Last night during their home opener against the Maple Leafs, the Rangers lost their top forward (Marian Gaborik) and their captain (Chris Drury) to injuries. Both will be out long term: Gaborik up to a month, and Drury out for at least a month in a half.
That's not good for the New York Rangers, who currently hold a 1-1-1 record. Losing their top player will be no easy task, and losing their captain (again) only makes it harder. Vinny Prospal is another forward that the Rangers will be missing, as he is preparing for surgery that may end his season. So the question now becomes: Is it too early to call it quits on the Rangers?
Personally, I have mixed feelings when I hear this question. It is extremely early in the season, but if the Rangers drop down the standings early on, it will be very tough for them to climb back up in the middle of the season.
The Rangers look like an affiliate team without Gaborik, and the only player that can hold them afloat is their goalie, Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist cannot carry this team all by himself, though, and without another big-time superstar like Gaborik on the team, the Rangers have a major problem.
But, I do not think it is time to call it quits just yet. Glen Sather will find a way to help his team, and there are three possible ways to do so.
Yesterday afternoon, two young players were waived by their respective teams: Wing Fabian Brunnstrom and defenseman Boris Valabik. Of the two, the Rangers would target Valabik the most. He is big, tough and left-handed. Do not be surprised if the Rangers throw in a claim for him.
With the injuries to Gaborik, Drury and Prospal, the Rangers may throw in a claim for Brunnstrom. The Rangers need help on offense, and he would be a cheap acquisition. He could take a spot on one of the top three lines, and get a partial tryout. If he struggles then the Rangers can easily send him right back on waivers once Marian Gaborik returns.
The Rangers need a forward, and he would be a good player to claim off waivers.
If the Rangers make a claim for defenseman Boris Valabik and acquire him, the Rangers can make a one-for-one trade by swapping a defenseman for a forward. There are plenty of teams interested in Michael Sauer and Matt Gilroy (two of the Rangers' seven defensemen), and the Rangers could acquire a decent forward for one of those two defenders.
It was rumored that the Blue Jackets were offering Derick Brassard for Michael Sauer, and that the Coyotes were offering two young forwards for Michael Sauer. If I am Glen Sather, I try to get a deal like that done before the next game.
John Tortorella has stated that the Rangers may make a few call-ups this afternoon. Players that come to mind are Mats Zuccarello, Dane Byers and Dale Weise. Other possibilities are Jeremy Williams, Kris Newbury and Kelsey Tessier. Any of those players would make excellent call-ups until the Rangers forwards return from injuries.
Tim Kennedy is also a possible call-up, but he will have to go through re-entry waivers at a very low price, likely to be claimed by a team looking for offense.
It's no secret that the Rangers are in huge trouble right now without Marian Gaborik, but they can find ways around his injury that can keep them winning games.
Henrik Lundqvist cannot lead this team (without Gaborik) all by himself, and Alexander Frolov cannot carry the offense the same way Marian Gaborik did last season. The Rangers need to acquire someone, and they need to do it soon.
Thanks for the read, hope you enjoyed. Feel free to leave your thoughts on what the Rangers must do without Marian Gaborik.