Finding a Role for Gilroy and End of Season Roster Choices

November 29, 2010, by

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.


  1. Michael Gleich says:

    Have liked the idea of Gilly up front since early last year. It is where all his instincts are.

    Sauer is a must keep if for no other reason than he is the only one who clears the crease right now. also keeping him would allow them flexibility on Rozi and MDZ. If they move Rozi Sauer has defensively shown he could be a solid top 4 defensive D or if Rozi stays Sauer is ideal to pair with MDZ and cover up for his defensive lapses.

    If any of McD, Tank or Kundratek are ready by the end of the year you can move Rozi and/or let Eminger go, if not you stick with what you have for the most part.

    • Dave says:

      Kundratek would be the closest of those three.

      • RangerSmurf says:

        Right now certainly, alot of time between now and start of next season though. Tank or McD could get all Boyle on us and make it impossible to keep them away.

      • Michael Gleich says:

        Tomas is the closest of the three but all three have taking very positive strides this month in adjusting in the A which is a great sign for the future. Tank can be the best or the worst of the bunch as his mean streak and shot are needed here but his foot speed makes me nervous.

  2. The Suit says:

    I’m with MLeetch, Gilly should go up if for only other reason than to get Bruce Garrioch to stop writing the same trade rumor over and over again…jk

    I do like the idea of him at forward though. He grew up playing forward and was only moved to D while at BU.

  3. Dave says:

    I am on the fence about Gilroy. He was a forward, shifted to defense to be a walk-on at BU, and excelled there. He clearly has offensive instincts, but he doesn’t appear to be comfortable playing defense at the NHL level.