ForwardsState of the Rangers

Who is the depth forward if no moves are made?

Let’s be real here, there is a significant chance that Glen Sather and the brain trust that surrounds him decide to not make any moves at the deadline. If that is the case, then the Rangers are going to look to the CT Whale to provide some depth in case of an injury.

As the Rangers already have a spare defenseman, there are two types of injuries for the Rangers that would require a call up: an injury to a bottom six forward or an injury to a top six forward. Obviously, each type of injury would call for a different type of call up. Let’s ignore an injury to a goalie, because if Henrik Lundqvist goes down, then the season is essentially over.

If someone in the top six gets hurt, and the Rangers are looking to replace him with someone with a scoring touch, then there are really only two options: Mats Zuccarello (if healthy) and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault. Zuccarello has the edge, with prior NHL experience and a point per game average, but JAM has been a consistent offensive force for the Whale. JAM lacks foot speed for a smaller player, so expect the edge to go to Zuccarello if this is the case.

If a bottom six forward gets hurt (or if the Rangers decide not to call up Zuccarello or JAM), then the likely call up would be Kris Newbury. With John Mitchell already on the roster, Newbury is the only viable option for the Rangers in the AHL. Andre Deveaux could be a dark horse call up, but he still has to serve his suspension. Newbury is the likely call up in this case.

Of course, the Rangers could go with a third option, which is no call ups and dress seven defensemen. Stu Bickel has played a few games as a forward already this season, and didn’t look too lost while doing so. With the trades of Erik Christensen and Wojtek Wolski, the Rangers are surprisingly thin on replacement options if a forward goes down.

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  • Torts stated that they wanted to add to the defense, so that is what I expect at the deadline. Nothing major, but more options at the 6th D position. He clearly is not confident in the options on the team given that he keeps swapping guys in and out of there. It is all about whether there are superior options out there or the team takes a look at Erixon.

  • I would be very surprised if Sather doesn’t make a significant trade today. His team is in the hunt for the cup, yet has obvious offensive woes. This is where GMs earn their keep and make their mark; i.e., acquiring the missing pieces for the Stanley Cup. I think there is more taking place behind the scense that has significant implications for the team than we realize.

  • I’m surprised that Slats haven’t traded Zucc for a more physical prospect with goal-scoaring talents, one more fitting of Torts game philosophy.

  • With Sather it’s always unknown what kind of trade he might pull. All those rumors that we hear and read are just rumors, Sather proved in a past trades how surprisingly and unexpectedly he can trade and trade very well.
    My intuition simply tells me that we still getting Nash on our terms or it could be Brown and Whitney

  • Trade deadline today, and there may well be a trade that none of us thought of!

    Names that are available, or so is written, are Tomas Plekanec, from Momtreal, Sheldon Souray of Dallas, or Mike Knauble of Washington, and last but not least Paul Gaustad from Buffalo. Plekanec is a center, scores well, and makes it easier to move Boyle to wing to work the boards. Knauble has always been good on the PP, and provides veteran leadership. Souray could help on the PP, would be cheap, as would be Mike K. Gaustad is big, can score, has grit, and I believe is in his last year.

    There are some possible choices, but what do we giveup for them? Not much I hope!!!!!

  • First let me say that I enjoy this blog – you haven’t heard from me previously. The analysis in this item is good as always, but I have a question about post-deadline eligibility. JAM is not on any of the Ranger rosters (signed as a free agent by the Whale). Can he even play after the deadline if the Rangers don’t sign him today? Also, another player to consider is Casey Wellman.

    • Thanks for the kind words.

      I would assume that if JAM were to be called up, the Rangers would purchase the contract from the Whale. It’s a technicality.

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