Sunday, October 10, 2010

Here Comes Drury! Whose Place Does He Take?

by Bill Pulice

Congrats to Derek Stepan for his tremendous debut performance in Buffalo.  Only special players fulfill such an achievement, and Ranger fans we have one in Stepan!  Enjoy the ride to a potential Calder Trophy winner.  Sounds good, doesn’t it? 

Now we must transition from promising youth to aging veteran... not what Ranger fans want to hear - but it’s reality.  This week we have Chris Drury coming back into the fold and to the dismay of many will play on a nightly basis.  So the question is … who will lose a center ice position and what line changes will happen as a result? 

Anisimov, Stepan, and Drury (Sather) have secure spots.  I give Boyle credit for making the team.  With all the competition in camp I thought of him as a long shot.  But for a 4th line center, his size and improved skating molds him well for that position with minimal minutes (however, he must use that frame to bang more bodies on a consistent basis to secure that position).  That leaves us with Christensen who currently occupies 1st line duties.  Something is amiss here.  Is Christensen fit for either 1st or 4th line duties??  You tell me. 

If Torts really wants to DEVELOP more young players into the line-up, Anisimov belongs on the 1st line.  What better way to speed up the development of AA than to put him with our best scorers and log top scoring minutes?  Dubi and Cally (two 20 goal scorers) will not do this for AA. 

Christensen (26) is in his 6th season and has never eclipsed more than 33 points.  AA got 28 points in his rookie year logging less than 13 minutes between 3rd and 4th line duties.  Christensen scored last night… great.  It was a lay-up!  I would rather see AA getting those goals from Gabby and reach at least 50-60 points, as opposed to a journeyman with unfulfilled talent.  Management may like his talent, but someone has to go.

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