Chris Drury appears ready to return to the Rangers line up and it appears he’ll get the luxury of returning with Gaborik and Frolov on his wings. With Erik Christensen hurting and thus off the ice at today’s practice Andrew gross was reporting that Drury’s was skating between Gaborik and Frolov.
Drury hasn’t don’t anything to deserve the top line if you take last year into account. However no one else has distinguished themselves in the role (basically, Christensen) to the point where Tortorella was comfortable and don’t forget during the off season the coach did admit that when healthy Drury would get a chance to re-find his offensive game. Whether he re-finds it remains to be seen.
What has Drury got going for him in the role? First and foremost he has the experience. He wont get overawed or feel under pressure due to the players he’s playing alongside. This is a guy that’s won a cup and played with the likes of Sakic, Forsberg etc. Also, Drury’s work rate and willingness to do the dirty, unfashionable work for his skilled line mates may be an advantage Drury has in the role.
So what counts against him? Not that its Drury’s fault but there isn’t a natural pass first player on the line. Drury is a shooter and that goes against the notion of feeding Gaborik (and Frolov) the puck so they can get going. Also, given the need to ignite the top line, having a player with no ice time under his belt since last season is a gamble. Will Drury be too pre-occupied with his own game to be able to utilize his wingers? Looks like we’ll find out Friday against Toronto.
Here at Blueseatblogs we looked at whether the in-form Artem Anisimov deserved a chance but Tortorella (perhaps correctly) has decided not to split either of his more effective lines so that’s one reason Drury gets the nod.
Another practice note: Andrew Gross is speculating that Matt Gilroy might make his season debut on Friday in place of the (thus far) ineffective Steve Eminger. Gilroy doesn’t really boast the tools that were missing against the Isles (physicality, poise at the back etc) but given the fact the Rangers have given up 9 goals already he deserves a chance to show his good camp means something. Its up to him to take it when it arrives.