Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Opening Night Rangers Roster and Lineup

So, Renney and Co. have a few decisions to make. Here is the roster and line combos as I see them:



First off, yesterday's game against that Swiss team was a complete waste of time. They are about as good as an average US college team. If I was the GM of an NHL franchise I would put up a big stink about playing a team like that instead of playing another NHL team in the preseason. They've got to revisit that for next year and make sure the competition is better. I'm guessing the Russian team the Rangers play today will be a lot more competitive.

That being said, Drury and Gomer looked awesome together yesterday. Naslund will fit in great with that line. It's too bad they won't be playing on an international ice surface all year. The question for that line will be how they get the puck on their sticks in the first place. Once they do, they'll be fun to watch.

I guess the surprise of my second line is Voros, but I have been very impressed by him so far. He doesn't have good hands, but he plays really hard and goes to the net. He'll create lots of havoc and will give Dubie and Zherdev a lot of space. Watching Zherdev play yesterday was like watching J Dubbs in Men's league. It was a guy trying to make ridiculous pond hockey moves getting stuffed by shitty players and then giving up once he lost the puck. I am so on the fence about how Zherdev is going to shake out this year. He could score 45 goals or get booed every time he touches the puck and put up 15 goals. He is the Rangers' Kovalev of 2008. No wonder why he reminds me of J Dubbs--Not surprisingly, Kovalev was J Dubbs's favorite Ranger.

I am loving the 3rd line of Dawes, Korp, and Callahan. Talk about a young energy line. Dawes and Callahan have speed, grit and a scoring touch. Korp seems to be a step slower but plays a solid game and seems to put himself in a position to score. Moving Voros up to the second line and putting Dawes on the 3rd line not only gives the second line some grit, it also gives the 3rd line a chance to put up some points and be really quick throughout.

With this 4th line of Riss, Betts and Fritsche, we actually have a 4th line that can be put out in defensive situations to shut down the opponent's top line. Renney tried to do this last year, but the combination of Betts, Hollweg and Orr scared me to death every time every time I saw them out there in a critical situation.

So who are the odd men out? Who makes the roster but gets scratched?

I think Sjostrom and Fahey will be cut. Sjostrom has just done nothing to impress this preseason. He can fly but he has no hands. Frosty, Mags, and Swivel, remind you of any 1997 HC hockey grad? Fahey is a serviceable backup, but I think Potter deserves a shot. He has some grit that is pretty absent on the Rangers' blueline. As far as who else makes the roster on a regular basis, I think it will be Orr and Potter. However, in order to avoid getting nothing for Prucha this week by putting him on waivers, I think they will keep Prucha on the roster and send Potter down to the minors. This leaves the Rangers at a slight risk because they will have no extra d-man on the roster for the second game in Prague in the event that one d-man gets hurt in the first game in Prague, but I think that is a risk they are willing to take. I think Orr will be splitting some time with Fritsche, who has been pretty unimpressive this preseason also.

Two weeks into the season, Prucha will not be with the Rangers. All preseason long, he has been given every opportunity to make this team. He has played with the best players on the ice and has had no results. He just cannot finish anymore. Yesterday was just another example of that. He played with Gomer and Drury and should ave had at least 2 goals in the first period alone. I would be more productive with those guys than he is. Hopefully they will get something in return. If not, at least they free up $1.6M in cap space. Maybe he will find his scoring touch with another team. Who knows? It's just not working out in NY. I don't mind the guy. I think he works hard and throws his Peter Kim-esque frame around. It just wasn't meant to be.

So what does everyone else think? Not that it matters because I know I am right...even if Renney and Sather mess up and do something different.

1 comment:

Swivelhead said...

The line combos proposed by Ogie would be great as second, third, fourth, and fifth lines. But they do not have a first line that will score against a checking line and top pairing.

The top 2 D pairings look pretty solid, but that 3rd pairing has the potential to be a disaster. As a guy who has seen Kalinin play hundreds of games, I am so happy he is someone else's enigma. The top 4 D will see a TON of ice, which isn't so terrible as long as injuries don't creep in.

I think the Rangers will make the playoffs as a 7 or 8 seed, but it will be because of shootout wins and games stolen by Lundqvist. They are going to really struggle to score.