This may already be a redundant post given Tortorella’s penchant for juggling lines and this all depends on the minutes distributed but the apparent demotion to the fourth line along with Sean Avery and Derek Boogaard doesn’t necessarily need to mean punishment for Erik Christensen. Quite the opposite possibly. Under normal circumstances the 4th line label is punishment, a demotion and the end of productivity but such is the collection of players on the Rangers roster that there will be plenty of skill and an interesting look for EC’s unit in the next game or two. Christensen has the ability to be productive but isn’t productive enough to warrant top 6 minutes. However for the Rangers, having players with his skill level lower down the roster spreads the offensive ability out. Other than when Gaborik was double shifted (after Boogaard’s injury last night) Christensen played mainly with Avery and the big ex-Minnesota tough guy. It’s a strange mix but one with potential.
Boogaard obviously can bang, Avery likes to get in deep and is strong on the boards so this line represents a chance for Christensen to get some space and time on the puck (should the line be effective in whatever minutes Tortorella gives them). Christensen played 12 minutes last night, Avery just under 9 but both had effective moments in the game. They will need to show some consistency – that has arguably eluded both players thus far – to get promotions and more minutes but last night was a positive start for the pair, specifically Christensen. His goal last night was basically all about taking a chance. While it was a bad error by Brian Elliot Christensen threw it on net going by the old adage ‘if you’re not in it you can’t win it’. He needs to do more of that. Take chances (in the right situations) and look to make plays. He should have line mates that will afford him space to showcase his talents. Who knows, it may lead to better days for the unpredictable pivot.