As the Nikolai Zherdev saga has comes to an end. The time has come for the New York Rangers to move on and take a close look at who they have and who they need.
With Scott Gomez , Nicolai Zherdev , Paul Mara , Derek Morris , Lauri Korpikoski , Blair Betts , Colton Orr , Freddy Sjostrom and Nik Antropov gone. Along with the retirement of Markus Naslund. The Rangers have a whole new look , a whole new team.
As of right now , Brandon Dubinski is unsigned. Now with the decision on Zherdev decided. One would think the Rangers would have resigned Dubinski. But Sather has not mentioned anything about Dubinski or even hinted that the Rangers and Brandon will start negotiations . But Sather did say they would explore other options in regards to losing Zhedev. One would wonder if the Rangers have any intentions of signing the young center or are they looking else where in regards to Brandon as well. After all he did turn down their offer. Exactly how much will they pay for a second or third line center ? maybe we will find out soon.
After the way coach Tortorella praised Dubinski last year. One would think Brandon would already have an extended contract of some kind. But this is not the case. but there is still plenty of time for the two parties to have a sit down and discuss a contract. But why wait If that is the Rangers intentions.
The Rangers roster now looks to be a great improvement when compared to last years team. For the first time in many years . I can actually say this team will be a scoring threat .
With the exception of Marian Gaborik , this team is not filled with superstars. But they do have at least five players that they can count on to score 20 plus goals on the season. Chris Drury , Ales Kotalik , Marian Gaborik , Chris Higgins and Ryan Callahan.
I say at least five, only because no one really knows what Enver Lisin Or Artem Anisimov will actually bring to the table. But high expectations are there for both of these players and neither one of them are strangers to scoring goals. I hope that they will be given a fair chance to prove them selves .
After looking at the roster. The Rangers are in serious need of two center. I just can’t see Tyler Arnason playing to many games. I see him playing most of the season in Hartford. Maybe rotating with six foot seven , 252 lbs Brian Boyle.
Having Boyle on the same line as Donald Brashear , six foot 3 234 lbs and Aaron Voros 6-3 215 lbs would be one of the biggest lines in the NHL. I personally do not care for Voros . How ever I do love a player that is quick to drop the gloves and that is Aaron Voros. As long as he knows that that is his role . Voros will be a good keep.
As of right now there are not to many decent centers on the free agency list left. Phil Kessel who had shoulder surgery might miss the beginning of the season, is the best center out there as of right now . With 36 goals and 22 assists . The Rangers would benefit greatly having him in their line up. Either way they need to make a trade to obtain a first line center.
As for the Rangers defense . They need size and offence. I am not expecting anything different from Wade Redden or Mark Staal. Staal defensively is a solid defenseman and getting better. As a scoring threat , I don’t see that happening. Not just yet any way.
Dan Girardi has a very nice shot. But if he does not shoot the puck, it does not help anyone. He has played extremely well in the defensive zone and I expect to see his physical play and fore checking to be even better this year with coach Tortrella . I am hoping for a very good year from Girardi.
Michal Rozsival I expect to be the same as last year , useless .. I hope he proves me wrong because he has a great shot when he is not constantly looking to make the perfect pass. He is not a solid defenseman at all. Last year he made more defensive mistakes then anyone on the team. He just needs to focus on scoring goals and creating chances in front of the net by shooting the puck. Rosey , Don’t pass , don’t even think , you‘ll just hurt your self, just shot the puck and every one will be happy.
I would like to see the Rangers use Corey Potter . He is six foot three 200 lbs. In the five games he played last year , he scored a goal and an assist . Potter is an all around defenseman. If now is not the time to play him, then when is?
The Rangers need to open their eyes now on who is out there for them to steal . Anton Babchuk is still on the free agency list. At six foot five 212 lbs, he bring a little of both, size and scoring. At age 25 , he tallied 35 points last year. Registering 16 goals and 19 assists , he will fit right in .
Why the Rangers let Erik Reitz go , I don’t quite understand. At six foot one 210 lbs he was a presence on the ice. He is not a really big player, but one thing he can do is check and play a very physical game . As well as likes to fight. Big plus in my book. He is still available.
At age twenty eight Alexei Semenov six foot six 236lbs this guy is a monster. With a shot that was recorded at 105 mph Alexei can be a serious force on the Rangers roster.
These are just a few Defensemen still available that would be great picks for the Rangers. With just around 11 million in cap room. The Rangers can pick up most of these guys at a good price with out hurting them at all.
What ever the Ranger do At this point . They need to start looking for that one extremely good center and defensively ,Size and toughness should be a priority. The players do not need to be superstars. They just need to be determined to win and play hard. As well as protect Gaborik.
It takes a team to win , Not just one player. How ever Marian Gaborik Will be the focus of the Rangers offense. If they can protect him and keep him healthy. The year he can have can be truly amazing.
I would like to quote what a fan from BLEACHER wrote on one of my articles who I could not agree more with. Thank you C J couldn’t of said it better my self.
“ you do not need a bench of superstars to succeed in this league. The Pens only had 6 guys put more than 20 goals in (only 2 put in more than 25) and they won the cup! A solid bench comprised of hard working players who ALL have the ability and drive to put the puck in the net (like we have) combined with a system designed around everyone on the attack at all times (like we have) will lead to goals. It also helps that we are backed by what many consider to be the greatest goaltender in the game today. “