility, and most likely would have to agree on a contract with the Rangers, as I doubt he would sign a tryout agreement if he did not have an NHL deal set for next year.
Shane McColgan (forward, Kelowna, WHL) – McColgan, a fifth-round Ranger pick last summer, has 18 goals and 64 points this year for a Rockets team that is one game below .500 but has clinched a WHL playoff spot.
Dylan McIlrath (defenseman, Moose Jaw, WHL) – the Warriors are going to win their division, so McIlrath, the Rangers’ first-rounder (10th overall) in 2010, might be some time before he would be eligible to come to the Whale. He played two late-season games in a Whale uniform last spring.
J.T. Miller (forward, Plymouth, OHL) - Miller’s Whalers have won ten games in a row and are leading the entire Ontario League with 97 points, so it doesn’t appear that the Rangers’ first-round pick from this past June will be available for a while.
Samuel Noreau (defenseman, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL) - The QMJHL regular season concludes this weekend, and the Drakkar, although they are five games below .500, are headed to the playoffs. Noreau, a 6-5, 215-pounder who was picked in the fifth round last summer, has four goals, 16 points, 88 PIM and a +2 in 56 games this year.
Michael St. Croix (forward, Edmonton, WHL) – St. Croix has had a great year, with 43 goals and 101 points in 70 games in his third year with the Oil Kings, but like Miller, his team leads its league and figures to be primed for a long playoff run.
Scott Stajcer (goaltender, Owen Sound, OHL) – Stajcer’s Attack squad will be a playoff team again this year, but are not as powerful as last year’s team that went all the way to the Memorial Cup. Right now, Owen Sound is the fifth seed in the OHL’s Western Conference.
Christian Thomas (forward, Oshawa, OHL) – Thomas, a 54-goal-scorer for the Generals last year and a second-round pick by the Rangers in 2010, has 33 in 53 games this season. The Generals will make the OHL playoffs, which begin next Thursday, but they are seeded seventh in their conference, so barring upsets, the Whale might have a decent chance of seeing Thomas before too long.
Andrew Yogan (forward, Peterborough, OHL) - Yogan, who had two goals and an assist in two games with the Whale at the end of his Junior season last year, is the Petes’ leading point and goal-scorer, with 37-36-73 in 64 games. As stated in relation to Peter Ceresnak, Peterborough has been eliminated from playoff contention and their season ends Sunday, so Yogan is a strong candidate to find himself back in Hartford again soon.