Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers -- The one home-run hitter on the Rangers' roster slipped from 42 goals to 22 and 86 points to 48 last season while missing 20 games with injuries. The Rangers spent a fortune this summer to bring in playmaker Brad Richards with the expectation that he'll help Gaborik return to the form that's made him a two-time 42-goal scorer. The plan has to work for the Rangers to be more than just a team contending for a bottom-level playoff berth.
...i know Kreiser didn't rank the players in any kind of order, but to me Gaborik has to be #1 on this list. The fact that one of the main reasons the Rangers brought Richards in was to get Gabby going puts a ton of weight on his shoulders. Let's all hope he's able to carry that burden. If he can this could be a fun year.
...i asked this question on Facebook, who do you think has more heat on them to produce this year Richards or Gaborik? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
I think Gaborik will get the most heat. Ranger fans have high expectations for him, especially after his 42 goal freshman year with the rangers. If he comes through this could be an exciting year. Cant wait!!!!
I actually think Richards wont get as much heat if he doesn't perform the first year. The excuse of "First year jitters/not used to style" might be going for him. but if thats the case hopefully it only lasts a month or two. :P I think Gaborik will have a bounce back year because teams will no longer only have to defend Gabby and one line... With Richards and Gaborik on one line, then having Duby and Cally on the other, both lines will get a few more scoring chances.
i think the heat is really on Richards. if he doesn't perform well everyone's going to be talking about having him for eight more years and that it was a bad signing from the beginning.
I think it starts out that Richards has the most pressure because he has to get Gaborik going, get the PP going, AND add some serious offense of his own. If he shows he can do all those things, then the pressure shifts to Gaborik to show that he can be the go to scorer the Rangers have sorely missed. But the bottom line is that both these guys carry the weight of the team on their shoulders and if either one falters it's going to bring the other one down as well....which then puts all the pressure back on Hank ;-) Guess that's why they all get the big bucks!
WAY more heat on Gabby. Gabby has proven he's nothing put a streaky scorer since he's been, able to capitalize on weak teams. His first season, those streaks were just a little more frequent, and this season he'd be closer to 15 then 25 if it wasn't for the Isles and Oilers being horrible. Gabby has to produce. Richards has shown he can work with a variety of wingers, as long as they can skate with him. If Gabby can't get it going, the only thing that would keep him here is his NTC.