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Injuries testing Rangers depth early

(Brian Snyder/Reuters)

(Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Every team has to deal with injuries over the course of the season, it’s a part of the game. The Rangers are one of those teams dealing with such injuries right now, and it’s testing their depth early in the year. Not only is New York dealing with injuries, they are dealing with injuries to significant players. They are missing three of their top six forwards at the moment, and haven’t dressed a full lineup all season.

Ryan Callahan won’t be back until next month. Carl Hagelin won’t be back until the end of this month. Rick Nash is out for the foreseeable future. Any team that is missing three forwards is going to have difficulties dressing a competent roster. Any team missing three top six forwards is even bigger trouble, and that is exactly where the Rangers are at this moment.

Depth becomes a bigger issue when the rookies who were expected to get injury call ups (Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast) are now on the roster full time, playing bottom six minutes in the NHL instead of top six minutes in the AHL. While the plan may have been to get these kids some NHL ice time later in the season, October NHL time didn’t give them much time for growth in the AHL.

So where does this leave the Rangers?

Well, a bit S.O.L for the time being. It is too early in the season to start making trades that could sacrifice the makeup of the fully healthy squad, or trades that could sacrifice the future. So for now, they are going to be calling upon rookies to see if they can step up their game.

Fast, who has been with the team since camp broke, and Miller, who has been up and down twice this year, appear to be the kids that Alain Vigneault will keep around for a while. The recently recalled Kreider will hopefully get a shot at top six minutes with Miller, which will add some much needed speed to those top two lines.

Top six depth is almost impossible to come by, which is why we have seen the Rangers run guys like Taylor Pyatt on the top line. It’s why this club has seemed a little slow as well, and the product on the ice has suffered.

The best case scenario has Kreider finally clicking on the top six and playing well, with Miller (and hopefully Fast) playing a top nine role while the Rangers heal. The worst case scenario is that all three struggle, but are forced to remain in the lineup because there is no one else available. The next few games are going to be a test for these youngsters.

19 Responses to “Injuries testing Rangers depth early”

  1. Erixon20 says:

    Kreider/DelZotto/Kristo for Yakupov, Slats can pull it off with his old Oil buddies! I wish.

    • Chris F says:

      Yakupov is a primadonna who doesn’t like, by his own admission, to backcheck or play without the puck.

      Why woukd anyone trade away proven talent for him?

    • Walt says:

      Meaning no disrespect, but what are you thinking. This kid will turn into another Rudalov, who went back to Russia, to play the wide open style, and no defense. He is a pretty boy, we need MEN, not pretty boys.

      • Erixon20 says:

        I think you and I have a different definition of “proven talent.” What will Kreider turn into and what about Del Zotto? A 1st overall pick is what we are talking about for 2 guys who are also question marks plus another who might not make the NHL. If anyone wasn’t going to go for my trade proposal it would be Edmonton. Agree we need men not boys, but projected elite snipers are hard to come by.

        • Walt says:

          But if they aren’t willing to put out the sweat, what good is it?? I stick to my first post. We agree to disagree.

    • Centerman21 says:

      Why you would want Yakapov in the first place I don’t know. Most importantly why would you trade all those players for him? He isn’t worth one of them. The kid could take off and go play in Russia KHL like Kovalchuck. This kid was a healthy scratch on a team full of kids like him. Edmonton would have to pay someone to take him now and they aren’t doing that. Not until his value comes back anyway. I think this team could use a Curtis Glencross. He’s usually good for 20-25 goals per year and he is hard to play against. Wins battles. The Rangers need that. A hard checking top 6 winger. Not a neutral zone daisy picker looking for a breakaway while his teammates bother with defense.

  2. BobM says:

    The word “Depth” with regards to the Rangers is being thrown around ad nauseum.

    DEPTH:
    1)a dimension taken through an object or body of material, usually downward from an upper surface

    2)horizontally inward from an outer surface

    3)from top to bottom of something regarded as one of several layers.

    The Rangers are certainly moving downward, they are imploding inward and have moved from the top to the bottom.

    Yup, they are a depth team alright by the above definition.

  3. BobM says:

    In fact, one can also note that the Rangers have gone from top to bottom of something regarded as one of several PLAYERS.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Huh?

    • Chris F says:

      Trying way too hard.

    • Dave says:

      Wut?

