Commentary

Summer Skate: New York Rangers

Brad Richards' presence should open up more scoring chances for Marian Gaborik

Updated: August 24, 2011, 10:36 AM ET
By Timo Seppa and Corey Pronman | Hockey Prospectus

Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider takes the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with New York. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.

Summer Skate -- New York Rangers

The Rangers faced plenty of adversity last season. Injuries shortened the season of Ryan Callahan. Marian Gaborik was snakebit in the scoring department. And Michael Del Zotto never emerged to become the power-play quarterback the club believed him to be.

But after a big offseason signing, the Blueshirts should be better than 2011-12, as Brad Richards should help reignite Gaborik, while filling the PP QB role. And there could be more help coming from the farm system as well.

Trending up: RW Marian Gaborik
Last season: 10.2 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 11.1 GVT

About the only thing that didn't go really wrong for Gaborik in 2010-11 was health, as 62 games played was actually better than his 57 game-per-season average since the lockout.

Gaborik's production took a big hit, though, dropping to a relatively anemic 0.77 points per game after consistently staying above a point per game since 2005-06.

The bad-luck shooting percentage -- 11.5 percent versus 15.1 to 19.1 percent over the previous five seasons -- should come around on its own, while the slight dip in shots per game should improve dramatically when elite playmaking center Richards steps over the boards, providing Gaborik with arguably his best linemate ever.


Sign up for ESPN Insider and read the rest of the New York Rangers' Summer Skate preview, including notes about Brad Richards and a thriving young prospect.

Corey Pronman is ESPN's NHL Draft and Prospects analyst. He provides analysis on the top draft-eligible players, prospects drafted by NHL teams and all other relevant prospect information. He lives in New York.