Some thoughts on the new guys

Taylor Pyatt has displayed impressive hockey sense in his first two games

A two game sample size is hardly enough to evaluate anyone, and clearly none of the Rangers played particularly well in the season’s opening weekend, but here are some initial impressions of the newest Blueshirts:

Rick Nash – As coach John Tortorella said following Sunday’s game, “he’s the real deal.” Nash has been an absolute puck magnet, has already displayed soft hands and creative stickhandling, is using his body extremely well to create separation between the puck and defenders and has even thrown a few solid hits. Nash understandably wants to make a good impression with his new club, but I’ve also been pleased to see that he’s continued competing very hard in both losing efforts.

Arron Asham – Asham has only played one game thus far thanks to a carryover suspension, but he was pretty much as billed in his first match against the Penguins. Asham was sent out for the opening faceoff and immediately got into a pretty spirited fight with Tanner Glass. Asham only played 5:53 on Sunday, so we can’t glean much else, but I do think he’s a better skater than the Rangers often have in the bottom-six.

Taylor Pyatt – I’ve been extremely disappointed in Pyatt’s speed; I’d seen plenty of scouting reports touting his wheels and he’s been one of the slower Blueshirts out there. Pyatt did score a goal on Sunday and seems to have pretty solid hockey sense; he’s been in perfect position on several occasions and already seems to have earned some level of trust from Tortorella. I expect Pyatt to play with everyone from Richards and Nash to Asham and Rupp before the season’s over.

Chris Kreider – Yes, he counts. Kreider seems bound for some AHL seasoning if his play doesn’t improve. He’s completely lost defensively and isn’t playing with much confidence after a very poor start to the year with the CT Whale. I’m not too worried about Kreider’s offensive game given the incredible showing he delivered in the postseason, but Kreider’s all-around game is a mess right now.

Jeff Halpern – He’s 36, but it looks like Halpern still has plenty of game left. It’s already clear that he’s going to be important in the faceoff circle and he’s also going to be a trusted penalty killer. I really liked what I saw of Halpern and Mike Rupp together, I’d bet on those two staying together for most of the year. They play simple games that compliment each other well, nothing fancy, but they know their roles. You get the sense that we’ll know what we’re going to get from Halpern every night.

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  • Agree on Pyatt, except I thought that his size would be a factor, and it hasn’t been!

    Not to point out players, but Boyle, and Pyatt both have to play to their size, and get some cast iron on their gonads!

    Over the years I disliked Asham big time, but he has shown to be a team player, and is tough as nails.

  • From what I’ve gathered about Pyatt from talking to PHX bloggers, Pyatt will be a solid third liner, but he won’t use his size too much and it will be maddening.

  • Lets See Second Time Around….I am really anxiuos to see when we play the Bruins & Penguins the 2nd time, and of course looking for a Tremendous Improvement, thats when we will see exactly where this team is…. for REAL or Still needs some new parts….I think we are 2 scoring wings & 1 D-Man Short.

    • They are definitely in need of a bottom pairing defenseman that can eat some minutes. I’m willing to give the forwards another week before making a snap judgment, but we’ve been saying they need some bottom-six depth.

      • I do not understand Torts fascination with Bickel. Judging from last two years either Gilroy or Eminger is perfectly capable of playing 10-12 minutes as a 6th D. If the organization doesn’t like either of them, bring up McIlrath.

  • The Rangers need to be able to cycle all 4 lines and 3 defensive pairings throughout the entire game. I expected Kreider to struggle early on, but he will get better as the season moves a long. They do need another scoring winger, someone like Sykora would help them and another depth defenseman who can actually play, Bickel and Gilroy are wasting valuable roster spots. Perhaps a big body forward like Mike Knuble would also help as a depth forward.

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