current competition we are running here on Puck Central
To say the NYRangers have an abundance of forwards is an understatement. They are literally oozing with offensive depth at this point, one week prior to training camp.
The problem is that most of these players are dispensible, guys who can shuffle in and out of the lineup with virtually no real positive or negative effect. The biggest crunch on the roster is at LW, with Frolov, Avery, Prospal/Dubinsky (one will be playing center), Kennedy, Zuccarlo-Assen and Booggard. That means two of the above will start out in Hartford and be call ups depending on the play of the others. It's hard to not keep The Boogey Man in the lineup with his physical presence and huge contract. We don't know yet how MZA will do in training camp, but it is known that newly acquired Tim Kennedy is a young player with tremendous upside.
With center position all taken up, Kennedy will most likely start on the Third line this season with Drury and Callahan. Actually, that line sounds pretty damn good to me.
Frolov will most likely start the season with Christensen and Gaborik, which leaves Dubi or Prospal filling in the second line spot. Torts has stated that he wants Dubinsky to play a definitive left wing role this year as he seems to be more productive there, so let's put Dubinksy with White/Anisimov and Prospal on the right side for now. This leaves Avery, MZA, and Booggard fighting for the last wing spot on the team along with Prust and White/Anisimov. As you can see, there is little wiggle room here. And as every NYRanger fan knows, Torts isn't a big fan of Sean Avery or his tactics on the ice. Even though he's a fan favorite, its hard to squeeze him into this lineup.
Regardless of how much I love Avery, I'd like to give Kennedy a shot to see if his offensive upside can translate to goals for the NYRangers. Same goes for MZA, as we don't yet know how he will fit on this team or if he will play at all. It seems likely he will start the season down with Hartford, as there's no real spot for him.
Now, imagine this is only the LW position, and it is truly remarkable from a NYR fans perspective to have this much depth on the LW after the last few years. Regardless of how much bloggers and writers debate it, we won't know how this all plays out until at least October 9th against Buffalo, when two of the mentioned players above do not dress for that game.
However, there is a growing belief that stockpiling these players is for a trade of somesort. Biggest one I've heard is Avery/Gilroy for Devon Setoguchi from San Jose. I'm not one to believe rumors and such, but this one is quite compelling. Would you make that trade if you were in GM Sather's alligator skin shoes? That's up to you, but I would be hard pressed to make that decision based on Setoguchi's ups and downs recently. It all comes down to signing Marc Staal, who if and when he is signed, the team will be a lot more balanced and respected.
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