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Either Josh Jooris (New York Daily News) or Dylan McIlrath are likely to find themselves on waivers when Pavel Buchnevich returns from back spasms.

The team is expected to cut the roster down to 22 players, and as such one of the two will need to be either moved or sent down.

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Cecil Dillon - 1908
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LUCIEN DEBLOIS
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Dawes And Prucha On The Outer
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ - October 13, 2008

The Rangers finished their season last year, loaded with draft picks and prospects that they had developed. Lauri Korpikoski made his NHL debut in the final game, and joined Petr Prucha, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Nigel Dawes, Fedor Tyutin, Marc Staal, Ryan Hollweg and Henrik Lundqvist on a team that featured nine Rangers' draft picks, and a tenth player (Dan Girardi).

Over the summer, Glen Sather took the opportunity to move a couple of those players, sending Hollweg to Toronto (draft pick) and Tyutin to Columbus (Zherdev trade), but still figured to have eight of those picks in the line-up come opening night thanks to the play of Korpikoski in the preseason.

But now, just four games in, the Rangers have already benched underperforming left wings Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha, preferring to instead dress free agent Patrick Rissmiller, and for the first time tonight, Dan Fritsche.

So, are the Rangers once again shifting away from home grown talent in search of greener pastures, or is this just a hiccup as the team continues to grow? And who else might be at risk of losing their place in the line-up?

In the case of Prucha and Dawes, both came into the season with the support of their coach, and both have quickly fallen out of favor through lack of production both in the preseason, and particularly in Prague. Neither player "fit" well in the spots they were given, with Prucha the first to go, being replaced by Fredrik Sjostrom in game three of the season.

Dawes joined Prucha on the sidelines the very next day after failing to muster a shot and finishing -1 in the home opener at MSG. Instead, Renney turned to UFA Patrick Rissmiller to fill the vacant third line position.

The news continued to be bad for the homegrown duo today, with the Rangers' head coach electing to dress Dan Fritsche after Rissmiller pulled up lame. In other words, both Dawes and Prucha have fallen from the top 12 forward positions down to 14th and 15th on the depth chart...a situation not to be relished given the team's current position with all three bench spots filled with wings.

Prucha in particular has to be concerned. After struggling last season, the Czech winger now finds himself eating up valuable Cap space for the Rangers, with a $1.6M salary. Dawes is somewhat more affordable, but both players are set to become RFAs next summer.

Also of note is that neither player kills penalty, or is known for the defensive play, giving the likes of Sjostrom, Rissmiller and Fritsche all an edge on them.

As for other Ranger draft picks who might be at risk? The most obvious two are Ryan Callahan and Lauri Korpikoski. Neither have scored a goal to date this year, and Korpikoski could be sent down without clearing waivers (perhaps what will happen if one of the Rangers blueliners gets hurt in the short term). Both players have played hard, but the lack of production offensively will no doubt cause some to view their line more carefully if it continues much longer.

On defense, both Staal and Girardi seem to be set...and if anything the Rangers may add Corey Potter before too long...particularly if the blueline starts to struggle or gets an injury.

Overall though, it looks like the team we saw last season might be the most home grown one we will see for some time. It's true that the Rangers have more in the system (Del Zotto, Sanguinetti and Hagelin come to mind), but the ability to draft that much talent is a rarity in today's NHL, and the demotion of Dawes and Prucha may be more about the Rangers becoming a better team, than a reflection of their scouting staffs.


Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began OutsideTheGarden.com in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.

 Additional stories from Toby Ivey:


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