Today Larry Brooks analyzed the problems that the Rangers are currently facing on their blue line and why they are substituting Matt Gilroy into the lineup for Mike Sauer. Apparently, out of the seven defensemen that the Rangers have on their roster, only Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto play the left defenseman role naturally.
The Rangers have tried playing Eminger there and Mike Sauer there and so far John Tortorella has not been satisfied with how either player has fared in that position. Tonight, Matt Gilroy is getting a chance to show what he can do, but unfortunately for him, he's being forced to play on the left side, even though his normal position is on the right.
Brooks suggested that Glen Sather might have to look outside the organization to resolve the problem unless they decide to recall Ryan McDonagh from Hartford. McDonagh who was in camp until the final cuts naturally plays the left defenseman role. But, it's possible that the Rangers want to give McDonagh more time in Hartford to develop.
Interestingly enough, one of the players placed on waivers today is Boris Valabik of the Atlanta Thrashers who is a defenseman with a left handed shot. Now, I don't know much about Valabik other than the fact that he's HUGE (6'7 -245lbs), I have no idea if he plays big (not sure how good he is at fighting, but he is willing, here's a clip of him fighting Chara). I also know that he's probably most famous for being punched in the balls by Sidney Crosby.
According to the beat writer for the Thrashers, Valabik is a "hard-working guy who does his best every night. Got caught in a numbers crunch."
At 24, Valabik is still young, he's an RFA this summer and his cap hit is less than $800K.
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