Brandon Prust’s Decreasing Role – A Good Thing

November 16, 2011, by

As has been said countless times on this site; when Ruslan FedotenkoBrian BoyleBrandon Prust is your fourth line, then you have the makings of a contender. Well, at least in Brandon Prust’s case, he is on his way if not already arrived at the fourth line. With such little ice time last night against the Isles (less than 6 minutes) and an ever-dwindling role on the team Prust is nowhere near as relevant as he was last year. However, that is a good thing and if anything just a sign that this team is developing and is deeper than it was the year previous.

Prust fans should not worry however. With less ice time comes less focus, but that doesn’t mean Prust isn’t a valuable player for the Rangers. He’s a heck of a gritty player and will go to war for his team and teammates and he’ll likely be a major factor again this season. But he needs to get healthy and Rangers fans need to realise it cannot be a good thing when the Prust’s of this world are getting 15 minutes a game like he was last year. The Rangers lacked the ability to hold on to the puck last year and part of the reason was the lack of skill on the ice.

Sean Avery has re-emerged, and based purely on the past two games (albeit against inferior opponents) Avery has a legitimate role on this team. Avery is still unique when he plays like he can. He has a healthy dose of skill, is an intelligent hockey player (at times), and is a pest who can bring a physical, relentless style to the game. If the Rangers can have both Avery and Prust firing on all cylinders this season, then my-o-my this team can go places.

Avery, Prust, Fedotenko, Ryan Callahan and even Brandon Dubinsky give this team a boat load of grittiness and effort. Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Derek Stepan, and Artem Anisimov bring the skill and finesse to the table. Combine the two and you have the makings of a perfect blend amongst the forward group.

In an ideal world, Prust (and his line) will get between 8-11 minutes per game and be a physical factor. They’ll harass the opposition and create space for the skilled lines to do their thing. Prust will chip in the odd goal, assist, fight and everything he does but it can only bode well when the top six are playing the important minutes because they are – and will be – the difference makers for this club.


  1. The Suit says:

    Good post my friend. Hopefully next season Boyle will join Prust on the 4th line and some of our youth in the system can replace their 3rd line responsibilities.

    • Dave says:

      If all goes according to plan, then Kreider, Bourque and Hagelin will be NHL ready next year.

  2. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Prust indeed is as vital to this team as is say a Gaborik. They both bring different skills to a team that is required to be a contender. No one can deny the heart of Prust and the fondness he inherits not just from the fans, but more importantly his team mates and coach. Prust will deliver in any role he will be placed in and his belief in the team and leadership by example has a contagious effect on the team as a whole. He is part of the core and will remain so.

    • Chris says:

      A guy like Prust is not as important as Gaborik. At all.

      • Leatherneckinlv says:

        Sure he is, simply in a different way. Do you really think Bossy and et al would have accomplished what they did without Tonelli and Bourne? a Hockey team is more than just scoring, it is about character as well

        • Dave says:

          Chris isn’t downplaying Prust’s importance. He’s just saying that Prust, on a contender, doesn’t play double digit minutes each game.

  3. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I agree that when Boyle is our 4th line center with Prust and exchangeable wingers in Rupp, Deveaux and Bourque in the future, possibly as soon as next year then the team is in place for the contender status. We have 4 lines contributing, and I just don’t think this 4th line will only get 4 minutes a game like our current 4th line does. This line has purpose and intent, not to forget skill and energy giving Trots 4 lines to roll and rest to the other players instead of playing 30 minutes a game. For a team to win the Stanley Cup everyone must contribute and that includes the 4th liners and role player like Rupp and Prust. Prust already is doing his part.

  4. RangerSmurf says:

    What I find odd about Prust’s usage is how he went from one of our primary PK players (2nd unit, 4th most minutes) to mostly an after thought (7th most minutes).

    I think he needs to be an important factor there. More minutes for him there means less wear and tear on Anismov & especially Stepan, who both are taking more minutes in that role.

    • Bobby G says:

      Agreed. The PK was always Prusts bread and butter. I love how he manages to chip in the occasional shorty.

      • The Suit says:

        I think Prust has been playing less than 100 percent. Thought I read about a sore shoulder recently.

  5. kgb16 says:

    Nice post. The disappointment in Olli Jokinen made us all want to look for a positive in the trade. Prust did whatever he was told, scored a bunch of shorties, and, given the lack of many positives last season, became a positive, as did Boyle. With Richards starting to be relevant, and Gaborik, Stepan and Anisimov performing brilliantly, we see these players for what they really are, 4th liners who can kill penalties. Avery is the only question mark. Unlike Tortorella, I believe he has a place in the top 9, and thus far he has shown that he does. I would have no problem playing him over Wolski.

  6. bob says:

    I feel at the present moment it is unfair to judge Prust.The second half of last season he played well enough until he got hurt.Right now I don’t know if he even belongs on the 4th.He has to be hurting.The problem is,can he stop fighting and play a game that he is not destroying his body.Is he like Troy Mallette,who had to play at 100 m.p.h. until he got hurt.And continue doing it until he couldn’t play anymore.For all we know he might not be able to play next season.So I honestly don’t know if Prust is going to be in our future.

  7. Walt says:

    Prust is, and will be a part of the future of this team. Personally, I believe that he is getting less time on the ice due to many factors, but mainly he is still hurt. I can’t believe that the way he plays the game, he will heal properly, and be effective.

    We all have short memories, but last season Gabby got hurt early on, and was pretty much ineffective due to the injury. After a few months off, he healed up, and now look at the way he is playing. Prust needs time off of the ice for his best interest long term, we need him down the road!!!!!