by James DeBerardine
We have certainly seen a lot of the Wolf Pack this year, that is, the former Wolf Pack. Numerous players which we did not figure would fit into our plans this year have stepped up and made a big difference, while even more are banging at the door in Hartford, what should we do with all of these young, talented, hungry players? Well’ it’s not that bad of a problem to have.
Let’s start with a feel good story:
When the season opened, many of us, including myself, rejoiced at the demotion of Nigel Dawes to Hartford, I officially declared him a failure and his time with NYR was limited. He, thankfully, doesn’t seem to frequent this board and, with great work ethic, earned a promotion back to the club after a couple injuries claimed some of our bigger guns. Dawes, instead of languishing on the 3rd line, had an immediate impact, scoring against the Devils and then a week later twice against the very same Martin Brodeur, something not many accomplish. All in all he contributed greatly, on and off the stat sheet, but was returned to Hartford due to the return of Straka, and the fact that Callahan is close to getting back.
Now, let’s look at the rest:
Of the numerous young players we have expectations for; none have delivered more than Marc Staal. His play has been exceptional; he has played physically, but smartly at the same time. He has been making great outlet passes, rushes the puck with ease, and does not attempt to be a hero (I’m talking to you Malik) with home-run passes to no-where except where they can be picked off. He even has more points than his touted younger brother, Jordan, who is coming off a 29 goal season last year.
However, let’s not forget the other young contributor here. Brandon Dubinsky has looked very solid in his stint up here since the start of the year, earning a promotion to the 1st line for a long period of time with Jaromir Jagr. In fact, he’s looked so good that his place in the line-up is all but permanent in my opinion. He has contributed on the score sheet as well as with his great work ethic and never stops working, to go along with his great speed. Hopefully he will continue to improve and develop here.
Girardi, Tyutin, Callahan, and Valiquette all are ex-Wolf Pack who are making big impacts on the club this year; but they were up here for long stretches of time last year. In the case of Callahan, we have not seen him because of injury, but he’s due back soon. They have for sure done a better job in development up there in Hartford.
The Best is yet to come’
Well, I don’t want to exaggerate, but it is a possibility. Michael Sauer, a quality defenseman who is a young version of a Rob Blake, is developing his skills right now. While Bobby Sanguinetti, the ‘forgotten’ draft pick as I like to call him, is absolutely destroying the OHL, 14th in points overall and 1st for Defensemen, to go along with a lot of Powerplay points.
We got glimpses of Baranka and Greg Moore, both looked solid, Baranka even notched a point in the limited time he was up here. Down in Hartford, Alex Bourret continues to improve, and the likes of Greg Moore, Lauri Korpikoski, and Al Montoya will definitely be vying for regular spots on the roster soon. Overseas, our Russian sniper, Alexei Cherepanov, is brooding, awaiting the day when he can make his splash on broadway next to child-hood idol Jaromir Jagr. The future has never looked brighter for The Rangers, and we are on the verge of a dynasty built on the foundations of the players mentioned above.
As always, comments appreciated, both here and on the forum, I’m open to all thoughts.
Lets Go Rangers!