Saturday I took a look at the Rangers goalies and defensemen. Today we tackle the forwards.
A couple of things: (1) the stats listed are regular season games as I forgot to mention that in part one. (2) After looking at the forwards numbers, I truly believe plus/minus is a useless stat. How the heck did Callahan have the worse plus/minus at a minus-8? There were only six regulars who were a minus and three were a minus-1! So yeah, even though I listed it, don’t pay attention to that number.
And here we go!
My favorite little Russian (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)
Artem Anisimov (C, 79 games played, 16-20-36, +12) – While he’s still not comfortable doing interviews, it is obvious Anisimov is more comfortable around his teammates and speaking English which has helped his overall game. We still need more from him but I think he is learning. Would I be surprised to see him packaged as part of a deal? No, sadly I wouldn’t. Do I want that to happen? I’m not sure. He’s played three full seasons with the Rangers and I’m still intrigued by him. Are the Rangers? Again, I’m not sure but I still want to see more before giving up. KEEP
Brian Boyle (C, 82 games played, 11-15-26, +2) – Boyle is a third line player. It’s where he played best this year. Was he spectacular? No. But he didn’t stand out as being horrible either. (This will become a pattern in a lot of our guys.) Before the concussion, he was having a monster playoffs so it’s sad to think what could’ve been both for Boyle and for the Rangers. As for the regular season…I like him, I really do. But we may be able to find someone better to fill his role. That said, he and Prust seem to come as a pair and I want to keep Prust so until the Rangers find someone to fill that role… KEEP
Don't worry buddy, she wants you to stay (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)
Ryan Callahan (RW, 76 games played, 29-25-54, -8) – Callahan is a horrible player who doesn’t belong on the Rangers. Having the worst plus/minus shows….okay, I can’t even finish this sentence. Seriously, is there any question in anyone’s mind what the organization thinks of the captain? No. I can sit here and talk about his season but it would be like explaining how great Lundqvist is. He’s staying. KEEP
Brandon Dubinsky (C, 77 games played, 10-24-34, +16) – Oh Dubinsky. Sigh. I don’t even know what to say anymore. Last season was horrible. Anyone who thinks that is the player he is hasn’t watched him his entire career. The question is can he bounce back or does he need a change in scenery? I honestly don’t know the answer. But I know how much is heart is with this team (proven by him playing in the ECF with a high ankle sprain) and with Gaborik’s injury, there is a spot open for him to prove himself. Could it end up lowering his value even more if wait and see? Absolutely. But I think we owe it to him to give him that chance because no one in the organization believes we saw the true Dubinsky this season. I know people will disagree with me on this but… KEEP
I'll miss you rosy cheeks! (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)
Ruslan Fedotenko (LW, 73 games played, 9-11-20, -7) – Fedotenko was brought in as one of Torts’ guys. He knew what he could do and so far he has done everything I expected him to. But as with Prospal, there is a shelf life for these guys and I think it’s time for a kid (Kreider?) to take his spot. I have absolutely no problem with him and would be fine if he were back on the Rangers because they thought the kids weren’t ready or we couldn’t get someone else. But honestly, I think there are other options out there so as much as it pains me to say it… DUMP
Marian Gaborik (RW, 82 games played, 41-35-76, +15) – There are actually fans out there that want to trade our only true goal scorer. Some of you really do amaze me. Gaborik played 82 games for the first time in his career and actually stayed healthy through all of them posting numbers the Rangers haven’t seen in years. Unfortunately an injury in the post season means he won’t be doing it again next year but that doesn’t mean he should be going anywhere. We need to add to our goal scoring, not subtract or replace. KEEP
Carl Hagelin (LW, 64 games played, 14-24-38, +21) – After 64 games, I’m still not sure what type of player Hagelin is. Yes he’s more goal scorer than grinder but his job on the first line with Gaborik and Richards was to grind and he did a pretty good job of it. I do believe he is more a second line player but if he can get those guys going, then put him wherever necessary. Honestly, he’s a kid and I don’t think they have any problem with what they saw in his rookie season (other than that elbow in the playoffs). I’d be surprised if he isn’t in camp in the fall. KEEP
John Mitchell (C, 63 games played, 5-11-16, +10) – Mitchell was one of those guys you didn’t really notice on the ice. He didn’t do anything horribly (that I can remember offhand) but he usually didn’t do anything great either (excluding the face-off win in Game 5 vs. the Caps). Would I keep him around as a spare part just in case? Sure. But also think we can find other guys to fill his role. In my opinion… DUMP
Injured beauties taking in the Yanks-Mets game (Photo: @BrandonPrust8/twitter)
Brandon Prust (LW, 82 games played, 5-12-17, -1) – What can I say about Prust? Yes we need goal scorers and he definitely is not one of those but he does everything else. Honestly, he’s Callahan with less ability to score goals and more ability to throw punches. (Is there anything else that separates the two in style of play?) He is hitting unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career this summer and I have no idea what he is looking to make. He will definitely have interest on the market so the hope is he wants to stay here. KEEP …as long as the money is right.
