Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Observations From First Rangers Preseason Game

Rangers 1 - Boston 2

1) Some of the Rangers prospects really impressed me. Yeah, so it was only a preseason game but Matt Gilroy, Evgeny Grachev and Michael Del Zotto all looked like their future's look as promising as Rangers fans have been reading about recently.

There are big question marks about who the Rangers final two or three defensemen on the roster are going to be with Staal, Redden, Girardi and Rozsival all guaranteed to be in the opening night lineup. Honestly, I assumed that Matt Gilroy was going to pretty much have a spot because of all of the good things that I've read about him. Last night he was even better than I expected and looks like a lock to be in the lineup on opening night if he continues to play like he did against the Bruins.

Michael Del Zotto surprised me with how well he played. I was under the impression that Del Zotto was still a major work in progress and would more than likely be heading back to the OHL for another season. Well, Del Zotto stood out against the Bruins (probably the best NYR on the ice). He was jumping into the play, standing up in the neutral zone, using his body and even manning the point on the power play. If this kid continues to play like that there's no way he's going back to Juniors this season.

Evgeny Grachev was also very impressive, playing on a line with Enver Lisin and Artem Anisimov. Despite being only 19 years old, Grachev is one big kid who was able to use his size effectively to hold off defenders and then make plays with the puck along the boards. There aren't many forward positions on this team up for grabs, but if Grachev continues to play like the way he did in his first preseason game the Rangers might have to make room.

2) It's only one game so I'm not going to jump to conclusions but Artem Anisimov needs to be much better if he plans on playing center for the Rangers this season instead of Hartford. Most Rangers fans consider Anisimov a lock to make the team this season, but last night against the Bruins, both Grachev and Lisin were more impressive.

3) Brian Boyle who is going to have a crack at centering the fourth line started off shaky in the first period taking two minor penalties. But, later in the game he got a couple of scoring chances and was using his size (he's huge!) on the end boards. I thought that Matt Maccarone (sporting a George Parros mustache) had a pretty solid game. I mean, considering I never even heard of him before Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants mentioned that he was skating well during a scrimmage on Monday. In fact, Maccarone isn't even listed on the roster on the Rangers website. But, more than likely he'll be heading to Hartford or less likely in my opinion Charlotte of the ECHL.

4) As of now - in my opinion, Dane Byers and P.A. Parenteau will be back in Hartford.

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