Summing up the Rangers in the Past Month
Between rumors and speculation as free agency approaches, the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and recent news coming out of the Rangers organization, it’d be hard to say that nothing hasn’t been going on in MSG since the Rangers’ postseason dismissal.
Marian Gaborik having shoulder surgery…This news surfaced in the wake of the Ranger’s postseason dismissal. After potting forty-one goals in a full eighty-two game season, Gaborik’s absence on the score sheet throughout the playoffs was concerning at the least to the New York faithful. He had just five goals in twenty playoff games and news of his pending surgery has finally put speculations behind his lackluster playoff performance to rest. Reports indicate Gaborik will be sidelined as long as six months, which won’t have him making his 2012-2013 regular season debut until November at the latest.
As the Ranger’s postseason campaign neared its unprecedented conclusion, Gaborik’s underachieving throughout their remarkable playoff run prompted the more frustrated of the Ranger’s faithful to exploit their desires to see the Slovak winger shipped off this offseason. Considering how Glen Sather’s significant contracting signings have a relatively brief shelf life (Scott Gomez, Wade Redden, Bobby Holik), perhaps Gaborik should consider this a blessing in disguise. Upon return he’s set up for the most opportune change at redemption to exorcize his dismal playoff performance with a strong and consistent return.
Gaborik isn’t a stranger to making the most of the time he plays in a season when you take his decorated injury history into consideration. In his years with the Minnesota Wild, Gaborik was limited to sixty-five games and forty-eight games in the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons and managed to accumulate thirty-eight goals and thirty goals during those respective spans. When he was limited to just seventeen games in the 2008-2009 season, Gaborik still managed to score thirteen goals and average over a point per game.
The Rangers at the draft…I would love to dedicate a full article to this topic but the timing is just way too off. With just four picks in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Rangers selected two defensemen, a center, and a right wing. One of the themes behind their selections is definitely size and while it’s doubtful any of their picks will make the jump onto the big team come next season, they show a lot of promise. The Rangers selected defenseman Brady Skjei at twenty-eighth overall, who will be playing at the University of Minnesota this coming Fall. Skjei is dubbed more of a stay at home-type defenseman, not putting up many points but does a lot of the little things that don’t show up on the score sheet. A player like him you want to see develop at a steady rate. I’d say he’s about three or four years at most before he’s capable of making his NHL debut.
The Rangers selected big and speedy forward Cristoval Nieves at fifty-ninth overall. Personally, I’m more excited about the Rangers selecting Nieves because he more so suits what the Ranger’s current needs even though it might be some time before we see him make an appearance in the NHL. Nieves’ best qualities are his combination of size and speed. Dubbed the playmaking type, his upcoming year at the University of Michigan is going to be essential. Considering the tremendous upside he has and playing a forward position, I think Nieves has a higher probability of debuting in the NHL before first-rounder Brady Skjei, if he stays the course.
The Rangers maintained their theme of size for their final two picks and selected defenseman Calle Andersson a hundred nineteenth overall and right wing Thomas Spelling a hundred forty-second overall. Anderson plays a great two-way game and has a style of play that is best described as “simple” and gets the job done. Spelling is a large wing that has a knack for putting up points and will be playing in the Swedish Elite League this coming season. Both players are a few years away from being given any consideration by the big team but have a solid amount of upside that warrants the Rangers to keep tabs on them.
Brandon Prust done in New York…? About three days ago, Brandon Prust tweeted how he wished “management” wanted him back in New York as much as the fans did. This comes in the wake of reports that the Rangers and Prust are separated by a sizable margin in contract negotiations. Apparently Prust’s bold tweet is a reflection of how insufficient talks on getting the gritty winger signed really are. Production-wise, Prust is easily expendable (5G 12A 82GMS) but it’s everything else he does that would make his departure from the Rangers irksome.
If Prust truly is dead set on testing the market on July 1st and demands a salary exceeding what the Rangers are willing to offer him (Prust is supposedly demanding something like $2 million per), where could he end up? Prust will undoubtedly have a home in the NHL for the 2012-2013 season because I seriously doubt he jets off to the KHL or one of the many other professional leagues that Europe houses. If I had to pick a team when taking the circumstances surrounding Prust’s projected departure from New York into consideration, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Philadelphia Flyers take a run at him. The Flyers love two things that fits Prust’s criteria: They love spending money and they love to have physicality and grit on their team. If there’s any team that would be willing to give Prust the $2 million he allegedly desires, I can see the Flyers being that team. Philadelphia is very deep offensively and while he would probably be a fourth liner at best with them he would assuredly have a defined role on the team.
Hockey This Week
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