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Posts By Jess Rubenstein

Zac Jones Two Helpers Helps Massachusetts Win

Zac Jones (Massachusetts Athletics)

Saturday night saw eight New York Ranger prospects in action but only three saw the scoresheet. You will also notice some tied college games in the report and that is because there is no shootouts in non-conference college games. There is the typical five minute overtime but if the game is tied after overtime then that is how it ends.

Zac Jones (2019 third) is fast becoming a prospect to watch with his play for the fourth-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen.Following his three-point performance on Friday, Jones added two more assists as the Minutemen shutout Union College 5-0 for the weekend sweep.

What is most impressive about Jones is his shot as it is so accurate that his teammates are able to easily deflect it into the net. Here is Massachusetts’ second goal of the night as Jones fires the puck on net and teammate Cal Kiefiuk deflected it in.

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Now the second assist that one came from Jones making the play and feeding teammate Bobby Trivigno for the one-timer.

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The two assists make Jones Massachusetts’ leading scorer with a 2-5-7 mark after four games. Think if the young defenseman can keep this scoring pace up then he will earn himself an invite to try out for Team USA’s 2020 World Junior team this December.

Hunter Skinner (London Knights)

Defenseman Hunter Skinner (2019 fourth) had two assists as his London Knights defeated the Kingston Frontenacs 6-3. Skinner earned his assists on London’s first (secondary) and fifth (primary) goals as he improved to 2-7-9 in nine games this season.

Goalies Tyler Wall (2016 sixth) continued his solid start to his season stopping all 25 shots that he faced but he had to settle for a 0-0 overtime tie. His UMass-Lowell River Hawks were hosting the Colgate Raiders in the second game of their two-game series.

For Wall, the tie improved his record to 3-1-1 with a 1.18 goals against (second in the NCAA) and a 0.953 save percentage. His three wins are also third-best in the NCAA.

Eric Ciccolini (Michigan Wolverines)

Forward Eric Ciccolini (2019 seventh) earned a secondary assist as his Michigan Wolverines defeated Lake Superior State 4-3 and earn a two-game sweep of their series. After being the extra forward last night, Ciccolini was dressed as the fourth-line left wing as he has been moved all over the lineup.

The young forward earned his third point of the season on the power play as Michigan used a three-goal first period to jump out over Lake Superior State and then held on for the win.

K’Andre Miller (2018 first) was scoreless as his Wisconsin Badgers defeated second-ranked Minnesota-Duluth 3-1. The win gave the Badgers a two-game sweep over the defending NCAA champions.

Riley Hughes (2018 seventh) was scoreless on two shots as his 14th-ranked Northeastern Huskies played to a 2-2 overtime tie with the Holy Cross Crusaders.

Simon Kjellberg (2018 sixth) was scoreless for the first time this season as his Rensselaer Engineers whipped the Canisius Golden Griffins 7-2. Kjellberg took two shots but he is second on the team in scoring with a 2-2-4 mark.

Tyler Nanne (2014 5th) and his Minnesota Golden Gophers skated to a 4-2 win over the Niagara Purple Eagles. Nanne was scoreless and did not record anything statistically.

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Jones Three Point Night Keys Minuteman Win

Zac Jones (Massachusetts Athletics)

Friday night was a busy night with eight New York Ranger prospects seeing action and a pretty good night from the defensive prospects. Zac Jones (2018 third) led the way with a three-point evening to lead his fourth-ranked University of Massachusetts Minutemen to their second win of the season.

It was Jones’s 19th birthday and he was in the middle of all the action for the Minutemen as they defeat Union College 6-1. The freshman defenseman was 1-2-3 setting up what turned out to be the game-winning goal. With the Minutemen up 1-0 in the second, Jones set up Bobby Trivigno for a power-play goal at 10:33 of the second. You will like this one as Jones spots Trivigno on the right side for a one-timer.

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That proved to be the game-winning goal for the Minutemen. With seconds remaining in the second period, Jones picked up his second point when Reed Lebster deflected a Jones shot for the point for Massachusetts’s third goal of the game. The even-strength goal came at 19:50 and put the Minutemen up 3-1.

