For the last couple of days, and continuing for the next few days, I have been and will be looking at each team in the NHL and identifying a couple of players in particular that fit into one of two categories based on the once popular kids game, Chutes and Ladders. The players in the “chutes” category will be players who exceeded expectations last season, and will have a difficult time avoiding a slide in the coming season. The “ladder” category will consist of players who are ready to climb a level in their play and step up a notch. Feel free to brows back to see previous teams, and look for more teams in the coming days.
NEW YORK RANGERS:
Chutes: Brad Richards – Quite honestly, this could go either way. Was Richards’ slide part of his game or was it a matter of just not meshing with John Tortorella’s style. Richards will get a shot at returning to productivity under Alain Vigneault, but if it doesn’t go well he could get a big cheque via buyout next June.
Ladders: Marc Staal – Assuming he can fully recover from the devastating eye injury, Staal has the chance to join the ever-expanding group of elite level defensemen that are capable of being game-changers. The invite to Team Canada’s orientation camp shows that, but he still has another step to take on the ice to be part of that group.