NEWARK, NJ - SEPTEMBER 23: Marian Gaborik #10 of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal at 1:32 of the second period as Ryan Callahan #24 looks on in their preseason game against the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Before we get into the Winter Classic, which will be announced at 1:30 EST today, we should take a look at which spots are really up for grabs as of right now.
In order to do that, we need to see who has their spot pretty much guaranteed. Here are those players when it comes to forwards (I'm just speculating on the line combinations):
Wojtek Wolski-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
Brandon Prust-Artem Anisimov-Ruslan Fedotenko
??????-Brian Boyle-Mike Rupp
Now there are five players who have a shot at the open position: Erik Christensen, Sean Avery, Mats Zuccarello, Dale Weise and Ryan Bourque. Although, as of right now, it's a race between Christensen, Avery and Zuccarello; but that can always change.
Join me after the jump for more.
John Tortorella, as many of you know, addressed Christensen's game against the New Jersey Devils as: "Not much going on there." Christensen told the media he knows he is in a battle for his spot, and he just has to play his game and not put too much pressure on himself. But games like the one he put up against the Devils aren't going to help his cause, and of the three players fighting for that final spot, he's on the bottom of the list.
Sean Avery seemed to do the exact opposite in his preseason game against the Devils. Avery was all over the ice, made a few good plays and was part of the line which Tortorella said was the best of the game. Honestly, that's about all we've heard from or about Avery since the preseason games started rolling in.
Finally, there's Zuccarello who has looked strong this preseason, and really impressed Tortorella in camp. Zuccarello is currently skating with the first group in practices (while both Avery and Christensen are with the second group) and he's seen a significant amount of power play time during drills. Those are all signs pointing towards keeping Zuccarello up, and sending Christensen and Avery down, once the season begins.