In the third with Massachusetts up 4-1, Jones capped off his birthday with his second goal of the season and third point of the night. Teammate Anthony Del Gazio won a faceoff back to the point and Jones fired a snapshot that beat Union’s goalie for a 5-1 lead at the 38-second mark of the third period.

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The 1-2-3 night came on four shots and with a +2 as Jones improves to 2-3-5 after three games. The same two teams play Saturday afternoon.

Eric Ciccolini (Michigan Wolverines)

Forward Eric Ciccolini (2019 seventh) was named the game’s third star after his first two NCAA points as his Michigan Wolverines defeated Lake Superior State 4-0. Ciccolini was listed as an extra forward when the game started but was playing a regular shift by game’s end.

Ciccolini earned two secondary assists on Michigans’ first two goals as the 6′ 170 lb. forward got his first point on a power-play goal. Ciccolini’s first assist was more due to his keeping the puck in the offensive end as he swept at the puck and it wound up on the goal scorer’s stick for a 1-0 lead.

The second assist was Ciccolini winning a puck battle below the goal line which led to the puck getting out to the point where Michigan scored for a 2-0 lead. Michigan goes on to win 4-0 for their first win of the season.

The same two teams will play on Saturday evening.

Simon Kjellberg (RPI)

Defenseman Simon Kjellberg (2018 sixth) had a goal and assist in a losing effort as his Rensselaer Engineers dropped a 5-2 decision to the UConn Huskies. The Huskies would score the game’s first four goals before Kjellberg would get his team on the scoreboard in the third period. Kjellberg would add an assist on the Engineer’s second goal.

In the clip, Kjellberg’s goal starts at 1:20, a nice shoot from the middle of the blueline that found it’s way into the UConn goal.

Kjellberg is Rensselaer’s leading scorer after three games with a 2-2-4 mark. His team will host Canisius on Saturday evening.

Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings)

Matthew Robertson (2019 second) had a goal to help his Edmonton Oil Kings earn a 5-1 win over the Red Deer Rebels. Robertson recorded a power-play goal in the second period for Edmonton’s fifth goal of the game and his third goal of the season.

The young defenseman has a four-game scoring streak going 3-3-6 which is also his total points on the season.

Tyler Nanne (2015 fifth) was scoreless as his Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated the Niagara Purple Eagles 3-2 in overtime.

K’Andre Miller (2018 first) was scoreless as his Wisconsin Badgers knocked off second-ranked Minnesota-Duluth 6-2. Miller took two shots and was a +2 on the night. Wisconsin will look to sweep Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday evening, a game you can catch on Fox Sports Wisconsin.

Hunter Skinner (2019 fourth) was scoreless as his London Knights dropped a 4-2 decision to the Windsor Spitfires. The defenseman is 2-5-7 after eight games second among Ranger prospect scorers.

Nico Gross (2018 fourth) and his Oshawa Generals saw their nine-game winning streak ended by the Sarnia Sting 9-5. The Generals were due for a bad game after playing so well to open the season. Gross is the leading scorer among the Ranger prospects with a 5-4-9 mark after 10 games.

Goalie Tyler Wall (2016 sixth) did not play as his UMass-Lowell River Hawks lost in overtime to Colgate 4-3. Wall is expected to get the start on Saturday evening when the same two teams meet again.

K’Andre Miller’s Two Goals Power Wisconsin Blowout Win

K’Andre Miller (Wisconsin Badgers)

Eight New York Ranger prospects saw action on Saturday night with some plenty of positive efforts from the prospects. K’Andre Miller (2018 first) led the way with a two-goal evening as his 15th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers earned their first win of the season with a 11-5 win over the Merrimack Warriors

Miller would put the Badgers on the scoreboard at 4:51 of the first when he converted a pass from teammate Alex Turcotte for a power-play goal and a 1-0 lead. It was a nice goal as Miller was all alone on the right side of the Merrimack goal and one-timed a shot in for the lead.

The Badgers used defenseman Miller as a forward on the power play at times. A move that made a lot of sense as the 6’4 Miller towered over most everyone on the ice both friend and foe.

In the third period with Wisconsin up 9-3, Miller would earn his second goal while on the penalty kill. It was the first shorthanded goal of Miller’s NCAA career.

