Gilroy Up Front?
The Rangers, with Roszival back and Gaborik out just short term, will shortly have to make a tough decision on which player to sit but there is nothing that says the player that has to sit must be a defenceman just because Roszival has returned. The truth is, for the large part, Gilroy, Eminger and Mike Sauer all deserve to stay in the line up as all three have raised their games after indifferent starts and all three bring useful elements to a club that needs to squeeze every single bit of efficiency out of the line up when they can. So what not try Matt Gilroy at forward?
With Boogaard unable to stay healthy on a consistent basis and with the fourth line changing at regular intervals it would be prudent to try Matt Gilroy as a checking forward and try and utilise one of his great tools; his speed. The Rangers lower forward lines need to play physical get the puck in deep and play strong along the boards to be effective. Chipping the puck in and having a speedster like Gilroy go after it could be an effective plan. What it also does is allow Gilroy to develop another important aspect that his games needs and that is physical play. While it has improved since playing regularly it goes without saying that Gilroy’s game is not based on physicality. Getting him in the corners, getting him going in hard and fast will allow him to be better equipped to take hits and play along the boards should he ever find himself back on the blue line later in the season. Keeping Gilroy in the line up is also important for continuity. Since being re-inserted he has grown in confidence and his game can only realistically develop if he is playing. What he has done recently is re-establish some trade value (that had diminished greatly) and has given the Rangers genuine options, all good things. Now he can be effective and give the Blueshirts more options in another area, at forward.
One or None?
It’s a topic for discussion that will be expanded on as the season continues but the recent play of Mike Sauer and Steve Eminger leads us to an interesting debate; who to keep come season’s end; both, one or perhaps even none?
Mike Sauer has provided physicality, a defensive conscience and stability while Eminger has provided some strong physical play and has improved as the season has worn on, already providing excellent return for Aaron Voros. The problem is this; with Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko and Tomas Kundratek all flashing signs of promise at times in the AHL and with most of the NHL jobs already locked up next season (Staal, Girardi, Del Zotto are locks, Roszival is a likely returner) there could be another raft of difficult decisions ahead for management. At this stage both Sauer and Eminger look deserving of at least another year while Sauer has the advantage that he is a Rangers investment (a draft pick) while anything Eminger gave this year was always going to be a bonus but both players have certainly delivered beyond the relatively low expectancy levels. There is a genuine chance neither come back ,should a couple of the prospects really step up their development. Perhaps it’s the fact that Sauer and Eminger are basically auditioning for a job next year (anywhere) that has lead to their impressive play? If that is the case the Rangers are benefiting from the healthy competition but looking ahead, don’t get too attached to the defensive pair because it’s unclear where their future likes for now.