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Rick Nash’s ability to play both wings assuages the Marian Gaborik injury

August 21, 2012, by

Although the Rangers are likely to benefit from a lockout –due to the injury to Marian Gaborik– there is still a solid chance that when the season starts, the club will still be without their top scorer from last season. Gaborik, who had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in June, is said to be out five or six months recovering from the surgery.

The acquisition of Rick Nash actually gives the Rangers tremendous flexibility when dealing with this injury. Nash is a rare forward that can play both wings, and play them at a high level. This gives the Rangers the ability to fill the spot opened up by Gaborik’s injury on either the left side or the right side.

The players that are likely to play on the top six –alongside Nash, Brad Richards, and Derek Stepan– are the ones you would expect: Carl Hagelin, Ryan Callahan, and Chris Kreider. All three played on the top two lines in the playoffs, and are either decent offensive threats (Cally), or players with some great offensive potential (Kreider, Hagelin).

However, John Tortorella is known for not rushing his rookies, and generally placing them on the third line to get their feet wet. If Torts decides to take this route with Kreider, then the Rangers will need one more winger to play the top six while Gaborik rehabs.

Taylor Pyatt is the easy choice to turn to if Kreider plays a third line role in the beginning of the season. He’s the veteran with a 20 goal season under his belt. He plays a power forward type of game, which is something the Rangers lack.

Many are already penciling J.T. Miller in the lineup, but it’s more realistic to pencil Christian Thomas into the lineup as a stopgap until Gaborik is healthy. Thomas has no Junior eligibility, thus has no nine game rule. Even though Miller can play in the AHL, the Rangers would want the option to return him to Juniors if need be.

The smart money is on Kreider, Hagelin, and Cally filling in on the top six with Nash, Stepan, and Kreider while Gaborik is out. However the Rangers have some great flexibility should one of those options fail or get injured. Nash’s ability to play both wings really opens up the line options for the Rangers, which is something that may have been missed in his acquisition.


  1. Walt says:

    Great to have options!!!!!

    This deal looks better the more you read about Nash, and realize how many ways he could kill another team.

  2. SalMerc says:

    I am sure that under Torts, Nash will see time at both wings, as a center and probably at the point on the power-play at times. Once he develops some chemistry with some linemates, he should stay at one position. There is something to be said for knowing where your wing will probably be when you throw a pass across the slot.

  3. Chris in MA says:

    I thought that Miller wasnt subject to the 9-game rule because he was drafted out of the US Development Camp as opposed ot being drafted out of Juniors.

    Not sure where I saw that, or how credible it is. Just something to think about.

    • Dave says:

      The nine game rule still applies for Junior eligibility. He can play in the AHL though.

  4. Mark says:

    Torts loves to play musical lines. Nash’s flexibility to play both wings makes it very hard for other teams to match up. Unfortunately, I think Cally will probably be forced to play on the 3rd line or play out of position on LW with Stepan and Gabby when he comes back.

  5. Scully says:

    I love how last season the Rangers were rather thin in terms of “power wingers” with their best ones being Callahan (not really a power forward in terms of size although he plays that style of game) and Dubinsky (who I always felt played his best as a center). Now, whenever we do have a season we’ll have Nash, Kreider, and Pyatt for our top 3 lines. That’s solid retooling on the fly…. Oh and also AARON AASHAM. The first time he sucker punches a Flyer (hello Scott Hartnell) Walt will be changing his tune about him 🙂 haha.

    • Walt says:


      Hay I’m O K with what you say, as long as it’s Hartnell. Come to think of it, as long as it’s any Filthadelphia player!!!!!

  6. Pas44 says:

    The Rangers were #1 all season without Rick Nash,
    without Marc Stall, without Sauer too.

    I don’t see waiting for Gabby being too hard for this team.


  7. TxRanger says:

    I don’t know why you guys keep considering Kreider a top six player, sure he came in and had a decent playoffs, but does that really prove anything? Does some 18 games or so really equal 82 or 60 depending on the lockout? While Gaby’s out, he’ll definitely have the spot, but you can’t just pencil this guy in there when he doesn’t even have twenty games under his belt.

    • rickyrants13 says:

      You are right and you are wrong. Yes he hasnt really poven anything over an 82 game season. But this 6’3 230 pound player that can outright fly came in and scored at the hardest time of the year.

      That said. I dont think there is any doubt even less now that Nash is here to take some presure off him. Why this guy should’nt be talked about as a top 3 player no less top 6

      • TxRanger says:

        I mean I never said he wansn’t going to be good, but I really feel like he’s gonna spend time on every line this year. Torts is gonna be hard on him and he’s not always going to be the best player on the ice.

  8. Hfarewell says:

    Even if it benefits a team in terms of getting people healthy a lockout benefits 0 people. When you get locked out you can’t see team doctors so that rehab he’ll need will be with someone unfamiliar, plus if there’s a lockout fans that have come back finally will be completely disgusted that the NHL can’t get their shit together and leave all over again. There is no good that can really come from a lockout.