New York Rangers forward Andre Deveaux is likely to be suspended for his elbow to the head of Tomas Fleischmann leaving the team in need of another forward. The problem with projecting either as the callup is the utter lack of knowledge as to what Tortorella is looking for from the player he would bring in from the Connecticut Whale. The bottom six has been atrocious in each of the last two games to the point that you have no idea about which forwards the promoted forward would be playing with when he got here.
The recent struggles to generate anything offensively lead to speculation surrounding the potential call-ups of either Mats Zuccarello or Carl Hagelin to provide some skill and spark to the team. Those two should certainly be considered, but the list of considerations likely includes…
Mats Zuccarello: Zuccarello is the type of creative and skilled player that the lineup could use right now. He can create for himself and his teammates with his vision and passing ability that can make the game easier for those he plays with. Zuccarello has performed in Hartford with three goals and nine assists in 11 games thus far this season. Working against him is that he has not shown production with any consistency at the NHL level and his cap hit works is large for a team with little cap room. Also, Zuccarello would need a guaranteed top-9 spot to make the call worth it as he is useless as a fourth line player.
Carl Hagelin: Hagelin is continually getting better as his first full professional season moves along. He has seven goals and six assists 17 games overall this season. Those numbers are more impressive this month with four goals and three assists in the last seven games, scoring in all but one of those contests. Hagelin’s speed is his best attribute and is something that the Rangers have been severely lacking in all areas of the ice. His two-way play would allow him to play the system, aid the forecheck and create offensively. The biggest detractor from him being the call-up would be uncertainty of his role in the lineup.
John Mitchell: Mitchell is the leading scorer for the Whale with 14 points (7G, 7A) in 17 games this season. Mitchell is someone that the team can bring up to play a fourth line role without worrying about his development, but can also potentially pitch in a little offensively.
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault: JAM is an unlikely choice for the call, but he has the skill and grit to add to the team. The biggest knock on him will be about his size.
If the cap will allow the move, then Zuccarello is the easy move for management to make as it gives Zuccarello another chance to prove himself as a regular in the top-9 at the NHL level. In the case that the cap will not allow that to be the move, then Hagelin would be the move for me as long as he is going to get significant ice time. Playing him 5-7 minutes a game in the NHL is not better for his development in comparison with logging major ice-time in the AHL. Kris Newbury likely would be the move if all were equal, but he is currently serving a four game suspension that should rule him out of contention.
In the end it will come down to the role that Tortorella is trying to fill with the move and what he makes of the play from Boyle, Fedotenko, Prust, Avery and Christensen when he makes that call. Needing more offense should result in Zuccarello (cap permitting) or Hagelin being the guy.