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Pete
09-30-2014, 11:31 AM
1. Depth at center, or lack thereof.

Two key middle men from last year’s Stanley Cup Finalist are gone: Brad Richards (bought out, now in Chicago) and Brian Boyle (free agent, signed in Tampa Bay). A third, Derek Stepan, will miss the first 4-6 weeks with a fractured fibula. Even prior to the injury, New York’s center depth was going to be an issue; the Blueshirts had Stepan, ideally a No. 2 guy, masquerading as a top liner and Derick Brassard, who thrived as a No. 3 last year, playing as a No. 2.


More importantly, the Rangers still lack an elite center and don’t have anybody to match the likes of Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Toews, Claude Giroux, Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Anze Kopitar. Just how crucial is having top-end talent atop your depth chart?


2. Can they still roll four?

Last year, much of New York’s success came from its ability to roll four forward lines — especially in the playoffs. From the New York Post:

“I think if you look at the teams that have had success and have won the Cup since the [2004-05] lockout, you see those teams have had depth and have been able to play their depth,” Vigneault said Saturday.

“From personal experience, I know when we [the Canucks] lost the Cup to Boston, Boston was a four-line team — probably the best fourth line, I felt, in the league,” the coach said, referring to the unit that generally featured Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton. “We didn’t have four lines.

“From that experience, if you can play four lines and manage the minutes, I think you can play at a higher tempo and faster paced game.”

Depth up front really was the Rangers’ calling card last postseason. Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot were arguably the postseason’s best third line and in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final, it was the fourth line of Boyle, Moore and Derek Dorsett that scored the series-winning goal while providing countless shifts of dynamic forechecking.


3. That blueline… is not fresh.

Perhaps nobody’s reputation took a bigger hit last spring that Dan Girardi, who opened the Stanley Cup Final with an egregious mistake — and things didn’t get much better from there. The knocks on Girardi by the end of the five-game ouster all sounded the same: he looked slow, fought the puck and lost too many physical battles, leaving many to wonder if 1) years of heavy minutes under John Tortorella wore him down, and 2) if the Rangers made a poor decision inking Girardi to a six-year extension in February.

So then they went out and got even older on D.

Now, McDonagh is a star in the making and likely the Rangers’ future captain; he’ll anchor the group for this season and beyond. But it’s the parts surrounding him which could be problematic — after the top-six of McDonagh, Boyle, Girardi, Klein, Moore, Staal, the Rangers’ reserve depth consists of a trio of journeyman NHLers in Steven Kampfer, Matt Hunwick and Mike Kostka.http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/09/30/risk-factors-new-york-rangers-edition/

Phil in Absentia
09-30-2014, 11:37 AM
Lack of center depth? Yup. We've covered that. No getting around it now. Just gotta go to the dance with who we brought and hope for the best.

Four lines? I actually think they do have four lines. What they don't have is a "top" line. They look closer to having two second lines, a third and a fourth.

Blue line isn't fresh, I agree, but there are reinforcements coming — namely Skjei, Allen and potentially McIlrath. The Rangers' reserve depth includes the latter two this season, not just Kampfer, Hunwick (who looked great last night) and Kostka.

Vodka Drunkenski
09-30-2014, 12:02 PM
I believe a Spezza move solidifies the 1st line, oh well, good points in the article that we already know basically.

phillyb™
09-30-2014, 12:27 PM
I believe a Spezza move solidifies the 1st line, oh well, good points in the article that we already know basically.

if i were spezza, i'd consider myself right at home in dallas.

So Nashty
09-30-2014, 12:42 PM
Our center depth is fine. We just don't have a true #1 center. I feel like that's a big difference. Especially if miller "lives up to the hype" then we have a very good 4th line and 3rd line center. brassard and Stepan to me are 1b options for the first line center positions and great options as second line guys. with the new comers and kids looking good at camp I would say our depth is just fine.

The points they make about the defense are a stretch. Girardi had a bad series so he is no longer good? I'll take our top 4 vs anyone's in the league. Lots of good options for the bottom pairing as well. Give me a break.

This article made me feel better about the team if this is all they could come up with.

Slobberknocker
09-30-2014, 01:32 PM
gives one an idea that the bar has been set so high with a semi and finals appearance in the past several years. time will tell if this team is good enough to get over the top. so far the youth has looked good which is one thing this article is not focusing on.