New York Rangers: Top 5 Most Impressive Players Through First Week Of Preseason
Top 5 Most Impressive Players Through The First Week Of Preseason
Yes, the NHL preseason just started, and the New York Rangers have only played two exhibition games, but that won't stop me ranking the top five most impressive Rangers this preseason.
Does it really matter since its only the preseason?
Well no because preseason stats do not count, but it's still nice to see promising play from certain players in hopes that it will translate nicely into the regular season. Some players have impressed me so far, but there are some who have make the opposite impression. Take young defenseman Dylan McIlrath, for instance. He looked completely lost in the Rangers' second exhibition game, and his play directly resulted in two goals that ended up in the Rangers' net. It proved that the former first-rounder still isn't ready for the NHL. Obviously, McIlrath will not be on this list. Sorry folks.
On the other hand, five Rangers have stood out to me so far. Yes, once again I am fully aware that the Rangers have only played two preseason games, but hockey is my favorite sport and it's never too early talk about the team and sport you love.
I won't say who these five players are because that would defeat the purpose of the upcoming slides, but I will give you some clues. Some will be players trying to make the Rangers' roster, and some will be players who have guaranteed spots, but who fans felt unsure of going into this season.
I hope you enjoy my top five most impressive Rangers through the first week of the NHL preseason:
5. Jesper Fast
In Jesper Fast's NHL debut with the Rangers, in their second preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers, he impressed my right off the bat. He did record zero points that game, but what was so impressive about him was his speed, his puck control and his overall strength and checking ability for a man who stands 5-foot-11. I mean, Fast was knocking down players who were a full head taller than him, and that immediately caught my eye.
This young 21-year old from Sweden has a lot of tools, and maybe with restricted free agent Derek Stepan still currently not under contract for this season, Fast can quickly find himself on the Rangers' opening night roster.
4. Dominic Moore
After the tragedy that happened to Dominic Moore last year, it was very uncertain whether he would come back to hockey. Moore did not play at all last season because he lost his wife to her battle with liver cancer.
Deciding whether to hang up the skates or go back out on the ice, Moore chose to go back to playing the sport he loves best, to the team his career started with, and has come back a seriously determined individual.
Moore was the only one who played in both of the Rangers' preseason games so far and against the New Jersey Devils, he scored one goal and just really looked great out there in both games. I only wish Moore nothing but the best, and I honestly believe that with his hard work ethic and determination, he will have a great homecoming season for the Rangers this year.
3. John Moore
John Moore, no relation to Dominic, is a defenseman that not many Rangers fans knew about before he was acquired during last years' trade deadline.
What impressed fans about Moore last season was his quick skating ability and similarity to teammate Ryan McDonagh in both skill and appearance, but at only 22 years of age. Moore has continued all of this in training camp and has now brought it into the preseason. He was flying all over the ice and creating offense, something new head coach Alain Vigneault loves.
With Vigneault wanting his defensemen to jump in to the rush and be a part of the offense, Moore could thrive and have a big breakout season for the Rangers this year.
2. Marc Staal
After his horrific eye injury last season, and after doctors said his injured right eye will never fully heal, I thought Marc Staal's career was over.
However, maybe I spoke too soon. In the Rangers' first preseason game against the Devils, Staal looked simply great out there on the ice, just like the Staal of old. With no struggles or problems adjusting, Staal played like he never had an eye injury. I was amazed.
If Staal can stay healthy and get back to his shutdown defenseman status, the Rangers' defense could be very impressive to watch this season.
1. Derick Brassard
Derick Brassard is another player that most Rangers fans did not know much about until he came over with John Moore during the trade deadline last season.
Brassard immediately showed the Rangers last season that he is a playmaker with great vision. However. the former sixth overall pick of the 2006 NHL Draft has been in the league since 2007 and has never lived up to his potential, so maybe his year with the Rangers last season was just a flash in the pan.
Well maybe not. He has impressed coach Vigneault all training camp and in his only exhibition game against the Flyers, Brassard scored a goal and recorded an assist in a game that he absolutely dominated. He was noticeable on the ice in every shift and played like a no. 1 center -- pretty good for a guy who will be on the Rangers' second or third line once the season starts.
Brassard, now 25-years-old, is quickly entering into his prime. And if he can finally live up to his potential now with the Rangers, he could be one of the biggest steals the Rangers have had in recent memory.