With the first two weeks of the Rangers Prospect Development Camp in Calgary, Alberta complete, Blueshirt Vice President of Player Development and Assistant Coach Tom Renney checked in to give us his thoughts on how the camp is going and who has looked impressive thus far.
The first two weeks of our Prospect Development Camp has gone very well. The players have been hard at it now for 12 of 14 days, and have shown significant improvement in skating and puck skills, as well as overall tactical awareness. The dry-land component of the camp has been extremely challenging, as players go from 9:00 a.m. to noon daily. The players have also experienced classroom sessions on the negative effects of performance enhancers, and supplements. Relaxation, goal setting, and personal maintenance strategies have also been discussed, along with players learning more about themselves and their personalities and the most appropriate way to deal with the pursuit of an NHL career.
Thirty players attended the first two weeks, eight of them from Europe including goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
from Sweden, who had an exceptional two weeks. Other players who had especially noteworthy performances were defenseman Fedor Tjutin, who looks poised to make a serious contribution to the Rangers organization, and fellow defensemen Bryce Lampman, Craig Weller and Jeff State, who all look more poised and experienced after their first professional seasons. Youngsters Ivan Baranka
, and (free agent) Scott Lynch have also had impressive camps to date and appear to be good ‘up-and-coming’ young defensemen.
The forward group has not been without its impressive performers. Czech Republic forward Petr Prucha displayed quickness, skill and courage, and although he was only able to train for one week, he made a lasting impression before he left to join his team in Pardubice in the Czech Republic Extraleague. Pontus Petterstrom and Kim Hirschovits also had a strong two weeks, and were already talking about coming back next year to continue their pursuit of jobs with the Rangers. Ryan Cuthbert and Lucas Lawson, two off- season signings, showed big-time effort and a tenacity that we hope will be the trademark of Rangers teams in the future. 2003 draft pick Nigel Dawes will return to the camp for weeks three and four, after attending the Canadian National Junior Team Evaluation Camp last week. He will join 2003 first round pick Hugh Jessiman. Dylan Reese, who by all accounts had a terrific U.S. National Junior Team camp in Lake Placid, will also attend the last two weeks of our camp here in Calgary.
So, all in all, the camp continues to be a huge success. In our second year, we feel we have put more skill, talent, and effort on the ice than we did just a year ago. Only time will tell if our development efforts will pay off, but, if the gains made by those attending over the past two years mean anything ... we are well on our way!