Rangers sign draft picks Dylan McIlrath and Ryan Bourque

New York took care of some internal paperwork to help officially set their future in motion today signing a pair of recent first round picks. 2009 first round pick forward Ryan Bourque and 2010 first rounder defenseman Dylan McIlrath both signed their first-year entry-level contracts with the team today.

Bourque you may recall from the Team USA World Junior Championships the last two years. Bourque helped lead the USA to gold in 2010 and is currently playing in the QMJHL with the Quebec Ramparts. This season with the Remparts, Bourque has 26 goals and 31 assists in 47 games played. The Rangers are hoping he can slot in and be a more successful pro player than his brother Chris who left North America to play in the KHL this season. If Ryan can be even half the pro his father Raymond was, he’ll be an outstanding player for years to come with the Rangers.

McIlrath is a bruising and physical defenseman who plays with an edge and a guy the Rangers foresee as a future bruiser. While playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors this year, McIlrath has five goals and 18 assists as well as 141 penalty minutes through 59 games in the WHL. Being physical and unafraid to drop the gloves when need be makes him a potentially scary player to face off with if he makes the NHL. At 6’5″ 215 pounds and just weeks shy of turning 19 years-old, the Rangers will give him time to develop further.

The Rangers hope that McIlrath can develop into a shutdown defenseman otherwise people will look back on this draft as the one the Rangers passed on Cam Fowler to pick a guy that wasn’t as effective.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT

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Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)