|4th in Atlantic Division|
|9th in Eastern Conf.|
|GM: Glen Sather|
|COACH: John Tortorella|
|$63,872,000 ($3.2M above cap)|
Don’t worry Rangers fans. This is the year. I promise. With unlimited resources and the most bloated payroll in the League you can count on it.
That’s not to say that the Rangers are gonna win the Stanley Cup. They won’t even qualify for the postseason. Hell, they are gonna finish dead last in the Atlantic.
So why the opening lead with promises of optimism, you ask?
I think that Rangers ownership will finally realize that the 2010 version of Glen Sather is not the architect he once was decades ago in Edmonton when they pulled off five Cups in some seven seasons. Some Ranger fans already understand this and though the “Fire Sather Rally” this past March fell on deaf ears it is a safe bet that the Rangers finishing in the cellar of the Atlantic will compel ownership to move on with a fresh shot caller, probably Mark Messier.
Aside from their superb goaltending tandem of Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron there is no depth anywhere else in the line-up. At center, Sather has a bunch of third and fourth line caliber talent vying for spots on the first and second line. It does not take a PHD to understand that Brian Boyle, Todd White, Artem Anisimov and Erik Christensen are not fit to play on scoring lines in this league. At the wing there is a bit more talent but when thinking of the Rangers wing corps one must wonder which version of this myriad of head cases will show up come the opening draw. There is no question that when both Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov bring their “A” game they can skate with the best in the world but both these guy’s nurse heavy reputations as selfish players, diva’s if you will, who most often appear to be playing for themselves first and their squad second. This type of attitude has really led both these guys halfway down that rotten path of “Coulda been great”.
Sean Avery is another guy who has displayed spells of a prime time skill set but he is far too inconsistent to rely on. There is more to this guy than his lap dog routine but since the lap dog routine gets him the most airtime he has settled and has chosen not better his game. It’s a shame too because this guy is a terrific skater and could be a 20 goal scorer.
If only these three mentioned above played with the same mindset and tenacity that forwards like Brandon Dubinsky and Brandon Prust play with this team would be a lock for a playoff spot.
The blueline is riddled with question marks as well. Aside from Marc Staal, who after signing a well deserved 5 year 15 million dollar will be counted on as the team’s cornerstone blueliner, there are no other defensemen on the team who can be relied upon every night. The trio of Matt Gilroy, Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto will all need to develop a much more refined work ethic in their own zone if they want to help this team exceed my expectations.
|42||F||Artem Anisimov||6′ 4″||197||22|
|16||F||Sean Avery||5′ 10″||195||30|
|94||F||Derek Boogaard||6′ 7″||275||28|
|22||F||Brian Boyle||6′ 6″||244||25|
|24||F||Ryan Callahan||5′ 11″||188||25|
|26||F||Erik Christensen||6′ 1″||203||26|
|23||F||Chris Drury||5′ 10″||190||34|
|17||F||Brandon Dubinsky||6′ 1″||210||24|
|31||F||Alex Frolov||6′ 2″||210||28|
|10||F||Marian Gaborik||6′ 1″||215||28|
|13||F||Tim Kennedy||5′ 10″||173||24|
|20||F||Vinny Prospal||6′ 2″||198||35|
|8||F||Brandon Prust||5′ 11″||195||26|
|57||F||Derek Stepan||6′ 0″||187||20|
|12||F||Todd White||5′ 10″||195||35|
|4||D||Michael Del Zotto||6′ 1″||195||20|
|44||D||Steve Eminger||6′ 2″||210||26|
|97||D||Matt Gilroy||6′ 1″||201||26|
|5||D||Dan Girardi||6′ 2″||215||26|
|33||D||Michal Rozsival||6′ 2″||205||32|
|38||D||Mike Sauer||6′ 3″||220||23|
|18||D||Marc Staal||6′ 4″||209||23|
|43||G||Martin Biron||6′ 3″||180||33|
|30||G||Henrik Lundqvist||6′ 1″||198||28|
MOST IMPORTANT COG IN 2010: Marian Gaborik (Right Wing) At 28, Gaborik is just peaking and that is good news for the Rangers. With is explosive speed and grand sniper instinct this guy has all the tools to be a 50 goal scorer and he probably would be if he could just play 80 games or more. The man just cannot stay healthy. Considering the last time he played 70 or more games in back to back seasons was from 2001-2003, his folder at the doctor’s office is as thick as a goalie pad. Last year he played 76 games and totaled 42 goals (18.2 % of the team’s total goal tally!) so if his every other year injury pattern continues we may only see Gaborik in half of the Rangers games. Whether his history of injuries are based on bad off ice conditioning or just plain bad luck is unknown what we do know is a healthy Gabby gives the Rangers their best chance at a playoff spot.
