A day late, and (as usual, or as always) several dollars short. Here’s the mid-season report card after 42 games (or you can ignore last night’s game and say 41 games).
4-Michael Del Zotto: A … The coaches are living with his growing pains, and they should. Can you remember the last player like this drafted and developed by the Rangers?
5-Dan Girardi: C … Much better lately, but had an awful start to the season. Still not sure if he and Staal are better together or apart.
6-Wade Redden: C- … Looked to be bouncing back after last season’s debacle, but has slipped noticably.
10-Marian Gaborik: A … Maybe the best free-agent signing in Rangers history. And he’s still standing.
12-Ales Kotalik: D … Has had his moments, and when he does, the PP is better. But how about some even-strength goals?
16-Sean Avery: C- … Sometimes looks like Avery, sometimes looks scared to make a mistake, often lost in defensive zone.
17-Brandon Dubinsky: C+ … Broken hand healing, starting to look like the Dubinsky of two years ago. Finally.
18-Marc Staal: B- … Too much was expected too soon, offensively at least, in a new system. Still tremendous upside.
20-Vinny Prospal: B+ … Journeyman to first-line center and alternate captain. Not bad, huh?
21-Christopher Higgins: D … The coaches will tell you all the good things he does, but he needs to score a lot more. Simple as that.
22-Brian Boyle: C+ … A surprise, perhaps. Good penalty killer. Showing some toughness, getting better.
23-Chris Drury: D … $7M can’t turn a 30-goal scorer into a 40-goal scorer; but for $7M you can’t become a 10-goal scorer, either.
24-Ryan Callahan: C+ … Scoring touch disappeared for a while. Otherwise, always plays the same way. I mean that in a good way.
26-Erik Christensen: Inc. … Let’s withhold judgment on a waiver pickup turned first-liner. Does have skills.
29-Chad Johnson: Inc. … The Rangers need to find out if this guy can play in the NHL, and soon.
30-Henrik Lundqvist: B … Had a bout with some softies earlier, been really, really good lately, and has become the de-facto captain.
33-Michal Rozsival: C- … Probably not as bad as we tend to make him out to be, but not nearly good enough, either.
34-Aaron Voros: C … Tortorella’s Prucha, for some reason. Deserves better for the hard work he’s put in.
42-Artem Anisimov: C+ … It’s a process for a young center playing limited minutes. He’s not out of place in the NHL.
81-Enver Lisin: C- … Rico Fata. How many guys would kill for that kind of speed? And how many would do more with it?
87-Donald Brashear: D … Useless so far, in part due to probable hand injury. Can’t play at all. (Last night was his best game?).
97-Matt Gilroy: C … Seems to have shelved a lot of his skill after demotion to Hartford. Needs to skate with the puck.
John Tortorella: C– … The accountability issue still remains. Redden and Kotalik have felt it, but few others have. Avery doesn’t seem to know what is expected of him. The system has been tweaked. The goalie is getting worn out. The Brashear-over-Voros decision is puzzling. Still, what can a coach do with limited resources?
Glen Sather: C- … How can doing nothing result in a lower grade (than the first-quarter mark)? Well, because most of his major signings (Redden, Drury, Rozsival, Brashear, Kotalik) have been busts, outweighing the great Gaborik/Prospal gets. Christensen was a nice pickup, so far. But mostly the roster is incapable of scoring enough goals, and there is no backup goalie, or overall toughness, or size. Or depth. Need I go on? Deserves credit for some of the young guys, though.
AFTERNOON UPDATE, 2:27 P.M.: The Rangers made it official, that Chad Johnson is back up, Matt Zaba back down to Hartford. Johnson was here last night. Zaba backed up Lundqvist.