Last year, right around this time, I wrote:
In it, I predicted things like Wade Redden's average season, the same for Dubinsky, the captaincy being ultimately given to Drury, and the trading of Petr Prucha.
This year, again, a few more predictions for the New York Rangers...without talking about how many games Gaborik plays...
A few commentators, like Stan "I really hate him as a commentator because he's just a mark, a sham, and an all around vacuum of any true hockey acumen." Fischler, have made a big deal about how Lundqvist shouldn't play as much as he has.
Every year this is an issue with a workhorse goalie, especially when you have a guy like Brodeur a few towns away, who every year plays 65+, and gasses in the playoffs.
I'm here to say it: Lundqvist is playing as many games as humanly possible. Maybe if we had a monster of a backup, he'd get less. Honestly, we have Steven Valiquette. I like Valley...but would I rest a season on him, by giving him 20 - 30 games? You're crazy.
So, Olympics and all, Lundqvist has AT LEAST 65 starts during this year.
Was there REALLY any doubt? Sorry Grachev. I like the kid...he's huge, and might put it all together. Did he even have A goal this preseason? I don't recall. He played well, but not well enough to warrant a roster spot, ESPECIALLY with the depth we have on wing. He might get a cup of coffee because of injuries, but that's the most.
Doesn't that somewhat rhyme?
Anyway, Torts was quoted as saying that when discussing how to play without the puck, Lisin has "no clue." However, he was also quoted as saying that "the puck seems to find him," and that they are going to "teach him."
Good stuff so far, but what that means to me, is that he'll start on the sideline, hanging out in the press box.
We do have some injury prone players, and we do have some guys who can have off nights. Torts WILL NOT be shy about benching players. As soon as a guy can't go, Lisin will.
This is why I predict half a season for him. He'll get into around 40 games. As soon as Gabs gets hurt, he's in. As soon as Avery does something stupid, he's in. The guy can get around in the offensive zone can't he? He'll find time in the top 6.
Next year, with Vinny Prospal probably not coming back, it 1) gives a full time center ice spot to Anisimov, and 2) gives a full time wing spot to Lisin. He'll have to wait until at least then. Sorry man.
Very interesting preseason for this kid. I saw game 1 of the preseason, and was very disappointed with his play. In the back of my mind, I always thought he was somewhat overrated. Maybe we have a thing for Russians in New York:
Since Kovy...we have always thought highly of them. When Zherdev came to town, he was supposed to have been the savior. When Cherepanov was drafted, he was supposed to have been the savior (we'll never find out sadly...but he really never had the numbers to back that status up).
Now it's Anisimov. Don't get me wrong, I went nuts when I saw that goal...AGAINST TIM THOMAS NO LESS. But is that indicative of his play for a full season? Who's to know?
Anisimov will get some playing time on the fourth line (due to Brian Boyle's terrible play), and will be moved all over the ice throughout the game. He'll average around 8 minutes of ice...which is a lot for a Torts fourth liner. The goal is to get him 12 goals.
No one questions his offensive ability, but it can only help him to learn to grind. He'll learn that lesson soon.
Last year he scored 13 goals. He career year is 25. Most un-bold prediction: Kotalik scores 20 goals.
Bolder prediction....half of those are on the powerplay.
I honestly believe he was the most exciting player on the powerplay we've had since Jagr. He has a DAMN good shot....and with the players we have to stand in the crease and tip it (Higgins, Cally, Avery, Drury just to name a few), how can the guy NOT do well? 10 pp goals, 10 pp assists. Ranger fans would be more than happy to see that.
Do I get shot for saying this?
Let's see....minimal powerplay time.
Isn't the number 1 guy... or No. 2... or even No. 3.
No real pressure to speak of.
Maybe he'll actually relax and play well again?
I gotta think it has to happen. Plus...with the grouping of youngsters we have, how can this guy not be pushed?
Now with the current emergence of Michael Del Zotto...if he can play well all season I gotta think that Sather will make a solid attempt...to TRADE ROSZIVAL! Yeah!
Easy deals will be available by the trade deadline. For example....if Columbus is on the brink of making it, maybe they'll take Roszival's contract for someone like Fred Modin?
He's a guy making $3 million, with Torts ties. He could in turn help the Rangers, and be cut loose in the offseason. An actual salary dump that could really help us. Just thinking out loud.
The better Roszival plays, the better his chances of being moved. There is no way he's on the Ranger roster this time next year.
...we've been waiting HOW LONG for this kid to break out?
He has the making and behavior of a premier power forward.
He has the skill and shot of a premier finesse forward.
He has the total package.
This is the year Dubinsky breaks out. I'm calling 25 goals, 35 assists. That would be career high in both categories, and usually I'm more conservative in that area. Not with him. Sorry, but next to Gabs, and after what just occurred, with Torts barking behind him; break out season.
Honestly...how good did he look last year? He IS a Torts player through and through. He scored, I believe, 23 goals last year. This year he adds to that.
30 goals for Ryan Callahan.
Torts is smart enough to play him with other guys who beg for attention; either Prospal, Gaborik or Higgins. Either way, you can't keep a man really on Cally the whole time. At this point, there's just too much talent up front on the team for that to occur.
Cally will score A TON of garbage goals, and will get an "A" on his uniform for all his troubles.
"He's the next Brian Leetch!"
Slow down there kids.
He ain't the next coming of Brian Leetch. Allow me to predict that. If John Michael Liles played in NY, he'd be the next coming of Brian Leetch. As would ANY DEFENSEMAN WHO CAN JUMP IN THE PLAY. In all seriousness, Leetch was one...who will never be matched in Ranger history.
However, that shouldn't prevent Gilroy from having a monster year. He's a little older...so that 20 year old immaturity isn't there. Having a 50 point, 10 goal, 40 assist year is completely in the realm of possibility. No. 97? That'll be all over the backs of the Garden faithful sooner rather than later.