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The lines Alain Vigneault found success with are about to be changed, probably for good

The return of Derek Dorsett plus the call up of J.T. Miller minus Mats Zuccarello and maybe Ryan Callahan equals…?

I still can’t get used to Alain Vigneault’s steady line combinations after four years of John Tortorella’s incessant juggling, but Vigneault has stuck with the same combinations for quite some time now.  It’s worth nothing that the Rangers finally turned a corner this season thanks in no small part to the team’s balance and chemistry up front.  Mats Zuccarello has been the team’s best forward so far this season and a key cog in Vigneault’s formula, but with him lost for likely another week or two (not to mention the upcoming trade deadline), Vigneault will be forced to rejigger his preferred trios.

Throw in the fact that winger Derek Dorsett is ready to return from a broken fibula and 20-year-old J.T. Miller, who has been dominant in the AHL, was recalled last night, and it’s tough to predict what Vigneault will end up with.  It’s probably most likely that Vigneault will be forced to try several different new looks – which might not be settled by the trade deadline in three games, throwing us back to square one.

Luckily Zuccarello really won’t be out long-term, but given the general roster uncertainty, we’ve likely seen the last of:

Chris Kreider/Derek Stepan/Rick Nash

Carl Hagelin/Brad Richards/Ryan Callahan

Benoit Pouliot/Derick Brassard/Mats Zuccarello

Dominic Moore/Brian Boyle/Dan Carcillo

In the short term, it’s ridiculous for Miller to be up again if he’s going to be a healthy scratch.  Miller has been jerked back and forth repeatedly this season and should be spending the remainder of the year in the minors.  If he’s just up as insurance, it’s hard to see why the team wouldn’t reward a Wolf Pack player that’s also been dominant lately – Oscar Lindberg.

Dorsett had been a key member of the Blueshirts and was playing some of his best hockey before getting injured, so if he’s healthy you’d have to think he’s going back into the lineup.

So there you have it, the odd state of New York’s forward depth exiting the Olympic break.  What lines would you like to see against Chicago?

35 Responses to “The lines Alain Vigneault found success with are about to be changed, probably for good”

  1. Ken in Florida says:

    Why not just JT for Zucc and Dorsett for Carcillo?

    • Walt says:

      Because that makes too much sense!! I agree, or another possibility would be just replace JT for Zucc, Carcillo has been too good for the bench at this time.

    • Dave says:

      I think that’s what we are going to see first. If the third line clicks, then they will stick. Big if though.

  2. Mark says:

    Sure, bench Carcillo and then we are back to where we were with nearly zero toughness. Although right now i am most worried about the lack of scoring when we subtract Callahan and Zuc.

  3. Walt says:

    A few weeks ago I posted that signing a rather large contract with Callie could cost him big time with both NY State, and city taxes. Well sure enough, today on the SNY Rangers blog, an article on that subject was written, sort of. Attached is the article:
    Buzz: Why the Rangers don’t get good deals on their players
    February 26th, 2014 8:34 am
    At ESPN Insider, Craig Custance writes about how the Rangers usually spend a lot more when re-signing their own players than other teams do.

    Custance says that the Rangers history of paying high costs for free agents has an impact on when the Rangers try to sign their own players. An agent told Custance that it’s like paying a stranger a lot and then asking family to take less. (ESPN Insider)

    The agent also said that the cost of living in NY has an impact, “55% of every dollar isn’t theirs.”

    Andy Strickland, a St. Louis based writer, tweeted “With all the awful contracts the New York Rangers have signed over the years now they don’t want to pay their captain?”

    • Walt says:

      The key point is that 55% isn’t their’s, and it’s mostly due to the taxes paid. Someone questioned me about the amount extra for just NY city taxes would be on the contract, well it’s considerable, somewhere in the 6-7% if my memory is correct???? If Callie goes to Tampa, he makes an extra 6-7% city, plus whatever NY Stae taxes are, because Florida has no state income taxes, total is around 14-15%?????? Something to think about.

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        All fair points. I’m sure that is brought up in negotiations, but how much does it really effect where he wants to go in the grand scheme of things. NYS income tax is 10%. You’ve been very vocal about Callahan wanting to play in Buffalo, but remember that he will be subject to that 10% in Buffalo.

        I agree that he will not have to pay NYC income tax if he signs with the Sabres, but what’s 6% of a 42 mil contract (6 mil x 7 yrs) equate to….. 2.52 million saved to play for the Sabres instead of the Rangers.

