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"Talking New York Rangers Hockey, since 2007"
New York, NY • United States • 23 Years Old • Male
The series is moving along nicely and I want to thank my readers for their support. I have taken the comments from the prior installments into consideration and have therefore altered the second line from how it appeared in part 1. Keep the comments coming. Part 3, Here we go:

Left Wing: #82 Martin Straka
Personal: 34 years old from Plzen, Czech Republic. Stands 5 ft 9 in and 180 lbs. Drafted 19th overall by Pittsburgh. Shoots lefty. Contract: 1 yr 3.3 mil. Entering his third season with the Rangers. 2007 stats: 76 gms, 29 g, 41 a.
Strengths: Straka is a very fast forward who excels at creating scoring chances. His speed and stickhandling allows him to create space to utilize his playmaking skills. He sees the whole rink well and can hit an open man with a pinpoint pass. He has a good hockey sense and knows where to be at all times, with and without the puck. His great positioning leads to scoring chances that usually result in goals thanks to his accurate wrist shot. He has been an integral part of the Rangers since the lockout and his already high production should increase with the addition of Drury to his line.
Weaknesses: Straka is a smaller player and he struggles is battles along the boards. He prefers playing center and although he often has played wing, it is difficult for him to dig out the loose pucks in the corners, an important responsibility of a winger. Not playing with Jagr, his linemate for most of last season, will also be an adjustment.
Why line #2? Although he could play on the first line, keeping Straka on the second line creates better depth in the line-up. He could also center the third line but because the top two lines will be getting 65% of the ice time, the second line looks right. His style of play allows him to gel with any linemates so chemistry should not be an issue.

Center: #23 Chris Drury
Personal: 30 years old from Trumbull, CT. Stands 5 ft 10 in and 200 lbs. Drafted 72nd overall by Quebec. Shoots righty. Contract: 5 yrs 35.25 mil. Entering his first year with the Rangers. 2007 stats: 77 gms, 37 g, 32 a.
Strengths: Drury is clutch. He is known for coming through in pressure situations, the most recent example being when he ended the Rangers season, for all intents and purposes, with 7.7 seconds left in Game 5 of the Sabres-Rangers series. Combine that with a great shot, good speed and leadership abilities and you have one of the most complete players in hockey. He has Stanley Cup experience, having won with Colorado in 2001, and is still in his prime. He brings many intangibles to the ice along with his skill and the respect he has earned from his peers. Drury will flourish on his hometown team and when Jagr retires, will take over as captain of the Rangers.
Weaknesses: There is not much to be said regarding talent other than the fact that he is not dominant is any one of the ways in which talent is measured. The biggest worry is that his leadership will clash with Jagr's lazy play. The Rangers do not need internal conflict, especially between their two best forwards. If the two do not form a good relationship, it could be tough for both players.
Why line 2? Drury will be playing against the second best defensive pairing on each team so the playmaking of Straka should suffice. Drury is a top-line center but Jagr needs a center who can give him space to create chances, something that Gomez does better than Drury. With the top two lines getting similar ice time, Drury should produce well with Shanny and Straka.

Right Wing: #14 Brendan Shanahan
Personal: 38 years old from Mimico, Ontario. Stands 6 ft 3 in and 220 lbs. Drafted 2nd overall by New Jersey. Shoots righty. Entering his second season with the Rangers. Contract: 1 yr 2.5 mil + 2.8 mil performance bonus. 2007 stats: 67 gms, 29 g, 33 a.
Strengths: Shanahan is an experienced leader who won 3 cups with Detroit. He is a presence in the locker-room and is respected by teammates and opponents. He has kept up his production despite a rise in age and is still known for his screaming one-timer. He is very strong and can jostle for position in front of the net and in the slot. He is a threat to score from anywhere on the ice because of his quick release and can potentially score 40 goals this season.
Weaknesses: Shanahan is getting up in age and you never know if this is the year that his production will drop off. He missed 15 games with a concussion last season and if he gets another, it could be career-ending. He is also slowing down and it will be difficult to join the rush with the speedy Straka and Gomez. At this point, the biggest concern is for him to stay strong and healthy and that will decide how well he does.
Why line 2? Shanahan is another first line player but despite his skill, it would be disastrous if he played with Jagr. There are not enough pucks on the ice for both of them so they have to be split up. Playing with other experienced players in Straka and Drury should make for an effective line combination.

Line 2 grade: A
This line is made up of three players who could play on a top line. They have good experience, a combined 6 Stanley Cups between them and they all picked up over 60 points last season. They have somewhat less skill than the first line but do not have the downside of questionable chemisty and an unpredictable Hossa. The top two lines should average around 20 minutes a night each so this line is more of a Line 1a next to the Jagr line and one of the best second lines in the league.


August 7, 2007 5:46 PM ET | Delete
can't wait for installment four lol
August 7, 2007 6:07 PM ET | Delete
Rags2Riches,I mean this as no disrespect to any of the other esteemed bloggers on this site, but the quality of your writing is on par with, or better than, almost every blogger on this site (beat writers included). The fact that you write as well as you do at your age is a true testament to whatever school system produced you. Keep up the good work, and now that I have discovered your blog, I will be a frequent visitor.
August 7, 2007 8:57 PM ET | Delete
The Rangers will have a solid team and I really do like the line you have set up in Straka-Drury-Shanahan, but I think it would be a mistake to move Straka away from Jagr. I like the idea of Avery on the line with Drury and Shanahan. Just an outsiders opinion on the Rangers.
August 7, 2007 11:14 PM ET | Delete
You people are gonna love Drury. 100% total class act.
August 8, 2007 11:35 AM ET | Delete
i completely agree with blogger pete v on your style and class of writing.i agree with everything you ssaid but i still stand{not alone} that straka should be with jags
August 8, 2007 1:14 PM ET | Delete
We already love Drury, the kid from Connecticut has impressed us throughout his whole career, and will flourish at the garden infront of a hometown crowd(close enough). Shanahan to score 40?? i sure hope so..
August 9, 2007 12:58 AM ET | Delete
From one 15 year old to another, this is great stuff. We teens get a bad rap on this site (although admittedly somewhat deserved), and I have chosen not to reveal my age as my opinions were often dismissed for no better reason than because of my age. However, I digress. The Rangers should definitely be one of the more interesting teams to watch this coming season. However, I would hesitate to label Shanahan as a poential 40 goalscorer. He has the heart and talent to do it, but I'm not sure all the machinery is still functioning as well as it needs to be to play a consistent season. I also think that chemistry will be a deciding factor in how well this team performs. Seeing as Jagr is still the best forward on this team, I would hesitate to remove both of his linemates, and thus I would keep Straka on the top line.
August 26, 2007 12:53 AM ET | Delete
I wonder if it would be wise to remove Straka from the top line. He works best with Jagr, and they have amazing chemistry together. Considering Hossa's style of play, I think it would be better to have him play with Shanahan and Gomez, and allow Drury and his hard-nosed play to add a new dimension to the top line with Jagr and Sraka. Gomez is one of the best playmakers in the game today, and he could open up space for Shanahan to once again unleash one of the best one-timers in the world. Hossa is perfect (relying on your analysis) to work the corners and the boards like Jagr does, creating space for Gomez in the middle and Shanahan on the left wing. And if Hossa does not work out, Prucha and Avery could both be given the opportunity to win that spot.
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