Archive for Vinny Prospal
Before I start, I’d like to properly introduce myself: My name is Jeremy Fuchs and I’m really excited to join the team here at BlueSeatBlogs. A life long Ranger fan, I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on my beloved Blueshirts. You may have seen my other work on GiantsGab, or The Blog of Champions. Now that you know a little bit about me, let’s talk hockey.
Last year, all we heard about was scoring. Or the lack thereof. Scott Gomez didn’t (or couldn’t) fill the large shoes of Jaromir Jagr. Chris Drury was playing like a second or third line center, not a first. Markus Naslund, while solid, certainly didn’t set the world on fire. Nikolai Zherdev oozes talent, but can’t get it done on the ice.
As in typical Ranger fashion, they re-tooled in the offseason. They traded Scott Gomez to Montreal, getting Chris Higgins and promising blueliner Ryan McDonagh. Markus Naslund retired, Nik Antropov went to Atlanta, and Nik Zherdev went to the KHL. They signed Marion Gaborik to a mega deal. They signed Vinny Prospal and Ales Kotalik. On paper, this seems to make up and then some for the losses. Yet all I hear from fans is: Where’s the scoring? All I read about in season previews is: Where’s the scoring? Is it an issue? Or are we just too wary of Glen Sather to think he actually did a good job?
184. That’s how many goals the Rangers scored last year. In comparison, the Cup winning Penguins scored 255. Big difference. Well, how many goals can we project the Blueshirts to score this year?
Marion Gaborik: 32
If he’s healthy, he scores 40+ goals. However, I’m accounting for the fact that he might not stay healthy. I think 32 is a reasonable estimate.
Chris Drury: 24.
Hopefully, he’ll rekindle his magic with Kotalik.
Brandon Dubinsky: 16
Playing with Gabby should increase his outptut.
Sean Avery: 15
He scored 8 goals in 41 games. 15 in 81 sounds about right.
Chris Higgins: 24
Higgins was hurt last year, limiting his goal production to 12. I think he can double that if healthy, especially if he plays on a wing with Gaborik.
Ales Kotalik: 20
Scored 20 last year, too
Ryan Callahan: 28
28 might seem like a lot, but Callahan scored 22 goals last year, and was on fire at the end of the season, and in the playoffs. He’s a perfect fit for Tortorella’s system.
Vinny Prospal: 20
Scored 19 last year on a Tampa team in turmoil.
Artem Anisimov: 10
I don’t want to expect too much from the rookie, but he’s a goal scorer, and proved that in Hartford.
Hey, it’s an improvement over Colton Orr
Brian Boyle: 5
That’s a nice number for a fourth line center.
Enver Lisin: 15
Lisin scored 13 in Phoenix. His speed is too tantalizing from him not to improve on that total, and he’ll flourish with Torts. He’ll score some on the Power Play as well.
Marc Staal: 8
I think he’s going to flourish in Tortorella’s system. He’ll be leading the rush a lot more.
Dan Girardi: 5
He’s got a very underrated shot.
Wade Redden: 5
I expect him to improve, and he was much better once Tortorella came on.
Michal Rosival: 8
If he just used that shot of his more, this total would be in double digits.
Matt Gilory: 5
He’s been very impressive in preseason duty.
He’s a true power play QB. He’ll have a good number of assists as well.
So how many goals is that? 246. That’s a HUGE improvement over last year. I think the Gaborik addition, and the development of youngsters aids in the increase. And even if Gaborik gets hurt and only scores 10 goals, it’s still 224 goals scored. Am I being a bit optimistic? Perhaps. But, it’s reasonable to think. This team is more well balanced. And judging from preseason games, they are a much better passing team. They attack, and they shoot the puck more. If the Rangers get this goal amount, they will be a much better team. And with Lundqvist, it could lead to a deep playoff run.
With the signing of Vinny Prospal occurring while I’m pretty much isolated from the outside world (not a bad thing, surfing in San Diego is really fun), it takes me a little while to catch up on all the news. Hell, I didn’t even know about the Vinny Prospal signing until I checked my phone (which I’m not allowed to carry while I’m here) at around 9pm that night.
Anyway, Prospal officially signed for $1.1 million, which is an absolute steal, as Prospal is pretty much a lock for at least 40 points. It really makes you wonder what the hell Slats was thinking when he signed Ales Kotalik to that $9 million deal over three years to maybe put up 40 points (he’s only done it three times). But what’s done is done, and let’s focus on the positive here: Prospal is a minimal cap hit, a consistent contributor, plays two positions, isn’t committed to a long term deal, and is easily traded should the right deal arise.
This is also an insurance policy in case Brandon Dubinsky can’t handle the rigors of first line duty between Gaborik and Higgins/Avery/Prospal. In the best case scenario, you have Prospal-Dubinsky-Gaborik as the top line. It’s not exactly intimidating, but it will get the job done. Should Dubinsky be unable to perform on the ice, Prospal can switch to pivot, and you can move up any LW not named Donald Brashear.
It provides much needed cheap flexibility amongst the top two lines. As much as I hated the Ales Kotalik deal, is as much as I love this deal. This is one of those deals that will fly under the radar, but provide huge results.
And did I mention that he comes ridiculously cheap?
Via Larry Brooks, the Rangers have signed winger Vinny Prospal to a one year deal worth $1.1M. Prospal played under John Tortorella for a few seasons in Tampa, but managed to miss out on the club’s 2004 Stanley Cup Championship while playing in Anaheim. It’s worth noting that Vinny’s best seasons have come under Torts, so maybe there’s hope for him in this system.
Me? I don’t love the move, but it’s not terrible. Prospal’s pretty much a lock for 20 goals in the run-and-gun system, and his deal is pretty cheap and easy to back out of. Plus he can fill in at center if needed. He’s essentially taking the spot vacated by Nik Zherdev, which is funny because they’re both the same kind of players: lots of talent but they disappear at times.