Monday, June 27, 2011

Wrap Up of Development Camp Day One: McIlrath Skating Improvement Stands Out Most

The New York Rangers opened development camp today and it gives the coaching staff to get their first in person look at the recent draftees as well as see how far returning prospects have come over the past year.  Just as coach John Tortorella does to start training camp, development camp opens with a day of nothing but conditioning. 

Having the players do only conditioning will not show much in terms of their overall skills, but it can show how seriously they are taking their offseason work to see who is truly prepared physically.  Before we get into what came out on day one, earlier I did a primer on the three players at development camp that have the best chance to make the roster and what they have to show to do so.

After hanging out with Kevin DeLury of The New York Rangers Blog during the draft party, and since today was mostly just opening day stories instead of action, we are going round-up some of the observations and stories from today in a sort of NYRangersBlog style:

Dylan McIlrath
Steve Zipay notices that 2010 first round pick Dylan McIlrath looks considerably faster than he did last season.

Andrew Gross notices similar things and has quotes from McIlrath at Ranger Rants

My take: Improvement and hunger are things you want in your prospects and having McIlrath make strides with his skating from last year gives hope for even bigger things from him in the future.  Do not get ahead of yourselves in thinking it means he is making the team as this is just skating at the Rangers are pretty stacked on defense this season.  Do go ahead and be excited for what this means in terms of McIlrath's dedication to improving his game.

Carl Hagelin:
Carl Hagelin tells the New York Rangers official twitter that he didn’t think the conditioning tests were too bad. 

Jesse Spector talks about the transition that Hagelin is looking to make and how he is the type of player the coaching staff loves at Blueshirts Blog

My take: Hearing Hagelin talk about how the conditioning was not too bad  must make coach John Tortorella smile and shows how seriously Hagelin is taking his chance to make an impression before camp even begins.  I agree with Spector that Hagelin is the prototypical player for the Rangers coaching staff as I wrote earlier this afternoon.

Tim Erixon:
Both Jesse Spector and Andrew Gross have stories about the player seen as the most likely of all participants in development camp to make the NHL roster this fall.

In a light moment this afternoon, while Barbara Underhill was working with the prospects on their skating, Erixon nailed her with a snow shower had the other prospects laughing and tapping their sticks over.

My take: Erixon comes into this camp and training camp this fall with a lot of expectations on him between the trade to get him and the hype about his NHL readiness that has been coming out all month.  The real time to learn about Erixon will come as the week progresses and the actual scrimmages get going and you see how he stacks up against the competition.  He will be expected to dominate it by some, but this is just another step in his growth as a player.

Other Prospects:
Jesse Spector says that the Rangers 2011 fifth round selections are slightly different in the speed category.  Shane McCoglan is very fast, while Samuel Noreau is not.  Being 5-foot-8 McCoglan has to be extremely quick to survive against bigger players, while the massive Noreau can just do what he does best and knock them to the ground.