However, it's a slow day in Ranger land and a healthy debate never hurts. Listed below are what I think could realistically be line combos heading into next season. Bear in mind, this excludes any further transactions that happen between now (Shane Doan or someone else) and the start of the season. Also, Marian Gaborik is not listed because of his injury and rehab.
- I think Richards and Nash will be a pair to start the season. Nash's power forward game may be better suited with Richards. Could he play with Stepan? Sure. But I believe Nash and Richards will be given a shot to start out.
- The 2nd line aka #TheUnitedLine as I like to call them will be reunited. At times, they showed to be an effective line last season and, with Nash in the fold, it will ease the burden on Kreider to be a major offensive threat in his first full rookie season.
- With the current roster, there's an open spot for a rookie to make the team, and I've given it to Ryan Bourque. Yes, his first pro season with the Whale was less than stellar and plagued by injuries. But, when healthy, Bourque's speed and motor would compliment the bottom six quite well. He could have an impact similar to Hagelin last season, playing alongside Boyle and Pyatt.
- I don't believe Michael Haley starts the year with the Rangers, leaving Asham on the fourth line with Halpern and Rupp. It's an effective line that can win faceoffs, be adequate defensively and bring intimidation. Plus, Rupp and Asham have some chemistry from their Penguin days.
What do you think NYR fans? Do you agree or disagree? What do you think the line combos will be next season?
Rangers lineup Lw C Rw Callahan Richards Hags Gaborik Doan Nash Stepan Boyle Krieder Rupp/ Halpern Pyatt/ ChristianThomas Asham D Girardi McDonagh Staal Del Zotto Bikel/ Sauer/Stralman Mcilrath This would be my projected lineup with Doan and healthy Gaborik....I'd bring up Christian Thomas before Bourque
For kicks tonight, and to experiment with virtual chemistry, I fired up NHL 12 where I had a 'Be a GM' season I haven't played since March. Team status: miserable. Mid december, losing record. I went right in to a trade with Columbus. It took a little effort, but Columbus agreed to this trade: Dubinsky-Anisimov-Erixon and a 1st for Nash, a third, and 2 low-end players with no potential. Howson claimed that Blue Jackets fans would be partying in the streets over this deal! The immediate result is amazing!Top linesGaborik-Richards-Nash
Next game was vs Phoenix
1st shift(!!) Goal- Nash from Gaborik and Richards.
Ironically, the 2nd shift I put out my defensive line resulting in a Goal for PHX scored by who else, Shane Doan (LOL) Defeated Phoenix 5-2. Nash #1 star with 2 goals, 1 assist.
Hopefully the chemistry comes just as naturally for the real thing this fall.Did i mention that I can't wait for the season to begin?
@NHNYR88 It's hysterical you bring this up. My brother and I did the same thing you did in NHL 12. We did the exact same deal as done in real life, and Howson told me he felt like he made out like gangbusters LOL!
Can you imagine what it's gonna look like when Gabby is back in Nov? Offense is gonna be so deep you have Cally on L3. That's retarded:
And there is still a chance of adding Doan as well? Nutty...
@CJ once gabby gets back, our third line will start looking a little more dangerous... CJ i think halpern will def be starting center on fourth line just due to his faceoff skills...
@Ranger Dave @ChefDave @ivanricov Look, I am as big of a fan of Cally as the next guy, which is to say I really like him. He is a hard working, hard hitting, heart and soul, lead by example guy. But, first liner? I just don't see it. You can't confuse your downright like of a player for his talent level.
Cally is L2 at best, ESPECIALLY for a coach like Torts who believes strongly in stacking L1 and L2 and riding the crap out of them all game.
I think you guys are off base a bit but i could be wrong. The offense isnt tort's fault. We were short on skilled players. Lots of grind and heart, but not top end skill... I think even if we continue to play the same system, with the additions and growth of players, they will be able to score more within the system. Faceoffs? better this year with Halpern. Skill? Nash and Kreider will add to that. All im saying is this is a process, and trust the system. You win with defense first, ask the capitals how far they got in the past couple of years. Do we need to score more, yes. I feel they have addressed that. Lets cut torts some slack. He teaches them to play the right way, the rest is up to them.
@ivanricov -- well, i don't know if we were necessarily "short on skilled players" ...
