Thread: Speculation: Brad Richards News Part II
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05-15-2011, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Steven Mastrosimone View Post
Don't see how it's "gross". That team got us 44 wins in 10-11. No, they're not the Red Wings circa 2008, but, with Richards, it's a solid team. There are still a lot of unknowns and question marks in that lineup to really judge it yet. You have an extremely young lineup that has several players who have been in the league only two years at most. Players like Stepan, Anisimov, McDonagh, Sauer, and MDZ, who would fill a gaping hole in this team if he could bounce back from his offensive struggles last season.

With Richards, this team could probably finish anywhere between 4-6. I don't think they'll be challenging for the division any time soon with Philly and Pittsburgh still in their primes, but for next season, the team would not have a single glaring weakness in it, other than maybe a real puck mover.

Of course, if we couldn't get Richards or another #1 center, we'll likely be staying right where we finished in 10-11. Maybe even out of the playoffs, with the Islanders and Hurricanes having the chance to make it next season. It's the biggest priority this offseason.
That's my point, the unknowns. There's always a guaranteed supply of unknowns, but the Rangers love to build their line-up with several of them. We could either be great next year, or royally suck.

Wolski - Richards - Gaborik
Dubinsky - Anisimov - Callahan
Avery - Stepan - Zuccs
Drury - Boyle - Prust

Staal - Girardi
McDonagh - Sauer
Del Zotto - Gilroy

The 3rd defense pairing isn't a big deal, because 1 or both of them could easily be replaced with someone should they not improve from last year. (which I'm sure, at the least, Del Zotto will. Gilroy I still have high hopes for, but I'm also still quite skeptical. I do want him back, however.) Zuccarello is the type of unknown you really have to take a chance on, so he deserves a shot in that lineup.

But that left side is a total question mark. Avery? Who knows when/how/if he's going to show up. In my opinion, he should be earning a spot in training camp. I feel like it shouldn't be "his spot to lose." And as for Drury, if the end of this season was any indication of things to come, I don't even know if he has competence in the NHL anymore. Fourth liner at best. It's a pickle and I think the best thing to do is to buy him out. It's $7M to have either a 4th liner getting maybe 7 minutes a game, not really producing, maybe even being a healthy scratch, or $3.7M + $1.6M to have almost the same production.

And then there's Wolski. I loved him back in Colorado, but I just don't know now. There's only 3 situations that can happen with him if he's kept on board.

A) The best scenario, he finds his game, and puts up respectable points playing with either Richards/Gaborik, or Anisimov/Callahan.
B) He takes up a spot in the Top 6 and continues to be an inconsistent player who fails to impress. Maybe putting up 40 points.
C) He gets thrown into the Bottom 6 again, and a player of his type is completely ineffective if he's not scoring in a Top 6 role. So you have essentially $3.8M on the cap for nothing.

Is Wolski worth keeping? I'm not against the idea, but our performance can really sway depending on how he plays.

Originally Posted by dedalus View Post
To be precise, the shoootout got us 44 wins. The team got us 35 wins, the least of any playoff team.

And we saw what happened to that "44 win team" in the playoffs. (Which is one of several reasons I despise the shootout.)
This is my point! We're a mediocre team with that line-up, absolutely. Richards will help that, but there's definitely more to be done here. Don't forget we had a lot of surprising things that went exceptionally right for us this year. Injuries hurt, but the bonuses we got out of surprising play of players like Boyle, McDonagh, Sauer, Callahan, Stepan, and Prust more than made up for it. We were a pretty fortunate team this year to have 6 players suddenly stepping up their game.

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