New York Rangers: Who's the Odd Ranger Out?
As per my previous article, it seems as if finally, after years of begging, the prospects are being given the chance to shine in New York. Honestly... who's the over the hill hall of famer on this team being overpaid? No Guy Lafleur, no Luc Robitaille, no Jari Kurri.
A majority of players on this team are extremely hard working, determined, hungry, and are fighting for their careers. Even our captain, who albeit can be much maligned, has made a career of being that solid second line pivot... not a finesse prima donna.
Here is a list of players who I have to think, are on the bubble, due to solid performances by kids like Michael Del Zotto (above), or just due to the numbers game.
Due to Wade Redden's RIDICULOUS contract, and the play of guys like Del Zotto and the absolutely brilliant Matt Gilroy, Roszival has to be the odd-man out.
From what we've seen so far in preseason, the defensive pairings look to be Gilroy-Staal, and Del Zotto-Girardi. AND...they've played great. That's not even counting the solid play of Bobby Sanguinetti, the stabilizing giant that is Alexei Semenov, and the depth of Michal Sauer, Corey Potter and Ilkka Heikkenen. It all adds up to one of the vets on the blueline being out.
Roszival, with his $5 million salary, is a luxury most cannot afford, including us. It's a waste to have a guy making that much money, and probably not even on the powerplay.
We paid last summer near $13 million a season for a powerplay quarterback, and probably got one just now for $3 million in Ales Kotalik.
By trading Gomez, Sather basically admitted a mistake. He needs to make another admittance. Trade him for Anton Babchuk, who wants out in Carolina. Trade him to Toronto, with a high pick, for the absolutely bruising Garnet Exelby. Trade him for a few ticket stubs.
Either way, he eats up payroll, and is a waste of a spot for a hard working kid.
Is this kid good? Absolutely. Does he have that talent? No question. Will a day come where he'll be a top winger on this team? Sure. Just not today.
It's just a numbers game. And the numbers are 10, 12, 21, 16, 24 and 20. Those are the wingers who come before him on the depth chart. That's not even talking about Enver Lisin. Yet.
Secondary note, in regards to excess wingers, yeah, Parenteau doesn't have a shot in hell. He's here because it's a "feel good story." He'll be gone in less than a week.
I would love to see Grachev on my team...and if we were the New York Islanders; devoid mostly on NHL ready talent...he could be on it. However, as you can see, with the depth that we have, he has barely a chance, if that. Another guy with barely a chance is...
With his ability to skate, deke, tip pucks, and get to the net, 1) WHY did Phoenix even consider trading this guy? and 2) HOW IS HE NOT on one of our top two lines? It makes you think...was Vinny Prospal THAT important to have on this team?
I sure hope so, because, again, Lisin is probably the odd-man out.
I've seen MANY people putting together theoretical line combinations for this upcoming year, with Lisin getting fourth line duty. People...that's insane. John Tortorella RARELY plays his fourth line, and if he was, they'd better be big, be ready to fight, and ready to grind it out.
This guy is a dangler; a speedy perimeter guy who'll get in tight to the net when he's with a solid playmaker. You really think being next to Donald Brashear is the place for him? Ha.
AT BEST...he'll be our 13th forward...and as soon as a guy like Gaborik gets injured, or Higgins has an off game, he gets in the lineup. Or, if Anisimov shows he's not NHL ready, Prospal moves over and Lisin gets that wing spot. However, if things remain status quo, Lisin is in either the press box or Hartford to start the year.
Was I the only one DAZZLED by his amazing preseason goaltending performances? Did I hear right...that all preseason he let in NOT EVEN a single goal?
And he's a second cut back to Hartford? Are you kidding me?
I've really yet to question Torts judgment; honestly, he's recently won a cup...he's Keenan-esque, and seems to get the best out of his players. You give that guy a little slack. But to cut a goalie who has shown incredible poise and talent? Easy answer...the iffy Steven Valiquette.
Is Vally known for being this incredibly goalie? Never. He's known, honestly, for being an incredible guy in the locker room; funny and good to have around. That's why Johnson got cut, period.
So, as of now, he'll start, probably fighting with Wiikman and Zaba for the No. 1 spot in Hartford. Here's my issue though...there's been talk of the Rangers giving their back up maybe 15 games this year. If that's the case, and Valley goes maybe .500... you think, even with all charm I suppose, that Sather's going to keep him around?
Johnson will start this year in the minors for sure. This time next year, he'll be backup to Henrik Lundqvist. Quote me on that.