Although much of the focus of the amateur scouting segment of last week's organizational meetings in Palm Springs centered around top players who will be available in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Rangers Vice President of Player Development Tom Renney
took some time to discuss the progress of some of the team's draft selections from recent years.
"We are cautiously optimistic with the growth of this group," said Renney, who oversees the Rangers draft table every summer.
(right) has had a very good year in Russia playing for Kazan in the Russian Elite League, and will be a welcomed addition to the organization on a full time basis next fall. His progress is on schedule.
"Although Garth Murray
had some difficulty in this his first year of professional hockey, it can most certainly be attributed to the bi-lateral stomach muscle tear he suffered early in the season. He recently underwent successful corrective surgery, and we look forward to seeing the 'player we drafted,' next fall.
"A very pleasant surprise has been the play of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
in Sweden. He played for both his club team in Sweden as well the Swedish National Team in a number of events. It has been noted that he is easily the top young goaltender in Sweden. He has a bright future ahead of him in North America.
"These three players are symbolic of what we believe Rangers fans can look forward to in the future. Others like defensemen Bryce Lampman
, Nate Guenin
and Jake Taylor
, as well as forwards Peter Prucha
, Mike Walsh
, Lee Falardeau
and Marcus Jonasen
are works in progress ... all of whom we are very excited about.
"The key here is patience, which can be a lost commodity in the National Hockey League. But it will pay off as Glen Sather's approach is clearly one that sees us hanging on to our prospects as much as we possibly can."RELATED LINKS:2003 Rangers Prospect Scoring