The Rangers have already kicked off the spring with a couple of free agent prospect signings such as Jason Missiaen and Tommy Grant. According to Larry Brooks, the Rangers are also interested in adding perhaps the biggest free agent of them all, Stephane Da Costa. Da Costa, as is the case with most of the highly sought after free agent prospects, was a late bloomer. In back-to-back seasons with Merrimack College, Da Costa has put up 45 points in 33 and 34 games. He won the NCAA Division I rookie of the year award last year and has received a whole slew of other honors. Da Costa is a playmaking center with good vision and a scoring touch as well. His downfall is his size. At 5’11 and 180 pounds, there are questions as to how his play will transition to the NHL level. His physicality is also lacking, though he does play with an edge. Though Brooks believes the Rangers are trying to get Da Costa, he admits that he can’t confirm if the Rangers have a “legitimate shot” at signing him. There figure to be at least 10 other teams also trying to sign him, and the Rangers are pretty stacked with young offensive players. You have to figure that signing for a team like Minnesota or Ottawa, who are rumored to be interested in signing him, makes him one of the top prospects on his team and provides a pretty clear path to the NHL. He’d have to beat out numerous players to crack the Rangers lineup. Still, it’s something to look out for.
Former Ranger Manny Malhotra got hit in the eye with a puck and had to have two surgeries to save his vision in that eye. The good news is that the surgery was successful, but he still will be out the remainder of the season, including the playoffs. It was a long, long time ago, but his whole stint with the Rangers was pretty pathetically executed. The Rangers rushed him to the NHL way too quickly, and then gave up on him quickly. You think we could use his faceoff abilities right about now? Hopefully, the NHL wakes up and makes visors mandatory. Every junior league requires visors to be worn, and the NCAA even mandates full cages. Thus, it’s not like incoming players are not used to it. Grandfather it in like they did with helmets if you have to. It’s such a negligent inconvenience and can prevent things like this from happening. No-brainer.
After losing the first three games of the series, Ethan Werek’s Kingston Frontenacs finally won a game against Christian Thomas’ Oshawa Generals. Werek had a great game with 3 assists and created all sorts of havoc in front of the net. Though Thomas’ team lost pretty handily, he still got his name on the scoresheet, adding an assist and scoring a nice penalty shot goal. Here are the highlights: