The New York Rangers prospects opened their Traverse City tournament campaign with an impressive 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues prospects. My takeaways from the game:
Blake Parlett: standout player of the game as he was the most consistent Ranger throughout the game. Showing off a very smooth skating stride and good poise on the puck, Parlett distributed well and ran the power play as a natural quarterback. The Rangers saw enough in him last year that he was able to work himself from the ECHL to a two-year contract.
Tim Erixon: For the hype that Erixon got this summer after being acquired, for one game he lived up to the expectations. Tremendous poise with the puck at all times, excellent awareness running the point on the power play whether he was looking to create for others or fire his own shot and an excellent shot that will cause problems for goaltenders. Erixon has both a quick release as a low hard slapper from the point and that combination is something for New York Rangers fans to be excited about. Erixon also showed excellent coverage in his own end.
Dylan McIlrath: Continues to show his level of improvement from last season. The footwork that McIlrath has for someone of his size is very impressive and his skating continues to improve. The biggest takeaway from the game for him was how improved his shot is and that it will become a very good weapon for him in the future. There were some issues with his gap control defensively and he did take two penalties in the game, but his future as an intimidating force that can add a threatening shot is on track.
Carl Hagelin: Not a flashy player, but when he is on the ice the puck seems to find him and good things result. He works well down low and behind the net, drives the net hard and uses speed and quickness to create chances for himself as well as others. The goal that he scored was a beautiful snipe from the top of the faceoff circle that the goaltender had no chance on following a give-and-go with Tim Erixon.
Christian Thomas: Speed and elusiveness was very impressive and his playmaking ability is something that is not discussed enough. Thomas pressed a little early on when he had his own chances, but he made more impact as he got into the flow of the game.
Ryan Bourque: Excellent game tonight showing the all-around talent he has that makes him an NHL prospect. Bourque is often overlooked when discussing the prospects partially because of how willing he is to take the less visible role to help the team, but his speed and skill were on display.