Primary ScoringOctober 5, 2009, by
Disclaimer: It has only been two games, so let’s not get too excited over the results of the two games
Since the breakup of the Straka-Nylander-Jagr line, the Rangers have been hard-pressed to find consistent primary scoring. Scott Gomez and Chris Drury couldn’t mesh with Jagr, and it showed on the scoreboard, putting up a very un-Jagr like 71 points. When Jagr bolted for Russia, the Rangers were left with no one who struck fear in their opponents eyes. The Rangers, of course, barely cracked 200 goals, putting up 210 goals, including the extra goal for winning in a shootout.
This past offseason, management looked to change the Rangers into a scoring team. Gone is Scott Gomez, and his $7.3 million cap hit, and in is Marian Gaborik, one of the best players in the league when healthy. In a very under-publicized move, the Rangers also brought in the recently bought-out Vinny Prospal from Tampa, which I initially predicted would bring in huge results.
What we have seen so far —again, mind the disclaimer— is a line that has put up 8 points (5 G, 3 A) in the first two games of the season. There is no way they keep this pace up, but what is more important here is that this line is dominant when on the ice. They keep control of the puck in the offensive zone for a good portion of their shifts. When players as talented as Gaborik are in the offensive zone this long, they become more and more dangerous. While it is unlikely that Dubinsky keeps up his pace (2 points a game), it is possible for Gaborik to keep up a slightly slower pace (currently 123 point pace) if he plays the full year. Is it out of the realm of possibility for Gaborik to put up 100 points?
There are some other positives here too. Clearly, when you control the puck in the offensive zone for so long, the chances of the opposing team scoring are minimal. This also leads to drawing more penalties.
The season is still in its infancy stages, but you have to like what you’re seeing from the line of Prospal-Dubinsky-Gaborik. This is what a primary scoring line should play like.