In today's first of many feature articles
on the prospects of the New York Rangers I put Jamie Lundmark under the
microscope. 6'0", 180lbs., and at the tender age of 20 perched as one
of our top prospects is this Edmonton, Alberta native. Playing center and
obtained with the ninth pick overall in the 1st round of the 1999 draft
(Rangers second choice that fateful day) Jamie possesses above average
speed who maintains his balance and agility. Most recently playing with
the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL his progress has come along more
slowly than some of us had hoped for.
The setback, a broken thumb in his second
year in junior which limited him to 37 games for the and a holdout from
Moose Jaw in his third year which held off the start of his season til
Lundmark be the next Rangers superstar?
Of course not wanting to show any rust he
assisted on the first goal of the game just 14 seconds into the contest
contributing a goal the very next night. Playing with fellow Ranger
prospect Barrett Heisten for the Thunderbirds Lundmark wearing #21 managed
to put up 77 points in 52 games.
He has pinpoint passing, great vision and
is tough to knock off the puck. Currently he is being groomed for the #1
center position, but will most likely enter the NHL as the proclaimed #2
behind Nedved. At 20 he still needs to continue to grow into his body. He
should have strong linemates upon his arrival to New York so the fuss over
whether he is the true #1 or #2 is a bit irrelevant at this point. One of
the most impressive aspects of his game is Lundmarks willingness to commit
to defense. How is that possible you ask given his offensive numbers? Why
not ask Stevey Yzerman the same question, as Lundmark seems to get many
comparisons to the future Hall of Famer. Being responsible on both ends of
the ice is one example of how Jamie is a true leader and is the most
likely candidate to take over the Captaincy of the Rangers down the road.
Where does Jamie Lundmark fit into our
plans this year? Depends on how strong a camp he has. He has shown
progress from his first camp to his second, and expect him to do the same
this year. Will he make the team, honestly he is being setup for success.
He has the potential to make the team this year yet I anticipate he will
start the season in Hartford being the first line center he is being
groomed for. Having Coach Paddock (still thankful he is with us) to guide
him should benefit his growth.
Let us not forget he is a 20-year-old man
and the tools he will need to compete can be further embedded into his
head as he continues to learn from a NHL style of play and not the barrage
of offense shown in the WHL. Plus he may very well end up playing with his
future linemates down there growing in tandem with each other. What better
way to grow together with quality minutes at even strength and on the
power play units with linemates that may last a number of years. I do
expect him to be called up to the big squad at some point if because of
injury or trade.
With the known slots of center taken up
this year by Nedved. Messier, and York we cannot bring up Jamie and have
him sit on the fourth line with no quality ice time. Looking to next year
with Messier and his pending retirement plans it will make more sense to
have him begin the year 2002 on the Rangers. Then he will be poised to
take the NHL by storm.
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