With the win, Wisconsin evened it’s record at 1-1. The Badgers head home for a weekend series against defending national champions the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.

Riley Hughes (Northeastern)

Riley Hughes (2018 seventh) scored his first NCAA goal to help his Northeastern Huskies earn a 2-1 road win over Union College. In just his second game with the Huskies, Hughes scored the game-tying goal at 8:54 of the third period on a breakaway.

Hughes was a one-man show on the play as he forced a turnover at the blueline in the defensive zone and took the puck all the way to the goal. Hughes then used a backhand to lift the puck over the Union goalie for the goal. The goal starts at the 25-second mark of the video clip

Simon Kjellberg (RPI)

Defenseman Simon Kjellberg (2018 sixth) earned his first two points at the NCAA level with a goal and an assist to help his Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers earn their first win of the season 5-3 over UConn.

The 6’3 defender from Nashville scored his first NCAA goal on a snapshot from the top of the right faceoff circle. Kjellberg had joined the rush and teammate Nick Bowman spotted him unguarded hitting him with a perfect pass to score an even-strength goal at 3:58 of the second period. The goal gave the Engineers a 2-1 lead as they earned their first win of the season.

Kjellberg would earn a primary assist on the Engineer’s fifth goal when he gave the puck to Chase Zieky. It was a power-play goal putting them up 5-1 as they held on to win 5-3. The win evened the Engineers record at 1-1. Kjellberg’s goal starts at 1:35 of the video clip.

Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings)

Matthew Robertson (2019 second) earned “second star of the game” honors as his Edmonton Oil Kings defeated the Calgary Hitmen 6-4. Robertson has two power-play assists (one primary, one secondary) as the Oil Kings used a four-goal second period to take control of the game.

Robertson earned his first assist when he set up Riley Sawchuk for the Oil Kings’ second goal which at the time tied the game at 6:32 of the second period. 3:06 after that goal, Robertson would earn his second point when he was credited for a secondary assist on the Oil Kings’ third goal at 9:38.

For Robertson, the points improved him to 1-3-4 after six games. All of his points though have come in his last two games.

Tyler Wall (UMass-Lowell)

Goalie Tyler Wall (2016 sixth) saw his winning streak end at three games as his UMass-Lowell River Hawks lost to top-ranked the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 2-1. The loss was the first for both Wall and his team this season.

Wall has nothing to feel bad about as he stopped 36 out of 38 shots, surrendering one even-strength goal and one shorthanded one.ย  Wall stopped nine shots in the first, 14 out of 15 in the second and 13 out of 14 in the third.

On the season Wall is 3-1 with a 1.50 goals against and a 0.942 save percentage.

Defenseman Tyler Nanne (2014 fifth) had an assist as his Minnesota Golden Gophers earned a 4-3 win over Colorado College to earn a split of their weekend series. Nanne is 1-1-2 after two games.

Defenseman Hunter Skinner (2019 fourth) had a secondary assist but his London Knights were doubled up by the Saginaw Spirit 6-3. Skinner’s assist came on London’s first goal which was a power-play goal.

Forward Eric Ciccolini (2019 seventh) was scoreless on two shots as his Michigan Wolverines dropped a 3-1 decision to the 11th- ranked Clarkson Knights.ย  Cicolini went from an extra forward on Friday night to the starting right wing on Saturday.

Wall Leads UMass-Lowell To Big Upset Win

Tyler Wall (UMass-Lowell)

The first major upset of the 2019-2020 NCAA Men’s Hockey season took place when goalie Tyler Wall led his UMass-Lowell River Hawks to a 3-2 win over defending NCAA champions the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. The senior Wall stopped 32 out of 34 shots as the River Hawks built a 3-0 lead and then held off a furious third-period comeback from the Bulldogs.

Wall had a pretty easy first period facing only four shots but made one very tough save to keep the game scoreless. In the second, Wall stopped all 13 shots he faced including two breakaways while his teammates scored three times. It was the third period where Wall played his best despite giving up two goals (one was a power-play) on 17 shots.

It might have been Wall’s biggest win knocking off the team that is holding down the top spot in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll. Wall improves to 3-0 on the season with a 1.33 goals against and a 0.939 save percentage. The same two teams will face each other on Saturday evening.

