Just two days after the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Rangers have opened its annual prospect mini-camp. The roster includes most recent draft picks (minus Chris Kreider who is taking summer classes at Boston College), and several other camp invites whose names you don’t know, and probably never will.
Some noteworthy players at the camp are Christian Thomas, Ryan Bourque, Carl Hagelin, Andrew Yogan and 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller.
Tim Erixon, who the Rangers traded for on June 1 from the Calgary Flames for two second-round picks and Roman Horak, is on the ice for the week. The former 2009 first-round pick could not reach an agreement with Calgary, and would have been sent back into the draft had the Rangers not acquired and signed the young Swede, whose father, Jan, played for the Rangers in the 1980s and early 90s.
“I’m happy the way things turned out, and of course it feels surreal that I get traded to the Rangers, with my dad (Jan) being there and everything,” said Erixon. “I didn’t want to go back into the draft. Like I’ve been saying, there’s a lot that played into the discussions with Calgary, and it wasn’t the right fit. That’s just the way it is.”
The consensus is Erixon is NHL ready, and should compete for the two available spots on the roster with the departures of Bryan McCabe, and possibly Matt Gilroy and Steve Eminger.
Erixon said he will return to Sweden after this week to train for the remainder of the season.
Several other reports are praising the speed and improved skating ability of 2010 first-round pick Dylan McIlrath. He finished last season with five goals and 18 assists in 62 games for Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League.
At just 19-years-old, he’s still a long-shot at making the team, but he’s staying optimistic, which is all you can ask for from such a young player.
“I’ll try my hardest at camp, obviously I want to earn a spot on the team,” said McIlrath. “But I know in juniors, I’ll be a go-to guy and I’ll play against all the top guys.”
The news is not positive for 2011 fifth-round pick Samuel Noreau. The six-foot-five defenseman reportedly could barely skate.
The first day of camp was conditioning drills, and tomorrow begins the actual hockey activity. Will update tomorrow.