I understand this is as big an exercise in futility as there is, as figuring out a Rubix Cube while intoxicated is easier than determining line combinations with John Tortorella’s team.
However, it’s a slow day in Ranger land and a healthy debate never hurts. Listed below are what I think could realistically be line combos heading into next season. Bear in mind, this excludes any further transactions that happen between now (Shane Doan or someone else) and the start of the season. Also, Marian Gaborik is not listed because of his injury and rehab.
- I think Richards and Nash will be a pair to start the season. Nash’s power forward game may be better suited with Richards. Could he play with Stepan? Sure. But I believe Nash and Richards will be given a shot to start out.
- The 2nd line aka #TheUnitedLine as I like to call them will be reunited. At times, they showed to be an effective line last season and, with Nash in the fold, it will ease the burden on Kreider to be a major offensive threat in his first full rookie season.
- With the current roster, there’s an open spot for a rookie to make the team, and I’ve given it to Ryan Bourque. Yes, his first pro season with the Whale was less than stellar and plagued by injuries. But, when healthy, Bourque’s speed and motor would compliment the bottom six quite well. He could have an impact similar to Hagelin last season, playing alongside Boyle and Pyatt.
- I don’t believe Michael Haley starts the year with the Rangers, leaving Asham on the fourth line with Halpern and Rupp. It’s an effective line that can win faceoffs, be adequate defensively and bring intimidation. Plus, Rupp and Asham have some chemistry from their Penguin days.
What do you think NYR fans? Do you agree or disagree? What do you think the line combos will be next season?