Hey oh! My name is Kyle and I will be your Daily Faceoff provider for all things Rangers this season. I will cover some analysis, any roster moves and injuries, as well as fantasy implications from your favorite team on Broadway.
I was born and raised in the suburbs of New Jersey and have lived here my whole life. My love for the blue shirts dates back to the early 90’s and I can remember when the team had guys like Tony Amonte, Sergei Nemchinov, Mike Gartner, Richter playing back up the Beezer, and of course all the stars. Despite public perception, I believe the Rangers embody a sense of hard work and dedication, and they give off that blue collar work ethic, more so than any other in team in New York. They are not perennial losers like the Mets and the Jets, nor are they like the Giants or the Yankees. There is something magical about Madison Square Garden when the Rangers are playing (other than screaming “POTVIN SUCKS!”) and I hope my coverage of the Rangers can reflect it. That being said, I will never be this serious again.
We all knew this season would be a tough start, as the Rangers parted ways with offensive pieces Scott Gomez (good riddance!) and Nikolai Zherdev, a talented kid that just didn’t bleed the red white and blue. The hole’s in the offense were supposed (key word) to be fulfilled by Marian Gaborik, Ales Kotalik, Christopher Higgins, and Vinny Prospal. While Gaborik has held up his end of the bargain by not only staying healthy, but by currently leading the NHL in goals and 2nd in total points behind Joe Thornton, the rest of the offense has been nearly invisible. Prospal started the season out strong, but has begun to fall off the map for the Blueshirts. The return of Brandon Dubinsky should be a huge lift to not only the team as whole, but the Rangers offense. Christopher Higgins has begun to show some life on the offensive side (2G, 1A) in his last 3 games, but the Rangers have only scored 4 goals so far this month. They need role guys like Ryan Callahan, pseudo-captain Chris Drury, and Ales Kotalik to start stepping their games up immediately if anything more than a 1st round exit is in store.
The Rangers made a surprising move on Thursday by sending rookie and Hobey Baker winner Matt Gilroy down to AHL affiliate the Hartford Wolfpack, a mere 24 hours after Dustin Byfuglien muscled around him to score the game winner in OT Wednesday. Coach John Tortorella offered his sympathies as only John Tortorella knows how. He said, “I know he didn’t want to go but, really, I don’t care if he wants to go or not. This is how a young player is going to be handled when there’s some bumps in the road.” I think I speak for just about everyone when I say, “Why couldn’t it have been Roszvial? Or Redden?” Perhaps management felt that Gilroy was actually getting worse
while playing with Redden and Roszival, or perhaps this is just another head scratcher from the front office. The Rangers also called up goalie Matt Zaba as King Henrik’s backup.
Marian Gaborik – If he’s available in your league then you’re dumb. If the Rangers are going to score, he’s going to be involved.
Henrik Lundqvist – This guy is an absolute work horse. He’s played in 70 games his last 3 years and with backup goaltenders coming and going this year, he’s in line for probably 75 starts. As the Rangers try to find their offensive game, they will be looking to Lundqvist to turn in solid performances all season. Keep on riding him.
Vinny Prospal – The ideal “sell high” candidate. His numbers are great for the start of the season, but with only 2 assists and -3 in his last 7 games, you may be able to package him in a deal for Loui Ericksson or late-bloomer Ryan Clowe.
Chris Drury – The captain of the Rangers is only owned in 19% of Yahoo! Leagues and hasn’t lit the lamp since October 9th. I have no idea what kind of locker room presence he has, but if you want to be competing for the playoffs, leave this guy on the free agent list or try to trade him for a sandwich. Doesn’t have to be a good sandwich, but any kind of meat in between two pieces of bread will satisfy you more than having this guy take up a roster spot.
Brandon Dubinsky (19% owned) – He’s also available in only 19% of Yahoo! Leagues, and with the way Torts has been changing the lineups he could very well be centering a line with Marian Gaborik which would increase his fantasy value significantly. His set to take the ice on Monday against the Thrashers so keep on eye on him.
Christopher Higgins (3% owned) – He will start tonight on a line with Prospal and Gaborik, and this move could awaken the former 20 goal scorer and pay dividends for any fantasy owner, but with the lineup changes I wouldn’t put too much stock into this just yet. Keep an eye on him.
And now, a great picture of the great Mark Messier.
Courtesy of Deadspin.com