KEY ACQUISITION: Alex Frolov (LW – FA from Los Angeles) — Frolov is the same age as his potential line mate Gaborik and like Gaborik he has the ability to be the best player on the ice on any given night. Unfortunately, like Gaborik, Frolov experiences inability to stay consistent over an entire season. It is a shame because this guy, when motivated, is a world class athlete. With Frolov you got a guy who excels in all three zones of the rink. He has great speed, reach, excellent defensive instincts and does not mind battling in the corners. Frolov has also hit the 20 goal scoring mark (2 in which he scored 30 or more) in seven of his nine seasons in the NHL. If he can find some way to bring some continuity to his game all day, every day he and Gaborik could make this season somewhat bearable, at least with some nice highlight reel goals.
KEY DEPARTURE: Wade Redden (D – waived to Hartford) — The situation with Redden is a prime example of how inept the Sather regime has been over the last ten years. Redden was set to come into this season making 6.5 million dollars and while there are few defensemen in this league who have the skill to justify that huge sum Redden is certainly not one of them. Shoot, Redden is not even worth half that per year but Sather thought he was when he signed him to a six year, 39 million dollar contract in 2008. Redden’s salary was a tough pill to swallow with this season’s salary cap and with nobody willing to trade for him all Sather could do was waive him and continue to pay that contract while Redden was reassigned to the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack. Redden will be making $81,000 a game to play in the minors this season and though his 6.5 million won’t take a bite out of the Ranger’s cap the Rangers still will have to issue those paychecks. It makes you wonder how Sather stays employed. (Blackmail?)
KEY YOUNGSTER: Michael Del Zotto (D/20 years old) — At age 20, Del Zotto seems to have a bright future in this league. His IQ in the offensive zone is far beyond his years, most notably while quarterbacking the power play, and in the NHL having a guy who can command the power play is huge. Though he is prone to commit a mistake or two lapses of judgment are expected at his young age. If he expects to play a big role in the Ranger’s defying the odds and exceeding expectations this year he will have to recognize the importance of sturdy defensive coverage in his own zone and adapt the idea of total coverage in front and around his netminder. Del Zotto may not tap into that potential many are projecting this season but if he keeps pace with the strides he has already made it will help the Rangers blue line immensely.
OUTLOOK: In order for this team to exceed my expectations there is just too much that needs to click. With the exception of the goaltending and the coaching there are no spots on this team that can be relied upon to think that there is enough for this team to make the playoffs. The situation at the center position alone is enough to make you cringe and write them off. There is not a single playmaker on this roster for the position that demands playmaking ability. Though there are a few playmakers at the wings the chances of both Gaborik and Frolov flying at top speed are very minimal (I’m just going off of what is proven with these guys folks). In this league, good coaching and sharp goaltending can only get you so far. Goals, motivation and playmaking are essential in this league and until the Rangers show they can bring these attributes to the rink every night I’m not buying this Madison Square Garden circus at all. They will finish dead last in the Atlantic.
- 32 wins
- 77 points
- 5th in Atlantic/14th in Eastern Conference
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