Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that Alain Vigneault is at it again. AV has put his lines through a blender, and somehow came up with this concoction that made us all go “wtf?” At this point, I’m unsure if AV thinks these are his best lines, or if he’s just trolling the fan base.
Let’s make a few things very clear: David Desharnais is not a top-six center for the long term. He’s a solid feel-good story and has been a pleasant surprise for this team. He slides in nicely as the fourth line center in a rotation with Paul Carey and Boo Nieves. That’s not a knock on Desharnais by any means. But slotting him as the 2C –or worse, 1C– doesn’t lead to long-term success.
Second: Jimmy Vesey is not a top-six forward. This again is not a knock on the kid, but he is not more skilled than Pavel Buchnevich or JT Miller. He does not have the ceiling of either. Vesey is a good bottom-six winger who can fake it in the top-six every now and then. He rounds out the lineup very nicely when used properly.
Third; Buchnevich on the fourth line is absurd. This is the most talented forward the Rangers have had since….ever? I honestly don’t know. Gotta play the kid for him to grow.
Fourth: This illusion of accountability is getting old. AV doesn’t hold his trusted vets accountable for anything (see: Staal, Marc; Holden, Nick). But if a kid takes a bad penalty, it’s to the bench and to the fourth line. There’s sending a message, which I’m fine with, and being inconsistent with that message, which I’m not fine with.
Fifth: At this point, I believe AV’s ability to objectively judge his own players has completely left him. He seems to be stuck in the old NHL where skill players who have struggles defending don’t belong in the top-six. It’s up to the coach to both grow the player and to put the player in a position to succeed.
Sixth (and final): The job of the coach is to get the best out of his lineup. For the most part, I’m not going to nitpick over little things. I’ll ask questions, because that’s what I do, but I’m not going to get overly concerned over little things like distinguishing between second/third lines or third/fourth lines. But when it’s first/fourth lines or a guy playing way above his role, I’ll be concerned. That’s what sparked this post. Too many times this year we’ve seen guys playing above their roles in the lineup. It’s a trend, and that’s no good."Too much holiday fun leads to questionable lineup decisions",