State of the Rangers

Reasonable Expectations: The Dubinsky/Anisimov/Callahan Line

There are many Ranger fans out there that believe that the Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov-Ryan Callahan line is the Rangers top line. All the evidence is there: two of the team’s top scorers are on the line, they get the most ice time, they get the most important minutes, and they are relied upon heavily by the team and the coaching staff. However, there is a difference between top scoring line and most important line. They might become a trio that can score 90 goals, but that is likely to be a one-off year, one of those years where everything goes right. In reality, they are going to be a trio of 20 goal, 50-60 point players, which does not qualify them for top scoring line status.

This year has all of us Ranger fans excited about the team, especially with the Pack line. They have heart, determination, skill, chemistry, and are finally starting to convert on their scoring chances. All that aside, some of the predictions out there on Al Gore’s inter-web are pipe dreams. It is unfair to these kids to expect them to score at a clip that will rival other teams’ top lines. They simply do not have the skill to match up with the Brad Richards/Loui Ericksson combination, or the Mike Richards/Jeff Carter combo.

These three are going to be great players, but not top line scoring players. A fair expectation is for them to continue progressing, and maybe have them top the 30-goal/65-point mark a few times in their prime. In reality, they are going to be what we have seen this year: a grind-it-out, hard-nosed line that will wear down opponents. Their jobs will likely be to remain as secondary scorers, and leave the primary scoring to players like Marian Gaborik, and whoever his compliments wind up being. If I had to venture a guess at who would be the most likely to exceed expectations, I’m going with Dubinsky, as he has the physical nature and the scoring ability to become more than a secondary scorer.

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  • 55 guys hit 60 points last year, 62 the year before.

    If those 3 guys are all 60 pt guys, they’re a top scoring line. No, they’re not the Sedin line, or the Getzlaf line, or the Thornton line, but there’s not many lines in the NHL that have that skill.

    I’ll tell you what though, if you give the Pack line 70% offensive starts and the bottom barrel competition like the Sedin’s get, they’ll be a lot better than 60 points.

  • Eventually this line will probably have to be broken up. I think Dubi can be a top line player if he has world class players (ie Richards, Gabby) next to him. There are many 60 point LW power forwards who create space for the elites and Dubi can play that role.

    If not, they’re fine as a solid second line, but we won’t be winning any Cups with them if they’re playing 1st line mins and PP time.

  • Hockey Suit, I agree… .think they’re going to be split up long term too. IF the Rangers get Richards I can’t see anyone other than Dubinsky on his left. Maybe, once Kreider matures but that’s a few years off.

    Smurf, you really think that trio can do a lot better than 60 even with the right zone starts/match ups? I like all 3 a lot but I, like Dave, only Dubinsky has that kind of upside.

    • Have you seen how easy the Sedin’s have it? 71% of their starts in the offensive zone (Daniel is 74%!) against, on average, 4th line competition (based on Corsi and rel. corsi).

      I think that 5v5 assignment is worth at least 15 points, maybe 20. It’s similar to how Chicago started using Byfuglien in the playoffs last year, and you saw how his production skyrocketed.

      Right now, the trio is 1-2-3 on the Rangers in quality of competition, 7-8-9 in zone start (boyle’s line is 10-11-12), and they still have 137 points in 194 games (.706 ppg). Callahan in particular has played at a 70 point pace despite all of this.

      I don’t think the Pack line would be challenging for scoring titles or anything, so no, I don’t think they’d do ‘alot’ better. I do think the two wings could easily put up 70-75 with that kind of assignment, Anisimov 50-55 now, 70-75 when he’s 25yo like Duballahan.

  • Dubinsky seems to understand the game, at times, as well as any player in the league.

    He will be an assist guro when him, Richards, and Gabby are done.

    Lets do it Rangers!

  • to have a first line without any of the top 50 forwards in the NHL is pretty bad. You want to have a first line anchor, someone there that is truly dangerous. Think dubi can pass as the second best player on a first line, but dont think anisimov or cally are legit top liners. Lets all hope its dubi-richards-gabby next year.

  • This post is spot on. No one is saying that the Dubinsky-AA-Callahan unit isn’t the Rangers bread and butter because it is. But in order to build a realistic cup contender the Rangers will need a top go-to scoring line to shoulder the 5v5 and powerplay scoring load. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a top line of superstars either. Think Straka-Nylander-Jagr – Jagr is the only superstar of the 3 but the scoring that this line generated compared favorably to other top lines throughout the league. The Rangers will need to develop or acquire a centerman who can provide for Gaborik what Nylander did for Jagr. Richards fits the bill of course but whether this becomes a possibility remains to be seen. If the Rangers can accomplish this then all of a sudden the Rangers aren’t just a gut-it-out hard working team ala Dubi-AA-Cally but a team that can match up against a teams top line talent. Lining up a healthy Prospal-Richards-Gaborik would be an example.

    After that, the Rangers would need at least one bonafide offensive Defencemen capable of putting up 40+ points and then I would consider them cup contenders.

  • I’m more cynical than most, but I think they’re way too young to know if they are 20 goal scorers or not–Dubinsky led the league with 11 markers early in the year, but lacks consistency. Callahan wouldve got 30 if he didn’t break his hand, and Anisimov is so young I think we haven’t even really scratched the surface yet–I’m sure we’ve all been noticing the strong/quick moves to the net lately, but every once in a while he lets a wrist shot loose that’s just insane. Anyways I think 20 goal scorers for 60 points is just what they are…already. Who knows what’ll happen? Dubsinky could become consistent top line talent, Callahan could have a gritty Graves season like 94, and Artem Anisimov is such a potential talent I think the skies the limit and the no-deal this year will go down as the smartest thing Glen Sather ever did. Anyways I have no illusions of us having a 40 goal scorer among them in 2011, but if we did it wouldn’t shock me at all (and it’d be fun to watch)

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