Sunday, October 3, 2010

Two Young Defensemen Sent Down...Veteran Presence coming?

 As I mentioned in the last post the Rangers had a big decision to make when it came to their defense and they made that decision today as Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko were sent to Hartford.
 Matt Gilroy and Mike Sauer survive the cuts for now. Gilroy has shown alot of improvement from last season and certainly will be looked to show some of the potential he had while at Boston University. Sauer, who is the last holdover from the Brian Leetch trade way back when, will finally get his shot at the big time after being in Hartford for three seasons.
These two choices are not surprises to me and, as much as I may have wanted to see Valentenko, these make sense. These two players have had some NHL and professional experience. Valentenko is still adjusting to the smaller North American rink size while McDonagh needs to learn the transition from college to the professional ranks. The transition always takes awhile but for defensemen it is much more difficult. Reading plays and making the right decision must happen in a split second in the NHL, especially on defense, otherwise you are in trouble. Sending these guys down will help these guys develop that.
 A rumor of sorts has been circling around the hockey world that the Rangers are in the market for a veteran defenseman. This makes sense but it was confirmed on Twitter today by TSN's Bob McKenzie with this tweet:

NYR in market for experienced d-man. Could Torts-Shane O'Brien be reunited? SOB may be claimed by another team. Will find out noon Monday.

I am on board with finding a veteran blueliner. With a very young defense coming together it will be important to have a veteran presence back there to steady these guys. Rozsival is a solid veteran but more is needed in terms of experience. Shane O'Brien is a guy I am not interested in at all. He used to be an intriguing player but has since fallen out of favor in Vancouver.

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