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Posts tagged: Matt Gilroy

Rookies Rated

TSN recently looked at the top 100 rookies in the NHL this season that included both Michael Del Zotto and Artem Anisimov. Using a measuring system they explain here this is what TSN had to say about our kids. Make sure you read the methodology/scoring first….

 16. Michael Del Zotto, D, N.Y. Rangers
Age: 19
Stats: 9-28-37, minus-20, 32 PIM in 80 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 69.16
Comment: Has to tighten up defensively, but there aren’t many teen defensemen who have put up more than 35 points as a rookie. Aside from Myers, the last one to do so was Bryan Berard with 48 in 1996-1997.

MDZ came in at 16th in their ‘scoring’ but their analysis reveals something that speaks volumes for MDZ.  He had the 2nd best (teenage) scoring season for defenceman since 1996-97. That’s an impressive performance though TSN are right in saying that his defence will need to be improved upon. Hopefully that comes with age and experience. A very good first year, personally, for the Rangers’ future star PP QB.

 Next was AA:

 35. Artem Anisimov, C, N.Y. Rangers
Age: 21
Stats: 12-16-28, minus-2, 32 PIM in 82 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 65.38
Comment: Not a huge offensive year, but solid enough for lanky pivot who can still get faster and stronger.

The further down the list the less analysis TSN do so not much to read here. However looking deeper ourselves consider this: on a non playoff team, a low scoring team and anchoring the 4th line at 12mins/game, 28 points may not sound a lot but factoring all that in, it was an excellent year for AA. Defensively sound and with room to grow this was also a great start to an NHL career.

 Almost an afterthought at the end of the season was Matt Gilroy. He made TSN’s list at 39:

 39. Matt Gilroy, D, N.Y. Rangers
Age: 25
Stats: 4-11-15, even, 23 PIM in 69 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 63.72
Comment: Hobey Baker winner saw ice time decrease as season progressed and didn’t play at all in April.

No analysis here that we don’t know already but allow me to add a little: Defensively still developing, I was most disappointed by the offensive numbers. I was hoping for around 20-25 points off Gilroy who at 25 should have come in less phazed by it all (the rookie year). He did, at times, show enough to indicate he could have a bright future but the way his season ended indicates he has an uncertain immediate future and may have lost the coach’s trust. Can he get it back? Long term for the Rangers it would be good if he could.

Rick Carpiniello in particular often talks about how the Rangers lack top end talent compared to most teams but going forward do most teams have Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik? Do most teams have two future D studs like Staal and MDZ? I know I harp on about it but (Gilroy’s struggles aside) its hard to be too negative when we have such a young core growing together featuring AA, MDZ, Staal, Dubinsky, Callahan, Lundqvist and Gaborik. The Magnificent 7? Could be…

Dubinsky, Gilroy, Staal, Anisimov Headed to Worlds

As per Kevin Allen of USA Today, Brandon Dubinsky and defenseman Matt Gilroy will be representing Team USA in the World Championships. Both players have something to prove, as Gilroy was a healthy scratch for the final eight games of the Rangers season, and Dubinsky battled inconsistency all year. Ryan Callahan would have participated, but will sit out to help his knee heal.

Bob McKenzie is reporting that Marc Staal will be named to Team Canada. Staal, who was left off the Olympics roster, is a solid addition for Team Canada.

Larry Brooks is reporting that Artem Anisimov will play for Russia. Anisimov was impressive all year in minimum ice time, and should be able to build on this experience and come to camp next year to take the #1 center position.

No Lineup Changes for Tomorrow

As per the beat writers on Twitter; Ryan Callahan, Sean Avery and Brian Boyle did not skate at practice today and will not play tonight. Also, it looks like coach John Tortorella will be keeping the same lineup as he did against the Islanders, with Matt Gilroy and Enver Lisin being sent to the Prucha Box. So despite playing a combined 15 minutes in the last game, Anders Eriksson and Corey Locke will remain in the lineup tonight tomorrow against Tampa Bay. It is safe to assume the lines will look the same as they did against the Islanders on Tuesday:

Dubinsky-Christensen-Gaborik
Prospal-Locke-Drury
Voros-Jokinen- Parenteau
Shelley-Anisimov-Prust

Henrik Lundqvist will be in net todaytomorrow, for his 800th start in a row.

