Over the past two years, the Rangers have added young players such as Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider onto their team and put them in big roles that have helped the Rangers win games.
“I’m not calling spots. I’m not going to call positions. But we’re going to give some of the youth an opportunity. This year was delayed with Hags a little bit. I was hoping he was going to push right from there, I looked at Christian Thomas in camp and was hoping he was going to push. It’s not going to be given, they are going to have to earn their spot.
Torts added, “I think it’s a young man’s game. I do. I think we have some guys that we’re certainly going to give an opportunity to as we start next year. They’ll sink or swim themselves.”
Adam Rotter: The amount of spots open will be determined by the amount of moves the Rangers make and the young players that they keep. Tim Erixon is a front runner to make a full time leap next season and may be the only one. Christian Thomas is interesting, especially since John Tortorella has his eye on him, as he has the one skill this team needs, goal scoring. Dylan McIlrath probably needs time in the AHL, but two guys that I think could push would be Ryan Bourque and JT Miller. Miller had a big season for Plymouth, played for Team USA at the World Juniors and got better in each game at the Traverse City tournament. Bourque is a Tortorella type of player who is relentless on the puck, fast, and models his game after Ryan Callahan. He had an up and down first season in Hartford, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him take a step forward and make a run at a roster spot next season.