Originally written March 27, 2013 on Blue Seat Blogs:
New_york_rangers_3ebe
Could Zuccarello’s arrival mean the end for Gaborik? There’s a strong chance that after such an impressive performance against the Flyers (no matter how unimpressive the Flyers have been this year) that John Tortorella will stick with the line-up that pulled out the victory, and certainly the 5-2 win perhaps affords the coaching staff time with re-acquainting themselves with Mats Zuccarello. That said, when Zuccarello does eventually re-enter the line-up – and he will, why else bring him back? – his play will have a significant impact on the future of Marian Gaborik. The Rangers have a young roster and enough moving parts that cap space isn’t a huge concern at the moment, even if it does need monitoring for next year. However, moving Gaborik or buying out Richards gives the Rangers much more maneuverability going forward. Therefore, a successful return by Zuccarello and/or an immediate impact by the also incoming Jesper Fast make Gaborik a luxury. Amid all the positive performances against the Flyers, Gaborik wasn’t bad. That however doesn’t cut it, especially as young players such as Chris Kreider, JT Miller, Derek Stepan, Michael Del Zotto and Carl Hagelin all stepped up to play strong games in a hostile building. Throw another two potential top six wingers into the mix and Gaborik’s cap hit may become unnecessary. With Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan entrenched in the top six wing positions. the mix of Hagelin, Kreider, Miller, Zuccarello and Fast is exciting, young and cheap. What bodes well for Zuccarello’s immediate inclusion Thursday is the quickly approaching trade deadline and the still inconsistent Rangers powerplay. While ‘Zuke’ could help spark the latter, moving Gaborik could too (think Boyle, Dan). Essentially, the upcoming games against the Senators, the always tough Canadiens, and the Jets next Monday could be an audition to see whether this team can move forward this season without Gaborik. Gaborik has simply been frustrating this season. He’s flashed his obvious brilliance, but not enough to without-doubt-justify keeping him beyond this year at the expense of depth. One just needs to look at how the Chicago Blackhawks struggled initially (after winning the Cup) with the depth that they lost – and their subsequent over reliance on their top players – to see how Gaborik’s cap hit could be the crucial difference to the Rangers building a long term, deep contender. While small in stature, and still relatively unproven, Zuccarello’s impact in the coming days could be huge. His play could help shape the Rangers roster for the coming seasons whether he himself is in the long term plans of Coach Tortorella or not. The next few days could act as a play in. Can Gaborik re-emphasise his importance or could a potential saviour from the nether regions of the KHL emerge. Not just for playoff points, but the next three Rangers games could tell us so much more about the future. Tweet
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Giants shut out Pirates, advance to NLDS

Cowboys' Spillman accused of rape at team hotel

Report: Patriots benched WR for mouthing off to coach

Jose Bautista busts up reporter over Twitter

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Josh Gordon says NFL’s drug policy is harrassment

Steve Smith: Ron Rivera hid in his office after cutting me

Rondo hoping for an opening night return from broken hand

Jon Gruden on Raiders job: 'I'm not thinking about coaching'

Tom Brady defends not congratulating Garoppolo on TD

Ohio State student who ran on field loses full scholarship

ESPN reporter announces she has breast cancer

Byron Scott explains why Kobe wouldn't make a good coach

Hibbert texts Duncan for advice on being like Spurs

Belichick repeats moving 'on to Cincinnati' during presser

Donald Sterling’s wife called the cops on V. Stiviano

WATCH: Mayweather shocked someone doesn’t know who he is

Who is the new face of MLB?

NHL 15 predicts the LA Kings win the Cup again

J.J. Watt buys his mom a new car for her birthday

Ranking the NFL coaches already sitting on the hot seat

WATCH: Smith tells Panthers to go home and mow his lawn

The best games on the NFL slate in Week 5

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Cowboys player accused of rape

Scott: Kobe would not be a good coach

Pats WR benched for mouthing off?

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

Steve Smith blasts Panthers coach, GM

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.