Today I will finish analyzing the Rangers by taking a look at the fourth line. Because the interest level in the series s seems to have dropped, I will be moving on to a different topic. If you want me to continue with the defense, speak now or forever hold your peace. As I mentioned in my previous post, I learned how to post pictures and I will be doing so from now on. But lets get back to buisness with my official catch-phrase: Part 5, Here We Go!
Left Wing #44 Ryan Hollweg
Personal: 24 years old from Downey, CA. Stands 5 ft 11 in and 210 lbs. Shoots lefty. Drafted 238 overall by the Rangers. Entering his 3rd year with the Rangers. Contract: 2 yrs 1.025 mil. 2007 stats: 78 gms, 1 g, 2 a.
Strengths: Everybody knows when Ryan steps onto the ice. At over 200 pounds, he is a vicious checker.
He has average speed and excellent timing, allowing him to rack up multiple hits on every shift. He generally throws cean checks so he is effective wthout taking penalties. He is good on the forecheck and forces many turnovers as a result of his hits and his presence. He will drop the gloves when neccesary and does so with skill. He adds a great deal of toughness to the Rangers and is an important piece of the checking line.
Weaknesses: Ryan does not contribute much offensively to the team. He scored only 1 goal last season and two assists. He does not do anything productive but hit and play defense. As an NHL player, he must learn how to create chances for himself and his linemates. It is unaccepable to not know how to shoot or pass on an NHL level. If he does not work on the large holes in his game, he may not play many NHL games.
Why Line 4? Ryan is a checker. He will get less than 8 minutes a night and is needed to add toughness to the lineup, something that is accomplished by being available on the bench without actually playing much. He will disturb the other team and help out his more skilled teammates.
Center #15 Blair Betts
Personal: 27 years old from Edmonton, Alberta. Stands 6 ft 3 in and 210 lbs. Shoots lefty. Drafted 33rd overal by Calgary. Entering his 3rd year with the Rangers. Salary: 2 yrs 2.23 mil. 2007 stats: 82 gms, 9 g, 4 a.
Strengths: Blair is good at doing the little things. He is very good on the backcheck, on the penalty kill and in the faceoff circles. He has average speed but he skates hard and knows how to break up and odd-man-rush. He is an excellent shot blocker and has good positioning, vital skills for a good PK man. He was the Rangers best faceoff man last season and he must win faceoffs in order for his offensively weak line to produce. He, unlike his linemates, can find the back of the net once in a while and will be relied on to produce the offense on his line.
He is a very big player and can dish out the big hit. He played all 82 games last year and can be relied on to show up every night.
Weaknesses: Although he is better than Orr and Hollweg, Betts is not a very good scorer. He will not have any help and will have to produce his own chances. He does not bring any big skills to the table and will always be known for doing the little things, which are important but do not help a team as much as scoring and passing do. He wont get much ice time and it will be disappointing for him to be a career fourth liner after having the high hopes that came with his top 35 draft choice. You have to wonder how much longer he will make a big effort, knowing that he will be stuck at the fourth line.
Why Line 4? As a solid checker and defensive player, he is an ideal fourth line center. He also adds much needed scoring ability to a line that flat out cannot score.
Right Wing: #28 Colton Orr
Personal: 2 years old from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Stands 6 ft 3 in and 220 lbs. Shoots righty. Signed as an undrafted free agent with Boston. Entering his second full year with the Rangers. Contract: 2 yrs 1.075 mil. 2007 stats: 53 gms, 2 g, 1 a.
Strengths: First and foremost, Orr is a hired hitman. He will target a player and line him up for a jarring hit. He is also one of the best fighters in the league. Just ask Todd Fedoruk who got knocked out cold by an Orr punch.
He plays his role well and strikes fear into he hearts of his enemies.
Weaknesses: Orr cannot play hockey. He is not fast, cannot pass, shoot or play defense. He only plays when the other team has a tough guy like him. Unlike Hollweg, he does not avoid the penalty box and often gets suspended for dirty hits or too many fights. He brings nothng to to table but his size and grit which is why he was not drafted and will sit out quite a few games this season. With the likes of Dubinsky and Ansimov getting close to NHL level, he will be lucky to be on the Rangers by the all-star-break.
Why Line 4? As a hitman, Orr will only show his face against the bottom liners of the other team. He will not get much time so as not to shame himself for his lack of hockey skills. However, he does make the fourth line look very scary.
Line 4 Grade: D
The line scored a combined 12 goals last year and cannot do much. Like most fourth lines, they are a bunch of oversized role players thrown together that form one of the more scary, albeit more ineffective, lines in the league. They should shell out their fair share of hits and punches but with the exclusion of Betts, this will probably be their last season playing for the Rangers with the up-and-coming talent in the system.