Guest Post: The Effect of Roszival’s Absence

March 1, 2011, by

Afternoon everyone, it’s a game day. And what a huge game it is – against the fast closing Buffalo Sabres. However before we get to that I wanted to share a post from a guest blogger with you all. Please bear in my mind that it’s written prior to both the deadline and the McCabe deal and therefore is slightly dated.

However, the content is very debate worthy and much of it is unaffected despite being a few days late. Anyway, here it is – from guest blogger Will (sorry, Don’t have your full name – if you want to post it in the comments I’d be happy to fully credit you.)

Let’s see how many of you agree with Will on this hotly debated former Ranger….

The Effect of Roszival’s Absence

As the trade deadline approaches and GM’s around the league are making their last-second moves, Glen Sather and the typically active Rangers have been uncharacteristically quiet. The organization’s recent lack of activity on the trade front can be attributed to the move that Slats made on Jan. 10 to acquire Wojtek Wolski.

It was a trade that carried deadline-day overtones, with the Rangers picking up a high-end forward and first-round talent for an aging, and overpaid defenseman. It was the type of deal that Sather would have made in the pre-lockout era – except he would have acquired Roszival.

So it seemed, at the time, that the Rangers had committed a form of highway robbery, stealing Wolski from the Coyotes in exchange for the dispensable and replaceable Michael Roszival.

But now, 19 games later, it appears that Roszy, often a target of the Garden jeers during his New York tenure, may deserve much more credit for the Rangers’ success than he was accredited. He didn’t put up overly impressive offensive numbers (then again, none of the Rangers blue-liners do), he wasn’t a physically imposing opponent, and his fleetness of foot had long since betrayed him. But Roszival was steady. He was accountable. Sure, his game was modest, but it was largely mistake-free. He was a proven penalty-killer and an effective point-man on the powerplay. But perhaps most important of all, he was a veteran. He understood the defensive system the Rangers employed, and he was a leader for the abundance of youth around him. He was a calming influence among a defensive corps that was still young enough to get lost in Manhattan. Now, without Rosival, nevermind Manhattan, the Rangers simply look lost on the Garden ice.

When Roszvial departed for Phoenix on Jan. 10, the Rangers, 6th in the Eastern Conerence, stood at 25-15-3, and were surrendering 2.5 goals per game. Since then, they have posted a 7-11-1 mark, slipped to seventh in the conference standings, and are allowing 2.63 goals per game. The .13 increase seems trivial, but given the Rangers’ offensive struggles, an extra goal here and an extra goal there is huge. Their powerplay has also felt the absence of Roszy, as, save the game against the Penguins on Feb. 13, the extra man unit has been even less successful than usual. Roszival’s six powerplay assists with the Rangers were first among defenseman, and still today, no Rangers defenseman has eclipsed that total.

This is no knock on Wolski – I think he has been the best forward on the ice in a number of his Broadway performances. He is sure to be a key piece on future Rangers teams, and I am still encouraged that Slats was able to pry him from the hands of Don Maloney. I just wish he hadn’t given up Roszival.

Given the effect of the Wolski-Roszvial swap, Sather may be somewhat hesitant to make another deal before Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. The Rangers had a good thing going, and the trade seemed to slow some of their momentum. If he is to make a deal, perhaps he should dial up Maloney and ask for number 33 back.

For a guy we all used to boo so much, he was a pretty darn important player.


Categories : Analysis


  1. honestmoe says:

    Is this a satire site?

  2. Zen says:

    I honestly don’t agree with you in any way here. If this trade hadn’t been made, Sauer and/or McD wouldn’t have been given significant minutes and shown that they are both top 4 D-men (maybe higher) in this league. On top of that, we dump a salary that is strangling our cap structure and would have continued to do so next year. And even some icing on the cake… we get a young and talented top line LW out of it. Rozy is indeed a serviceable D… but was an albatross to this team at the cap hit he was making.

  3. Brian SCS says:

    I never booed the guy and respected him for his steady yet unspectacular play. He also never got enough credit for playing injured in the playoffs and always appeared to be a solid citizen.