Zac Jones (Massachusetts Athletics)

2019 third-round pick defenseman Zac Jones had a happy NCAA debut as the freshman from Glen Allen, Va recorded his first NCAA goal and assist to help his fourth-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen win their season opener 5-3 over the Rensselaer Engineers. Jones earned his first NCAA point when teammate Mitchell Chaffee slammed home a rebound of a Jone’s shot.

The goal at 10:48 of the second period put the Minutemen up for good in the game 2-1. Jones would score his own goal 69 seconds later off a blast from the high slot. It was a power-play goal giving the Minutemen a 3-1 lead. Jones overall was 1-1-2 on six shots and a +1. The Jones goal starts at the one minute mark of the clip

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Massachusetts is off until Tuesday when they open up their Hockey East season on the road against Northeastern.

Nico Gross (Oshawa Generals)

Defenseman Nico Gross (2018 fourth) set a new career-high in goals when he earned his fifth goal as his CHL leading Oshawa Generals remained unbeaten with a 5-4 road win over the Sudbury Wolves. This one wasn’t easy at all as the Generals trailed 3-0 into the third period.

Gross’s goal was a power-play goal as he fired a blast from the right face-off circle at 10:30 of the third period for Oshawa’s second goal of the game. Gross is 5-4-9 in nine games after his goal on three shots and a +1.

The Generals are off until next Friday when they will host Sarnia Sting.

Tyler Nanne (Minnesota Golden Gophers)

Tyler Nanne (2014 fifth) score the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ first goal of the season but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Gophers from dropping a 3-2 decision to Colorado College. In the season opener for both teams, Nanne’s goal at 1:53 of the game stood for almost 50 minutes of game action.

The third-generation prospect who is also cousin to Hartford’s Vinni Lettieri has overcome a heart condition to be able to play hockey at the NCAA level. Nanne is 5’11 185  and a righthanded shot.

Nanne is entering his senior season and is serving as one of the co-captains on the team. The same two teams will meet on Saturday evening.

K’Andre Miller (Wisconsin Badgers)

Sophomore K’Andre Miller (2018 first) had a quiet debut to his season going scoreless as his 15th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers dropped their season opener to sixth-ranked Boston College 5-3. Miller who was suspended for a violation of team rules last week was credited with only one shot and was a -2 for the game.

Miller is a 6’4 211 lefthanded defenseman from Hopkins, Mn. Wisconsin will travel to face Merrimack on Saturday.

Defenseman Hunter Skinner (2019 fourth) had a secondary assist as his London Knights rallied from down 3-0 only to fall in overtime 5-4 to the Owen Sound Attack. It was a frustrating loss on home ice for the Knights who saw their three-game winning streak turn into a four-game unbeaten streak.

Skinner is 2-4-6 in six games for the Knights who travel to Saginaw for a Saturday matchup against the Saginaw Spirit.

Right wing Eric Ciccolini (2019 seventh) made his NCAA debut with the Michigan Wolverines as they skated to a 1-1 overtime tie with 11th-ranked Clarkson. Ciccolini who is a freshman was dressed as an extra forward for the Wolverines was scoreless on two shots and a minor for interference.

Defenseman Simon Kjellberg (2018 sixth) was a healthy scratch for his Rensselaer Engineers in their loss to Massachusetts.

Tyler Wall Earns Second Win

Tyler Wall (Rich Gagon)

Three New York Rangers prospects saw action on Sunday with all three getting to see their teams earn wins. It wasn’t a pretty day but wins are wins no matter how they happen.

Tyler Wall got the start for his UMass-Lowell River Hawks as they hosted the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers. The River Hawks were looking for the sweep of the weekend set and got it with a 3-1 win. Wall stopped 12 of 13 shots to earn his second win of the season while earning the game’s third star for his efforts.

13 shots may not seem like a whole lot but Wall held a shutout until 7:20 of the third period surrendering a power-play goal. The senior goalie may not have faced a lot of shots but he was credit with six “close” saves as well as stopping two breakaways.

Wall and the River Hawks hit the road for a two-game set as they will take on the defending NCAA champions and current top-ranked Minnesota-Duluth starting next Friday.

Defenseman Nico Gross (2018 fourth) tied his career-best when he recorded his fourth goal of the season to help his Oshawa Generals edged the Saginaw Spirit 4-3. Gross scored on the power play in the second period to give his team their third goal of the game. Gross snapped a beauty of a shot from the right point at 13:59.

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It is really looking like being one of the first cut from the Rangers training camp has lit a fire under Gross who until this season never really looked for his offense. Now Gross is 4-2-6 after seven games as his Generals are the last unbeaten team in all of the three CHL leagues with a 7-0 record.

Oshawa is off until Thursday as they head to North Bay to face the Battalion.

Defenseman Tyler Nanne and his Minnesota Golden Gophers opened their 2019-2020 season skating to a 2-2 overtime tie with the Mount Royal Cougars. Nanne was scoreless on no shots as the starting right defenseman. Nanne is a senior this season and will be serving as one of the two co-captains for the Gophers.

Minnesota will begin its regular season play on the road against Colorado College next Friday.

Freshman Eric Ciccolini (2019 seventh) was a healthy scratch for his Michigan Wolverines as they played Windsor in an exhibition match.

Wall Wins In Season Debut

Tyler Wall (UMass-Lowell)

It was the start of the 2019-2020 season for goalie Tyler Wall (2016 sixth) and his UMass-Lowell River Hawks. The senior goalie is looking to reclaim the starting goaltending job on a very young River Hawks team. With just three seniors on this year’s roster, it could be the most challenging of years for Wall.

Wall got the year off right stopping 18 out of 19 shots to help his team earn a 5-1 win over the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers. For Wall, the win was his 41st of his River Hawks career as he looks to build off his 11-7-3 season of a year ago.

Wall stopped nine shots in the first, allowed his only goal in the second period while making four saves and finished off the game with five saves in the third period. If Wall has any hope of earning a Rangers contract then he has to post good goals against and save percentage numbers. The Rangers know that playing with such a young team is going to be a tough chore in as tough a league as Hockey East is.

The River Hawks host the Chargers again on Sunday but it is doubtful that Wall will get the start. Too early in the season to ask him to play back-to-back games.

Defenseman Nico Gross had a secondary assist as his Oshawa Generals doubled up the Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3. Gross earned his assist on the Generals fifth goal as he earned his fourth point of the weekend. It was a pretty good game for Gross in addition to his assist, he was a +2 on two shots and no penalties. Gross is 3-2-5 +5 6 PIMs in six games played as his Generals remain unbeaten at an OHL best 6-0.

Defenseman Matthew Robertson missed his second game with what is being called “a minor injury”. It is hoped that Robertson will return to action on Tuesday when his Edmonton Oil Kings visit the Regina Pats.

K’Andre Miller

By now the word has gotten out that 2018 first-round pick K’Andre Miller was suspended by the University of Wisconsin hockey team for “violation of team rules”.ย Since none of us know the circumstances that led to the suspension it would be rather silly to freak out over it.ย 

It happens more than people realize as it could as minor as oversleeping and missing a meeting. Start worrying when Miller misses several games.ย 

 

Gross’s Hat Trick Propels Generals

Nico Gross (Oshawa Generals)

The first big surprise of the 2019-2020 New York Rangers prospect season came from defenseman Nico Gross of the Oshawa Generals. The 2018 fourth-round pick recorded his first-ever OHL hat trick to lead his Oshawa Generals to a 5-1 win over the North Bay Battalion. Gross who had all of three goals last season equaled that in one game.

Gross got his first goal of the season off a nice “two-man” play with teammate Oliver Suni. Gross handed off the puck to Suni and then just stood at the right faceoff circle as Suni gave the puck back to a wide-open Gross. Gross would let go a blast from the spot which beat the Battalion’s goalie for the goal.

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The goal came just seconds after the Generals saw a power-play end at 14:09 of the first period and gave the Generals a 1-0 lead.

In the second with the Generals already up 2-1, Gross recorded his second goal of the game, this time a power-play goal. This time Gross snuck in from the left point and teammates Oliver Suni found him alone in front of the net. The goal at 15:24 put the Generals up 3-1.

