Will Marian Gaborik Return to Form this Year?

By Johnny Machurek

All New York Rangers fans would agree that the 2010-2011 season was a disaster for superstar Marian Gaborik, the question is will he return to form or is he on the downside of his career?

The 6’1 winger from Trenčín, Czechoslovakia had a tremendous first year in the Big Apple, coming over as free agent from Minnesota Wild, bursting out of the gate with 10 goals in 12 games.  Gaborik played in 76 games, matching his career high with 42 goals, and set a new career high in points with 86.  Despite having a very successful first year with the Blueshirts they failed to make the playoffs losing in a shootout to the Philadelphia Flyers on the final day of the season.

The second year on Broadway was marred by injury and sub-par play from Gabby.  Gaborik missed almost a month of the season after being on the receiving end of an illegal boarding hit against the Toronto Maple Leafs just three games into the season.  There is some speculation that his play style was hurt due to the injury, since Gaborik relies on his wrist shot.

Gaborik was also a very streaky scorer last year finishing with 22 goals and 26 assists in 62 games, 12 of the goals came in just a four game span.  This was the first time that he failed to score at least 30 goals since the lockout with the exception of the 2008-2009 season where he only played 17 games.  Despite his down year the playoffs would come down again to the last day of the season and again against an Atlantic Division rival with the Rangers clinching a berth with a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils.

The playoffs would see Gaborik struggle against the Washington Capitals, tallying only one goal and one assist.  The Rangers were trailing 2-1 in the series and were holding a 3-0 lead entering the third period, they would later lose 4-3 in double overtime.  The Blueshirts were than dispatched in game five.

One of the reasons for Gaborik’s downyear should attributed to the fact the Rangers did not have a great or even good offense around him.  All that changed on the second day of free agency when the New York Rangers signed Brad Richards.

You have to believe that Marian Gaborik will have a bounce back year with Richards playing center.  This will take some pressure off of Gaborik to be the only scorer on the team.  Gaborik is a superstar and I don’t believe one year can change that, he should return to the form of 30 goal, 60 point player.  Look for Richards and Gabby to be a very formidable line for years to come.

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