Fri 1 Jun 2012
You just do not go out and replace 40-goal scorers at the drop of hat – even if it is the Broadway. However, Glen Sather and John Tortorella will have to work hard to try and do just that with Marian Gaborik facing surgery in New York on June 6 to repair a torn labrum.
The first word of a Gaborik injury filtered out during the Rangers breakup day on Monday. Gaborik was very coy about answering any questions about an injury or potential surgery. The official word did not come today when Gaborik gave an interview with a Slovakian newspaper.
In the interview, Gaborik said he played the last two months of the season with the injury. While medication and pain injections lessened the pain, he did not have full strength in the shoulder.
While Gaborik mentioned being out five to six months, the New York Rangers official press release did not set a timetable for his return, nor did it specify exactly when the injury occurred.
Even if the Blueshirts go outside the organization and sign the likes of Zach Parise as an UFA or trade for the likes of a Jarome Iginla, Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan, the Rangers are still going to need ANOTHER forward to help revive New York’s inconsistent offense.
While a return to form from Brandon Dubinsky and a full season of Chris Kreider will be big steps forward, the Rangers might still have to look inward to find an offensive spark.
One of those inward possibilities will not be Mats Zuccarello – especially after he took to Twitter to thank Rangers fans for the support. All indications are that Zuccarello has a deal lined up in Russia with the KHL.
The stars could be aligning for a dark horse candidate who just signed his first NHL contract. Undrafted Marek Hrivik might be the biggest beneficiary to Gaborik’s injury.
Like Gaborik, the 6-foot-1 and 195 pound Hrivik is a native of Slovakia. He was eligible for the 2010 NHL Draft and was on the radar for various scouting services. The Hockey News ranked him as their 91st best prospect, International Scouting Services rated him as their #104 prospect, and NHL Central Scouting ranked him as the 194th North American skater.
Here is what ISS wrote about the soon to be 20-year-old LW in their 2010 Draft Guide:
“His outstanding play down the stretch coupled with the fact he kept elevating his game throughout the playoffs has secured his ranking here at ISS for the upcoming 2010 NHL draft. Hrivik has good hands and handles the puck well around the perimeter. He has good size and quick shot. He can make plays in confined areas and under pressure but sometimes handles the puck without much determination. Needs to add that willingness to compete and do anything to score to his resume. Would like to see him play more physical and get to the net.”
After spending 2008/2009 with the Slovakian Under-20 team, Hrivik came to North America and played three years in the QMJHL with Moncton – averaging 31 goals and 37 assists. Hrivik was Moncton’s first round pick in the 2009 CHL Import Draft.
During his Junior years, Hrivik represented Slovakia in the 2009 and 2011 World Junior Championships. In 2010, he helped lead Moncton to a Memorial Cup appearance.
Hrivik received two training camp invitations the last two years: Columbus in 2010 and Phoenix in 2011.
Nick Perri wrote the following description on SNY’s Rangers Blog on April 29, “Hrivik possesses an abundance of skills, including his speed, strength, quick-release, and hockey sense in all zones.”
Hrivik signed an Amateur Tryout Agreement with the Rangers AHL affiliate following the completion of Moncton’s season. Hrivik played eight regular season games for the Connecticut Whale, scoring one goal. His play improved dramatically in the playoffs as he scored five goals and 4 assists in nine playoff games.
“He is a versatile guy who came to Connecticut at the end of the year and earned a contract,” Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton said in the team’s official press release. “He has a good skill level, and a really good head for the game.”
Some fans have wondered how good Hrivik really could be given that he went undrafted. Then again, Rangers undrafted All-Star Dan Girardi showed that scouting and drafting is an inexact science at best.
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