Who is the depth forward if no moves are made?February 27, 2012, by
Let’s be real here, there is a significant chance that Glen Sather and the brain trust that surrounds him decide to not make any moves at the deadline. If that is the case, then the Rangers are going to look to the CT Whale to provide some depth in case of an injury.
As the Rangers already have a spare defenseman, there are two types of injuries for the Rangers that would require a call up: an injury to a bottom six forward or an injury to a top six forward. Obviously, each type of injury would call for a different type of call up. Let’s ignore an injury to a goalie, because if Henrik Lundqvist goes down, then the season is essentially over.
If someone in the top six gets hurt, and the Rangers are looking to replace him with someone with a scoring touch, then there are really only two options: Mats Zuccarello (if healthy) and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault. Zuccarello has the edge, with prior NHL experience and a point per game average, but JAM has been a consistent offensive force for the Whale. JAM lacks foot speed for a smaller player, so expect the edge to go to Zuccarello if this is the case.
If a bottom six forward gets hurt (or if the Rangers decide not to call up Zuccarello or JAM), then the likely call up would be Kris Newbury. With John Mitchell already on the roster, Newbury is the only viable option for the Rangers in the AHL. Andre Deveaux could be a dark horse call up, but he still has to serve his suspension. Newbury is the likely call up in this case.
Of course, the Rangers could go with a third option, which is no call ups and dress seven defensemen. Stu Bickel has played a few games as a forward already this season, and didn’t look too lost while doing so. With the trades of Erik Christensen and Wojtek Wolski, the Rangers are surprisingly thin on replacement options if a forward goes down.