WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 08: Marian Gaborik #10 of the New York Rangers celebrates with teammate Vaclav Prospal #20 after scoring in the third period against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on October 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Through five games, Marian Gaborik—not Rick Nash—has been the most efficient offensive force on the Rangers, tallying five goals and three assists. Should that surprise you? Not at all, because all Gaborik has done with the Rangers, when healthy, is produce. Recall his 42-goal first season and 41-goal effort last year and you'll realize Gaborik has cemented himself with this team.
The Nash to Broadway move almost has you forget the Rangers still have a game-changer in Gaborik—a wonderful luxury few teams can afford.
Since being put on a line with Nash and Brad Richards, Gaborik has taken off, notching a hat trick against Boston and scoring two goals against Toronto. A lot of negativity was projected towards Gaborik early this season (some going as far to say he should be traded), but his game has been elevated since being placed on the Rangers' super first line.
Torts sang Gabby's praises recently, talking about how much he's changed and matured since his arrival on Broadway, transforming from a perimeter player to a more well-rounded one.
Per Katie Strang of ESPN New York:
"I think he has grown so much mentally in how he conducts himself," Tortorella said. "He's a very talented player that's willing to be there; and when I first met him, I didn't think he was willing to be there."
It's no secret the lockout pushing the start of the season to January benefited the team's sniper after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Gaborik was able to rehab and prepare for a season of high expectation and so far is delivering the goods.
While Rick Nash may be viewed as the "missing piece" to the New York Rangers Stanley Cup puzzle, Marian Gaborik is still a vital part of the equation.
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