Options to replace Prust tonight

May 21, 2012, by

Whether you agree with the suspension or not, Brandon Prust will not be playing in tonight’s Game 4 against the Devils. With the opportunity to build a two game lead, the Rangers will be without one of their warriors and top penalty killers. It’s a blow, but not a blow that can’t be overcome. Unlike with Carl Hagelin, the Rangers have a few options readily available to replace Prust for the one game ban.

Option 1: Brandon Dubinsky

This option is the best option for the Rangers. With Dubi cleared for contact and partaking in optional skates, he is on the cusp of returning to action. It has to be assumed that if Dubi can play, then he will play. Dubi would be a perfect fit to replace Prust, as Dubi can slide in quietly to a fourth line role for this game, and ease back into playoff hockey. Plus, if Dubi comes back, the penalty kill won’t suffer too much with Prust out.

Option 2: Insert Stu Bickel at forward

While not the best option, this is probably the most likely option for the Rangers if Dubinsky can’t go. Plain and simple, it doesn’t involve dressing anyone that hasn’t played in the playoffs before, and it doesn’t necessarily weaken the fourth line terribly. Bickel has had his face palm moments, but he’s proved he can be a competent forward in limited ice time. The penalty kill does take a blow if the Rangers go with this option.

Option 3: Insert Steve Eminger at forward, dress Bickel on defense

Same thing as above, just with Eminger and Bickel switched. Same weaknesses too.

Option 4: Dress John Scott

Unless the Devils dress one of Cam Janssen or Eric Boulton, we likely won’t see Scott at all during this series, especially since he is reportedly out of shape. The Devils would love to see Scott dress, especially with the home ice matchup, and get their top guys out there against him.

Option 5: Dress one of the call ups

Let’s be blunt for a second. The Rangers won’t be dressing J.T. Miller. It’s not happening. They won’t burn a year of his ELC and risk not being able to return him to the OHL next year. They can’t, he wasn’t on the reserve list (Thanks Ray). So that leaves Casey Wellman or Kris Newbury to dress, if the Rangers go this route. Newbury is the more likely candidate to dress if the Rangers go this route, and he’s proven he can be serviceable as a fourth line player. As a temporary player, I’d like this option over John Scott, but the first three options would be better moves than this one.

Now to answer questions about why Mats Zuccarello isn’t included as an option: He’s hurt, and hasn’t been cleared for contact. So he’s not an option.

Personally, I’m hoping Dubi is able to play, because the Rangers essentially get an upgrade at the position for a game, then get another upgrade once Prust returns. But, assuming Dubi can’t go, then inserting Bickel at forward is likely the best bet for the Rangers. It’s something they’ve done in the past, and are comfortable doing on a short-term basis.


  1. Chris F says:

    Ask and ye shall receive. Thanks, BSB.

  2. Justin says:

    Good stuff Dave. Hopefully Dubi is ready, but I’m not counting on it.

  3. Walt says:

    Your spot on! Dubi, if healthy would be the best choice, given he kills penalties, can score, and checks very well. Stu at forward, if needed can work for a game, but not the way to go if you can avoid doing so.

    It all comes back to Shanny’s giving Prust a suspension for his actions. I don’t like head shots, but if your enforceing it against Prust, what about the others? The entire season, not just the play-offs, the NHL, and Shanny have done a piss poor job of it. I won’t cry over spilled milk, but whats right is right, and Shanny’s decision to suspend Prust, and over look Parise, and Zubrus stinks to high heaven!!!

  4. Matt J says:

    Id go Wellman or Newbury. Wellman had a good run with the Whale, while Newbury was serviceable in his time here.

    Not exPecting much from whoever replaces Prust unless Dubi comes back. He’ll probably won’t be running 100% if he comes back anyway.

    • Dave says:

      I’d prefer the proven quantity over the question mark. So Dubi/Bickel/Newbury are my 1/2/3. Wellman is an unknown still.

  5. Chris F says:

    Where’s Bobby?

  6. Scully says:

    I keep refusing to be one of those bandwagon jumping fans who claims the NHL has it in for the Rangers when revenue speaking they’d love nothing more than a Rangers vs. Kings final. However, this suspension (while i don’t love it but expected it to be this… and actually am semi-surprised he didn’t receive more, which tells you something about what I think of the job Shannahan is doing) is incongruous with the rest of the bullshit that’s happening on the ice. The pick plays, the choppy play by both teams. There was a penalty called in the 3rd, when the Rangers were up by 2, for tripping last game that was abysmal. No one was even near the player, he just fell. NBC didn’t even show the replay because it was such an obvious blown call. It’s getting to be annoying. All won’t matter though If the Rangers can actually start burying teams.

