Opening day is here, lines are set, drop the puck

January 19, 2013, by
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Rob Carr/Getty Images

The day we have been waiting for has arrived. The NHL season has arrived four months late, but it has arrived nonetheless. The Rangers are in Boston to take on the Bruins tonight, and the projected lines have been set by John Tortorella and his coaching staff:

Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Rick Nash
Marian Gaborik-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
Chris Kreider-Brian Boyle-Taylor Pyatt
Mike Rupp-Jeff Halpern-Brandon Segal

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto-Stu Bickel

As we spoke about yesterday, the organization moved Gaborik to the left side for a number of reasons. This move really opens up the Rangers offensively, as for the first time in a long time, they have solid primary scoring, solid secondary scoring, and solid tertiary scoring. The defensive pairings should look incredibly familiar, as they are the same pairings from last year.

The powerplay units appear to be as follows:

Richards-Callahan-Gaborik-Nash-Del Zotto; Stepan-Boyle-Hagelin-Staal-Girardi

That first unit is one of the deadliest units in hockey right now, with three of the top offensive players in the league. That second unit is a bit surprising, mainly in the lack of Chris Kreider. Torts has a history of not putting too much responsibility on his rookies, but that omission is a bit curious. Of course, these lines aren’t set in stone. It’ll also be interesting to see if McDonagh gets some powerplay time. Suit is a big fan of his offensive potential, and I’m inclined to agree that he might be a better fit over Girardi in the long-term.

The penalty killers have yet to be finalized, but it’s assumed that the duties will be split among the following players:

Forwards: Callahan, Boyle, Halpern, Hagelin, Richards, Stepan, Nash
Defense: McDonagh, Girardi, Staal, Del Zotto, Stralman

Penalty kill units aren’t always set in stone, as it depends on who is in the box and how fresh the legs are. The best penalty killing teams have a great goalie –which the Rangers do– and depth on the killing unit. The Blueshirts will be hurt by the loss of Ruslan Fedotenko and Brandon Prust, but with players like Hagelin and Halpern taking their place, they won’t be missed too much on the ice.

The Rangers are a very deep team with a legit shot at a Stanley Cup run. Their forward lines are deep. They have one of the best top-four defenses in the league. Their penalty kill is stellar. Their goaltending is All-World. On paper, their powerplay is phenomenal as well. This is one of the best teams in the league. On paper. It’s time to turn that “on paper” talk into “on ice” talk.

Categories : Defense, Forwards


  1. Tim B says:

    Dave, Staal is listed in defensive pairings 1 & 2. Did you mean: Mcdonagh- Girardi

    • Dave says:

      Yea…this is what happens when I write posts at 2am. Thanks for the catch, I fixed it.

      As Suit would say, silk tie for you!

      • The Suit says:

        Yeaaa boyyy. Good post.

        2013 Prediction: This is the year McDonagh and Hagelin become household names in this league.

        Get some.

  2. Jerry says:

    I still think we’re better suited ,no pun intended lol,to have Kreider on second line and move Cali down to the third line.and gabi on the right.

  3. rickyrants13 says:

    The best thing here is that for the first time in a long time We have just as much if not more to look forward to from within as we do at what came in.

    Yes Nash is the big catch. And could be the guy that puts us over the top/ As Ive said many times I still think he is the most under rated player in the game.

    But this year we have players such as. And I will say them in order of coming to this team that we can look forward to just as much that are home grown. And we are all looking for them to take the next step.

    Callahan, No more Dubi could this be the year this kid really breaks out? There will be far less pressure on him this year then ever before. If he feels this He could really break out.

    Stepan I say this kid makes another step at becoming a steady NHL player. But still think he is two more years away from seeing his full potential as a leader on this team.

    Hagelin. This speedy winger was missing only one thing in his first year. And that was the net. As he was asked to help keep the puck out of his own net. But with his new line mates and more of a push to score goals with Nash on board. I look for his asst totals to go threw the roof.

    Kreider. This kid here is the biggest upside and also the player we have to be very patient with. He has the size the hands and skates like the wind. But does he have the mindset yet to play his style of game all while being asked to do all the other things that come with being a Ranger. We had the patients with Stepan and Hags now we need to do the same with Kreider.

    And as we have a lot to look forward to our own young players on Off and Def We also have a few new players other then Nash to look forward to as well. Just how well will players like Pyatt, Asham and Halpern fit in with this team??? I like Pyatt to have a big year playing along side another huge player in Boyle And if the lines stay the way they are now I look for the Boyle, reider, Pyatt line to be the X factor on this years Rangers team. They are big They can score. And Kreiders speed will be like a pitcher haveing more then three pitches to throw. All I knwo is I wouldnt want to be pinned in My own end too long against this line.

  4. Tim B says:

    Knowing that Torts switches up the lines alot, we could see a few shifts with Gabby playing LW on the first line. PP is gonna look good. Defense will look good. Goaltenders will look good.
    If i were NYR coach these are the lines i would make:


  5. Spozo says:

    Feeling like a kid on Christmas morning……