What to Watch For: Pens vs. Rangers
Thursday, 04.04.2013 / 10:00 AM / Features
By Sam Kasan
PENGUINS (28-10-0) vs. RANGERS (18-15-3)
WHEN: April 5, 2013 - 7:00 p.m. | WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH: ROOT SPORTS | LISTEN: Penguins Radio 24/7, 105.9 FM
The New York Rangers had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season. This year they’re in a battle for the final playoff spot. The team decided it was time for some changes.
The Rangers pulled the trigger on two deals prior to the NHL’s trade deadline. On Tuesday they acquired Ryane Clowe from San Jose for two second-round picks (2013, 2014), a third-round pick (2013) and conditional pick (2014).
Then on Wednesday they added Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and John Moore (as well as a 2014 sixth-round pick) from Columbus in exchange for Marian Gaborik, Blake Parlett and Steve Delisle.
Clowe, Brassard and Moore made their Rangers debut Wednesday night against the Penguins, and so far they’re making general manager Glen Sather look like a genius. The three new players combined for eight points (4G-4A) in New York’s dominant 6-1 victory.
Clowe, who had a total of 0 goals in 28 games with the Sharks this season, potted two goals and added an assist for three points. He’s a gritty player that will add tenacity and physicality to the Rangers lineup. Clowe can also chip in offensively, as evidenced Wednesday. Prior to his struggles this season, he regularly scored in the 17-24 goals range.
Moore is a young prospect with a lot of upside. The 22-year-old was Columbus’ first-round pick in 2009. This is only his second NHL season and he has a lot of room to grow. (See more on Brassard below).
The Marian Gaborik era in New York is now officially over. He signed with the Rangers as a free agent in 2009 and responded with a 42-goal, 86-point season. Injuries limited him to just 22 goals and 48 points the following season, but Gaborik had another monster year last season when he scored 41 goals and added 76 points. He really struggled this year to find the net. Gaborik had only two goals in his last 22 games, but will get a fresh start in Columbus.
Rick Nash – Derek Stepan – Ryan Callahan
Mats Zuccarello – Brad Richards – Ryane Clowe
Carl Hagelin – Derick Brassard – Brian Boyle
Taylor Pyatt – Darroll Powe – Arron Asham
Michael Del Zotto – Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh – Anton Stralman
John Moore – Steve Eminger
Brassard never fulfilled his massive potential with the Blue Jackets. The sixth-overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft has never broken the 20-goal or 50-point mark. His best season came in 2010-11 when he set career highs in goals (17), assists (30) and points (47). A change of scenery may be what he needs to break through. So far, so good. Brassard notched one goal and three assists for four points in his first contest against Pittsburgh.
RANGERS: DERICK BRASSARD
RANGERS: DERICK BRASSARD
PENGUINS: JUSSI JOKINENThe Penguins made one final trade to add depth to their NHL roster with the addition of Jussi Jokinen from Carolina. Jokinen was brought in for depth after the team lost Sidney Crosby (out indefinitely, broken jaw). Jokinen will assume Crosby’s line spot between Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis. Jokinen, 30, is a versatile player that fit on any line, in any role and play any forward position. He’s also a beast in the faceoff circle, winning 59.4 percent of his draws this season. Jokinen will be making his Penguins debut against the Rangers.
F Sidney Crosby, broken jaw
D Kris Letang, lower body
D Paul Martin, broken bone in hand
D Michael Sauer, concussion
D Marc Staal, eye
Author: Sam Kasan