NY Rangers: A Look at Their Depth Chart for 2013 NHL Season

Jeremy FuchsCorrespondent IIIJanuary 6, 2013

NY Rangers: A Look at Their Depth Chart for 2013 NHL Season

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    The NHL lockout is finally over, and we can now focus on what really matters: hockey. Specifically, New York Rangers hockey.

    It's imperative to look at the roster and assess what the depth chart will be for the 2013 NHL season.

    We'll do that here, going position by position to establish which have depth and which don't.

    Read on to get your hockey fix, and get a good look at the Rangers depth chart. 

Forwards

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    The Rangers feature a lot of depth and a ton of talent at forward.

    Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash and Carl Hagelin have suffered injuries in the past few months, but all will be ready to return to start the season, according to the New York Daily News.

    If opening night was tonight, then the forward lines would look like this:

    • Rick Nash-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
    • Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
    • Carl Hagelin-Brian Boyle-Taylor Pyatt
    • Mike Rupp-Jeff Halpern-Arron Asham

    That's a strong group, and it should be a high-scoring bunch. A few players are on the border—such as Michael Haley—and he would likely be the first injury call-up. Kris Newbury has seen time with the big club and is a contender to be an injury call-up, as is Chad Kolarik. 

    In the minors, the Rangers boast American World Junior alternate captain J.T. Miller. Other youngsters like Christian Thomas, Ryan Bourque and Kyle Jean all have chances to play with the big club.

    The Rangers forwards are a deep group, so if it lost someone to injury, there's a lot of talent in the pipeline to recover. 

Defensemen

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    The Rangers had one of the best defensive corps last season, and that shouldn't change this year.

    The first order of business is to get Michael Del Zotto under contract. He's a restricted free agent, and there's no reason why the team wouldn't re-sign him. With the season coming up so soon, an impetus for a deal is greater.

    Assuming Del Zotto re-signs, the defensive pairings would likely look something like this:

    • Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
    • Marc Staal-Michael Del Zotto
    • Anton Stralman-Stu Bickel/Steve Eminger

    The biggest battle in shortened camp will be for that sixth defense spot. Stu Bickel spent most of the time in that role last year, but he was prone to mistakes and would often spend games buried on the bench. Steve Eminger is steadier but does not provide the physical presence that Bickel does.

    If there are any injuries, the team would look to Matt Gilroy, who has the most NHL experience of anyone in the minors. If not him, Logan Pyett would be a solid choice.

    The Rangers have some of the best defensive players in the league. If one of them goes down, the depth is solid but not terrific. Losing one for an extended period of time could be a tough pill to swallow. 

Goaltender

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    With a shortened season, it is quite possible that Henrik Lundqvist will play a higher percentage of games than he did last season.

    Last year, Lundqvist started 62 games. With the season only being around 50 games long, that number is obviously unattainable. 

    Because of the condensed season, every game has heightened importance. A five-game losing streak could be disastrous for playoff hopes. This means that Lundqvist is going to play a lot. 

    Look for backup Martin Biron to get into five to seven games, with Lundqvist shouldering the bulk of the load.

    If anyone gets injured, the team would call up Cam Talbot, who has posted a 2.61 goals against average in the minors so far this year. 

    If Lundqvist gets hurt, Biron is a capable backup. But Lundqvist is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and backbone of this team. If he gets hurt, it will be tough for the Rangers to contend.