Scoring: A Problem?September 27, 2009, by
Before I start, I’d like to properly introduce myself: My name is Jeremy Fuchs and I’m really excited to join the team here at BlueSeatBlogs. A life long Ranger fan, I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on my beloved Blueshirts. You may have seen my other work on GiantsGab, or The Blog of Champions. Now that you know a little bit about me, let’s talk hockey.
Last year, all we heard about was scoring. Or the lack thereof. Scott Gomez didn’t (or couldn’t) fill the large shoes of Jaromir Jagr. Chris Drury was playing like a second or third line center, not a first. Markus Naslund, while solid, certainly didn’t set the world on fire. Nikolai Zherdev oozes talent, but can’t get it done on the ice.
As in typical Ranger fashion, they re-tooled in the offseason. They traded Scott Gomez to Montreal, getting Chris Higgins and promising blueliner Ryan McDonagh. Markus Naslund retired, Nik Antropov went to Atlanta, and Nik Zherdev went to the KHL. They signed Marion Gaborik to a mega deal. They signed Vinny Prospal and Ales Kotalik. On paper, this seems to make up and then some for the losses. Yet all I hear from fans is: Where’s the scoring? All I read about in season previews is: Where’s the scoring? Is it an issue? Or are we just too wary of Glen Sather to think he actually did a good job?
184. That’s how many goals the Rangers scored last year. In comparison, the Cup winning Penguins scored 255. Big difference. Well, how many goals can we project the Blueshirts to score this year?
Marion Gaborik: 32
If he’s healthy, he scores 40+ goals. However, I’m accounting for the fact that he might not stay healthy. I think 32 is a reasonable estimate.
Chris Drury: 24.
Hopefully, he’ll rekindle his magic with Kotalik.
Brandon Dubinsky: 16
Playing with Gabby should increase his outptut.
Sean Avery: 15
He scored 8 goals in 41 games. 15 in 81 sounds about right.
Chris Higgins: 24
Higgins was hurt last year, limiting his goal production to 12. I think he can double that if healthy, especially if he plays on a wing with Gaborik.
Ales Kotalik: 20
Scored 20 last year, too
Ryan Callahan: 28
28 might seem like a lot, but Callahan scored 22 goals last year, and was on fire at the end of the season, and in the playoffs. He’s a perfect fit for Tortorella’s system.
Vinny Prospal: 20
Scored 19 last year on a Tampa team in turmoil.
Artem Anisimov: 10
I don’t want to expect too much from the rookie, but he’s a goal scorer, and proved that in Hartford.
Hey, it’s an improvement over Colton Orr
Brian Boyle: 5
That’s a nice number for a fourth line center.
Enver Lisin: 15
Lisin scored 13 in Phoenix. His speed is too tantalizing from him not to improve on that total, and he’ll flourish with Torts. He’ll score some on the Power Play as well.
Marc Staal: 8
I think he’s going to flourish in Tortorella’s system. He’ll be leading the rush a lot more.
Dan Girardi: 5
He’s got a very underrated shot.
Wade Redden: 5
I expect him to improve, and he was much better once Tortorella came on.
Michal Rosival: 8
If he just used that shot of his more, this total would be in double digits.
Matt Gilory: 5
He’s been very impressive in preseason duty.
He’s a true power play QB. He’ll have a good number of assists as well.
So how many goals is that? 246. That’s a HUGE improvement over last year. I think the Gaborik addition, and the development of youngsters aids in the increase. And even if Gaborik gets hurt and only scores 10 goals, it’s still 224 goals scored. Am I being a bit optimistic? Perhaps. But, it’s reasonable to think. This team is more well balanced. And judging from preseason games, they are a much better passing team. They attack, and they shoot the puck more. If the Rangers get this goal amount, they will be a much better team. And with Lundqvist, it could lead to a deep playoff run.