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And for the hat trick goal, in the third Gross was the recipient of an unselfish teammate who passed up an empty net to get Gross the hat trick. Stick tap to Brett Harrison who had a wide-open net but gave the puck to Gross who scored into the empty net for the Generals fourth goal of the game.

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Nico Gross was named the game’s first star as his Generals improved to an OHL best 5-0. Gross finished the game 3-0-3 +2 on four shots an a minor for “delay of game”. The Generals are the last unbeaten team in the OHL and head to Hamilton for a Saturday game against the Hamilton Bulldogs.

In London, Hunter Skinner was scoreless on two shots with a +1 and a minor for holding as his London Knights shut out the Ottawa 67’s 3-0. The game wasn’t as close as the score shows as the Knights just dominated at both ends of the ice firing 47 shots on net while holding the 67’s to just 18 shots for the game. The Knights improved to 3-2 on the young season and will be off until next Friday.

Matthew Robertson was not in the Edmonton Oil Kings lineup as they took on the Winnipeg Ice in Winnipeg. No word as to why Robertson was not playing as he was in the lineup for Edmonton’s last game on Wednesday against Swift Current. Robertson was a -2 for that game but not a word anywhere regarding his status. I will update if I can find out anything.

Rosh Hashanah Catching Up

Filip Chytil (Hartford Wolfpack

Sorry folks but had to take most of Sunday evening and Monday in order to observe the start of the Jewish New Year. To one and all may I wish everyone “Shanah Tovah”  which translated means “A Good Year”.  A good year for us will be watching the Rangers, their minor league players and the prospects do well.

On Monday as most of you already know the Rangers made cuts sending four directly to Hartford, asking waivers on one with the intent of sending him to Hartford and releasing defensemen Joe Morrow from his PTO.  That left the team with twenty-two players (plus one as Michael Haley remains on his PTO).

The team is saying that this is the final roster that will take the ice on Thursday as they begin the 2019-2020 NHL regular season but I have my doubts. With several teams still to make their final cuts as well as nine teams that are still over the salary cap, an opportunity might arise for the team to fill that final roster spot with a trade or waiver pickup.

There are also a couple of teams that are missing players like Columbus who only list ten forwards and just 19 total players. They have plenty of space to add a player or two. As does the Ottawa Senators who are carrying three players on LTIR (Long Term Injured Reserve) and might need warm bodies who are still healthy enough to play.

As for the cuts themselves, sorry Filip Chytil played his way to Hartford. He went from David Quinn raving about the work he put in during the off-season to just a disappointment.  You kind of knew the move was coming if you had read David Quinn’s words in the New York Post:

โ€œI think that to send a 20-year-old to the AHL and have it [be] a big deal is alarming,โ€ Quinn said. โ€œHe did play 75 games last year, but weโ€™re talking about a 20-year-old. Not like he had 25 goals like [Elias] Pettersson in Vancouver. If you canโ€™t send a 20-year-old to the AHL then why do we have the AHL?โ€

Thankfully this season the Rangers have some teaching coaches in Hartford who hopefully can turn Chytil around. As for Vitali Kravtsov, there is no issue sending him down to Hartford as it is better than asking him to play on the fourth line with next to no minutes.

Instead, he will get major minutes and be used in all situations in Hartford as he adapts and adjusts to the North American brand of hockey. Ryan Lindgren was in the same situation so let him play as a top-pair defender as he will be back sometime this season.

Igor Shesterkin needs to play plain and simple as he discovered the NHL is a faster game than the KHL. He and Adam Huska will split the goaltending duties in Hartford and one of them will possibly rotate with Alexandar Georgiev during the season.

Hartford after the Rangers made their roster moves then made several moves of their own.  Felt bad for Ty Ronning being reassigned to Maine (along with Dawson Leedahl and Jake Elmer) but the numbers game hurt his cause.

College

The USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Preseason Men’s Hockey Poll came out on Monday and some Ranger prospects saw their teams on it.  The University of Massachusetts  (with Dman Zac Jones) is third and Cornell (with Tri-Captain Morgan Barron) is fifth.

Wisconsin (K’Andre Miller), Minnesota (Captain Tyler Nanne) and Michigan (Eric Ciccolini) were all in the portion of the receiving vote of the poll.

