That is really where my problem is. I see Helminen being quite ready for his role (bottom-2 line player) and Dawes is probably as ready as Immonen is. In order for Helminen to win a spot, he would have to play out of position and beat out Hossa on wing. I would have loved to see all three get a fair shot, but that stands no chance of happening.
I'm not even sure Helminen is good enough right now...Wasn't terribly impressed by his play late in the year....And if he is good enough, let him show it in camp and maybe beat out Betts...or, be the one to be called up when (not if) Betts get hurt again...
OTOH, I do kinda agree that Dawes is ready, but he's not being held back by a vet (Prucha is in the top 6 probably) and there are mostly young players on the bottom two lines, be it Hall, Ward, Hollweg or Hossa...And hell, maybe Dawes does make the team if the Rangers want his offense (maybe a line like Hall-Immo-Dawes and Hollweg-Betts-Ward/Hossa)....I just don't want him playing only 5 mins a night so I have no problem with him starting in Hartford and getting ready to be called up when one of the top 4-6 wingers get hurt (and they will)..
Nylander assisted on one Ward goal in November, and another in January. Three goals were unassisted and on the ice at center was Betts at center for all three (one shorthanded). Betts assisted on another. Niemo/Rozsival on another with Moore at center. Niemo/Moore on another with Moore at center. Rucinsky/Sykora on another when, I believe, Ward was at center. Niemo/Toots on another (shorthanded). I don't remember in how many games Nylander was demoted, but if I had to guess, I'd guess less than five.
Ward created most of his goals from his own hard work, with other guys on the ice working hard too. Again, none of these were on the PP. And if you look deeper into Ward's goals, they go like this: Against the Devils, take a 1-0 lead; against TB, take a 2-1 lead; against Atlanta to tie it up; Against WASH to take a 1-0 lead; against Calgary to take a 3-2 lead; against Columbus to pull within one goal (in the first period); Against Boston to take a 1-0 lead; against PITT to take a 1-0 lead; against Ottawa to take a 3-0 lead; and a throw-away goal against Philly to take a 5-1 lead. Most of his goals were quite meaningful, and most were against decent competition.
As for Hall not having an 80-point centerman - the Rangers didn't either. Nylander's been a 60-point guy all his life before centering Jagr - pretty much on par with Steve Sullivan, with whom Hall played a bit with (albeit mostly on the PP, from where most of his goals came). Hall scored an empty netter against STL, a PP goal against ANA, a PP goal against PHX, a PP goal against CBJ, as well as ES goals against PITT and Chicago - not exactly lighting the best of competition (I didn't go through the rest of his goals - just '06 - I got lazy).
I forget though why we're talking about this, to be honest. I kind of went into this thread for the first time in a while.