As pre-season opener draws near, and no news coming out of the Rangers' office, it looks like Brendan Shanahan might have played his last year in the NHL. If this is the case, I for one will miss watching him play the greatest sport on ice. It is time for me to move on as I look at this new Rangers team.
After reading a very good article written by Mike Rappaport on Scotty Gomez, I wanted to take a look at this line up and see who has to step up or they’ll most likely be traded.
It is definitely too early to say which youngsters will play and which ones won't. But as of right now, this is what it's looking like.
These are the guys I believe that will be traded if they don’t step it up this year.
Petr Prucha. He had a terrible year along with a side lining injury last season. He scored seven goals with ten assists in 67 games. Renney should forget about what he did last year considering no one could score last season. After all, we already saw what he could do.
In his rookie year he scored 30 goals with 17 assists, following with 22 goals and 18 assists the year after. He has tons of potential, I like the kid; he definitely plays hard and gives his all. The Rangers need a guy that loves to play in front of the net who isn’t afraid to hit and get hit.
But after looking at this lineup, I feel he will be sitting more than playing. Who should sit? If Renney focuses on Prucha's performance last year then he already has his mind set on playing someone else. So all eyes in the Rangers office will be on Prucha to see what he does this year.
Blair Betts: Although he does the little things, and is an ok forth line player, Blair Betts will be on the watch list as well. There are several new guys they I am sure will play on the fourth line, all younger, faster, and stronger than Betts. If Betts doesn’t click with these guys, look for the Rangers to find another player to take his spot.
I am not a Betts fan, but I will say this: He is a player that might be able to keep pace with this new line of players, as well as step up and start scoring. I would have felt the same way if they kept Ryan Hollweg who is faster, stronger, and younger then Betts.
When watching Betts, Hollweg, and whoever else then put on that line, they always did very well against their opposition's top lines, and were very determined and hungry to produce goals. Sometimes they created good scoring chances but rarely got the puck in the net. This is why I feel he has a better chance to improve his production with his new line mates.
Colton Orr: He is one of Renny’s favorites, but hasn’t done much for the Rangers. He isn’t afraid to hit people and fights often, although he isn’t good at it. But he is not a good enforcer.
He is not a player other teams fear. Yes he had his good moments and has shown some potential, but not that much where he will not be traded this year if he doesn’t start producing. I feel regardless of Renney's feelings on him; it's going to be play up to par or your gone.
There is no one dominate player. Gomez isn’t a goal scorer, but I hope he starts shooting more than passing, because he has show very good scoring ability. Drury had an ok season last year. Dubinsky showed the best overall improvements under the tutelage of Shanahan and Jagr, along with Callahan and Dawes. They are safe regardless.
I feel Drury will have to have a very good year. He is the goal scorer on this team, as well as Zherdev and Naslund, who will be looking to change the momentum of his career. They have to step it up this year for the Rangers to have a good year.
With all the hype on these rookies coming in, it is way too early to say how well they will do. After all, Maholtra, Biele, and Mike York who had a great rookie seasons, and traded anyway, all were supposed to do great in the NHL but fell short of the hype.
The Rangers have no one dominate player, but a group of good young players determined to be on this team and show that they have what it takes to be in the NHL. I'd look for trades to take place mostly of players they had last year. Getting rid of the old and moving on with the new blood..
If this team clicks, I do look for the Rangers to have a very explosive team and a very good year.
Thank you. Looking forward to reading your feed back!