Rangers Prospects Update: Size Won’t Deter Thomas; Skjei a Two-Way Defenseman

Over at Blueshirts United, Jim Cerny sat down with new CT Whale assistant coach Jeff Beukeboom to discuss prospect Christian Thomas, who Beukeboom has a great knowledge of from his time coaching in the OHL…

“I know Christian Thomas really well, my son (Blues prospect Brock Beukeboom) and he grew up playing against one another, and I think his skill set translates well to the NHL. I know he’s a good kid and he’s willing to work, and learn, and try new things. Any time you have those traits, you’re going to be fine. I think he’s going to adapt fine, and the size thing won’t be such an issue.”

…despite what Beuk is saying, I’m still very concerned about Thomas’ size. He has yet to impress at Traverse City or Rangers camp. I really don’t see him making the team out of training camp this season, which may be a good thing as a year learning the pro game with the CT Whale is probably the best thing for his development.

In other prospect news, Leslie Treff Hockey’s Future analyzes the Rangers 2012 draft and says this about #1 pick Brady Skjei…

“With their first round selection, the Rangers have continued their trend of picking bigger players with exceptional skating ability. A potential two-way defenseman, with an excellent shot and a big body, Brady Skjei also has very good hockey sense.”

Treff adds that Skjei’s excellent vision was immediately apparent during the Rangers development camp last month.

…don’t know much about Skjei, but I have heard comparisons to McDonagh, which is never a bad thing. Really love the Rangers new drafting strategy of going after big athletes. I think these type of players can acclimate better to the NHL game because of their superior physical tools. See Kreider.

Treff also reports that second round pick Cristoval Nieves, who has committed to Michigan this fall, was noticeable on every shift during development camp and has the speed and body type to be very effective in front of an opponent’s net.

…another Rangers prospect at the University of Michigan? I like the sound of that.

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