Roster Questions in Gabby’s AbsenceOctober 16, 2010, by
With Gaborik out for a minimum of 2 weeks, Drury done for at least 5 and Erik Christensen still hurting the Rangers will very likely need to recall a player from Hartford. The apparent depth the organization has is about to be tested early on in the season. Lets look at a few of the candidates.
Forget Tim Kennedy. If he is brought up, back a club can grab him for a mere 275k and a player at his age with minimum 25 point potential wont clear so Kennedy is likely in Hartford for the year. Will we see Todd White make his Rangers debut any time soon? His chances have certainly improved due to the injuries but if Christensen is ready to return the Rangers need is on the wing not at center so the chances the Rangers turn to Hartford increase.
Friday night, while the Rangers were struggling to deal with the Leafs, Mats Zucarrello-Aasen scored his first goal for Hartford. If the Rangers opt to bring a player up and go for skill, over merit they may fast-track MZA to the NHL. One goal in 3 games is nothing to scream about but in terms of pure skill he is the best option in Hartford out of the prospects. Other options may include Dale Weise and/or Dane Byers. Both have started the AHL season reasonably well – Byers has 3 points in 3 games, Weise 2 in 3 – and both were considered close to the roster in pre-season.
A player that should be left well alone (to find his game) in Hartford is Evgeny Grachev. With a goal in his first 3 games Grachev has made an impact but hasn’t yet taken over offensively. He should be allowed to get lots of ice time in the AHL and mature without having the burden of trying to make up for Gaborik’s loss.
If anyone is called up the smart money may be on Weise. Last year the Rangers wanted to get him in the line up at seasons end and Tortorella admitted he likes him as a player. If the Rangers go down the Weise/Byers route we may see Ryan Callahan bumped up a line. Whoever inserted into the line up will cause a rippling effect on the roster because its unlikely the Rangers would insert a guy like Weise straight onto the top line just to avoid breaking up the Stepan and Anisimov lines.