Marian Gaborik


Disappointing news out of Traverse City this evening, with the Rangers prospects battling hard, but allowing a goal with a minute left in regulation to go down 1-0 to the Hurricanes.

Back in New York it was a day off for the veterans, who’ll hit the ice again tomorrow as they lead up to the opening of training camp at the end of the week. As we count off the final days of the off-season, we turn our focus to offensive leader Marian Gaborik.

Player Profile
When the Rangers signed Gabroik to a five year contract last season, many commentators were quick to point out that it was a lot of money for a player who had trouble staying healthy. ‘A great investment if he stays healthy, but what are the chances of that?’ was a common catch cry.

Even going into camp last year, it seemed that maybe the pessimists might be right. The Rangers elected to hold their prize investment out of several training sessions to avoid any damage to his oft-strained groin.

As it turned out, Gaborik would miss just six games during the season, only the fourth time in his nine year NHL career that he’d surpassed the 75 game mark. On the way he’d tie his career high in goals (42), while setting new highs in assists (44), points (86) and power play goals (14). He even finished with his second best plus/minus or +15.

In fact, in the early part of the season the Slovak winger seemed unstoppable, opening up the year with points in eight straight games (6 goals, 6 assists) and going no more than four games in a row without a point at any time during the season. He was money when it mattered, helping the Rangers off to a 7-1-0 start, and justifying Glen Sather‘s risk taking.

Then again, he did sign a five year deal and is coming off a year when the Rangers failed to make the playoffs for the first time since the lockout. Some added pressure from the impatient Rangers fan base and media, combined with a hit or two, and the worst fears could be realized.

Let’s face it, the Rangers offense looks pretty anemic without Gaborik in the line-up. No other Ranger scored more than 20 goals last year, nor was newcomer Alexander Frolov able to reach that mark last year. While we expect more goals from Frolov and Dubinsky in particular this go around, it still will come down to Gaborik to provide the bulk of the offense.

As for his health, it looks as if he has no concerns going into camp this year and has been skating with a number of other Rangers as they prepare for the preseason. With that said, it doesn’t seem wholly unlikely that we’ll see #10 in the stands a little more than last year, especially if no one else on the team can get hot early and draw some of the workload off of him.

2009-10 Statistics
Team: New York Rangers (NHL)
Stats: 42 goals, 44 assists and 37 penalty minutes in 76 games

Team: New York Rangers (NHL)
Stats: 36 goals, 34 assists and 22 penalty minutes in 62 games

Fun Fact
With 42 goals last season, Gaborik tied Phil Esposito for the 11th most goals scored by a Ranger during the regular season. It was only the 21st time a Ranger player has made that mark.

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