Looking over the Rangers training camp roster, one thing that really stands out is the lack of depth, particularly on offense. Right now, the following has been reported as Torts’ early line combos.
Carl Hagelin – Brad Richards – Rick Nash
Marian Gaborik – Derek Stepan – Ryan Callahan
Chris Kreider – Brian Boyle – Taylor Pyatt
Mike Rupp – Jeff Halpern – Arron Asham
One would think the Rangers would probably like to add another forward to the mix, specifically for that 4th line. Rupp and Asham will certainly find themselves useful matching up against other enforcement-type 4th lines. However, we may have some issues against speedier 4th lines. If I were a betting man, I’d put money on Sather bringing in another body. This is something that Dave covered briefly this weekend.
I know the knee-jerk reaction is to bring up a player from the AHL, but I don’t see Sather taking kids like J.T. Miller or Marek Hrivik and sticking them on the 4th line to play 7-8 minutes a night. My guess is that when these kids are ready for full-time duty, they’ll be here.
With such a shortened camp, I also don’t see the Rangers making a trade at this stage of the game. Even if they are entertaining the idea, I don’t think we could cover every trade possibility in one post. That leaves us with Sather exploring the free agent market.
Looking over the UFA list at Capgeek, there’s plenty to be had on the cheap right now. There are several known quantities available in Blair Betts, Dominic Moore, Jed Ortmeyer, Radek Dvorak and Petr Sykora. All of whom are familiar with our organization and could probably be signed for under $1.5M. Perhaps the Rangers will look elsewhere at some less heralded players like Jesse Winchester, Matt Bradley, etc.
Either way, I doubt Torts wants to go into the season with just 12 forwards. Whether they explore a trade, a free agent sign, etc. remains to be seen, but I’d expect an addition before the puck drops.