Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The NYR Facts Of Life: #38 Michael Sauer

For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. And this time around we started with the high numbers and are up to #38, Michael Sauer.

#38's #s: 76 games, 3 goals, 12 assists, 20, 75 PIM (5 playoff games, one assist, -1, no PIM).

Take the good: No, seriously, there wasn't much that Sauer did this season that wasn't good. After his all-too-short three game audition in 2009, Sauer battled back from injury last season and spent the rest of it in the bus league. In the fall he beat Pavel Valentenko for a job in camp and stuck around. Since that time Sauer made himself a cornerstone of the defensive corps, battling night in and night out as arguably the most consistent member of the Blueshirt blueline. He earned more and more minutes in bigger spots and he did it with simple, strong play. His positioning was great, he was physical and he formed the rarest of Ranger qualities - chemistry - with Ryan McDonagh after McD was called up midseason. There were just two games out of the nearly 50 that the two played together where they looked their age (one vs. Philly, one vs. the Isles).

Take the bad: As mentioned, it is hard to find much in the negative column when it came to this kid. Sauer should have used his powerful shot more often. He could stand to improve on his fisticuffs, pick his spots better and select his opponents more carefully; Hockeyfights has his record at a mediocre 2-2-3 and I recall him fighting Sens mini-goon Zack Smith for no real reason. And, when he had a chance to cream PK Subban, he let him slip away.

Take them both and then we have: The start of hopefully a long, successful career on Broadway. There wasn't a single other Ranger that not only met but surpassed expectations like Sauer did. Sure no one thought Boyle could score entering this season, but Brian was a first round pick once upon a time so the team hoped he had it in him. A third rounder back in 05, Sauer survived his demotion from two seasons ago and a history of injuries to come back stronger and seize a permanent spot on the blueline.


Dennis said...

So the question is, what happens next season with our defense? Do Staal and Girardi stay 1 and 2 and McD and Sauer 3 and 4 and we look to fill 5 and 6? Or, do Sauer and McD drop to 5 and 6 and we look for a new top pair for either 1 and 2 or 3 and 4?

There is definitely a need for that physical crease-clearing D-man, whether that's MacIllrath (doubt he'll be ready) or a free agent.

So if they bring in say one new 1st line D-man where does he fit? Who does he play with?

Thetis-Dimitra Kotitsa said...

Michael Sauer was a great player this season!
All Hail Sauer!!

It'sZanoniBro said...

Dennis - I think a new D-Man would play on a 3&4 or a 5&6 line with another new/young face (f/a or minors, not sure who's left). The NYR shutdown pair of Staal and Girardi were downright filthy last year (see Girardi in the 1-0 game vs. VAN). The Rangers won't fix their scoring woes over one offseason (hope they prove me wrong), but they can improve a bit, and get a little luckier with injuries. Assuming we don't add a guy like Richards, an offensive defenseman is more of a priority to me than a physical presense at the moment. Assuming the young defense improves or stays constant, a few more goals on the sheet means a 4-6 seed for us this season instead!