Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you all have a great day and weekend. In the mean time, a couple thoughts on the Rangers as they head in to the weekend and toward a big double header.
If Taylor Pyatt continues to struggle once he’s back up to speed and Benoit Pouliot continues to be consistently inconsistent when does Alain Vigneault look for alternatives to help his frustrating offense? Wednesday night saw Danny Kristo add another goal to his tally in the AHL.
With 10 goals in 19 games for the WolfPack Kristo is on pace to flirt with 40 goals in his rookie year as a pro. While showing patience with Kristo is possibly the right course of action, if the Rangers continue to underwhelm offensively he’s surely worth taking a look at sooner rather than later.
Alain Vigneault has said that Pouliot is at a career crossroads. Well, could Derick Brassard also be at a crossroad? While Pouliot may have his entire NHL career under scrutiny, Brassard has been far too inconsistent thus far to warrant being retained at his current salary beyond this year (and certainly isn’t in line for a raise).
Brassard’s status as a promising talent is under threat. While Brassard would definitely find a home somewhere should the Rangers cut the cord, Brassard needs to find some consistency to justify the Rangers retaining him beyond this season. Very talented, very frustrating.
Big changes coming?
With several Rangers players not (yet) playing to their ability – or contract – a quick glance at the WolfPack’s young roster and the Rangers cap commitments beyond this season suggest the Rangers could be heading toward a summer of significant change. Brassard, Brian Boyle, Dom Moore, Pyatt, Pouliot and Anton Stralman all face uncertain futures either because of their performances or their cap value (or both). Throw in Brad Richards’ likely departure and it’s entirely possible the Rangers could lose seven or more roster players in the summer.
Reason for optimism
Despite a lack of goals the Rangers have a very bright future on the flanks. Complementing Nash, Hagelin and Callahan we’ve seen Chris Kreider finally show his NHL ability. Throw in the arrival of Mats Zuccarello as a consistent NHL offensive forward and the Rangers have a strong core on the wings. Zuccarello and Kreider still have flaws and they both need to score more goals but both players are projecting close to fifty points for the season and each has shown enough to suggest they can be trusted offensive producers.
Did I say Happy Thanksgiving yet? Go eat Turkey.