Artie or Stepan…. Or Both?

This post is pretty inflammatory as I’m fully aware there is currently room for both players on the roster but depending on how the season goes for both young players (and for some prospects as well) there may be an interesting decision looming for the Rangers in the relatively near future.

Artem Anisimov has developed steadily, if perhaps a little slowly. However, if his pre-season is anything to go by he seems primed for a really impressive season. He is of course in possession of a new contract; confidence from your employers does wonders for your own confidence, in any walk of life. Then there is Derek Stepan, who was at times a revelation as a rookie and seems more mature than his age should allow. Stepan too has had a solid pre-season but his place on the roster (not security, but rather location) seems more in-flux than Anisimov’s.

There is a danger that one of these players could severely out play the other this season, although competition is a good thing. It’s healthy. However, when you consider the spots up for grabs beyond this season maybe the two players are auditioning – to an extent. Captain Ryan Callahan is here to stay, the team have committed long term to Brad Richards, Brandon Dubinsky and (barring a disastrous year) Marian Gaborik. There aren’t many top six spots to give out after this year especially with the Dubinsky – Anisimov – Callahan line looking like a keeper, although with John Tortorella that’s never a certainty.

Now, throw into the mix the much anticipated arrival next year of the likes of Chris Kreider, Christian Thomas, maybe a Ryan Bourque or Carl Hagelin and given his impressive first camp, JT Miller. Just to name a few. Is it therefore possible that one of Stepan (who really needs to improve his face off skills) or Anisimov (who still needs to add muscle) could become moveable? Could they be rendered unnecessary?

Naturally this is hypothetical at this stage and as discussed, depth and competition for places is a nice problem to have. It’s also the product of good drafting. However it is worth considering that two very, very popular young, home-grown Rangers are playing for their futures, against each other – alongside each other this season. Room for both long-term? Maybe.  It’s just another little sub-plot to consider during the season.

13 thoughts on “Artie or Stepan…. Or Both?

  • Oct 5, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Artie’s 23 Stepan’s 21. Both have not hit their ceilings. Wolski should be moved after this year as his cap hit will become a burden even if he does well this year, so that should open a top 6 spot.

    Also, just because a player is top 6 doesn’t mean they’ll start their careers there, like Thomas, Miller, or even Kreider.

    • Oct 5, 2011 at 9:07 am

      Right on the money with your remarks.

      I would keep both of these kids for as long as we can, and watch them bloom into very good players. Something to consider, Step is buddies with McD, do you want to make him feel unhappy? Artie is a natural with Dubbi, and Calli, do you break up that line? I’m sorry but I don’t mean to be critical, please come up with some other hypothetical case, and leave these kids alone!!!!!

      • Oct 5, 2011 at 9:14 am

        Naturally, at this stage you want to keep both. But it’s not about coming up with ‘nice scenarios’. This scenario is a realistic one. If Kreider and Thomas are all that everyone hopes they can be and the four of Richards, Gabby, Dubi and Callahan are fixed then there may not be space (both roster AND financially) to keep both.

        Don’t forget there are some contracts like Prust, Del Zotto, McDonagh that will need to be renewed, not to mention Stepan’s as well.

        If one of them makes themselves irreplaceable one may be in danger. It can happen, I’m not saying it will happen. Sather has done well recently to be able to accommodate them all.

        • Oct 5, 2011 at 9:41 am

          Well, Gaborik is only here for another two years after this one. So, technically, his spot should open up for Kreider or Thomas.

          • Oct 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm

            well… hopefully Gaborik has a productive two years which would probably mean a contract extension.

            • Oct 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm

              As far as cap hits go gaborik if he does re sign long term will take a big pay cut. Probably get a hossa like contract if he performs. Not to meantion Hank the highest paid goalie is also up that year. I would give him close to a bryzgalov contract maybe even a little bit less. We’ll be fine in terms of cap space going forward.

  • Oct 5, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I don’t think that either will be moved, but if this is a “what if” scenario, then I have no doubt that AA would be the one to go. Stepan’s upside is in the Brad Richards range of things, while AA’s is more of a two-way 2nd line center. There is no comparison in terms of which one would be moved. Stepan will be a Ranger for life and trading him would be a HUGE mistake.

    • Oct 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm


  • Oct 5, 2011 at 9:44 am

    This is a good problem to have.

    Not sold on kreider till he is here.

    NHL speed doesn’t mean NHL skill.

    what’s better than having a top 6 problem?

    Having a top 9 problem. If we can ice 3 lines that are of top 6 caliber. You will steamroll opponents.

    • Oct 5, 2011 at 10:34 am

      It’s definitely a good problem if it occurs. I was just as much pointing out the incoming talent as well as highlighting certain players will need to earn their spits because of it.

      And whoever said NHL speed doesn’t equate NHL Skill is dead right: Rico Fata. Though I’m sure that won’t happen to Kreider’s development!! Lol

  • Oct 5, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Lets also not forget that Anisimov has had seemingly impressive pre-seasons every year, and then fades once the seaosn starts.

    I wouldnt put too much stake in Anisimov having a strong season.

    That being said, I like both guys and would like to see both stay, but if I ‘had’ to pick one, I’d take Stepan.

  • Oct 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Hmmm. How about dropping wowo to the third line when he becomes inconsistent.

    Move dubi up to the first line lw.

    Move Stephan into dubis old spot. Gives both lines a good playmaker. A finisher. And a grinder

  • Oct 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I think its nuts to even be talking about this at this point All we want around here is for the kids to make the club and play well. And the min we get that all everyone does is talk about moving one or who will stay.

    Let them all stay for now. Bourque is the only one who is playing center right now. So for now Steps and Artie have only their own game to worry about…

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