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.