Monday, August 15, 2011

Predicting who will play left wing on the top line..

     There has been much debate to whom will have the pleasure of playing the left wing on the clubs top line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.  Candidates include such as Brandon Dubinsky, Sean Avery, Derek Stepan, and Wojtek Wolski.  Considering how well the "wolf pack" line plays together it doesn't make much sense to break up that line. Although John Tortorella will most likely give that scenario a look during training camp it should not be the answer. Cally, Artey and Dubi have too much chemistry and took much of last years scoring load onto themselves and succeeded.
     As for Sean Avery he is very inconsistent. He also tends to put himself into tort's dog house by taking bad penalties. Plus his offseason activities haven't pleased the rangers.  So he does not seem like a good fit to be playing with such high profile players. 
     My favorite option would be Derek Stepan. Now that the rangers have a true number one center, and the second line is set with Anisimov. The third set with Brian Boyle, this makes the most sense. You don't want to have such a promising player, playing 4th line minutes that would be a waste of talent.  So why not put him on the left wing next to two of top players in the league.  It would make sure he gets top playing minutes. It would help having two centers capable of taking important face-offs.  It would make sure it doesn't fall victim to the sophomore slump, and he could truly learn from one of the best on how to be a consistent top line center men.
    Wojtek Wolski is probably the choice that will see the best look. Considering the amount he makes. It would be crazy to have him playing 10-15 minutes a game on the fourth line.  Considering his 3.8 million cap hit it is unlikely that Glen Sather would allow torts to play him on the fourth line.  Another option being a trade. Most likely trade candidates being Wolski and Christensen, as these players are very inconsistent and would be good for teams looking to clear some cap space and secondary scoring.  Teams that might be interested in this trade would be The Washington Capitals, as rumor is there are trying to shop Alexander Semin, and it would definitely clear cap space.  Or teams like The NY Islanders and The Winnipeg Jets. Who could both use extra scoring. Either way the rangers have two elite players and come camp we should know who will get the first look on that line.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Next Captain Questions???

     There is much speculation on the web as to who will be the next New York Rangers captain. In my personal opinion, the teams captaincy should auto-maticly go to fan favorite Ryan Callahan. He displays everything a captain means to the NHL. He displays leadership both on and off the ice. He doesn't shy away from anyone and hits everything in his way. He lets his play speak for itself, despite missing much time from injuries last season do to his great ability for shot blocking. He still managed to put up respectable point. Most experts say that he would have beaten 30 goals and 30 assist last year if he had played those extra games he had missed. Thus making his statement that he deserves the teams captaincy.
     Another choice would be Marc Staal. He has shown the Ability to lead by example. He was only second to Henrik Lundqvist on the team for time on ice. Which also gives him a major advantage. Who better to give the teams captaincy than a man whose going to be on the ice the most. Staal also made his first NHL All-star game debut last season, solidifying his stature as an elite defensemen in the league. He hits as hard as any defensemen in the league, just youtube Marc Staal hits and you'll find more than enough proof of that. Most known for his bone crushing hits this defensemen is also showing that he will soon be a force to be reckoned with offensively. Which is also a plus for his captaincy vote.
     Then theres the dark horse of the race. Recently acquired Brad Richards. Who has been an alternate captain for both his previous teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars. He has won a Stanley Cup, and Conn Smythe, under current rangers head coach John Tortorella. He has consistent point production and is considered an elite passer in the league. Plus his experience with the rangers head coach will certainly be most helpful on his behalf. But the question is, does he deserve to just be handed the captaincy of this team just because of the length of his deal. My answer is no. Although they will most likely give it to him, I as well as many other NY Ranger fans believe he does not deserve it just yet.

New York Rangers

Although most teams in the NHL do not consider the rangers much of a playoff threat. That is all about to change. With the new acquisitions made in the offseason, starting from the Tim Erixon trade to the signing of most sought after free agent Brad Richards. The New York Rangers have boosted there defense and their offense. The club has established the identity of being a hard working team that will come and grind out the victory no matter the cost. Last year was a year full of significant man loses, to most of the teams leaders and talent. This is when the club showed its resiliency and its will to win. Although most of the NHL saw the rangers first round exit of last years Stanley Cup playoffs as a failure in five games. It was much more than that. The club was full of young players most have which never before experienced Stanley Cup playoffs before. This was a learning experience to all. The rangers found out what it takes to compete in the playoffs. So during the offseason the clubs addressed some of it's concerns. Finding a replacement for the late and great "Boogie man". By signing Mike Rupp to a 3 year contract in hopes to protect its star players and, to take some pressure off of a fan favorite Brandon Prust. The club realized that it also needed more talent to bring them back to successful playoffs experiences. Brad Richards bring a plethora of talent and leadership to the rangers. He is expected to center the first line with Marian Gaborik to his wing. Being the elite player maker that he is there is no reason he should not reach atleast 80 points this season. With Gaborik getting about 80 himself. With secondary scoring coming from the wolf pack line, and a solid checking line. The ranger fowards should be set for the challenge next season. On defense the team is stacked with youth and talent. With Marc Staal and Dan Girardi being a proven first pair, able to take on all of the oppositions top players, leading the way the team is looking better. Then the second defensive pairing most likely being Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer now the team in looking great. Plus with the signing of youngster Tim Erixon and a veteran like Steve Eminger its just getting better. Hopefully with a bounce back season from Michael DelZotto the rangers can truly make a deep playoff run. And as all ranger fans know we can always count on "king" Henrik to give everything he has to keep us in any game, and his backup Martan Biron (aka shootout coach), the team is looking truly gifted. With the new acquisitions and King Henrik between the pipes the rangers will truly be a dangerous team next year and should not in anyway be overlooked, or underrated. They are ready to make a deep playoff run.