Today is one of those days where I have way too many thoughts about the Rangers in my head, so you are getting them in bullet point form. It’s a musings, but more of a disjointed musings from a very tired Dave.
It’s going to be really interesting to see how fans react if and when the season resumes. I, like many others, refuse to attend a game with my own money –I’ll go if someone buys me a ticket– because of the way the league and the players have ignored the fans. Yes, both sides have ignored the fans. While I largely believe the owners –mainly Jeremy Jacobs– are the main reason for the lockout, both sides have lied to the fans. Fans come first? Yea, right.
One more lockout note: For the fans that do attend games, if there isn’t a “Fire Bettman” chant in every single arena on opening night, then I will be incredibly disappointed. There comes a time when someone needs to go, and now is that time.
Ok, I lied, one more lockout quip. If the NHL thinks they can lure fans back with a stupid image on the ice that says “Thank You Fans!” like they did in 2005, then they are sorely mistaken. They will need to give us something. Free NHL Center Ice for this season –and maybe next season– is a start.
Now on to the Rangers. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Rangers piece together their bottom defense pairing. Stu Bickel is a lock for a spot. Steve Eminger and Anton Stralman are as well. Add in the usual players (MDZ, Staal, Girardi, McDonagh), and that’s already seven guys. Matt Gilroy is in Connecticut on an AHL contract. Will he sign an NHL deal? Will he play for the Whale, knowing he’s #8 on the depth chart? What if someone like Logan Pyett or Sean Collins gets a call up first? It’s going to be very interesting to see how Slats and Torts play this out.
Chris Kreider is the Rangers super prospect, and many already have him pegged to win the Calder Trophy. But Torts generally plays his rookies on the third line to ease them into NHL playing time, which severely limits their ice time and scoring potential. Conventional wisdom suggests that Kreider would follow suit, but he’s already played top line minutes in the playoffs.
If Kreider does make the top-six, who gets sent to the third line? It’s a choice between Carl Hagelin or Ryan Callahan. The super trio of Rick Nash, Brad Richards, and Marian Gaborik –who will be healed by the time the season starts– are guaranteed top six spots, as is Derek Stepan. In actuality, the Rangers have seven players capable of playing on the top six. That’s not exactly a bad problem to have.
This is actually the first time the Rangers have multiple options for their top six forwards. For every season since the lockout, the question has always been about rounding out the bottom six forwards. Those are actually set (Hagelin/Cally, Boyle, Pyatt, Asham, Rupp, Halpern, Haley). For those that have been begging for depth, here is your depth. It’s pretty solid.
Ok, maybe this wasn’t disjointed at all.