    • Dave says:

      The NHL doesn’t have it in for the Rangers. The issue is consistency in suspensions, nothing more.

    • Walt says:

      Whats good for one, should be good for the other. Weber, Ovi, Calkner, some others not getting any suspensions, that’s not right. Like I posted earlier, I’m not crying over spilled milk, but be consistant!

  7. becky says:

    Apparently Bickel is dressed in a forward jersey and Eminger in a defenseman jersey during this morning’s skate at MSG

    • Dave says:

      True. I mean that’s what I would expect. But Dubi is skaing, and they never show their hand for the lineup. Expect mixed reports until the puck is dropped.

  8. Dave says:

    The Devils beat writers are reporting that Dubi is penned into the Rangers lineup in the locker room. It’s what the Devils are preparing for.

  9. Rickyrants13 says:

    IDubicant go then Newbury should be the only option. He is Brandon Prust Light. He will fight if needed He plays the same way on the forecheck. And can also fill in on the PK.

    I dont see why this kid doesnt get more credit he has played well in his stints in NY.

  10. Ray says:

    The plan I like is to dress Newbury or Wellman with Bickel on defense. If Torts is not happy with his new forward, he can slip Bickel in since Bickel gets basically no playing time at defense after the first period anyway. [Being 12th forward and sixth defenseman is easier than being fifth defenseman.]

    Shame about Zuc — doubt he’ll ever play another games as a Ranger since today was his opportunity.

  11. Ray says:

    I feel certain that NHL rules forbid JT Miller from playing. Teams are allowed to sign a maximum of 50 players for a given year. Miller was signed and was one of the 50, but he was removed from the official roster when he was sent to juniors (ditto Thomas and McIlraith). While reinstatement may be permissible in general, Kreider’s signing put that roster at 50 and so there is no place to put him. As I understand it, there is no way to get a player off the roster except by trading him.

  12. Dave says:

    Per the Rangers, Dubi is a no go for tonight. Looks like Bickel is in at forward.

  13. sean says:

    Newbury cannot kill penalties. Are you serious? You and the guy who always brings up double shifting a top forward in the playoffs should choose a new sport to follow

    • Dave says:

      Where in the post did I say Newbuy kills penalties? Please point it out.

      I’ll wait.

      • sean says:

        I was commenting in rickyrants13 dumb comment, not yours dave. Take a chill pill brother

    • VinceR says:

      Why don’t you just find a new blog to read Sean? I am always astounded to folks who come to a site to post how crummy it is. There’s a multitude out there.

      You really have nothing better to do then come to a site you think sucks? That’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    • VinceR says:

      Dude, learn to read:

      “Newbury is the more likely candidate to dress if the Rangers go this route, and he’s proven he can be serviceable as a fourth line player. As a temporary player, I’d like this option over John Scott, but the first three options would be better moves than this one.”

      • Dave says:

        Yup. Thank you for reading.

        I’m still waiting on a response from Sean though. C’mon buddy, you can do it.

        • sean says:

          I know everyone is crying in their cereal this morning but again I was commenting on rickyrant13 saying Newbury could full in on the pk which is ridiculous

          • VinceR says:

            That makes a little more sense…but you gotta hit the reply button under the comment or it seems like you are commenting on the entire article.

            (and both comments were made before the game yesterday…but sorry for the wrongful reaction).

            • sean says:

              You’re right Vince, my bad. I was on my phone when I commented and I was so against that guys comment I replied to the wrong thread.

              • VinceR says:

                I’ve done it too man, the phone interface can be tricky. No worries and sorry again.

  14. MBN says:

    Dubi would have been my choice also. Play on the 4th line, kill some penalties – log some 10-12 minutes total, fairly light workload for the 1st game back.

    I like Bickel, but am not enamored with him as a forward.

  15. Danz says:

    The prust hit was on the internet within 5 minutes replayed by nbc more times than the lunar landing, and pierre McQuire ontalk radio today defended nbc and the nhl saying the “league” does not give any undue weight to media attention nor does it effect their decisions in these matters. by the way I have a bridge to sell!