Christensen and Wolski Playing for their Careers?

April 13, 2011, by

Wojtek Wolski and Erik Christensen are playing for their Rangers careers in the upcoming playoff series against Washington; that is without doubt. What is in doubt is how that pressure will manifest itself throughout the series. Both players have an abundance of talent, something the Rangers as a team haven’t enough of.  However both players have been underwhelming as Rangers and regular visitors to the press box because of their play. The Rangers’ season can be categorised as a success whether they get past the Caps or not, but for some players their futures may rest on whether they produce against the Caps.

Barring an outstanding trade offer, players such as Gaborik will be around next year even if they fail to perform, the contract and skill dictates that. However Wolski and Christensen are far from certain of roster spots next year. With prospects such as Carl Hagelin signed and coming to camp, Evgeny Grachev and Dale Weise expected to challenge for roster spots and the likely presence of successful juniors such as Christian Thomas in training camp Christensen and Wolski are anything but assured a Rangers jersey next season. Competition will likely be fierce in camp once again. This is also not accounting for a full time return of Chris Drury (let’s face it; more likely to return than not) and the elephant in the room, free agents such as Brad Richards. The point is this; Wolski and Christensen are under pressure. They face being casualties of the next stage of the roster make-over after this season if they do not make themselves irreplaceable in the playoffs. This is their audition.

It will be interesting to see how the pressure on these ‘fringe’ players plays out. It could go either way. It could force them to up their games (we’ve seen how Christensen CAN play after scratches) or it could make them play timid, cautious and error prone hockey. If they play like the latter it’s very possible one or even both of them are not Rangers next season. Wolski’s cap hit in particular could be spent elsewhere. So while the Rangers look to build on their good year and look to get in to round 2, some players are just playing for their careers – an interesting sub plot to watch.



  1. Mikeyyyy says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. The only problem I have is that while ec has had the opportunity. Torts style and line rolling does not give anyone the opportunity to showcase.

    Let’s face it the torts system is d first. Hence two way players will prosper. Offensive players will falter. We haveseen it already. Boyle cally amd dubi with great seasons. Gabby, ec, zucc, wowo with seasons not up to expectations.

    It’s like this, if these o guys are not scoring, we beat up on them. But when the coach says. Don’t take chances. Well then your style dictates great two way play. If we want to keep playing this style then players like gabby will never prosper in this system. People like gabby should be given the green light to be creative and shirk some defensive responsibility to score goals.

    Our team is still too green to allow that. It’s a catch 22. We need more goals but that also gives the opposition more chances to score.

    • Section 121 says:

      what happened to Torts’ plan two years ago when he came to NY? – run and gun, up tempo, in your face, chip and chase, D pinching, high pressure hockey?

      now he’s just employing a redux of Renney’s style to play D first

      • Dave says:

        Need to have the skill level to play run and gun. They don’t have it. Good coaches adjust, that’s what he did.

        Also, NYR averaged 2.8 G/G, and were middle of the pack there. Steady improvement from previous two years.

      • Dave says:

        Actually, it’s the most G/G since 2006-2007.

  2. Section 121 says:

    I think it’s tough to say Wolski’s on such a thin line. He’s a two-time 20 goal scorer with a career highs just last year of 23-42-65 when given 18+ minutes per game. EC is no where even close to putting up that kind of production.

    Give Wolski top six minutes on a consistent basis and let him find his game with other top six players.

  3. The Hockey Suit says:

    I hope Wolski has a great post-season so his trade value gets a boost. Right now, I don’t know if anyone would take him @$3.8M. But a decent showing could help that.

  4. The Hockey Suit says:

    The Rangers still play high pressure hockey, they just don’t score. But they still forecheck aggressively and pinch defensemen.

    The only difference is they collaspe to the slot more instead of attacking the blueline. But that’s an adjustment that had to be made.

    Far from a Renney system…