The Rangers deserve to have multiple representatives at this year’s All Star game. The fact that so many of the roster should be in contention speaks volumes for the way the Rangers have moved up through the standings and developed this season. So which Rangers players should represent the club? Who deserves the nod?
- Marian Gaborik. It goes without saying that when you lead the entire NHL in goals scored you’re doing something right. Gaborik is having a dominant season; scoring important goals, showing tremendous consistency and giving the Rangers an offensive game changer they lacked last season.
- Henrik Lundqvist. The King is doing what he does best. Like Gaborik he’s tremendously consistent, rarely has he given up a soft goal this year and has been the very backbone of the Rangers once again. Despite being on course to play considerably less games this year – thanks to Martin Biron – the Swedish netminder could be in the discussion for league MVP, such is his impact so far.
- Dan Girardi. The amount of time he spends on the ice is borderline insane – not far off a minute/game more than second in the league. Girardi blocks shots, provides the Rangers with immense stability and chips in offensively too. Not a ‘sexy’ player or a dominant offensive blueliner, guys like Girardi (unfortunately) rarely get the kudos of all star games even when they deserve the recognition. Critical to the Rangers.
- Mike Del Zotto. Yes, you read it – Mike Del Zotto. Especially in the past month he has been consistent, increasingly dangerous offensively, physically impressive and has shown great ability to swallow minutes all season. Del Zotto is the league’s leading blueliner in plus/minus and is one three point game away from being in the league’s top 10 in scoring from the blueline. Easily, the most improved Ranger this season.
- Ryan Callahan. Like Girardi and his ‘type’, rarely are the Ryan Callahan’s of the NHL rewarded with all star weekends. Amongst the league leaders in hits, and ice time amongst forwards Callahan has taken his offensive game to another level and is on course for his first 30 goal season. Maybe the best lead-by-example captain in the league today does any player try harder? Guys like Callahan deserve to be officially titled ‘all star’.
Gaborik and Lundqvist surely should get the call to head to Ottawa early next year. Anything other than invites for the Rangers marquee talents would be a travesty. Will any of the others get a call? Unfortunately Rangers players rarely get the exposure around the league due to the blue collar reputation the roster has.
It’s assumed this team does things by committee, which it does. However the above list proves that this team has serious skill and top end players too. All this and we’re forgetting a hot streak from Brad Richards and there could be another candidate. The 2011-12 Rangers, they’re pretty stacked you know.