As I was searching to see what lineup changes New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault would make before last nights game, I came across something odd. For some reason I saw Daniel Carcillo, the pest of all pests, on the first line with Rick Nash and Derek Stepan. Clearly I thought it was a typo but apparently Vigneault was serious as Carcillo played with Stepan and Nash last night against the Edmonton Oilers.
That isn’t going to work for the Rangers. Maybe Vigneault thought that since the Rangers were playing the dreadful Oilers that he would give it a try but who really knows. I’ll tell you what I know if Carcillo is playing with the first line in two weeks come playoff time the Rangers will have some serious problems.
With Chris Kreider out of the lineup it obviously creates a huge hole on the Rangers’ first line. They lost a substantial amount of size, grit and speed when the news broke that Kreider would be out indefinitely with hand surgery. But there are a lot more options to replace him than with Carcillo.
Stepan and Nash are the Rangers two best offensive players right now. The two have awesome chemistry and both are starting to heat up again. So how in the world does a player like Carcillo, who’s career high in points is 24, make it up there? There really is no good explanation.
Vigneault has to take Carcillo off that line. It is like having a toddler playing with NHL players. Carcillo is what he is: a fourth line player who loves to fight. Thats it. He has a very limited offensive skill set and is not fast at all.
Don’t get me wrong though Carcillo has done an admirable job this year on the Rangers fourth line with Brian Boyle and Dominic Moore. He even had one of the bigger goals of the year, the game-winner against the New York Islanders in the Stadium Series. But he can’t be on a line with skilled players.
Like I said, if this is still a line combination come playoff time the Rangers are in trouble. Vigneault gets paid the big bucks to put his best players on the ice and I trust that he will do the right thing. The right thing in this situation is taking Carcillo off the first line.