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Roster Discussion

Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News tweets "Interested to see what happens on #NYR 4th line if Stepan works out up top. Wolski's injury may make decision easier short term, but Zuccarello once again has work cut out for him. We'll know much more after the Canada trip."

The lines at practice yesterday were:

  • Derek Steapan, Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik
  • The Pack Line
  • Ruslan Fedotenko, Brian Boyle, Brandon Prust
  • Mike Rupp, Erik Christensen, Mats Zuccarello
The mish-mosh that the fourth line will become is the biggest issue that I have seen to moving Derek Stepan to the LW spot on the top line. Mike Rupp is really the only integral part of that line and should see his minutes increase to about 10 a night starting on Saturday. Christensen and Zucc provide a potential offensive spark, but could just as easily be nothing but defensive liablities. The interesting thing is when Wojtek Wolski comes back, Erik Christensen likelu sits and there is no center on the fourth line.

Tags: Roster Discussion, Adam Rotter
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At The Hockey News, Lyle Richardson, aka Spector, writes of the situation that the Rangers are in with depth on the left wing and on defense with the injury to Marc Staal.

He mentions certain free agents like former Ranger Bryan McCabe and Anton Stralman on defense and Sergei Samsonov and Steve Begin at LW.

Richardson also mentions that the Blackhawks could make Rostislav Olesz available as they are having trouble finding a spot for him in their lineup.

Tags: Anton Stralman, Roster Discussion, Adam Rotter
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Update: 10:42AM: Katie Strang also reports that the two sides have not stopped talking.

Update: 10:30AM: Pat Leonard writes in the Daily News that Mara's agent says that the Rangers are just one of the teams that his client is talking to.

Update: 9:47AM: Larry Brooks says in the NY Post that the Rangers have re-initiated talks with former Ranger Paul Mara.

Tags: Europe 2011, Paul Mara, Roster Discussion, Adam Rotter
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Update: 5:27PM:
"I don't want to play GM here. You have to be real careful as far as Marc with IR. This is the type of injury with Marc that he could feel real good in another day or two and we get him going right away. It's been such a touch and go thing with Marc, that we just didn't go that way. We felt we wanted to get to our number this way."

via Steve Zipay at Blue Notes

Update: 3:45PM:

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/drosennhl/status/121309754155999232"]

Tags: Brendan Bell, Marc Staal Concussion, Roster Discussion, Stu Bickel, Adam Rotter
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While discussing certain lines and players playing together, John Tortorella said that he wants to have a balanced lineup.

He has said in the past that he likes the Pack Line and also understands the chemistry that Ruslan Fedotenko, Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust have together.

Balance is very important and the foundation that good teams are built on. The Rangers balance should be built around the Pack Line and at least the pair of Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust. Obviously Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards will be together, but no matter where everyone else slots in, especially if Derek Stepan stays in the middle, their will be balance. Each line will forecheck, play defense and have the ability to score. Some will do things better than others, but you won't have one bad line out there.

Tags: Roster Discussion, Adam Rotter
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In the NY Post, Larry Brooks says that John Tortorella has been impressed with Michael Del Zotto's approach so far in training camp.

"I can tell through conversations we?ve had that he?s trying to work at this.

"He had some really good shifts and some struggles, but it?s a game of mistakes ? as long you?re not making the same mistakes all the time."Leslie Treff of Hockey's Future came away impressed with Del Zotto as well., "no cross ice, stretch passes. No leading the rush and getting caught up ice, while the opposition scored on the turnover. Tonight Del Zotto made some very solid passes and worked well at times along the defensive boards; he still needs work defensively but he was a lot better."

Tags: Michael Del Zotto, Roster Discussion, Adam Rotter
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At Ranger Rants, Erik Christensen spoke with Andrew Gross about the differences between going from playing in juniors to playing professionally.

?When you go from the amateurs to the pro level, that?s a pretty big jump. When you go from the AHL to the NHL, that?s another big jump. The speed of play, the skill of play. It?s amazing what Step and Mac (McDonagh) did.?
Christensen scored 108 points in his third season in the WHL. He had 62 final season, 27 in his first season in the AHL and then 46 in 48 games in his second.

Some guys handle it better than others. I think that for a guy like Ryan Bourque, jumping straight to the NHL may be too much for him and he should cut his teeth playing against bigger and more mature players in the AHL first. Carl Hagelin has better size and excellent skating and could definitely be a factor in the bottom six. It's all about consistency though. Derek Stepan had his ups and downs last season after coming straight to the NHL. Matt Gilroy probably would have benefited from starting in the AHL like Ryan McDonagh did.

Tags: Roster Discussion, Adam Rotter
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[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/DaveLozo/status/116202755126870016"]

The actual average age is 23.5

John Tortorella said that spots are wide open on D when he met with the media yesterday.

?Going into the camp, it?s a very young D,? Tortorella said. ?We?re going to keep on looking at guys, and that?s a position where there?s spots wide open there. We?ll get some guys in situations to take a look at them in these exhibition games.?
Brendan Bell would make the average age go up, he is 28, but Michael Del Zotto has more experience, 26 more games, than Bell does. Pavel Valentenko is 23 and has no NHL experience. Paul Mara is out there but only wants an NHL contract. They may just have to go with young guys. It worked before and it may have to do the trick again.
Tags: Roster Discussion, Adam Rotter
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Larry Brooks tweets that John Tortorella said that tonight's preseason game against New Jersey is important for those "needing to show something to keep going."