Brad Richards (C, 82 games played, 25-41-66, -1) – Every season there is a player that drives me completely insane. That player usually does something, good or bad, to make me yell his name at my TV every night. Dan Girardi fits into that category. This year, Brad Richards joined him. The guy is absolutely maddening to watch as one minute he is scoring or assisting on beautiful goals and the next he is attempting to run our power play. Either way, I can’t really complain about his first season in blue, especially everything he did off the ice (helping the younger guys in the room). He isn’t going anywhere so let’s just hope he’s more consistent on the ice next year. KEEP
Mike Rupp (C, 60 games played, 4-1-5, -1) – Rupp is an interesting player to discuss. He was brought in to be a veteran in the locker room and to help Prust with the “heavy lifting”. Due to injuries, he didn’t do much to help Prust and we have no idea what he did in the room so it’s hard to judge his season. Personally I don’t feel one way or another about him but since Torts went out of his way to make sure we got him and he’s signed for another season, I figure he isn’t going anywhere. If he does though, I won’t lose sleep. Can I not make a decision on this one? NO PREFERENCE (Yes it’s a cop out. Deal with it.)
Hi Step! (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)
Derek Stepan (C, 82 games played, 17-34-51, +14) – Last season, I finally caved in and bought a new jersey. The number on the back? Number 21. (I said I liked hockey players from Minnesota.) So obviously you know how I feel about Stepan. His vision on the ice is something the Rangers haven’t had in a while. I think the sophomore slump hit him a little bit this year (but not in the way it hit Del Zotto last season) so there is room for optimism. Especially since his ability to take face-offs got better (up to 44.5% from 38.5% last season) and his other numbers rose as well. Does he have room to grow? Of course he does. But I think he does that by playing and learning from Richards. He had another disappointing playoffs but I would be shocked if the team gave up on him now. KEEP (or I become a fan of another team…don’t dare me, I’ve done it before…)
Chris Kreider (LW, no regular season games played) – No one is perfect and I will readily admit I was wrong about this kid. I didn’t want him to sign and didn’t want him to play in the playoffs. Oops! Anyway, obviously the kid is staying and has a real shot at making the team out of camp. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in CT at some point in the season (to start or after a few games) but either way, he’s not going anywhere. KEEP
We'll miss you Zucc! (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)
Mats Zuccarello (10 games, 2-1-3, even) – Zuccarello is not a Tortorella player and therefore was never given a real chance on this team. I hate to say that but it is what it is. Torts may be right and he may not be an NHL player but I can’t say that from what I’ve seen. That said we know he isn’t coming back so I will just wish him good luck wherever he ends up…be it on another NHL team or in the KHL. (My guess: KHL.)
John Scott (6 games, no points, -1) – I just added this one for a laugh. I honestly have no idea why we traded for him. I’m sure he’s a good guy and he’s definitely good at what he does. But he’s not a Torts type of player and has no spot on this team. DUMP
Yes, I would like to keep most of this team as is. I know we need some help in certain areas but I grew attached to this team and don’t want to see them broken up. The past couple of seasons we’ve added without subtracting and I would like that to continue. It will be interesting though to see how many of these guys are actually in camp this fall. The next couple of weeks might go a long way in answering that question.