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Mike Rupp is just not made for the new NHL. He's slow in a game (and a system) that's getting faster by the minute.
He's a decent fighter, but offers really nothing else. He chipped in four goals, but is not a consistent offensive threat.
He's weak on the forecheck and will be burned by faster, younger players. He's a fourth-line player who plays less than 10 minutes a game. He takes a bunch of dumb penalties too.
Yes, he's a leader, and that was shown in HBO's 24/7. That's valuable to have, but there are plenty of leaders on this team. He's not part of the top leadership group and there are plenty of guys like him who contribute more.
I think the Rangers would be wise to, instead of Rupp, play Kyle Jean, who is now in Connecticut. In 11 games, Jean has four goals and six assists. He's big at 6'4" and—here's the kicker—is only 23. Rupp, on the other hand, is 32 and has knee issues.
To me, this is an issue of age and speed. Rupp is getting up there in age. Jean is young and showing promise in the AHL.
Remember, AHL competition is a bit better this year, with the influx of young NHLers staying sharp during the lockout. The Oklahoma City Barons, the minor league affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, for example, have Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on their roster.
And Jean is flourishing, in his first pro season, no less. He's younger, cheaper, faster and has much more offensive upside.
This is a no-brainer. Yes, Rupp will only fetch a seventh-round pick, but remember, Henrik Lundqvist was chosen in that round. All draft picks are valuable. The more you get, the more chances you have to get it right.