April 3rd 2012 may be the day that the New York Rangers clinched the top seed in the NHL's Eastern Conference for the playoffs but it is only just the beginning.
As we have said over the years, this is the best job in the world to because we get to see the future of the Rangers today. We get to watch tomorrow's Rangers as they grow up and work to earn that blue jersey.
Winning today means they have to keep working hard so they can win tomorrow but it helps the prospects because it allows the Rangers to let them develop naturally instead of trying to rush someone.
But we should acknowledge that those 109 points the Rangers have is the result of the hard work behind the scenes people just as much as it is the players and coaches.
Credit belongs to the CT Whale coaching staff who are developing prospects like a Stu Bickel, a Carl Hagelin and a John Mitchell so when they are called the prospects already know the Ranger system. And credit to Ken Germander and staff for continuing to win even after the Rangers take their players
Give credit to Glen Sather whether you like him or not because Sather has let his staff do their jobs. John Mitchell is a Ranger today because Jim Schoenfeld believed he could help the Rangers and fought for him.
And really if the Rangers are winning while their best prospects are waiting in the wings then what will this team really be like when the offensive firepower is added? What will the team defense look like when they add a Dylan McIlrath or Steven Fogarty?
Like the team speed? Add Chris Kreider and a Jesper Fasth to that mixture and see what happens. This is just the beginning as tomorrow is going to be a better day.
We know because we are seeing it happen today.
Pretty sure that right now North Dakota fans dislike the New York Islanders just as much as they do the Rangers. Brock Nelson (NYI 2010 1st) has decided to leave North Dakota and sign with the New York Islanders.
Here is the press release from the Islanders
The New York Islanders announced today that forward Brock Nelson has agreed to terms on an Entry Level Contract (ECL).
Nelson, 20, led the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux in points (47) and goals (28) in 42 games as a sophomore. The Warroad, MN, native ranked third in the nation in goals and tied for 12th in points.
Nelson was named to the all-tournament teams at both the Red Baron Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Final Five and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) West Regional. He finished the year with five goals in his last five playoff games, leading UND to a third straight Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA champion and a berth in the regional championship game. Nelson was named the Inside College Hockey “WCHA Breakthrough Player Of The Year” and to the 2011-12 All-College Hockey News Second Team.
The Islanders selected Nelson in the first round, 30 overall, of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft. He scored 21 points (8g/13a) in 42 games as a freshman at the University of North Dakota. Nelson recorded a point in every game of his senior season at Warroad High School in Minnesota, finishing with 39 goals and 34 assists in 25 games and being selected one of 10 finalists for the state’s prestigious “Mr. Hockey” Award.
We knew this was going to happen after watching Nelson's performance this season as Nelson showed us he was ready for the next level with his performance at the WCHA Final Five. If North Dakota needed a big play; there was Nelson making it for them.
If there was a defining moment for Nelson then it had to be the WCHA Final Five where in 3 games in 3 nights, there was Nelson with 4 goals in those 3 games and they were not just any goals either.
Game winners against St. Cloud State and Denver while scoring the tying goal against Minnesota. That folks is what Gordie Clark would call dominating at the level you are at.
How soon will he be an Islander? We think he needs time in the AHL and hope the Islanders have him on an ATO playing for Bridgeport ASAP. Nelson is 6'4 200 but he does need to add to his frame so we think 215 would be an ideal weight for him.
We also move Nelson to left wing as his play was way better than at center. He is going to give the Islanders a forward who can create his offense and is a threat to score just as much from the slot as he can from the faceoff circle.
The Islanders just got bigger and better here.
(NY Ranger logo courtesy of the NY Rangers, Nelson- NHL Media)