It’s taken some time, but I think I’m finally warming up to the Rangers roster. Finally the team has shown that it still has a pulse and is capable of doing some good things. About time right?
Well I wouldn’t start to celebrate just yet, but I believe we’re close. Barring some possible minor trades over the rest of the season, I think this is Rangers roster for the rest of the year. There’s no need to tinker any further unless of course we start planning for the future and decide to ship MDZ somewhere which will bring us some kind of “young kid(s) with big potential” return. But that’s for another time.
Let’s talk about what else needs to occur though before I begin to fully believe in this team.
When Taylor Pyatt returns from his concussion, his spot in the lineup won’t be there-
It stinks for Pyatt, but this is the way it has to be. If Pyatt were healthy at the moment I think he’d be in serious danger of losing his roster spot. JT Miller has played very well, and Kreider has been scoring and has way too much offensive upside to be taken out of the lineup anyway. If the Rangers are going to contend for a cup I believe Pyatt has to go.
Benoit Pouliot either has to step up his game on a consistent basis, or get lost-
I hated Pouliot earlier in the season, but slowly he’s beginning to show why he’s still around in this league. I think if Pouliot continually keeps chipping in offensively (Let’s define that as putting up close to half a point per game) he’ll stick around in the lineup for the rest of the season. He may not be great defensively, but I don’t think there’s anyone in Hartford that could step up right now and put up close to half a point a game. So for the moment we’re stuck with Pouliot. But if he sputters into or around the Christmas break, I think Vigneault will maybe call up Jesper Fast or even Oscar Lindberg possibly.
Pouliot is really only a short term stop gap for the Rangers so they could develop some prospects at the correct pace, but if Pouliot screws up again he might see himself outta the lineup before the season is over. Pouliot would be on thinner ice right now, but working in his favor is that Rick Nash and Dominic Moore are out. Helping even more is Taylor Pyatt is also out. Didn’t Pouliot just hit the injury jackpot…..
Mashinter is out of the lineup come playoffs (and hopefully sooner)-
Look I appreciate “Monster Mash” and what he sacrifices on the ice, but he should really only be playing against teams from the former Atlantic Division and other games in which we’re not at full strength physically. Our team getting healthy should take Mash outta the lineup, and the sooner in which this happens the better.
At an organizational level, Mashinter is in reality competing for Derek Dorsett’s spot. I still harbor some faith maybe one day down the line the team will choose to keep Mashinter and let Dorsett walk to another team.
The team is playing well and it isn’t at full strength on offense. My faith is that Nash and Dominic Moore returning in the coming weeks will sort out the rest of the lineup and our team lineup will stay consistent through the playoffs. Obviously having the best team on paper doesn’t win you a championship, but having the best team on paper doesn’t hurt either.
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