Apr
07

Chris Kreider’s injury causing depth issues

April 7, 2014, by
Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

When Chris Kreider went down with his hand injury last month, the Rangers needed to scramble to find options to fill his spot in the top-nine (AV uses his top-nine for scoring, and his fourth line for defense). After all, the Rangers were losing one of their fastest skaters, one of their more potent offensive weapons, and a guy who was likely to put up his first 20-goal, 40-point season while playing alongside Derek Stepan and Rick Nash. These aren’t easy shoes to fill.

J.T. Miller was immediately recalled and slotted into the lineup, but his play without the puck left a lot to be desired. After a game and a half, he was scratched for two games then sent back to Hartford with a message. Miller likely won’t be back until the Wolf Pack season ends (as a healthy scratch/injury replacement). Dan Carcillo has been filling in for Kreider admirably, but he’s no top-nine forward.

Naturally, this is a problem for the Rangers as they head into a first round date with the Flyers.

It’s not a matter of “switching up the lines” either. One of the replacements must ┬ácome from the Carcillo, Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore, and Derek Dorsett quartet that comprise the fourth line. Why is that?

AV is not going to switch up his best offensive line of Benoit Pouliot-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello*, or at least he really would prefer not to have to break them up. That means that the “stray” part of the fourth-line-du-jour needs to slot in with the top-six, however they are constructed.

*-Raise your hand if you thought that sentence would be spoken at the beginning of the year. Is your hand up? Good, because you’re a liar.

Since Miller is not an option, we’ve heard suggestions about Ryan Haggerty. There’s some merit there, but I don’t think throwing the kid into the fire like that in the middle of a playoff race is going to be good for him. Remember, he’s not Kreider, a first round pick that the Rangers needed to have for the playoff run. He’s an undrafted free agent who the Rangers needed to sign for the 2013-2014 season in order to sign him. That’s a big difference.

Haggerty may turn out to be a great signing. But playing him right now would be silly. Why not wait until after the Rangers clinch, when the games are relatively meaningless? It will give the coaching staff a chance to see what he can do, and it will let the kid get his beak wet.

Until Kreider’s hand heals, the Rangers are going to have a problem filling his hole in the lineup. They’ve been surviving on strong defense/goaltending and balanced scoring (note: shorthanded scoring), but that will only last so long. Without someone stepping up to fill that hole, the Rangers have a pretty big problem in their scoring lines.

Categories : Injuries

25 comments

  1. AD says:

    All things considered, it seems playing Richards on 3rd line LW alongside Moore and MSL, with Carcillo on 4th w/Boyle and Dorsett is our most practical option.

    Alternatively, Lindberg’s defense has always been sound and he has been progressing very nicely in Hartford; is it feasible he can play 4th line center in between Boyle and Doresett?

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      I agree that the answer could be Moore playing between Richards and St. Louis.

      As for the 4th line, Boyle would just slot back into the center role between Dorsett and Carcillo.

    • todd says:

      The one game that AV tried this line, it seemed to work. At least it worked a lot better than Boyle with MSL and BR.

      Right now we only have one line producing consistently. Not a great way to go into the playoffs.

      Any word when Krieder and McDonagh will be back?

  2. Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

    I agree 100%. The loss of Kreider hurt in the Colorodo game more than Mac. Staal fills in well there but missing Kreider slows Down a team who’s offense is based on speed.
    The original word was that he would be out a month. Now the diagnosis is indefinitely. Does that mean he could still retun in a month from the injury? That would be best. Even if he can’t score 20 points in the playoffs. His speed & size draws coverage and leaves an open man.
    If he does come back and guys attack that hand. I’d better see retaliation. I think he comes back sometime in the 1st round. Like his 1st year with Torts in 11/12 where he was a beast.

  3. Chris F says:

    Moore, to me, is definitely the best option to move up to a top-9 role in the absence of Kreider.

    He has speed, is very good on face-offs, and I feel he’s just the better offensive opportunist when compared against guys like Boyle and Carcillo.

    Move Hagelin up to play with Stepan and Nash, and then increase the Pouliot-Brassard-Zuccarello line’s minutes to a top-6 (2nd line) role.

    Richards-Moore-MSL can slot in in a 2-way, top-9, 3rd line role, with Carcillo-Boyle-Dorsett playing a clear, defensive 4th line role.

    It’s not perfect, but if you’re not going to use guys like Miller or Haggerty to replace Krieder’s production, then you have to move a 4th liner up. And if you move a 4th liner up, it can’t be for a top-6 role.

  4. Chris F says:

    Rangers just recalled Jesper Fast.

  5. Chris A says:

    Looks like Jesper Fast is getting a shot at top-9 minutes.

    He looked good the first week of the season when almost every other Ranger was running around confused.

  6. AD says:

    Fast, MZA & MSL…..we don’t need no stinkin’ size!

