Rangers Player Grades: Part III
With both the Rangers Defense and Offense graded and off to summer vacation, it is time to wrap up this review process with those who chipped in a bit over the 2008-2009 season but weren't around all the time for one reason or another. Any player that played a single game during the Rangers season that allowed them to be on the score sheet will be graded below (I have counted 9). If I missed anyone, please let me know. With that said, please enjoy and do comment.
- #10 - Nigel Dawes (Age: 24) - Grade: C
Of all the players traded out of New York on deadline day, this was the guy I knew I was going to miss the most. I liked his game, to be frank. He was a hard worker and he has a scoring touch, along with the fact that he could throw his body around as much as he could and didn't get knocked over nearly as much as Prucha. In 52 games he had 10 goals and 9 assists for 19 points and a -2 rating. Will the Rangers miss Dawes? Time will tell, but I think not really. He would have been a nice third line winger for a couple of years as he develops, but I don't think he will be a stud anytime soon.
- #45 - Dmitri Kalinin (Age: 28) - Grade: D+
At $2.1 million, Kalinin could have been a solid signing, but it did not work out that way. With Marek Malik leaving last season, Kalinin became the Ranger fans new scapegoat on Defense, playing an awkward game where it just seemed like he couldn't decide what to do quickly enough. I saw flashes of his old game with Buffalo now and then, but nothing consistent enough to keep him from getting heckled by the Garden Faithful. He had a great opportunity coming to the Rangers, but didn't seize it. In 58 games he had 1 goal and 12 assists for 13 points, not to mention being tagged with a -7 rating. I think most Ranger fans were relieved to see his name included in the Phoenix trade, because it just wasn't meant to be for Kalinin in ‘08-‘09.
- #25 - Petr Prucha (Age: 26) - Grade: D
Not to sound like a pompous ass, but I knew Prucha was too good to be true. After his dip in scoring during the 2007-2008 season, many wondered what was wrong with Petr Puck. My theory was that he was a quick little player taking advantage of the new NHL rules and scoring, but that wouldn't last long. See, the last season before the lockout 5.02 goals were scored per game. After the lockout, it jumped to 5.94 per game in '05-'06 and dipped to 5.53 per game in '06-'07 (All statistics from Slap Shot). Because of all the new rules to increase scoring, many Defensemen were wary about what they could get away with, which is why a perimeter player like Prucha could excel because he could challenge Defensemen and they wouldn't know how far they could go. Well after two seasons of refinement the D-men figured him and all the rules out, and a standard was set amongst referees. Mark my words; Petr Prucha will not break 30 to 40 points again in the NHL with any club. He is a perimeter player in a league where more and more goals are being scored by getting inside the dots and in front of the net. Prucha gave us some nice memories, but it is a good thing that Sather decided to ship him out.
- #49 - Dan Fritsche (Age: 23) - Grade: F
Fritsche gets to boast the statement of receiving one of two F's given out this year in this grading process. When the Rangers signed up for just under a million dollars, it was a head scratcher. He put up 22 points in '07-'08 with his home state Columbus Blue Jackets in an entirely different system, so I knew that the Rangers Fritsche marriage probably wasn't going to work. He's a two way guy, something we have plenty of, and seeing that he only played in 16 games for the Rangers, he could not make an impact at all for the Rangers. Fritsche was in Kalinin's boat this year, because for some reason it just wasn't meant to be.
- #38 - Corey Potter (Age: 25) - Grade: C
This is a tough one, because I don't know much about Potter but I do know that he has been inconsistent thus far in his young career. He played in 5 games for the Rangers this past season, netting his first NHL goal and an assist along with a -1 rating. I can't remember him doing anything radically wrong, but ironically I can remember his goal, so a C will have to suffice for this young man. He will most likely get a long look next year depending on the Rangers defensive situation, so he better be ready for camp come September.
- #42 - Artem Anisimov (Age: 20) - Grade: C
Another fun one (kidding). He played in two games for the Rangers, registering one shot on goal against Atlanta back in February. His prospect grade is a 7.5 (B) at Hockey's Future, so hopefully Anisimov pans out down the road. He will get a look next year at camp most likely, and I look forward to it because during Game 7 I like his size and his skating abilities without the puck. He gets a C for not pulling a Ryan O'Byrne during his two games this season.
- #4 - Erik Reitz (Age: 26) - Grade: D
Reitz played in 11 games for the Rangers after coming from the Wild at the trade deadline for Dan Fritsche. He had no points, and managed to finish with a -4 rating. He was claimed off waivers on May 4 and went to Toronto. I thought Reitz could have really helped this team. He is best when he plays a stay-at-home style, but something didn't mesh with being a Ranger. Don't expect Reitz to be back.
- #12 - Patrick Rissmiller (Age: 30) - Grade: F
Signing Rissmiller was another head scratcher just like Dan Fritsche. Therefore, the "Rizzle" gets to join Fritsche in the F group. He is a big man at 6 foot 4 inches, but cannot skate at an NHL level and somehow had two OK years with the Sharks from 2006 to 2008. There isn't much else to say about Rissmiller, as he only played 2 games with the Blueshirts and finished with a -2 rating. The fact that Glen Sather signed this guy to a 3 year/$3 million dollar contract is just absurd.
- #56 - Michael Sauer (Age: 21) - Grade: C
The thought of a lineup with Staal, Girardi, Sauer, Sanguetti, and DelZotto all playing defense in a couple of years just makes me giddy. Sauer can easily be a top-six defenseman, and if he stays injury free along with developing any sort of shot he could break the top-four. He played 3 games with the Rangers in late March this past season, going +1 in a win against Atlanta and -2 in a loss against Pittsburgh. He will be competing for a look next season, and again it should be fun watching all these young guys try to crack a roster that will be looking for a spark.
So that is the last of the grades for this off-season in terms of looking back on 2008-2009. The past is now firmly the past for me, but looking back has given me a fresh perspective. The Rangers still made the playoffs this season, when at some points they could have easily messed that up. Expectations for next season will be right around where they should be, and that is a good thing because next season will be somewhat of an on-the-fly rebuilding year, whether Ranger fans want to believe it or not. Thanks for reading as always and have at it in the comments.