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09-23-2010, 11:02 AM
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Thoughts on the bubble players:

Kennedy - I'm actually excited to see what this kid can do. I'd like to see him on the third line cutting his teeth for a while. I dont think 4th line minutes would benefit the kid. I think his speed could be utilized and from what i hear from Sabres fans, we got a good little player that should have been resigned.
But, like a majority of the guys ill discuss... is there room??

Avery - I think Avery makes this team, its just a question of where he fits in the lineup. There are some tough decisions to make going forward, but I dont think it includes cutting Sean. He has too much intangible quality (especially in this division) and if he can continue to play like he has in camp I think you have to include him.

White - With all the players at center and wing, I almost dont even want to waste my time thinking about where White fits in. He was a salary dump from the start and with his lingering shoulder issues im hoping he gets beat out by Christensen, Kennedy and the like. I know hes got history with Gabby, but I'd rather get younger.

Stepan - I know a lot of us are very excited about this kid. Theres a debate going on as to where he should start, the AHL or NHL. The very fact that that debate is ongoing is extremely encouraging. I'd like to take a long look at him in preseason between Gabby and Frolov, because if he plays at this level he belongs on one of the top two lines. With the lack of playmaking centers on this team, if hes going to be somewhere on the roster he should be up there or Hartford, no questions asked. I'm rooting for him though, because I think this kid is intelligent, hes a leader, and hes the type of rookie that could change the dynamic of a squad.

Grachev - I would love to see him make it, but honestly unless he switches to the right side im not sure he will. Theres just so many damn players on the wing. I really like his game, but again its a matter of fitting him in within the lines. Preseason is going to be big for him. I think for him to make the team hes going to have to make it very hard for the Rangers to even think about sending him down.

MZA - I knew nothing of the hobbit coming in, and not much still. I NEED to see this kid play in a few NHL games to make an honest assessment. Im intrigued about him but at the same time skeptical. If some of the LW jam can switch over to the right they could be more attractive to start the year.

Weise & Werek - I don't think they make the team IMO. Both of them can play well. But I think its a numbers game and they will both be sent down until they are on fire and have to be called up. I just think some players have bad timing and both of these guys are a victim of that with the amount of forwards vying for spots. I could be completely wrong, but I just dont think these guys will be there opening night regardless of how well they play.

Christensen - Guys got some skill, and is still young - who knows he could get it all together. But hes another one that has to make it hard on the Rangers. I think Torts likes him and i'm in the belief he'll be on the squad to start - especially with Drury out now. I think its between Stepan and him for the 1st line job, Anisimov will start the year on the 2nd or 3rd. The Drury injury actually makes the center logjam a little easier to decipher.

Boyle - Meh. I think he had his shot and he failed. He says hes gotten quicker, he says hes going to be more physical. We heard that last year. I always though he had decent speed for a big man when he gets going, but thats not the issue. Let's see if he wants to win a spot on the 4th line and more importantly SUSTAIN what its going to take to win that job. I have a number of players ahead of him on the depth chart.

McDonagh - Again, someone I have seen very little of. From the camp video online, I loved the way he moved his feet. It looks like hes good with the stick, positionally and has the footspeed to play NHL forwards. Thats a good first step. He's not know for his offense, and quite honestly that a great thing for this team when your a rookie D man. Gilroy, Staal and Del Zotto have all struggled (as expected) trying to round out their games. For McD, he could focus on being what he is, and then sprinkle in the offense later if need be. Who knows. When Girardi came on as a starter in his second year he had a nice little offensive output, you never know. Do i expect him to make the team? He'll have to prove it. But I think he's on the bubble more than most guys.

Valentenko - The kid isnt afraid to mix it up, or get nasty. Thats a very valuable thing in this league, conference and division. He might surprise people and hes definitely opening the eyes of Torts it seems. If he keeps that shot low and on net and can defend the rush well the other parts of his game will take care of themselves. Another one I will keep a close eye on in pre-season. I want to be objective as possible with the defenders on this team because there are a lot of similar level players. The positive about Val is that hes played in the KHL, though its a different type of game its a professional level. We'll see where he shakes out on this roster. If you held a gun to my head I'd say he'll start in the AHL.

Gilroy - Oh Gilly. He was arguably one of the best Rangers defenseman for a small stretch at the start of last year (something no one remembers) and then quickly fell out of the graces of coaches and fans alike. Probably for good reason, coming from a short college season. It sounds like hes put his work in, has gotten stronger. Thats good cause hell need it. I know a lot of people are mixed about Gilly, but IMO he makes this team going away, for one major reason - his mobility. The guy can flat out skate. If he can wrap his head around the physical side of the game, hes got the offensive skills to help this team on the bottom pair. McDonagh might deal with the same issues later in the year, but might cope with it better because he plays a completely different game.

Eminger - see Semenov.

On a tryout:

Exelby - never liked him. I don't think we should pass on a bruising, hitting defenseman, but we need one that can play the puck too. Especially in this system. I would look to Valentenko to provide that before even considering XLB. IMO he was just brought in as another body to fill out the pairings.

Semenov - He wouldn't be all that bad as a 7th guy. He's a serviceable defenseman whos played the 40 or so games per year in the NHL role. He's got size. He can be used to spell some of the youngsters if need be. Its between him and Eminger IMO for a veteran role like that. IF the Rangers like Valentenko, it will probably be between him and McDonagh for a starting low pairing. I think either way the Rangers take one of Semenov or Eminger, and it could go to Semenov because he will come cheaper.

Fedotenko - I'm probably in the minority here in saying that I wouldn't mind it if he made the squad. Certain players are gamers and hes one of them despite his recent history. He's lost some weight and seems have plenty left, change of scenery type of deal might be good for him. Before I go out on a limb for the guy though, I'd like to see how he performs in the pre-season and in this system. The major problem is that there is such a logjam of players on the left. Logjam is an understatement. There are just so many players there that I think are NHL ready that basically half of them have to be cut. I wouldn't be upset if he was one of them either. It's really a wait and see for me, not hoping either way honestly.

I probably missed someone considering there are like 78 players going for 8 spots.

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