The New York Rangers cut eleven players Monday afternoon, and John Tortorella has announced that he would like to cut the roster down to a final twenty-three men roster, and he would like to do it soon (possibly after tonight’s preseason game against Detroit).
From what I have been told tonight’s roster will be filled with “bubble” players who are fighting for a roster spot on the Rangers. These players include:
Brian Boyle (C)
Tim Kennedy (C/LW)
Todd White (C)
Derek Stepan (C)
And Camp Try-out Ruslan Fedotenko (LW) will all battle for three forward spots.
Steve Eminger, Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko, Matt Gilroy, and Michael Sauer will be battling for three defensive spots.
Due to Chris Drury’s injury two slots are free for forwards, and one more forward will make the team as an extra roster player.
On defense there four spots taken by Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, and Michael Rozsival. That leaves two spots open for defenseman on the opening night line-up, and one more spot free for a seventh defender.
Who will win the final roster spots?
This question can be debated forever, and everyone has different opinions, and hopes, on who will be dressing for the New York Rangers October 9th when they begin their 2010-11 season. This will be my opinion on how the roster will turn out, and please comment at the end of the article with your roster opinion:
The Rangers have five forwards battling for three spots on the Rangers roster (names posted above). Four of them are centers, while the other (Ruslan Fedotenko) is a left winger.
Center- Coach John Tortorella has said that both Artem Anisimov and Erik Christensen center a line this season. Also adding Captain Chris Drury who will start playing after the first week of the season, and that makes three center positions taking. But as I dissect my roster prediction I will leave out Chris Drury, because this will be an “Opening Night” roster, in which Chris Drury is not expected to be part of (due to his injury). With both Anisimov and Christensen on the opening line-up that leaves two spots open for centers. Players fighting for those spots will be Derek Stepan, Todd White, Tim Kennedy, and Brian Boyle. Both Derek Stepan and Tim Kennedy have been extremely impressive throughout training camp and preseason, while Boyle had an excellent game Thursday against the Devils, but struggled against Detroit on Sunday. Todd White has not been very impressive in preseason and as I’ve said before, he will likely be sent to the AHL. Now we have erased one player, leaving three more to choose from. I think a sure-in should be Derek Stepan. He has played extremely well between Marian Gaborik and Alexander Frolov, and I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win a spot on the team. The final spot will be given out later in the article, for second positional reasons.
Left Wing- Ruslan Fedotenko will continue his battle to win a contract from the New York Rangers, and after asking two different hockey analysts, it sounds likely that Fedotenko gets a contract from the team. Does he deserve a roster spot, though? Tim Kennedy also play’s left wing, but will likely change to center and take the final spot (there is your final center). Left wing positions are taken by Alex Frolov, Brandon Dubinsky, Sean Avery, and Derek Boogaard. That is all four spots taken up by four separate players, leaving zero spots for another left winger. As I said before, Tortorella will be carrying twenty-three players. He would like seven defensemen, which means he will bring fourteen forwards leaving two spots open for healthy scratches. For the first week of the season neither scratches will be named Chris Drury, because he will be placed on the injury reserved list according to Tortorella, so two spots will be open for players as healthy scratches. One spot can be taken by Ruslan Fedotenko, and the other can be taken by Brian Boyle. Both of those players can occasionally substitute in for Derek Boogaard who is not expected to play every game this season, so expect around thirty games combined from the healthy scratches (not including injury’s or suspensions).
Right Wing- The right wing position will be played by Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, Vinny Prospal, and Brandon Prust. No other players play the right wing position beside Alex Frolov, but he will be on the first line as left winger across from Marian Gaborik.
Defense- As I said before spots are taken on defense by Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, and Michael Rozsival. This leaves two spots for the third line of defense and a spot for a seventh defenseman. Three spots open on defense and five defensemen are fighting for those positions. Those players being the players listed earlier, but to refresh your memory:
Ryan McDonagh, Matt Gilroy, Steve Eminger, Pavel Valentenko, and Michael Sauer are the defensemen battling for roster spots.
Let’s start with the seventh defensive spot. The top candidate for this position is Steve Eminger. The veteran defenseman has had a good camp and belongs in the NHL, but the Rangers have a good amount of prospects trying out for the team this year that they would rather have on the line-up than Eminger. With Eminger as the seventh defenseman that leaves four other players battling for two spots. We can erase Michael Sauer from competition because quite frankly, I don’t know how he made it this far into camp. Now we are down to Matt Gilroy, Ryan McDonagh, and Pavel Valentenko. Matt Gilroy has had an extremely impressive training camp and preseason, and has won back trust and belief from the Rangers coaching staff. But will that be good enough to make the team? Both McDonagh and Valentenko have played very well, and they show a lot of potential. I’d say Ryan McDonagh has earned a spot on the roster, while Valentenko will have to play to the best of his ability tonight when the Rangers take on the Red Wings. “Tenko” must continue running players into the boards, and he has to continue blasting shots from the point. He has a rocket-of-a-shot, and he could be very useful on the power-play. It will be Valentenko V Gilroy trying to earn the final spot.
Goalie- Can’t leave out the goalies! Obviously this is set in stone, Henrik Lundqvist will start and Martin Biron will back him up.
My Final Line Positions:
Line One: Marian Gaborik-Derek Stepan-Alexander Frolov
Line Two: Ryan Callahan-Artem Anisimov-Brandon Dubinsky
Line Three: Vinny Prospal-Erik Christenson-Sean Avery
Line Four: Derek Boogaard-Tim Kennedy-Brandon Prust
Spares: Ruslan Fedotenko, Brian Boyle, and Chris Drury.
Line One: Marc Staal-Daniel Girardi
Line Two: Michael Del Zotto-Michael Rozsival
Line Three: Ryan McDonagh-Matt Gilroy
Spare: Steve Eminger
Starting Goalie: Henrik Lundqvist
Back-Up Goalie: Martin Biron
Note: Italic is for players that may switch in and out of the line-up regularly, and Bold Italic signals that Chris Drury will likely take Tim Kennedy spot in the line-up, and one of Kennedy or Boyle will be sent to the AHL while the other stays a healthy scratch.
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