Friday, June 17, 2011

The NYR Facts Of Life: #10 Marian Gaborik

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 (or down) to #10, Marian Gaborik.

#10's #s: 62 games, 22 goals, 26 assists, +8, 18 PIM (5 playoff games, one goal, one assist, even, 2 PIM).

Take the good: Gaborik had two hat tricks, a four goal game and a five-goals-in-five-games stretch that helped the Rangers go on a 7-1-1 tear in March. He finished tied for second on the Rangers in points despite missing 20 games. He had nearly as many points on the road (23) as he did at home (25) during the regular season.

Take the bad: Where to start? Gaborik averaged 0.77 points per game, his lowest average since before the lockout. He scored in just 15 of the 67 games he played, building up his goal total against bad teams. Gabby was all but invisible in the playoffs, putting up two points and neither were on the power play where he averaged, AVERAGED four minutes of ice time. The Slovak averaged nearly 51 minutes per goal scored this season (50:57) and had a goal drought stretch for 12 games from late March through Game 3 against the Caps (awful timing). He did not break 20 minutes of ice time per game from February 1st though the end of the regular season - a span of 24 games - and then played over 20 in each of the five postseason matches against Washington. He had all of four game-winning goals, but just one of them was really the determining goal of a game.

Take them both and then we have: A player still named Marian Gaborik, which means that other coaches feel the need to guard him closely, giving more room to the rest of the Ranger lineup. While the introverted Gaborik rarely looked interested in playing, it must be said that he had trouble getting into any kind of groove with any linemates aside from Sean Avery, of all people. Where post-Nylander era Jaromir Jagr connected with a young Brandon Dubinsky, the Rangers need to find someone to re-energize their scorer. If that is Avery, so be it, but the coach needs to realize that. And the franchise needs to ensure that the 20 games he missed this season doesn't mean he is slipping back down the injury-plagued path that he has tread so often in the past.

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