@AG_Blue they are no good players, but gaborik and richards are the only players I would say have high end skill as of last season. Like I said the kids will grow hopefully, but who else has that kind of skill?
and the line combos are not a big deal guys... they are hockey players. They have been playing with different players their whole careers. He plays players that have "it" that particular night. Anyone who has played a sport knows some days you have it, some you dont. If you want to win as a coach, you have to play the ones that are in the zone that night. It is simple. Seems like people make it to be a bigger deal than it is. On our heals when he is making the changes? yeah because the combos arent working. You can't expect to win most games by killing your opponents. Sports, and expecially hockey, dont work that way...
@ivanricov I am not so worried about who plays with who - but with who plays where - Nash should play on the left.
Would love to see another rookie crack the lineup (Thomas, Bourque, Miller?) but who knows. They also might add a Doan or an Arnott (for center depth). Speculation is always fun and they look great on paper already but I'm still concerned about having so much turnover from a very tight knit, gritty roster in which alot of those gutty players are now replaced.
Torts doesn't just need to be thinking about what his line combos will be, he needs to start coming up with ways to MAKE SURE the offense is effective. No more excuses and no more shuffling the lines. We've given him some weapons here, and he needs to show that he can actually USE THEM, not just stand around and hope guys play out of their mind. Honestly, that's what it took for him to win his cup in Tampa, and that's what it took from Hank for us to the to the Conference finals this year. Outside of those two runs, Torts has 1 career playoff series victory.
We shouldn't expect to see another season of line juggling, let's hope that John has "kept it in the room" this summer watching tape and figuring out systems that will get the offense to work. If not, Slats has to keep him on a short leash, and be prepared to find someone who can get us results.
@BuckarooClub Maybe I'm completely off base, but with Nash now onboard and having Kreider for a full season, I think you'll see Torts open up the offense this year.
I think Torts has felt the only way the previous Rangers teams could win is through suffocating defense. Now that he has more offensive tools to work with, Torts will get more creative. I hope.
@KevinDeLury spot on.
@KevinDeLury I hope you're right, I'm just not convinced Torts knows HOW to open up the offense. We've been watching the same struggling offense every season under him. I think Nash is a huge asset for this team, but Torts has to give him a chance to do what we pay him for. Let him take some chances with his ability, and get us the breaks we need. At the same time, you have to realize he's not ALWAYS going to get it done, and sometimes it might even create a chance the other way.
Rather then waiting to jump down a guys throat for trying to make something happen when his teams struggling, and scream "I told you so", Torts needs to start realizing if his offense was WORKING, guys wouldn't be in that position in the first place. There has to be some balance, if it's not working one way, try it the other. I'm not convinced Torts is willing to share the spotlight though.
@ChefDave @kevocavo59 @AG_Blue @Ranger @KevinDeLury @BuckarooClub I have been saying that Torts Neutral Zone to offensive zone system Sucks for over a year now. Don't get me wrong I want Torts as our coach and i don't mind the way he treats the media and I love what he has done defensively and developmentally with the young guys, but the PP sucks (I am looking at you Sullivan) and guys are so afraid to try and make a play (cause if they mess it up they get glued to the bench) that they make the safe dump and chase play every time. Glad we have Richards and Nash so someone can actually make a play at the blue line now. But this is hockey, and to win you need to score, mot block 40 shots every night. For too long we have relied on Hank to get us through. Its time to start scoring for him.
@kevocavo59 @AG_Blue @Ranger Dave @KevinDeLury @BuckarooClub I agree with this, the team should be able to win even if Hanks GAA balloons to 2.21
@AG_Blue @Ranger Dave @KevinDeLury But we weren't keeping our opponents on THEIR heels, the line shuffling was simply a last resort to get ourselves off the ropes. We never saw a change in the system, or more importantly, even a change in the system for one of his top lines, in an effort to spark some offense.
As far as Torts being a winning coach, even with his cup season, he's still only at .500 in the playoffs. I'm not saying it's the worst thing, but with the cup coming on the back of unreal production from Khabibulin and BR, and giving him 16 of those 37 playoff wins, it makes his other 6 playoff appearances seem even less impressive.
To put it into perspective, this the 1st time in the 7 seasons since BR hoisted the cup that Torts team made it out of the first rd. It's also the 3rd time he's made it out of the 1st rd EVER. This team has to improve in alot of places to improve over last season, and get where we should be. One of those is behind the bench. No more excuses.