Gilroy/Lisin Scratched, Cally Out

As per Steve Zipay, Ryan Callahan is out tonight with his leg injury, being replaced in the lineup by the recently called up P.A. Parenteau. The other player called up, Anders Eriksson, will be in the lineup tonight, replacing Matt Gilroy. Gilroy only played 10:05 in the shootout win against New Jersey on Thursday night.

The other minor lineup change for tonight is that Aaron Voros will indeed return tonight, and Enver Lisin will be the additional healthy scratch.

Rangers Call-Up Parenteau And Eriksson

The Rangers have called up P.A. Parenteau and Anders Eriksson from the AHL, for Saturday’s game against Toronto. The Parenteau call-up is presumably for Ryan Callahan, who re-injured his leg against the Devils.

As for Eriksson, there are a couple potential reasons for the call-up. The Rangers may want a seventh defenseman for the rest of the road trip (which would be odd, since they haven’t carried seven all year). Or, it may be to replace Matt Gilroy, who played only 10:05 in the shootout win against the Devils. Do the Rangers want a veteran presence for the last playoff push? We’ll see what happens.

The Hunt for the Veteran Defenseman

It is no surprise that the Rangers are in the hunt for a veteran defenseman. The defense has been inconsistent at best, and there are many gaping holes, particularly a blue liner that hits on a regular basis. General Manager Glen Sather is looking at low risk, high reward type players to help fill this gap. To be more specific, Sather is looking for a player that won’t cost a high-end prospect/pick, and will be a UFA at the end of the year. Unfortunately, that is what everyone and their mother wants.

But the real question here is this: Who sits when that new defenseman arrives? Of the most notable players available (Garnet Exelby, Christoph Schubert, Denis Seidenberg), none are seventh defensemen. Each of them is capable of playing top-six minutes, and none will want to sit in the press box, keeping Donald Brashear and either Aaron Voros or Enver Lisin company.

The player every Rangers fan wants to sit is Wade Redden. Redden barely plays 15 minutes a game, and it is mostly due to the fact that he simply cannot skate with the above average players anymore. But this raises another question: Does Rangers brass have enough balls to sit Redden continuously? If not, then the most likely candidate to get the axe will be Matt Gilroy. Here’s why. (Update 12:15pm: This is strictly from a business standpoint, not stats/results.)

Matt Gilroy has not played 60 games this season, he has played 54. Matt Gilroy can be optioned to Hartford without passing through waivers or re-entry waivers, because he has not reached teh the 60 game threshold. Dumping Matt Gilroy in Hartford also clears enough cap space to take on a more expensive contract. It will also give the Rangers some additional time to evaluate how the new acquisition adjusts to his new team. If he can’t adjust, then Gilroy is simply recalled and inserted back into the lineup, with zero repercussions.

Some may not like this thinking, some will. The bottom line is that if the Rangers do not want to sit Redden, then Gilroy is the most likely candidate to go. Sometimes, it’s not about who is playing the worst, but who is the safest to get to Hartford.

Gilroy Called Up

Matt Gilroy has been called up to the Rangers after his stint in Hartford. He will be the sixth defenseman, replacing the recently sent down Ilkka Heikkinen and Bobby Sanguinetti. This isn’t really a surprise, as Heikkinen and Sanguinetti didn’t play much in yesterday’s game against the Flyers.

This again leaves the Rangers with just six defenseman and 14 forwards.

Gilroy, Johnson Sent Down

The Rangers made two moves today, one surprising, the other expected. The first, was sending Matt Gilroy down to Hartford. They kept Ilkka Heikkinen up. I don’t get it. Honestly, I thought Gilroy has been one of our best defenseman all year. He had a bad game against Chicago, but so did Rosival, and everyone else. I would have preferred to see Rosy sent down, or even Girardi. I don’t get it. If it’s a message, I think it’s a wrong one. Gilroy has been great all year. One bad game, and he’s in Hartford. Don’t get it.