Juniors

On Sunday two prospects saw action:

Nico Gross (Oshawa OHL)- scoreless in his Oshawa Generals 4-1 win over the Kingston Frontenacs. The Generals are off to a 4-0-0 season start.

Matthew Robertson (Edmonton WHL)- scoreless as his Edmonton Oil Kings fell to the Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-2.

Quiet Night For Defensive Trio

Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings)

With the NCAA hockey season still a couple of weeks away, there are only three New York Ranger prospects playing at the CHL level. All three are defensemen and on Friday night they all had quiet nights for their respective teams.

Defenseman Matthew Robertson (2019 2nd) made his 2019-2020 debut for his Edmonton Oil Kings as they played the Calgary Hitmen on the road. Wearing an “A”, Robertson was scoreless on one shot with a -1 and a minor for “delay of game”. His Oil Kings lost in overtime 4-3 to the Hitmen as they saw their record fall to 2-0-1 after three games.

Edmonton heads home to host the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon.

Defenseman Hunter Skinner (2019 4th) and his London Knights had little trouble defeating a shorthanded Erie Otters team 6-2 for their first win of the season. Skinner who got the start was scoreless with a +1 but no shots on goal were recorded.

Skinner who was 2-1-3 after his first two games not recording a shot on goal was a surprise considering he had five shots each in his first two games. London improves to 1-2 on the season and hit the road for a game against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday evening.

Defenseman Nico Gross (2018 4th) was scoreless as his Oshawa Generals held off the Mississauga Steelheads 6-5 on Friday to remain unbeaten at 3-0. Gross took a cross-checking minor in the second period which led to a Steelheads goal and had one shot on goal.

On Thursday, Gross was also scoreless as the Generals defeated the Niagara IceDogs 4-3 in overtime. Gross had two shots on goal in this contest.

The Generals head home for a Sunday night game against the Kingston Frontenacs.

Skinner Scores Twice In OHL Debut

Hunter Skinner (London Knights)

Defenseman Hunter Skinner, the New York Rangers 2019 fourth-round selection in the NHL Entry Draft was actually headed to Western Michigan University before the Rangers selected him. It was a pretty good idea at the time as Skinner was viewed as a long-term project who had solid offensive skills but was suspect on the defensive side. Western Michigan also was coached by former NHL coach Andy Murray so it seemed as if Skinner was making the right move.

However, after attending the Rangers Prospect camp last July, Skinner decided to forego the NCAA route and signed with the London Knights of the OHL. The Knights are coached also by a former NHL coach in Dale Hunter but given the choice of the two coaches, I would pick Hunter to help Skinner speed up his development and possible professional career.

Skinner made his OHL regular-season debut on Friday night scoring twice in a losing effort as his London Knights lost to the Peterborough Petes 6-4 (game highlights and boxscore). Skinner earned the game’s third star with his two goals on five-shot performance.

The young defenseman opened the scoring for the Knights when he got the puck at the point and fired a laser that beat Peterborough goalie Hunter Jones at 15:53 of the first period. The goal gave the Knights their only lead of the game as the Petes would respond with two goals to take a 2-1 lead after one.

The Petes would add two more goals in the second and built their lead to 4-1 before the Knights would respond in the third period to cut it to 4-2. The Knights would give up another goal before Skinner would answer with his second of the night another blast from the point to pull the Knight to within two goals once again.

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I like Skinner’s offensive skill set as he has one of the better shots among the prospects but his defense is going to need some serious work. The Knights are right back in action Saturday Knight against the Barrie Colts.

Nico Gross (Oshawa Generals)

Defenseman Nico Gross had a secondary assist on four shots with a +1 and a high-sticking minor as his Oshawa Generals opened their season with a 4-1 road win over the Kingston Frontenacs. Gross the Rangers 2018 fourth-round pick earned his assist on Oshawa’s first goal, a power-play goal just 2:31 into the contest.

Gross is playing for a contract in his second year as a Rangers draft pick, he has good size (6’2 185) and solid defensive skills. But he needs to step up his game on the offensive side and be more active on the ice to earn that NHL contract. Gross is a very likable person and one wants to root for him but hopefully Gross got the message being cut by the Rangers so quickly at training camp.