Now that all the drama *cough cough Nikolai Zherdev cough cough* has seemed to end, all that mostly remains before training camp is the signing of Brandon Dubinsky, as well as whatever The Overlord Glen Sather decides to do with the remaining cap (which should be around 3-4 million depending on how much Dubi takes). This is the time where the Rangers are transferred to the hands of Head Coach John Tortorella before training camp begins. An idea for what this rag tag group of hockey players will become is formed in this time. But looking at this team there are plenty of unanswered questions.
1. Who will be the number one center this team needs?
2. What are the lines going to be
2a. What is the fourth line going to be (because as we all know Rangers fans are nit picky and a seemingly unimportant line of 3 players that will probably get 3-6 minutes of ice time a night will get elevated to be more important than the 1st line)?
3. Can this team finally make the next step and get past the 2nd round in the playoffs?
4. What type of offensive is this team going to run?
5. Can we score more than last year?
6. Will Henrik Lundqvist step up and finally have that elite 40 win season we all know he is possible of having?
7. Will Staal and Girardi take the next step in their developments and become elite defensemen?
8. Will the two rookie defensemen prove to be HUGE liabilities or future Norris winners?
9. Can we stay healthy?
10. Will Chris Drury finally show us those clutch goals he was famous for in Buffalo?
...and the list goes on.
Well no one can argue that this team is completely different than last year. Here's what last year's lines may have looked like:
And this is what this year's may look like:
Wow. What a huge change. Personally I don't mind the change, but this team still lacks a number 1 center. Sorry Brandon Dubinsky, you are good but you aren't a number one center (yet). This team can surprise us, so its too tough to say if they will be a good team. I think they will be a 6-8th seed again and lose in the first or second round of the playoffs. Hopefully Tortorella encourages this team to score and can get this team to do just that. What I see is a bunch of goal scorers with not many people to set these guys up. Hopefully Wade Redden-Michal Rozsival and run the point on the PP (with Kotalik) and fix the Power Play. Hank can step up, but I'm worried about the Olympics. Stephen Valiquette will become much more important this year. He can play goalie, let him start more than 10 games! In the end the only way this team will succeed is if everyone steps up. We can, and we better will. We are Rangers, that is what we are and nothing else, but this team needs to show us that. When they do finally show us that, all the questions will be solved.