So, Who's Staying?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I know that there are two games left in the pre-season (both against the Ovechkins), but I have come to my conclusions of who should be in the starting lineup come October 2nd in Penguin-land. As a former NHL D-man, I will tackle the Rangers defense first. If Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto haven’t impressed the Rangers faithful, then I don’t know what would. Matt Gilroy has speed, puck handling, and appears to be a finisher. You gotta like this guy’s game. It kind of reminds you of Brian Leetch when he jumps into the play offensively. What about that goal that he scored on the semi-break away against the Devils? Speed and hands… a deadly combo!


Now, I know this one might cause some of the Rangers pundits to scream, “he needs some more seasoning”. But, frankly, that’s a crock of… you fill in the rest. Michael Del Zotto’s performance has been one of a steady calmness. He looks very composed on the point during the PP (better than most) and is he not already the best passer the Rangers have on the D? Both players will have their ups and downs, but I believe that their positives outweigh the negatives. The final piece to the defense with the obvious 4 that are penciled in is Alexei Semenov. He’s exactly what Tortorella’s been looking for- a veteran presence. He’s big and physical and I think that he has played solid enough to win a job.

Now, for the skaters up front. You gotta be a little bit excited when you look at some of these youngsters. Anisimov, Grachev, and Lisin have all proved that they belong. Let’s take Artem Anisimov for instance. He’s got the size at 6’4”, some professional experience (Hartford), and when was the last time the Rangers fans were treated to highlight reel goals like he has scored? I think it was a guy that wore number 68. Next is Evgeny Grachev. The size is also there with him at 6’4”. The skill and offensive ability is just being touched with this guy. He is a good passer and will score goals, trust me on this. Enver Lisin- much like the aforementioned players also has some size at 6’2”. Do you see a pattern here? I’ll admit, I knew nothing of Lisin coming into camp. However, from what I have seen so far, he appears to have a knack of being in the right place at the right time around the net. Can you say, sniper type player? All in all, I think the Rangers will score this year and with the veteran additions the team has made. Gaborik (don’t worry, he’ll be okay), Higgins, Kotalik, and Prospal and it will make life easier for guys like Callahan, Drury, Avery, and Dubinsky. Some people may disagree with me, but this is how I see it and Tortorella does want an influx of youth!

Lastly, you have to like the fourth line combination of Boyle, Brashear, and Voros. They looked good together and have caused a lot of havoc when they played in the pre-season. One thing is for sure, they will come in handy against a team like Philly, wouldn’t they? Over and out!

17 comments:

The Dark Ranger said...

good post and a good recap. I would tend to think (to my dismay) that Torts will send Sanguinetti back up to Hartford for another season -- Del Zotto is impressing these last couple of games and Gilroy is a 'shoe-in'. I never thought I'd be so happy with the blueline this season -- then there are the vets. Eek.

Do you think they might couch some of that defensive veteran salary up north?

tdr

Kotsy's Korner said...

Dark Ranger, Finally the Rangers have players to work with. The youth is being served on the blue line as well as up front.

Sanguinetti will at some time get his chance, who knows it may be now?

This team finally has some depth and that's a good thing.

Wrath of Sanity said...

We better see MDZ up with the team this year or I'll flip!

I also like Semenov for his size and grit that he's shown.

Getting excited for this season... much more so than last. I just hope they don't disappoint me!

Kotsy's Korner said...

Wrath, I don't think you will be disappointed. It may take time to gel, but the future is looking good for the boys in Blue!

Del Zotto, Gilroy and Semenov nice add's to the Ranger blueline.

Jason said...

The situation on defense is certainly looking up. Gilroy will surely provide some highlight real moments and, most likely, some missed coverage cringing moments. So are the trial and tribulations of a rookie offensive defenseman. Del Zotto, if he stays with the big club, may have a rougher going. He is yet to face NHL-caliber competition night in and night out. However, he strikes me as a guy who will learn quickly and persevere.

So far, both Redden and Rozsival have looked much like they did last year - slow and clueless. I understand that it is still preseason, but for a guy who worked out all summer in hope to return to being the player he was before the lockout, Redden certainly disappoints. In one of the games, he darted to the net from the point in the offensive zone where it was clear that the puck was headed the other way. With his "speed", Redden was trapped and an odd man rush went the other way. I understand that Torts' system is about taking risks, but these risks have to be calculated and smart. What Redden did looked downright dumb. Watching him trying to clear the zone at the end of the last game against Detroit was downright nauseating. He looked like a pee wee player trying to swat at the puck as though it were a fly.

While there is certainly depth on defense (albeit not very experienced), I look at the forward positions with guarded optimism. While there are plenty of players to fill the spots, there is still a big question mark with goal scoring if one or two regulars are out for any period of time. Gaborik is unquestionably a dynamic and gifted player and knows how to play the defensive side of the puck as well. However, I doubt this is the last time we hear of his creaky groin.

What I also found quite pleasantly surprising was the play of Johnson in goal. He looked calm and composed. Most importantly, he stopped the puck with an uncanny efficiency of movement with nary a rebound. Vally better watch out. All in all, I would not be surprised if Vally gets traded at the deadline for a solid player if Johnson plays as well in the minors.

