Found March 25, 2013 on
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AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
In case you missed it, the Rangers re-signed Mats Zuccarello, who will likely join the club within the week. Zuccarello will bring some stability and scoring to the bottom-six, something that is desperately needed. The addition of Zuccarello will lead to some lineup changes. When all the pieces fall into place, the odd-man out is not who you might think it is.
It’s been very clear that the organization wants offensive talent to play alongside J.T. Miller on the third line, so it’s a logical assumption that these two will see some ice time together. Since Zuccarello is rather flexible and can play either wing, that opens up a few options for the Rangers. If Torts wants to try Miller at center, then the Rangers can try either Marian Gaborik (RW) or Chris Kreider (LW). Each line will have a lot of skill and speed, but the downside is that the trio will be defensively inept. The rest of the top-six remains the same.
With Miller at center, there are two side effects. Either one or both of Brian Boyle and Taylor Pyatt need to be pushed down to the fourth line. That means Kris Newbury will be returned to Connecticut, and one more roster player will need to come out of the lineup. This is where things get tricky. With Newbury back to CT as a given, the Rangers will have four players (Pyatt, Boyle, Arron Asham, Darroll Powe) who would be competing for the fourth line spots.
Asham isn’t likely to be scratched, he’s been effective for the Rangers. The other three, however, have been severely underachieving and could see themselves on the chopping block. Boyle has seen his time as a healthy scratch and has a single goal on the year. Pyatt has scored just once since January 24. Powe hasn’t scored at all. Of the three, Powe and Boyle are the most defensively sound, Pyatt has the best hockey IQ, and Powe is the best skater. It is truly a conundrum.
What may wind up being the deciding factor is the ability to kill penalties. Powe and Boyle are two of the main penalty killers on this team. With Halpern gone, even more of the responsibilities will fall on these two. Pyatt is the only one of this trio that does not kill penalties. Pyatt is also the only one who cannot play center.
All of this gets blown up if the coaching staff is hesitant to put Miller at center. It means Boyle stays as third line center with Miller and Gaborik, and Zuccarello gets moved to the fourth line, likely with Asham and Powe (or Pyatt). That just creates the whole Zuccarello mess from the past years, and likely won’t end well for him or the club. The third line is still weighed down offensively by Boyle, and the fourth line is thrown together with mis-matching skill sets.
If this becomes the case, then a trade would like be in the works. At that point, there’s way too much speculation to even go into all the possibilities. Between the Gaborik rumors, and the logical reasoning about Boyle and Pyatt, there’s too much information there to possibly outline all the scenarios.
Using the current personnel, the Rangers are best served trying out a top-nine that includes Zuccarello and Miller, and subtracts Pyatt and Boyle. The next few days are going to be very telling for the organization, specifically about who the coaching staff trusts.
BEST OF MAXIM
As expected, Stu Bickel cleared waivers and will be sent to the Connecticut Whale in the AHL for tonight’s game. Bickel was not happy with the way he was treated, as Andrew Gross has some interesting quotes:
“It is what it is,” Bickel said. “It’s been tough for me to get an opportunity to play any minutes on the backend to develop some confidence.”
“I came up last...
Ranger fans tend to be a very opinionated bunch and this Blue Shirts roster offers them plenty of targets to express their diverse set of opinions upon. But even on a roster that boasts expensive and underachieving forwards Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik, no player attracts a wider array of assessments than D Michael Del [...]
Per several reports, the Rangers have re-signed forward Mats Zuccarello to a one-year contract through the end of the season. Zuccarello will be given a one-way deal, and the organization will reevaluate Zuccarello at the end of the season. The Hobbit adds much-needed scoring depth to the bottom-six, and will hopefully jump-start the third line, which is in desperate need of scoring...
- Over the last 19 games, New York is 10 for 52 on the power play.
- Arron Asham is the first player in NHL history to score a goal for each of the five teams in the Atlantic Division. (Via @Liam_McHugh)
- 11 of Mats Zuccarello’s 26 career NHL points have come on the power play, including 10 of his 18 assists.
- Zuccarello posted 11 goals and 17 assists in 44 games with Magnitogorsk...
NYR Stu Bickel clears waivers. Will play for CT today.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 24, 2013
...i know Bickel struggled mightily this season, but I'm happy to see he cleared. He's still fairly young and as we've seen this year, toughness is an important part of any line-up. And if you don't remember, he was actually pretty good for the Rangers...
Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record reports that JT Miller (wrist) will likely return to the Rangers line-up in Philadelphia tonight as he was off the ice during the morning skate with the regulars and said he was able to shoot and pass without discomfort.
Henrik Lundqvist will make his eighth straight start.
...with Miller likely back, someone has to come out and I'm...
With Halpern going to the Canadiens and Bickel going to the Connecticut Whale, forward additions were inevitable. It appears that the long-rumored reunion with Mats Zuccarello will be one of them.
According to Aftonbladet, Zuccarello and the Rangers have agreed on a contract. The article quotes Zuccarello's Swedish agent, Erik Ryman, as saying that the 25-year-old Norwegian...
Barton Silverman/The New York Times
The Rangers are in Philly tonight to take on the Flyers for the fourth and final time this season. The Rangers have taken two games (1/29: 2-1, 3/5: 4-2) and dropped one (1/24: 2-1) so far, and a win tonight would seal the season series with the Flyers. It would also help the Rangers in playoff positioning, as they need every point they can get...
As ESPN hockey scribe Katie Strang reported last night, it appears that Mats Zuccarello will be returning to the New York Rangers.
The Blueshirts clearly need some offense and while Zuccarello is not exactly a Steven Stamkos or someone who can put the puck in the net on a consistent basis, he is someone that can create scoring chances with his speed, his willingness to go the net...
TONIGHT’S GAME The Rangers will face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at Wells Fargo Center (7:30 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: Bloomberg Radio), to begin a three-game road trip. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 15-13-3 (33 pts). The [...]
In the game of hockey you never want to get down early. Unfortunately for the Rangers, they're making a habit out of it this season as they've now given up the first goal in 20 of their 31 games.
And once they're down, they haven't shown a great deal of resiliency as they were only able to comeback and win seven of those 20 games.
Some of the players addressed...
The Rangers fell tonight to the Washington Capitals 3-2 in a shootout. For a box score click here.
Not down on the Rangers' effort tonight despite the shootout loss and considering how things were going 10 minutes into the game. Fans have to put this game in their back pocket and move on to Tuesday's game against Philly.
Another strong showing by...
Rick Nash scored twice, Derek Stepan had a goal and three assists, and the New York Rangers extended their dominance of Philadelphia with a 5-2 win over the Flyers on Tuesday night.
Brad Richards and Chris Kreider also scored for New York, which has won 11 of the last 12 meetings with Philadelphia. Rangers coach John Tortorella became the 30th coach in NHL history to reach 400 wins...
Pic courtesy of Blueshirts United
The New York Rangers (15-13-3) visit the Philadelphia Flyers (13-16-2) at the Wells Fargo Center starting at 7:30 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.
Rangers Game Notes
TV: MSG; Radio: Bloomberg Radio (1130 AM), XM 215
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