TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- New York Rangers prospect Shane McColgan is out to prove his critics wrong.
McColgan had a memorable 2009-10 campaign with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, notching 25 goals and 69 points in 71 games on the way to finishing runner-up to Red Deer's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (24 goals, 65 points, 67 games) as WHL Rookie of the Year. It was then that scouts started to take notice of the scrappy 5-foot-8, 165-pound wing.
But McColgan got off to a rough start to the 2010-11 campaign, missing three games to have his tonsils removed and struggled with consistency throughout the course of the season. Still, he did produce 25 goals and 69 points in 71 games. It wasn't until the WHL playoffs, when he produced 8 goals and 19 points in 10 games, that he really returned to form.
"I had a rough start to the season with my surgery and went through a lot of adversity … on top of that, we started the season 4-10 so that didn't help," McColgan told NHL.com. "It was a hard time for everyone. But the main thing is I really stepped it up in playoffs when it counted, but I have to be more consistent throughout the regular season and that's what I'll focus on this year."
It begins this week at the Traverse City prospects tournament where McColgan, New York's fifth-round choice last June, and 21 other Ranger hopefuls are strutting their stuff with the hope of making a good impression.
"I'm just going to go out and show them my stuff and show them why they drafted me," McColgan said. "Obviously I dropped a little bit in the draft, but I couldn't ask for a better situation right now."
McColgan, who opened the tournament on a line with center Matt Rust and Carl Hagelin, will rejoin his teammates in Kelowna for the 2011-12 campaign. Kelowna coach Ryan Huska knew the Rangers were very interested in McColgan's services.
"They were very high on Shane, but the fact they lost a pick in the second round maybe played a part in where he was drafted," Huska told NHL.com. "Shane is a guy who, as he continues to grow and develop and become a more mature young man, is going to be a very dynamic player. I don't think he's going to be about the offense at the end of the day. I think he's got the ability to play a smart, all-around game and that's something he'll continue to develop. We'll be looking to him to be more of a guy who will be a leader in making sure our team is playing the right way because he's not 16- or 17-years-old anymore. He's 18 and becoming one of our older players and I'm looking forward to him stepping into one of those roles."