The second move was sending goalie Chad Johnson down to Hartford. This is just to get him some extra work. Matt Zaba was called up as the backup for the Saturday game against Buffalo. Hartford has a bunch of games coming up, so he can get work. I still think the Rangers need to get a NHL caliber backup.

What’s your thoughts on the Gilroy move? Since the move does save some cap room, is there another one on the way?

The Kids! The Kids!

My dad has a saying for success in sports: The Kids! The Kids! Play the Kids!  He says that kids provide enthusiasm, exuberance, talent. It seems the Rangers were listening. After three games, it’s hard to tell if Michael Del Zotto is going to play as well as he has. It’s hard to tell if Matt Gilroy is going to play as well as he has. It’s hard to tell for Enver Lisin, even Brandon Dubinsky. It’s hard to tell for Artem Anisimov. But for three games, these guys have shown that they can produce, that they can infuse life into a team.

Let’s take last year’s team for example. Pretty veteran laden team. How many rookies did they have? Just Lauri Korpikosi. Include Callahan and Dubinsky, and that’s only 3 kids. Petr Prucha and Nigel Dawes were traded midseason. You see, the problem of the Rangers in the early 2000s was the lack of youngsters. You can overpay for veterans, and your team could be very talented, but unless you have that youthful exuberance, that youthful spirit, you’re not going to go very far. The Red Wings always call up a rookie or two for their playoff run. The Yankees in baseball infused youngsters and vets on their way to the best record in baseball this year. Youngsters are crucial to success in sports. 

Now you have MDZ, Gilroy, Anisimov, Lisin on the ice nightly, and playing in all situations. It’s been three games. It would be foolish to get over excited. But, it’s exciting to watch these guys develop, produce, it’s good for the team. The Rangers might not win the Cup. But their success is crucial to the team’s success. It’s all about the kids. My dad was right all along.

A Look at the Defensive Pairings

With Michael Del Zotto officially making the team, I thought it would be interesting to look at defensive pairings. Who fits well with who? Let’s take a look:

1st pair: Staal-Rosival

Ideally, your first pair is your best. You have a good offensive defenseman, and a strong shutdown d-man. This combination gives the Rangers just that. Staal is the Rangers best defender. He has the potential to shut down one side of the ice. He’s an All-Star for years to come. Michal Rosival, however, has been struggling, and looked absolutely awful in the last preseason game against the Caps. But, that’s exactly why I put him with Staal. If he makes a mistake, he has Staal back there. Will this limit Staal’s offensive capabilities? A bit. But that’s what Gilroy and Del Zotto are for. This is not the best first pair in the NHL. No where close. But, it’s solid.

2nd pair: Gilroy-Girardi

I really debated where to put the rookies. I settled on Gilroy and Girardi for a couple reasons. One, Girardi, even with his preseason struggles, is a solid defensive defenseman. Gilroy, while solid in his own end, is a tremendous offensive player, who will look to lead and join the rush. He showed that during the preseason. This combination combines offensive and defensive players. In a defensive pair, you want a combination of both. This is a nice 2nd pair.

3rd pair: Redden-Del Zotto

Yes. Wade Redden as a third pair defenseman. It’s true. That’s where he belongs. I expect him to take a leap forward in his play this year–he really improved once Torts came along. He may not be the offensive player he once was, but he’s not awful as a defender. Del Zotto has shown great offensive instincts, as well as a good understanding of positional play. Having a veteran like Redden to learn from would be very beneficial to MDZ. If he gets sent back to juniors, I would put Semenov or whatever defenseman they sign off the scrap heap in this spot.

The Rangers defense core is solid. Not great. Solid. They have an emerging young star in Staal. Two really promising rookies in Gilroy and Del Zotto. Girardi, Rosival and Redden round out a solid group. I expect good things from all of them this year. What do you think of the defense core, and what are your ideal defensive pairings?