Over the past few weeks, we’ve focused primarily on the Rangers need for a bottom pairing defenseman. We’ve discussed how the Rangers could use a depth forward as well (here and here), but it wasn’t until tonight that it became evident that Torts doesn’t necessarily trust his bottom lines. At one point in the second period, Torts ran a 1-2-1-2-3-1-2-4 rotation with his lines. Considering the majority of the top six play the powerplay and/or the penalty kill, this leads to a lot of ice time and tired legs.
Torts needs a bottom six he can trust so that his best players don’t get burned out for the postseason. It’s clear that Torts doesn’t trust Kris Newbury –although he might be a temporary player while Kreider grows– and Jeff Halpern. Halpern will be better, but the Rangers won’t be able to survive with a fourth line of Halpern, Mike Rupp, and Arron Asham. When looking at the way Torts uses his players, a line of two enforcers and a face off specialist won’t see much time.
The idea of Dominic Moore had floated around before, and while Moore himself might not be the best fit, the Rangers need a player like him. The Rangers can survive with one of Asham/Rupp playing and the other being a rotating 13th forward. Specifically, they need a defensively sound winger who can skate. It will give Halpern and Asham (who is a better skater than most realize) a complementary player to assist in playing a shut down role.
Of course, should the club pick up a depth forward, Torts will need to play him and learn to trust him. They won’t be able to survive with two-thirds of their fourth line playing single digit shifts. They also won’t survive with Stu Bickel playing forward. I know it’s early, but these are issues that have carried over from last postseason as well.