The captain should be back soon. If you haven't been paying attention to the news, Drury has been out the past few weeks with two breaks in one hand. I know a lot of people have him etched in as a healthy scratch for the rest of the year, but I think otherwise.
As of right now, the New York Rangers are almost dead last in faceoff percentage. The return of Drury will definitely bring that stat up. He also brings back his great penalty killing and his priceless intangibles. Yes...his intangibles.
Whether Rangers fans like to admit it or not, Chris Drury does bring an element to this team that is hard to find in other players.
Expect Drury to come back around the beginning of December centering one of the bottom-six lines.
Who gets demoted/scratched? Derek Stepan may benefit from some time in the AHL. However, he finally seems to be clicking with Marian Gaborik. This makes Erik Christensen, whom Coach Tortorella moved down to the bottom six in Wednesday's loss, the odd man out. Brian Boyle is definitely not going anywhere right now. If Christensen plays well, expect him to be a healthy scratch alternating with Derek Boogaard every other game or so.
As much as I love the guy (as one of the last two Rangers from the 2005-06 season), do we really need Rozsival back so soon? Steve Eminger, who has gotten more minutes recently, has surprised many with his physical and steady play. He hasn't been out of position and took on a top-four role seamlessly.
However, two defenseman need to have a seat.
These two are Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy. Let's face it: Del Zotto isn't playing like he did last year and Gilroy isn't what we expected him to be. Rozsival should be able to step in and take one of their spots for a few games at least.
Brad Richards Coming to Broadway?
There have been various reports saying that the Rangers are looking for a 1A center for a while now. One name has always been in these rumors: Brad Richards.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk won't give Richards a contract over five years. If the Stars keep a $45 million budget for next season, it will be next to impossible to keep Richards away from free agency.
So where do the Rangers come in? The Rangers could either trade for Richards most likely around the trade deadline or try to sign him in the offseason. Right now the Rangers are backlogged with bottom-six centers.
Stepan has shown some sparks, but it is quite obvious that he could benefit from playing a bit in Hartford. Christensen, in my honest opinion, is a brilliant player. However, he has self-confidence issues that influences his production, which has been inconsistent at best. Anisimov is centering the BAR (Brandon-Artem-Ryan) line and he's going to stay pat. Boyle and Drury are built for bottom-six roles.
The Rangers have no real top-line center for Marian Gaborik. Trading for Richards now would make the Rangers a legitimate contender. Waiting until the offseason to sign him to a solid contract—unless Sather goes on a spending spree—would make the Rangers legitimate contenders next season without giving up any assets. If they wait until the trade deadline, the Rangers will have to deal with competing offers from other teams. However, trading at the deadline could benefit the Rangers as they could get him at a discount. (Marian Hossa anyone?)
My opinion on the situation? The Rangers haven't had a top-line center for years now. Brad Richards would be an exciting addition to this team. I would definitely consider trading anyone, but not a core player. Maybe a first-round draft pick, a prospect and a defenseman (which is one of Dallas's needs)?
Trading for star players could either have a positive effect (Joe Thornton) or a negative effect (Ilya Kovalchuk) on a team. Just a few years ago, the Rangers were in the running for the Dany Heatley sweepstakes. The Ottawa Senators wanted a combination of Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky or Marc Staal, plus a few draft picks. Thank God Sather didn't make that trade. All three of them are on pace to have career years. What makes this better? They are all homegrown.
Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!
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