Earlier this season, Derek Dorsett was considered one of the likeliest candidates to be waived or traded away from the New York Rangers‘ roster. His game consisted of unnecessary penalties and almost nothing of use to the team. Now, not only is he contributing in a positive way, but Dorsett has become a key player for the Rangers.
Dorsett is a prototypical fourth-line forward. He is tough, gritty and unafraid to get into a scrap. He is also now adding his name to the score sheet. In the month of November, Dorsett has two points, including a game-tying goal in Sunday night’s game against the Florida Panthers in which he continually whacked away at a loose puck in front of Panthers goalie Tim Thomas. The goal changed the momentum of the game, and the Rangers went on to win 4-3. Although he may not light up the stat sheet, he is providing intangibles some say the Rangers lacked after Brandon Prust left as a free agent following the 2011-12 season. He provides a physical, intimidating presence on the fourth line, and is the type of pest opponents hate.
Although he leads the team in penalty minutes with 73, he only has 11 thus far in November. More importantly, his penalties are not of the brain-dead variety that he took early in the season. He is no longer fighting for the sake of fighting; his scraps are for the purpose of sticking up for his teammates and providing an emotional boost.
As the Rangers continue to forge a blue-collar identity, Dorsett is showing why he is one of the top reasons why the Rangers are molding into a contender. One month ago, it appeared he was on his way out of town. Now, he is a very important contributor.