I have no clue as to where the Rangers will be in the standing come April. At times, they look like they can challenge for a division lead. At other times, they look like they can challenge for a number one draft pick. What I am sure about is that they will be more exciting to watch.

Drop the puck.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Jason, Well said. I feel that the scoring will improve this season because of the new faces up front.

Last year the Rangers were relying on a few players to carry the load offensively. We all know how that worked out.

On to Gilroy and Del Zotto, Again competition or no competition are they any worse than the two D men you mentioned? It will be a detriment in my eyes to send Del Zotto back to Junior. What's he gonna learn there?

Gaborik, Will be okay, He'll get that "Special" treatment of not pushing it. Like days off of Practice.....ETC,ETC,ETC.

Chad Johnson did show some "Quick" hands and played the angle well in the games he played.

With all this being said it still to be proved on the ice. The teams in their division have improved themselves. Only time will tell.

GENO said...

Hi Chris, I totally agree with you about Del Zotto & Gilroy on "D" and with the youth and size on the front lines. I also like the size and play of Semenov, do you think he deserves playing time over - lets say Rozsivol or Redden or is the $$ in their contracts going to stand in his way ? As for the # 1 center, Vinnie Prospal looks very comfortable at that spot, with Drury #2 and Dubinsky #3 & leave Boyle @ 4 with that size. I also agree with you about the scoring this season, I think with the aquisitions Slats made, on paper, at least, it looks like an upgrade from last season. They are still solid in goal and behind the bench. Lets see what the next pre-season game looks like so we can make more judgements. -- Geno

Kotsy's Korner said...

Geno, Things are looking better overall for the Rangers this season. This will be a different team than we saw the last few years.

I'm not sure if Semenov will take playing time away from the incumbents, but they had better play well or that could change in a hurry with Tort's.

Stay tuned Geno.

JohnM said...

P.A. Parenteau to Hartford.
some team will claim him and give him a spot on an NHL roster. He deserves it, he is a solid player and one that could play in the NHL. Just not a spot with the Rangers right now. (SNY Blog)


Um... What sort of PLAYERS do the Rangers NHL level club have that makes P. A. not fit? He scores more than Callahan, Dubinski,Boyle, Brashear, Avery, Kotalik, Lisin, .... He scores just as much as Drury. So what does it mean "he doesn't have a spot with the Rangers??? What the HELL does that mean???
This is a typical Ranger move. Not a Tortarella move. If Torts is going to start off squawking like a duck and then acting like a canary by not bumping the high priced garbage for the sake of money instead of winning, then he is going to have a short stay and rocky relationship with the Real Ranger fans who know which players belong and which need to be BOUGHT OUT to make room for guys that are better. Lets go Sather.

Kotsy's Korner said...

JohnM, I thought Parenteau acquitted himself well. I like his his overall game. I would hope to see at sometime this season with the "Big Boys".

Unfortunately for some players you have to absolutely outshine your competition within the team.

Is it fair? hardly, But that's the way it is. Others are afforded much more leniency.

Jay said...

Hey Chris,

Great commentary. Looking forward to this season and the high speed action we are all expecting.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Jay, Thanks for taking a look at the blog. Stay tuned it should be an interesting year.

JohnM said...

Kotsy...How are you? I just think it is a better business move to eat 3 mill for 4 years and cut a player than let a dead man walk for 6 mill for the next 4 years. Your cap is much more screwed leaving players who have proven they are not the best alternative on the roster and hammer the cap for twice as much rather than taking the 50% hit and getting a replacement player at 1/3 or 1/2 the salary of the failure that could be a better fit. Or at the least, a new body. I agree that you cannot cut players over and over. But one or two mistakes being corrected can produce much better results rather than sticking with the wrong over payed player.

Kotsy's Korner said...

JohnM, I'm doing well thank you. Looking forward to the season.

It's not that I disagree with you, In fact I agree whole heartily. It's a difficult situation and frustrating at the same time.

Unfortunately what you have so eloquently laid out means someone has to admit they were wrong. Never that easy in any sport.

Leatherneck said...

Hi Chris, well seems like our D is now in the hands of the kids, I still would like to see Roszi and Redden off of the team and adding say Williams and Potter to our team, Williams is a big guy. Lets eat half of Reddens contract and Roszi has trade value. let the kids get experience and only way they can is by playing the game.

my look at the Rangers D would be as follows...Staal and Gilroy...Williams and Girardi and Del Zotto and Potter with Sauer as the 7th D man..lets face it we wont win the cup and will be challanged to even make the playoffs...so let this be a learning year for the kids...my thoughts on the matter...

Kotsy's Korner said...

Leatherneck, There will be a lot of angst this year with the Rangers.On the D you are gonna have to take the good with the bad.

The kids on the D will be an example to follow. They will have nights where they thrive and contribute greatly. There will also be nights where they will be exposed. That's why you have Henrik Lundqvist!

Some of the others you mentioned I believe have been put on notice by Tort's. Only time will tell with this bunch.

Mr.Greek said...

Hey Chris the Leafs are scary so far eh? Some people are calling for Brian Burke's head. I think it is too early to start that crap. I believe Toronto has one of the best hockey men in the business

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