The Rangers are entering the home straight and the regular season is almost upon us. It’s a Thursday so let’s throw together some thoughts about the past few days in Rangerland.
Anthony Duclair. Everyone’s favourite Rangers’ prospect appears to be forcing the organisation’s hand into finding him a roster spot. 5 points, 3 goals in 3 games. Blazing speed, a wicked shot and respectable defense for a 19 year old rookie who, two weeks ago, wasn’t on anyone’s radar (for this season).
The thing is this: if he makes it, if he plays, he has to be on a scoring line to be effective. Is there an appropriate spot up for grabs and who suffers as a result? The most realistic scenario would be Mats Zuccarello slipping to the third line (also a productive line under coach Vigneault) but can the team justify pushing their top scoring forward of last year down to the third line for a 19 year old? It’s a great dilemma to have but also a major headache, potentially.
October 9th, at St Louis and then at the Blue Jackets two days later. Do the Rangers have the hardest opening two game set? A road trip to the big, physical Blues and Jackets? It gets physical quickly for the Rangers.
I really hope Ryan Malone is healthy and makes an impact over the final two preseason games. The Rangers do not have anyone with his combined size, skill set, net presence and ability to fight. You don’t want Kreider fighting nor do you want him in close too much as it robs him of some of his shooting ability. Malone is a great low risk option if he stays fit.
Just my opinion: Even at 39, when you have one of the best right wingers of a generation you do not move him to center, even as a stop-gap measure. I admire Marty St Louis’ team first attitude and his being open minded to helping out wherever he’s needed. Many, many star players should follow is example but you don’t move a strength to fill a weakness. It’s counter productive.
With Derek Stepan out to begin the year and everyone assuming the Rangers offense will struggle (to some degree) as a result will the Rangers completely rely on Lundqvist, to begin the year? I can’t imagine Cam Talbot seeing much game time early on. How should they divide starts to start the year?
The 7th defenseman open competition is a concern. No one has grabbed the spot and made it their own. Prospects such as Conor Allen and Matt Bodie didn’t impress. The Rangers need to hope the top six stay healthy and no one such as John Moore regresses.
Assuming he starts the year in the AHL, I am intrigued to see how Ryan Haggerty starts his pro-career. I’m also intrigued to see how Jesper Fast starts the year, wherever that may be. Such a solid player. Fast seems to be a low ceiling, high floor kid of kid. Haggerty is still a relative unknown quantity.
I have been pleasantly surprised by Tanner Glass thus far although it’s very early for any kind of judgement whatsoever.
• Duclair: assuming he makes opening night, what are reasonable season projections and expectations?
• With injuries and line shuffling considered what record would you be happy with after ten games?
• How many points will presumptive captain Ryan McDonagh reach this year?
• How many Rangers forwards will break the twenty goal barrier?
• If any, which core Ranger is most likely to be moved before the season ends?