Saturday, November 20, 2010

Prospect Roundup:Scoring Race Contestants And Huge Friday Night (Thomas, Horak, Bourque, etc)

So far this season the New York Rangers prospects have been putting on a tremendous effort, particularly those in the CHL as there has been a scoring race going on between Roman Horak and Christian Thomas since the very beginning, then Ethan Werek climbed into it as his game rose and theirs slipped slightly and now red-hot Ryan Bourque is right in the mix for the lead.  The other guy who is in the running right now is not Rangers property in Brandon Manning the free agent defenseman who is destroying the WHL and Glen Sather must sign.  Other than Werek all of these guys in the race had huge nights on Friday night and even some Hartford guys got in on the act.

The obvious first star of the night was Christian Thomas (2010 2nd rounder) of the Oshawa Generals (OHL) who exploded from a mini slump, or at least for him since in seven straight games he had scored 0 or 1 point still five points, but Friday he put up six in the game scoring a hat-trick and assisting on three others.  I cannot remember a prospect ever having a six point night, though I have not been closely following them for all that long.  Just as impressive as the box-score reads with the six-point night was that he scored in all areas of the game as he had a shorthanded goal in the first, two power play goals and one power play goal and two even strength assists in the 10-3 drubbing.  The performance gives Thomas 15 G 14 A in 19 games this year.

Roman Horak (2009 5th rounder) of the Chilliwack Bruins (WHL) who has been near the top in prospect scoring last night decided he needed to get going and while he would not put up a Thomas like performance a power-play goal and an assist is never a bad night.  With it though he would lose his scoring lead for the season he is sitting at a tremendous 13G 15A in 20 games this season

Ryan Bourque (2009 3rd rounder) of the Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) was for many including myself a forgotten prospect in the huge early season success mainly due to his early injury but he has been a man on a mission since his return and the hottest of the prospects.  That would continue on Friday night as Bourque would have another 1G 2A night after doing the same the night before and now has 7 goals, 7 assists in his last 9 games.  For the season he is up to 11G 14A in 17 games, which currently puts him 3rd among official prospects this season.

Ethan Werek (2009 2nd rounder) of the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) was the only one of these four to be held scoreless on Friday, only the third time this season that has happened and we expect he will take it out on Sarnia tonight.  For the season Werek has another ho-hum 12G 12A balanced attack in his 19 games so far this season currently putting him 4th in the scoring ranks.

Brandon Manning (UFA) of the Chilliwack Bruins (WHL) is not officially a Rangers prospect and as was pointed out to me by a person I respect I should not be getting excited about him until he signs, but frankly I cannot help it.  When you see a player playing as well as Manning is this season and your team has the potential to sign him you have to get excited even if it means you are disappointed if it falls through.  On Friday night Manning would have 1 assist, on the Horak goal, and while that might make it seem like a quiet night for him, but with his team sluggish in the second period down 2-1 he dropped the gloves and pummeled Connor Rankin.  The team would get the equalizer late in the 2nd, Horak would score to open the 3rd, they would stretch it to 4-2 before holding on 4-3.  I am not the biggest proponent of fighting just for fighting especially when it means losing your best player for five minutes, but Manning as the captain of that teams know when his team needs a spark and he finds a way to give it to them.  On the season Manning now has scored in 17 of 19 games he has played this season with 10G 16A in those 19.  Keep in mind those numbers along with his 57 penalty minutes comes as a defenseman.  If this young man does sign with the Rangers he easily becomes the Rangers best defensive prospect as he is the most complete of all of them and would climb the rankings to maybe be the best prospect overall they have right now.