Pressed about whether he was referring to players like Sean Avery and Erik Christensen , Brooks says that Tortorella responded "yes...yes"

Avery is expected to skate with John Mitchell and JT Miller and Christensen with Carl Hagelin and Christian Thomas.

Tags: Erik Christensen, Preseason, Roster Discussion, Sean Avery, Training Camp, Adam Rotter
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Matthew: Do you think the rangers should invite another d-man to camp considering Staal's post concussion symptoms. I realize NYR has several D-men competing for roster spots but there's so much youth. It's obviously a good problem to have but why not invite Chris Campoli, low risk high reward if Staal won't be 100% by opening night?

Adam: I think that overall, the time for inviting players to training camp is over. The Rangers have gone through with their conditioning tests and scrimmages and brining someone else in now would leave them to be in a catch up position. Someone like Campoli wants an NHL contract, not a tryout, and I would bet that he turned down more than one offer for a tryout in search of a guarenteed deal.

The thing is, the Rangers knew about this condition. Staal started having headaches over the summer and the Rangers could have addressed the issue then. Maybe that is why they signed Brendan Bell. He has NHL and pro hockey experience. John Tortorella stresses youth and wants to bring in more young players.I think that he would rather deal with the growing pains of a younger player than deal with a veteran who probably isn't in camp for a reason.

Tags: Roster Discussion, Adam Rotter
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While he met with the media yesterday, John Tortorella said that you can and can't read into the line combinations that are being used in the scrimmages the Rangers are having during training camp.

Some of these combinations have been:

  • Wojtek Wolski-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
  • Brandon Dubinsky-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
  • Mike Rupp-Artem Anisimov-Mats Zuccarello
  • Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko together.
In the NY Post, Larry Brooks says that you can't take anything positive out of Sean Avery being paired with John Mitchell and JT Miller.? Mitchell did have two goals during yesterday's scrimmage. He also says that Erik Christensen centered Carl Hagelin and Christian Thomas.

Tags: Erik Christensen, Roster Discussion, Sean Avery, Adam Rotter
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At SI Red Light, Stu Hackel looks at all of the teams and looks at training camp questions for each.

He thinks that the Rangers questions revolve around the left winger for the top line and whether Tim Erixon can be added to a defense that Hackel says is already short on NHL experience.

I am starting to think that my pick of Ruslan Fedotenko as the LW with Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards may not happen and that Wojtek Wolski will start there. I am not against Wolski playing there, I don't want Brandon Dubinsky there as the Pack Line will be critical to the Rangers success this season, but I think that Feds would be good there. The fact is, Feds will be good anywhere is in the lineup.

Tags: Roster Discussion, Adam Rotter
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At SI, Stu Hackel writes that the Rangers are gambling with their young defense heading into next season.

He says that the Rangers top seven defensemen, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Tim Erixon, Steve Eminger, Michael Sauer and Michael Del Zotto have an average age of 23 1/2 and 191 games.

Hackel writes that while Staal is an all-star, and McDonagh could be better, they still lack offensive punch on the blue line.

Tags: Roster Discussion, Adam Rotter
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On Tuesday, Rangers announcer Sam Rosen appeared on the Fan590 radio station in Toronto with former Rangers assistant GM Gord Stellick.

Here is what he had to say:

  • NON-Hockey: Sam says that the weather has gotten better from the heat wave of last month.He can't play tennis as well as he used to and he thinks that Rex Ryan is an excellent coach.
  • Sam says that there is optimism about the Rangers because the organization has focused on maintaining a core and having them grow together. He brings up Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan, Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Sauer, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi and the hope of Michael Del Zotto returning to form as players in the Rangers core.
  • He says that adding in Richards and Gaborik around those players is a big help.
  • Sam says that Gordie Clark thinks Tim Erixon will be able to step in and win a spot on defense.
  • Sam says that Brad Richards biggest impact will be on? Gaborik and playing the point on the power play. He says that teams focused more on Gabby last season and that he and John Tortorella may not have always been on the same page. He thinks that their relationship got better as the season went on.
  • Sam thinks that Brandon Dubinsky would fit with Richards and Gaborik.
  • On Wade Redden, Sam says that he is a great guy in the locker room and a good teammate. He brings up how all the players that were called up from Hartford raved about Redden and how he helps the players down there.
  • On Wojtek Wolski, Sam says that he isn't sure where Wolski fits into the lineup. "He isn't John Tortorella's type of player." He doesn't think that Wolski fits into the situation right now.
Tags: Roster Discussion, Adam Rotter
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At The Fourth Period, they look at the candidates for the final few spots in the Rangers lineup and who could be left out.

They look at Sean Avery, Erik Christensen and Mats Zuccarello as player who will be fighting for roster spots.

The top line will have Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and likely either Ruslan Fedotenko or Wojtek Wolski. The second line will be the Pack Line. The third line will likely be Derek Stepan and either Feds or WW, with a spot open on the right wing. The fourth line will likely be Brandon Prust, Brian Boyle and Mike Rupp.

Tags: Mats Zuccarello, Roster Discussion, Sean Avery, Adam Rotter
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