    The negatives were that he required too much time and space to get off good shots from the point, could have used the body more, and just didn’t provide enough bang for a $5 mil cap hit. You may have a point that his departure has had a negative impact on the locker room and Slats may have considered this as the deadline approached. But, I would argue that Sauer has been every bit as steady defensively as Rozi was. Taking a chance on a young player with Wolski’s talent and freeing up $1.2 mil in cap space at the same time was and still is an excellent move IMO.

  4. Will says:

    okay before anyone else misinterprets this as me slamming the wolski-roszival trade, or being negative about the young defensemen, I should probably clarify a few things…

    first: I thought the trade was a great move on January 10th, and looking forward (considering age, potential, and cap space) I still think its a great i said no knock on Wolski, or Sather for that matter

    second: I am not saying Roszival is a much better player than MDZ or Sauer or anyone else, I’m simply pointing out that the team has struggled since the trade – theirs goals allowed per game has risen, their goals scored per game has slipped, and their winning percentage has fallen by over 20%…those kind of numbers are hard to argue with

    third: in all honesty, I would probably be saying the same thing as Brian and Zen if i read this for the first time (I was actually surprised with myself when I decided to write it) but again the recent numbers are difficult to ignore and the only major roster change since the rangers recent struggles is that wolski roszy trade…after 20 games its hard to figure that its just coincidence

    fourth: now that McCabe is on board, this post is probably all for naught as he is basically a more talented and more offensively minded Roszival

    • Brian SCS says:

      Statistically speaking, Will you make a very good point. The numbers are hard to ignore. No doubt the Rangers played better before Rozi was traded. It’s just difficult to attribute the fact that the Rangers haven’t played as well since the trade to Rozi’s absence. We as fans tend to look at how an individual performs on the ice and base a players importance accordingly. It’s possible that he was a very positive influence in the locker room and that may have carried over out on to the ice.

  5. Section 121 says:

    I always liked Roszy but the move made sense on so many levels, it’s hard to question it (cap space, acquiring a talented young RFA for the future, still maintaining plenty of “servicable” D men in Sauer, McD, Gilroy, even Eminger).

  6. shelly says:

    Are you kidding? Mistake free? He committed more giveaways on a regular basis than any of the defensemen. Effective on the power play? he was utterly ineffective on the power play – he was tentative, refused to shoot when he had the opportunity and was generally mediocre or worse. If you can move a overpaid player for a young talented player – you do it – no brainer. That it opened up time for young dmen who have far outplayed roszival is another bonus. There is no case to be made here – he was terrible and comparing records pre and post trade is ridiculous since so many other factors play into things

  7. Jack says:

    Rozy was medicore at best. He has nothing to do with our record begin under .500 since the trade. I can never understand why some fans thought/think Rozy was anything more than a average defender.

  8. Totts says:


    First of all, we should all cut Will some slack…everyone can be a bit nervous their first time. Secondly, although Will makes some good points and the numbers don’t lie, I personally believe that the absence of Rozy is far from the reason the Rangers have started to come back down to Earth.

    The young defense corps that the Rangers are developing has kept me excited all season long, and the departure of Rozy simply added to that excitement. Ryan McDonagh is playing MUCH better than his age, along with players like Michael Sauer and even Gilroy at times. The fact that the goals against has only fluctuated up .13 is proof that it is not the youthful defense or the lack of a veteran that is causing the recent struggle (the addition of McCabe should definitely fill Rozy’s hole, however). I think we need to turn the argument around and focus more on the offensive production, not the defense. Let’s be honest…a young defense giving up 2.63 goals a game is something to be proud of, not worried about. What we need to be worrying about is the fact that our forwards time and time again fail to capitalize on chances in the third and continue to lose games by 1 goal or 2 with an EN. The goaltending and defense can improve, but with the state they are at right now, this team should still be winning games.

    The Rangers are very young this year and have exceeded everyone’s expectations, and not until now are they showing that they still have a lot of room for improvement. However, the grit and determination that they show almost every game I believe will carry them into the postseason, even if they may be hanging on for their dear lives. With that being said, look out for these guys in the playoffs…Torts has a Cup already and with the new Vet McCabe leading the talented young defense corps, I’d say the Rangers are a team to fear come playoff time.

  9. Eddie says:

    Rozsival was a slow skater. It was okay for defensemen in pre-lockout hockey to be less fleet of foot, but not in today’s game. Rozsival was a liability, and not only am I glad he’s gone, I like what we got in return.