Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gilroy Moves To Wing In Absence of Callahan, Rangers Choose Flexibility over Callup

The initial response to the loss of Ryan Callahan indefinitely is to move Matt Gilroy from defense up to right wing and go with no spare forwards at the moment.  Gilroy has not played forward for any consistent time in years, so there is certainly some concern over the move and questions as to why there is not a callup for Kolarik, Zuccarello or even leaving Newbury here.  I agree that this seems like an awful time to start experimenting with new positions, but the reason this move might make more sense than a callup is coach John Tortorella has gone with mainly three lines for some time now.  Thinking in those terms one would have to figure Gilroy will be on the fourth line and playing very limited minutes at even strength anyway. 

What putting Gilroy in the lineup does do is give Tortorella flexibility in terms of positioning if a defenseman is struggling on a given night as he could move Gilroy in his spot or rotate defense to lessen the ice load amongst the group.  Gilroy also has the ability to play the point on power play and having him as hybrid forward/defender with limited minutes would allow him to play that role without having to worry about any defensive concerns they have about him.  He has not been great on the point, but he has an upside for that position that could make it an option for the team in the short term.  The move also allows Tortorella the option to double shift Gaborik with Avery and Christensen to help dictate matchups and get Gaborik more ice time.

If the Gilroy experiment isn’t working or the Rangers need more of a spark then the move can always be made later.  In the meantime I would expect the following lines for tomorrow’s practice: