With the Holliday roster freeze no longer in effect the Rangers brass are going to start putting their head together and make some changes. As per our friend Steve Zipay John Tortorella has already alluded to adding a 7thdefenseman. And as per all of the "lose with kids not underachieving vets" talk we might see more than that.
For starters management is going to have to take a good hard look at Christopher Higgins. We have banged this drum before, and to be honest, I don’t think I can say anything that the entire world doesn’t already know. He get’s tons of chances, he makes space, but he doesn’t score. He is the only player to play with Gaborik who has not seen his production increase, and for whatever reason he is still seeing 2 minutes of power play time a game. Currently he is on pace to score 8 goals and add 13 assists, he has only seen the bench once and just continues to baffle himself the fans and this coaching staff. What the Rangers do with him might dictate what kind of chances we will see as time goes on. (Also a note is needed here. For those of you who are seething with Higgin's missed "gimme" against the Islanders in overtime, please re-think your stance. The puck hopped on him, he was hounded by a defender, and couldn't risk kicking the puck in. Let's try to be a little more realistic with the blame here please.)
Another issue that needs to be addressed is the R and R sisters (Michael Rozsival and Wade Redden). While both have really picked up their games as of late their play isn’t the issue (as of right now) their contracts are. Wade Redden is making 6.5 million for the next four years (not including this season) while Michael Rozsival is making 5 million for one more year (not including this season). Removing one—or both—of those contracts would allow the Rangers to become players in trade talks to possibly add some secondary scoring. Either way if the Rangers want to make any changes—and how can they not—as this season progresses they are going to have to make some space. This is a topic that has been talked about quite a bit and it will obviously be re-visited as time goes on, so I’ll leave it be for now.
As for the youth, things are looking really good. Matt Gilroy has had three pretty big statement games since his return from being banished to Hartford. Artem Anisimov continues to impress as he has really started to blossom before our very eyes. Michael Del Zotto didn’t have a great game two nights ago, but he has been fantastic for the Rangers and is by far one of the biggest bright spots on this season.
Chris Krider, Ryan Bourqueand Derek Stepan are all playing for the United States National Under 20 team and look good. Derek Stepan has more than a point per game in his sophomore year at Wisconsin. Ryan Bourque nearly has a point per game for his team in the QMJHL. And Chris Kreider is starting to find his groove with Boston College, and is putting up points for the US National Under 20 team. Regardless I think it is safe to say that the Rangers need to stay the course when it comes to the youth in the minors and on the team. Just a note here but Jess Rubenstein of the Prospect Park will be joining me today at 9 P.M. on my radio show, make sure you are there or catch it archived here.
So what kind of moves do you think the Rangers should make? Who do you see staying or going? Let us know in the comments!
UPDATE by Joe Fortunato: Here is a list of the clauses on the team:
Chris Drury: Full no-movement clause.