Gaborik The Glue

November 15, 2010, by

Marian Gaborik is more than just an elite goal scorer; he’s the player that causes the Rangers lines to be appropriately allocated. Against Edmonton we saw what Gaborik can do with the puck; score on opponents almost at will. However perhaps more important than his scoring ability, is Gaborik’s presence and what that means to players such as Erik Christensen and Alex Frolov. With Gaborik to pass to, EC suddenly resembled (a poor man’s) Adam Oates. With Gaborik on the opposite wing Alex Frolov became Glenn Anderson to Jari Kurri (the less heralded winger….). Playing with an elite line mate made both players better. More importantly, playing with Gaborik made both players productive. Both Frolov and Christensen have struggled to be effective offensively this season but both looked transformed alongside an in-flight Gaborik.

Along with the benefit felt by Frolov and Christensen, Artem Anisimov’s line played against lesser opposition, as did Derek Stepan’s line, and both lines had subsequent success. Gaborik causes a rippling effect on the roster that makes the offensive side of the Rangers look that much deeper. The Rangers don’t (yet)have the high end skill of the Caps or the Pens and don’t have the overall physicality of the Flyers, nor do they have the defensive depth of the Bruins but with Henrik Lundqvist in net and all three lines healthy and contributing the Rangers can match these sides on a game-by-game basis. Over a playoff series the Rangers may still come up short but it’s this potential ability to match up with the East’s premier teams that evidences how critical Gaborik is as both a producer and as a singular element on the roster.

Allowing for current projections/career seasons from the trio of Anisimov, Dubinsky and Callahan; allowing for a healthy (from here on in) Gaborik and counting on a consistent ‘presence’ from Avery and the occasional flash from guys such as Frolov and the Rangers can have a good season this year, a season which by all accounts is transitional. There’s nothing like success to develop the kids. They may only be 9-7-1 and they may (most probably will) lose games in bunches but the season looks promising as long as Gaborik is on board.


  1. Dave says:

    Great analysis. Many forget that with Gaborik back, it affects the matchups for the other lines as well.

    • jurgenno88 says:

      thanks. The Rangers are a dangerous side with Gaborik on form. He allows appropriate match ups for the other lines. For example an Avery – Stepan – Fedotenko line can hold their own against most 3rd lines in the league.

  2. Chris says:

    Lets not get ahead of ourselves, here… EC and Frolov had ONE good game against a TERRIBLE team.

    .. lest we forget that same line didnt do squat against the mediocre Sabres a couple nights prior.

    • Chris says:

      Thats not to say that I totally disagree with the notion of the post, I just think its more than a little premature.

  3. jurgenno88 says:

    Other Chris (as opposed to me!) the point was/is Gaborik. A famous quote about Mario Lemieux was that a fire hydrant could score 30 goals next to Lemieux. The point was, the presence of elite players elevates other players games. Its no coincidence both players played their best games of the seasons when Gaborik was on fire.

    I’m not saying EC is a top line player by any means, nor Frolov for that matter but it isn’t premature because both players become infinitely more effective + dangerous (as does the whole roster) because of Gabby’s presence.

    • Chris says:

      But, in this case, we only have 2 games worth of data to substantiate the claim that Gabby is truly going to make EC and Frolov more effective.

      Game 1 – They did nothing against a mediocre opponent.
      Game 2 – They did amazing against a terrible opponent.

      Do I think that Gabby will elevate the play of those around him? Yes.
      Do I think Gabby’s presence will affect the entire lineup in terms of the quality of defenders they will be facing? Yes.

      … I just think its too quick to definitively say that it is true after 2 games. Especially when the results were not repeated in both games.

      • Chris says:

        Using previous years as data, it also lends to agreeing with your post… but even when he was playing with Gabby last yer, EC was still enigmatic and inconsistent. Theres been nothing to show/prove that this year will be any different.

  4. Mikeyyyy says:

    I will agree with jurgenno. Even though we don’t have stats to confidently say it’s true. When was the last time we scored 8. And if Sydney Crosby was out of the lineup does it make a less dangerous team. Well yes.

    Let’s use the next ten games as a barometer. Then you have enough.