An Evaluation Of The Current Ranger Lines and Players

Kevin PapaCorrespondent IApril 23, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 20: Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers interferes with goaltender Simeon Varlamov #40 of the Washington Capitals during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 20, 2009 in New York City. The Capitals defeated the Rangers 4-0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

After the huge 2-1 win against the Washington Capitals, John Tortorella needs to take a breath and decide who should play for the better of the team. Although I stand behind almost everyone he appoints or approves for the team, he has made what could end as costly mistakes. Here is who I feel should be getting more or less time, depending on how they have played so far.

Sean Avery-demotion

Avery usually skates on that fine line between aggressive hockey and bad penalties, but in this playoff series he is all but tripped over it. He is taking horrible penalties, and although our team has stepped up to kill them off, all it takes is one shot. He needs to see a lowering of ice time, and he definitely should not be on the first line, MAYBE the third line if the right players are accompanying him.

Fredrik Sjostrom-promotion

Sjostrom's year-round hustle and overall good play warrants some kind of promotion if he can continue to play like he does. Him and Betts are the best penalty-killing tandem in the NHL, and he has the speed and a shot that could produce some kind of offense. Torts needs to pull him from the fourth line and stick him on the third or second, because it almost seems unfair for a player with his potential to be skating with Colton Orr, who will knocks out more teeth than goals.

Lauri Korpikoski-promotion

I will admit Korpikoski isn't overly offensive, and he may not be established as a particular asset yet, but he definitely can contribute more than he has at this point in the playoffs. That goal he had against Pittsburgh last year still excites me, and I think he will grow into a great player when given the chance.

Nik Zherdev-demotion

Although Nikolai Zherdev was a huge catalyst offensively in the regular season, he is struggling in his first ever playoff appearance. If he can find a way to contribute anything, he will definitely be moved up. But the pace and atmosphere is grossly different in contrast to the regular season, and the sooner he learns this, the better. I still look to him to rack up a decent amount of points this postseason.

Wade Redden-promotion

For a guy who looked clueless for the entire regular season, it gives me great relief to finally see Redden contribute defensively to this New York Rangers team. He is picking up his man, poke-checking, and rivals the rest of the Rangers defenseman so far as probably the second or third best d-man so far.

Michal Roszival-demotion

For someone who has a good amount of time logged in playoff situations, Roszival does not seem to be performing. Granted, he has improved, and he has flashes of solid defense, but he is still taking questionable penalties and his offensive game is also erratic.

Nik Antropov-promotion

Not only has he been contributing to the offense, he has also begun playing the penalty kill and other situations. He has evolved and has a new game in him. I hope we find a way to sign him next year because he could become another catalyst and only make our game stronger.

Do you think anyone else should be promoted/demoted? Let me know in the comment box below.


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