        I’d argue that despite TAXES being the highest in NYC, ENDORSEMENTS would also be the highest. Basically, in the grand scheme of things, it would be a wash.

        That said, I do agree that there is a huge draw to playing in Florida vs NYC, when you look at it from an income standpoint and I’m sure athletes consider that.

        However at the end of the day, Callahan will be set for life, and as such, his decision should be what is the best professional / personal fit as opposed to which city will maximize his net income by whatever fraction over the life of his contract.

        Side note… when it comes time for me to retire, Walt, could you help me out with a financial plan of attack? Prudential and Ameriprise got nothin’ on you

        • Dave says:

          NHL endorsements, at least on the national level, are few and far between. NYC helps a bit, but we are still a basketball town, not a hockey town.

        • Walt says:

          Hay man, I said that this could be a consideration, and brought the article front and center for discussion.

          As for the retirement aspect, I grew up in Brooklyn, and moved out of the city as soon as I could. I’m retired, and my taxes on my 401 are federal only, because in Pa they don’t tax you on your 401, look it up. My house sits on a half acre, 2,800 sq feet, new construction built in 2001, and paid for. I worked all my life, and I refuse to pay any more than I have to.

          Believe it or no, there are plenty of people of the same mind set. If you are that cavalier about paying hugh amounts of taxes, be my friend, do it, but I won’t. Thanks just the same!!!!!!

        • Walt says:

          Hay, does the name Carlos Delgado ring a bell to you. The very reason he wouldn’t sign with the Mets was the taxes, but was later traded to them anyway. Again, there are plenty of people who refuse to pay huge taxes like NYS, and NYC charge. It’s not me talking, it’s straight from the horses mouth.

    • Dave says:

      Citing Rotter on these parts is borderline ban worthy. You should know better Walt.

      Anyway, Custance is just spitting out what Cally’s agent said publicly. Not exactly new news.

      • Walt says:

        Dave

        I read it, and heard the same remark made by Callie’s agent before. Again, I brought it up for discussion, not to open a can of worms. Man, did I ruffle feathers today???????

  4. RangerSmurf says:

    I expect Nash and Richards’ lines to be intact, Miller on the 3rd in Zuke’s spot, and Moore-Boyle-pick a player.

    • Dave says:

      Yea, same here. The third line is the one that will get juggled depending on Miller’s performance.

  5. Jeff says:

    Dave, Suit, Kev -I’m a Rangers fan living out on the West Coast so I watch a lot of Canucks games. AV used to juggle his lines in Vancouver quite a bit but really hasn’t done so as much with the Rangers. Conversely Torts has kept his lines together much more so than what we saw when he was here. Any thoughts on why this is happening?

  6. Dave says:

    Of course, all of these lines get thrown out the window if Cally gets traded.

  7. andres says:

    totally off topic, but when did Zuccarello become Zuccarella ?? why are they announcing his name like that! someone please fill me in I clearly missed it.

    • Dave says:

      Dave Maloney keeps saying Zuccarella on the radio. It’s Zuccarello.

      • Chris F says:

        It’s a common New Yorker accent.

        • Chris F says:

          Common “old school” New Yorker accent I should say.

        • Dave says:

          Makes as much sense as people calling it Missoura instead of Missouri.

          • "The Original" Rob says:

            Lol..I cringe every time Maloney says ZuccarellA lol! Making him sound like a girl. In all seriousness guys. Forget the toughness and grit aspect of Carcillo. I’m not sure I’d want him out of the lineup. His general all around play has shocked me on that 4th line. Tough decisions. As much as I love J.T. and wanna see him in the lineup, I really think we should experiment of having both of our mid weight terrors in the lineup together, at least once.

  8. Dave says:

    Practice lines have Miller sliding right into Zuccarello’s spot for now.

  9. Spozo says:

    So it was just reported that MSL did in fact ask for a trade. It will take more than just Ryan Callahan to get him but this partially answers my question as to why Tampa was considering trading there leading scorer/captain.

  10. AL says:

    SATHER IS DONE TALKING!!! Forget the smoke, this is a 5 alarm fire! Ryan Callahan is on his way out the door and Sather is in a rush to make it happen. FTR has learned that Slats is looking to add Jesper Fast or Ryan Bourque in order to land a top 6 forward for Ryan Callahan. Depending on the player, Danny Kristo is also available.http://t.co/F0NOZDcoSvEdit

    • Dave says:

      All due respect to the FTR, they do a great job. But I only trust rumors from certain sources, and they aren’t one of them yet.