  7. SalMerc says:

    Callup of Fast tells me there is no top 9 option with the big club and that Kreider is out more than a month.

  8. Frank Cerbone says:

    Interesting article in today’s NY Post by Larry Brooks.

    Since the trading of Del Zotto, Ranger’s power play has been a disaster.

    MDZ on power play, a goal scored every 7.30 minutes
    McDonough every 9.38 minutes
    John Moore every 10.20 minutes
    Girardi every 11.50 minutes
    Diaz every 18.05 minutes

    Furthermore, since St Louis arrival, Richards has one point on power play, St Louis ZERO.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      St Louis had a game winning PP assist on a Stepan goal in his 2nd game with the Rangers. Fri 3/7 vs the Canes at 17:14 of the 3rd.

      • Walt says:

        Big effing deal, what else has he done, nothing!!!! So this retread is worth Callie, and two #1 picks for one miserable assist, PLEASE!!!!!

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          I was just correcting an incorrect statement. Where at all did I mention how it justified a trade?

  9. FrankCerbone says:

    2nd rd pic of Columbus power forward, tough guy, very good backhecker Boone Jenner 6-2, 215 has
    14 goals . Sathr/Clarke chose JT MIller over the higher rated Jenner in the draft. Not like Clark didn’t see Jenner in juniors, because Jenner was
    Christian Thomas’s linemate in juniors.

    Just Sather/Clark ALWAYS passing on power forward/toughguys like Lucic/Jenner/Benn

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      And McIlrath who really doesn’t like the rough stuff…
      and the sandpapery Dubinsky…
      and Callahan who never hits anyone…
      and Kreider certainly can’t be considered a power forward

      To be honest, I agree with much of what you’re saying….building a team with size up and down the lineup, on the wings… good formula for success and a great template for an effective NHL team. But I think you pick apart NYR drafting tendencies way too much. At the end of the day it’s an imperfect science and Miller has hardly proven to be a bust thus far. Patience, my friend.

  10. FrankCerbone says:

    Interesting how MDZ was Ranger’s most effective defenseman on power play EVEN WHEN VIGNEALT PLAYED MDZ ON HIS WRONG SIDE

    FURTHERMORE, I POSTED ON THS SITE March 1st THAT NASH HAD BEEN STUCK AT 9 HITS FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS. NOW ON 7th, OVER A MONTH LATER NASH IS ALL THE WAY UP TO 11 HITS.

    Wow, Nash & Staal-two very big players that play REAL, REAL SMALL

    • todd says:

      MDZ is not missed. Klein has been a better fit on defense. Besides Del Zotto was benched last week. He keeps looking like the “deer in the headlights” Lets move on……

  11. FrankCerbone says:

    Interesting how MDZ was Ranger’s most effective defenseman on power play EVEN WHEN VIGNEALT PLAYED MDZ ON HIS WRONG SIDE

    FURTHERMORE, I POSTED ON THS SITE March 1st THAT NASH HAD BEEN STUCK AT 9 HITS FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS. NOW ON APRIL 7th, OVER A MONTH LATER NASH IS ALL THE WAY UP TO 11 HITS.

    Wow, Nash & Staal-two very big players that play REAL, REAL SMALL

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Marc Staal 6’4 207 lbs
      Luke Schenn 6’2 229 lbs
      Nick Grossman 6’4 230 lbs

      3 NHL defensman who are all of similar stature.

      Does Staal play a heavy game? No.
      Do Schenn and Grossman play heavy games? Yes.
      Who plays the most effective NHL game? Staal.
      Who would 30 out of 30 NHL GMs rather have on their team? I’ll venture a guess the answer is Staal.

      Would it be nice for our team to play bigger like the Bruins, Blues and Kings? Absolutely….but at the end of the day, I’ll take Staal’s higher hockey IQ and extremely active stick and long reach to break up plays and move the puck up ice over a guy who misses assignments and leaves open passing lanes in his own zone regardless of hits registered.

      • FrankCerbone says:

        Absolutly NO WAY Phila trades Luke Schenn for Marc Staal.

        Schenn is insantly a beter fighter than Carcillo or Dorset.

        Schenn is instantly a better hitter than Girardi.

        Schenn is a plus player on a team where there are almost no plus players.

        Schenn is only 24.

        McIlrath & Staal for Luke Schenn would be nice, but Phila would never go for it.

        YOU TOTALLY OVERESTIMATE STAAL WHO HAS NEVER BEEN MORE THAN A POOR MAN’S DALE ROLFE. Look at Dale Rolfe’s record with the Rangers.

  12. Walt says:

    Stewart for Callie, instead of MSL, and we would not be having this discussion!!

    With Fast coming up, we have MSL, Zucc, Fast, Hags, now is that intimidating for a team like the Flyers? Just thinking!!