      • Centerman21 says:

        I don’t know if I said it to you earlier or not but I like Stewart from St. Louis. A big top 6 RW who plays all over. He is that guy AV wants in front of the net. Has been buried on the 3rd line but was practicing on the 2nd 2 days now. He would be a perfect 2nd line RW. He fights for teammates when needed and led the Blues in scoring last season with a line of 18-18-36. Even Rating in 15:50 ATOI. The Blues feel they over paid for him and could look to move him. He could help hold the fort until the rest of the troops arrive. Depending on who the Blues wanted (i.e Del Zotto + Pick) Sather may have to move salary to stay cap compliant. Or just pay a few bucks back next year. 2 mil isn’t the end of the world if the cap is sure to go up substantially. Other wise Calgary and Colorado are looking for defenseman. Glencross is a nice player. Maybe the Avs want to move Stastny or O’Reilly by February. ( O’Reilly signed his 1 year deal in Feb so he can’t be traded for one year from then)

        • Erixon20 says:

          I would love Stewart…..exactly what we need, but no way they take just DZ and a pick for him. That said, I’d be willing to throw in more to get it done. But I don’t know why you think they would be willing to move a guy like that. Might as well try for Lucic…

  4. Walt says:

    When the 3 main injured players come back, I hope soon, this will indeed be a different team. With that stated, and if the teams perfermance doesn’t improve, then we are in deep poo poo.

    After the first 20-25 games or so, things will settle, and the cream will float to the top, and the carp to the bottom. If the players who don’t, or won’t play in this system, aren’t doing their jobs, trades should be made, and get guys who want to play. The Wolf Pack has some kids, and other teams have needs and would be willing to trade, well get some hungry guys here. Then, and only then will we know who really wanted to be here in the first place. End of discussion.

  5. Mikeyyy says:

    Depth can be measured many ways

    When we say a team is deep we are talking averages. Averages can be skewed by top or bottom outliers.

    Nyr has depth. Which means lines 2-4 can be filled. We don’t at the moment have top flight talent that is healthy.

    Just look at this series of numbers.

    1,2,3 – avg is 2. Max is 3 min is 1 and the mid is 2. Standard

    Now look at these
    .5,1,4.5 – mow avg is still 2. Max is 4.5 min is .5 and the mid is 1. Higher end numbers offset the average.

    The net is more depth doesn’t mean more high end skill it just means more nhl caliber players. I would say the rangers have great 2/3 depth so 2nd and 3rd line depth. But not top end depth.

  6. Bloomer says:

    In the cap world every team has limited depth on their roster. Thus the need for a strong affiliate to draw from when injuries happen. This is where the rubber hits the road for the likes of Fast,Miller, Krieder, Mash and Talbot. The Rangers haven’t exactly been shooting the lights out, so why not give the kids a chance?

  7. Centerman21 says:

    I think Mashinter is going to make his presence known this time around. He was invisible last year in 4 games but he has been well taught by the staff in Hartford.

  8. Frank Cerbone says:

    Rangers don’t want Lucic, Giroux, Reilly, Benn,or even Justin Faulk cause Sather & Gordie Clark passed on them in the NHL Draft.

    Can’t expect your top players to survive if you don’t protect them. Sather just doesn’t get it; he won’t protect his players.

    Andrew Cogliano is a UFA at the end of the season; 2nd fastest skater in NHL to Hagelin, never missed a game in 6 years, 15 goal a year type player, great forchecker, porr at faceoffs.

    Guys like Mashinter who take very few minors, but fight a lot are just efficient, complementary players. At $660k and spending maybe 6-9 minutes on the ice, he would be an efficient, complementary player.

    Same goes for a Bickel; a 7th defenseman playing maybe 6 minutes a game complements the rest of our finess defenseman until McIlrath takes his spot.

    Sather just doesn’t get it.

  9. Lou says:

    Dudes forget Stewart and O’Rilly — neither of those teams will change any personnel and mess with chemistry.

    Moves to be made are as follows:

    Pouliot (experiment gone wrong) and draft choice for Clutterbuck.

    Mashinter in lineup (with tough guy around Boyle gets his balls back)

    Brassard (he shoots more blanks than a unic) gone and Kreider a regular (let him sink or swim).

    Fast replaced with Hagelin. And,

    Del Zotto and Fast or Lindberg for Bfyluien (figuring Winnepeg is as anxious to make changes as we are)