Afternoon everyone, it’s a game day. And what a huge game it is – against the fast closing Buffalo Sabres. However before we get to that I wanted to share a post from a guest blogger with you all. Please bear in my mind that it’s written prior to both the deadline and the McCabe deal and therefore is slightly dated.
However, the content is very debate worthy and much of it is unaffected despite being a few days late. Anyway, here it is – from guest blogger Will (sorry, Don’t have your full name – if you want to post it in the comments I’d be happy to fully credit you.)
Let’s see how many of you agree with Will on this hotly debated former Ranger….
The Effect of Roszival’s Absence
As the trade deadline approaches and GM’s around the league are making their last-second moves, Glen Sather and the typically active Rangers have been uncharacteristically quiet. The organization’s recent lack of activity on the trade front can be attributed to the move that Slats made on Jan. 10 to acquire Wojtek Wolski.
It was a trade that carried deadline-day overtones, with the Rangers picking up a high-end forward and first-round talent for an aging, and overpaid defenseman. It was the type of deal that Sather would have made in the pre-lockout era – except he would have acquired Roszival.
So it seemed, at the time, that the Rangers had committed a form of highway robbery, stealing Wolski from the Coyotes in exchange for the dispensable and replaceable Michael Roszival.
But now, 19 games later, it appears that Roszy, often a target of the Garden jeers during his New York tenure, may deserve much more credit for the Rangers’ success than he was accredited. He didn’t put up overly impressive offensive numbers (then again, none of the Rangers blue-liners do), he wasn’t a physically imposing opponent, and his fleetness of foot had long since betrayed him. But Roszival was steady. He was accountable. Sure, his game was modest, but it was largely mistake-free. He was a proven penalty-killer and an effective point-man on the powerplay. But perhaps most important of all, he was a veteran. He understood the defensive system the Rangers employed, and he was a leader for the abundance of youth around him. He was a calming influence among a defensive corps that was still young enough to get lost in Manhattan. Now, without Rosival, nevermind Manhattan, the Rangers simply look lost on the Garden ice.
When Roszvial departed for Phoenix on Jan. 10, the Rangers, 6th in the Eastern Conerence, stood at 25-15-3, and were surrendering 2.5 goals per game. Since then, they have posted a 7-11-1 mark, slipped to seventh in the conference standings, and are allowing 2.63 goals per game. The .13 increase seems trivial, but given the Rangers’ offensive struggles, an extra goal here and an extra goal there is huge. Their powerplay has also felt the absence of Roszy, as, save the game against the Penguins on Feb. 13, the extra man unit has been even less successful than usual. Roszival’s six powerplay assists with the Rangers were first among defenseman, and still today, no Rangers defenseman has eclipsed that total.
This is no knock on Wolski – I think he has been the best forward on the ice in a number of his Broadway performances. He is sure to be a key piece on future Rangers teams, and I am still encouraged that Slats was able to pry him from the hands of Don Maloney. I just wish he hadn’t given up Roszival.
Given the effect of the Wolski-Roszvial swap, Sather may be somewhat hesitant to make another deal before Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. The Rangers had a good thing going, and the trade seemed to slow some of their momentum. If he is to make a deal, perhaps he should dial up Maloney and ask for number 33 back.
For a guy we all used to boo so much, he was a pretty darn important player.