Thursday Musings – The Brad Richards Addition

Today is musings day, and it’s been a while since I have had the opportunity to write one of these.  But with Suit out of town and Chris sans internet, I get to enjoy writing one of these today.  And wouldn’t you know it? It’s the first musings post Brad Richards!

I understand the fear of Richards’ contract, I really do. I don’t get how people think the Rangers are a WORSE team now than they were before the signing.  I mean…really?

So with Richards and Mike Rupp in the mix, someone is moving away from the center position.  My guess would be Derek Stepan, if only for the fact that Henrik Lundqvist is better at face-offs than him.

Speaking of a surplus of centers, when can I celebrate that Erik Christensen is no longer on the roster?

Off Richards for a second, we should all be very, very happy that Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Mike Sauer, and Brian Boyle filed for arbitration.  However, the longer Artem Anisimov remains unsigned, and the longer teams remain under the cap floor, the more worried I get.

Bug note: I just killed a mosquito in my apartment.  Slammed my shoe against the wall to do it.  Ten bucks says I get a noise complaint tomorrow.  My downstairs neighbor is…well, he’s one of these.

We all know that Slats is going to bring in some guys on PTOs, like he did with Ruslan Fedotenko and Garnet Exelby last season.  Who do you think will be invited on PTOs?  Steve Staios and Karlis Skrastins come to mind, assuming Brent Sopel finds a home.

Back to Rupp for a second, that contract may be a bit on the high end, but it’s not a cap killer.  Brandon Prust needs a break from his role as enforcer.  “It’s just pain” can only go so far.

Assuming Wojtek Wolski remains a Ranger this year, I wonder what kind of season he is going to have.  I think if he winds up on the top line with Richards and Marian Gaborik, and factor in that it’s a contract year, I think 65 points is within the realm of possibility.  Of course, so is 20 points.

Speaking of Gaborik, assuming he stays healthy, he should have a monster year.

One of these obsessions I don’t understand: blocked shots.  Sure, they are great…but I would rather have a team that doesn’t NEED to block shots.  That means puck possession.  You don’t need to block shots if you always have the puck.

Carl Hagelin…my guess is that he starts in the AHL this season.  It’s nothing against him, I just think there’s a log jam at bottom six winger, and he could be better served learning with the Whale.

Christian Thomas is still my dark horse to make this team.

Site note: What do you guys think of the Sin Bin? We have another coming up this weekend, so you’ll have another chance to vote on the best/worst comments. We are aiming to do this on a weekly basis, and have the winner of the best post write a guest post to be published each Sunday.  Winner of the worst post? Well, you are guaranteed coal for Christmas.

Finally, I have to ask what the obsession is with jersey numbers. In case you missed it, Richards has #19, Fedotenko #26, and Christensen #40.  Unless you’re buying  a Richards jersey in July, this really shouldn’t affect you.  I mean, were any of you REALLY buying a Fedotenko or Christensen jersey?

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  1. I can see Wolski start on the first line, and if he doesn’t perform, be replaced by Stepan on the wing. Hagelin will be on the tird line, with little MAZ down on the farm. This is going to be fun watching these kids play, when is Septemebr coming?

    As for the Christensen jersey, I gave it thought, NOT. He will be history, but will be missed for the shoot out skills only!!!!!

    1. “and if he doesn’t perform, be replaced by Stepan on the wing.”

      I can see this happening by game 3. The more I see of Tortorella the more I appreciate his philosophy and approach to the game. But the guy is restless. Not judging, just saying.

  2. I’ll be first to say ‘oh god please no’ to Staios. I follow the Oilers and Flames closely enough we want no part of him on the back end.

  3. * At some point when the dust settles on free agency, teams will be looking for affordable forwards that ‘could’ fill in to a top 2 line spot. EC should at least get us a 6th/7th D-man or pick in return.

    * I am going to make a bold statement that if Wolski plays with Gabs & BR, we will explode in the point category. I do, though, believe that Stepan might end up being the LW on that line unless someone gets moved. Just a hunch.

    * And yes, Gaborik WILL have a monster year. How can he not? Richards might be the best set up man in the NHL… other than maybe Joe Thornton.

    * I agree on Hagelin. As soon as Rupp & Feds were signed, I thought “where on Earth are they fitting all of of these bottom 6 guys?” It makes me think that the Rangers want Hagelin to start with the Whale. Especially since you HAVE to think Avery is staying with BR in the fold.

    * In terms of Thomas, there is always a spot for a stud scorer, BUT every single report I have read says that he isn’t strong enough yet to handle the NHL grind against bigger players. I kind of hope he goes nuts in the preseason and forces them to keep him.

  4. I’m gonna hold off on buying a Richards jersey until the Captain and Assitant Captain thing is settled.

    Anyone see Richards at the Garden of Dreams skate? That’s what Rangers prospect camp used to look like. No offense to the kids apart of the dreams foundation, but we before Gordie got here, that’s what it was.

  5. Mike Rupp can play center or LW so I could see him playing on a line with Boyle and Prust. Stepan Avery and Fedotenko looked excellent as a unit early last season and I think it’s possible that Torts goes that route. That would keep the Pack line together and then it would be up to EC, Wolski, MZA or Thomas to fight for the top LW slot. I think one of EC or Wolski gets moved prior to camp.

    As far as blocked shots go, the Rangers were excellent at blocking shots on the penalty kill – that will not change. 5v5 should decrease though. The team identity that was built last year will carry over.

  6. I see Wolski at LW on the top line. For two reason’s, he puts up 60-65 points and becomes a 30-30 point player, or get’s showcased for a trade. Remember he was a 1st rounder in 04, is only 25, 6’3 215, very marketable player, IF he puts up points. In a Torts system where you score you stay, this is also a contract year for him. I think he stays, now that he has a top center to feed his shot.
    I don’t see Thomas making the team, to young, to small, maybe next year. Avery, Christensen, Feds, Hagelin are all ahead of him.
    Avery and Christensen swap for time on the ice. They both at depth, in case of injury, and their salaries fit todays cap. I do see a trade, with EC being the easiest to move. Perhaps a package deal at the end of the trade deadline, for a rental player to add to OUR STANLEY CUP season.
    It could happen…..THIS YEAR!!!

    1. If Thomas impresses in camp, none of those guys will be ahead of him. Not that I think that will happen, but skill/talent trumps 3rd-liners 10 times out of 10.

  7. Moving Stepan to the wing at this point is premature. Also, that assumes Boyle & Rupp will stay at center meaning they’ll be on two different lines.

    Stepan has the potential to be a 60 to 70 pt. set up guy as our second line center. Play him and Wolski against the second tier defense and they will light it up with Cally flying on the other wing.

    Play Dubi with BR and Gabby to provide some balance and grit with talent to complement the skill level.

    This also means it’s open season for AA on the third line playing with Avery, Feds, Hagelin, Thomas, MZA, or EC; take your pick. Solid third line that adds scoring.

    Rupp-Boyle-Prust; nice

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