@Ranger Dave @KevinDeLury @BuckarooClub -- I am SURE that Kevin is right here. Torts is a winning NHL coach for a reason, give the guy some credit. His approach changed based on the pieces he's had to work with. Don't worry, he knows more than a few ways to play a team. He's an old pro. Also, the line juggling is not as big a deal as people make it out to be. Granted, Torts has been extreme at times, but it's great to be able to move guys around for different match-ups and a different look. If everybody knows how to do their job it can be effective while keeping opponents on their toes (or heels).
Can we get our money together to get Avery a surgery that will remove the crazy bone from his brain? Cause we could really use his skill set in the bottom 6.
@GLENsatherVSglennDANZIG -- Torts would require the same surgery if Avery is to play
Glad somebody gave Bourque a shot here....I know he had a rough season with the whale, but he can very well be a smaller version of dubinsky, and I think he can be a solid bottom 6 presence if nobody else is signed. Im rooting for him in camo because Miller probably wont be ready and Im not too sure what to expect from thomas.
@DomVaruzza Dommyyyy lol. I think Miller gets the spot. Bourque is a little on the small side and while i appreciate the work ethic, I think Miller fits the Rangers need of a 2 way forward on the third line. I think Miller is more NHL ready than we think
@DomVaruzza Bourque really needs to come around as a player if he wants a shot with team. I saw him on a few occasions with the Whale and he didn't show the skill to be one of the better players on the ice or the snarl to be an effective bottom 6 player.
He's either REALLY got to pick up his game, or suck it up and learn to play tough. Bourque not only lacks the physical game Dubi played when he was at his best, Bourque has shown no signs of wanting to play that game. Honestly, I think Bourque is gonna find his way to Europe before the NHL.
@DomVaruzza -- Again, two concussions and separate head and neck injuries are holding him back ... maybe permanently. I'm rooting for him too ...
Nash -- Richards -- Callahan
Kreider -- Stepan --Hagelin
Miller -- Boyle -- Pyatt
Rupp -- Halpern -- Asham
Maybe try Hagelin on the off wing 'til Gaborik gets back. Going down the stretch maybe Miller stays on picking up fourth line minutes as Rupp, Asham or both will be out of the lineup as we approach and enter the playoffs -- there aren't too many fights as things tighten up close to the end of the season, and fights are virtually over and done with come the post-season. We'll see how Asham and Torts get along ...
A little concerned about our 3rd line right now. Really noticing what we lost out on when Prust and Feds walked. I love the scoring that will come with our top 2, but I don't see a group of 3rd liners that Torts will trust out of the gate to play shut-down D against other teams top lines. Granted to Prust-Boyle-Feds line didn't do as much "shutting down" as they did "throwing their bodies in the way", but this teams success last year was built around playing team defense. I'd put my money on the theory that the rookie who makes it out of camp will be the one that's most responsible in his own zone.
I'm kind of anticipating Cally dropping down to the the 3rd to play more defense once Gaborik is healed.
@johnnyb3910 Most likely see Hagelin drop down when Gabby comes back. However, Callahan is a candidate and would be a super 3rd line player: grit, hustle, defense and offense.
@johnnyb3910 Agreed that the third line looks a little shaky. Doan?
@johnnyb3910 @KevinDeLury -- with either of these guys, the hope would be that they're short-term rentals, even if they are pricey. The club should have the money (depending somewhat on the new CBA) as long as the bulk of it comes off our cap hit in two years (when we have to re-sign Lundquist, Callaha, Kreider and others, after re-signing Stepan, McDonagh, and Hagelin this next off-season).
@johnnyb3910 -- more importantly, Arnott is a right-handed shot, something we're short on, and he has played wing in his day, but he could also play center and move Boyle to the wing. Possibilities ...
I like Arnott, too, but he's a center, not a wing. Doan, as a natural right-winger, could fill more voids for us.
Love the idea of Cally with Nash. High hockey IQ, great in own zone and unselfish with the puck. But who knows... The most exciting thing is the amount of size, speed and scoring talent we have will allow Torts to create mismatches with virtually any opponent. Rangers fan's definitely have a lot to be excited about heading into the season