While he is far from a world-beater at center, Vaclav “Vinny” Prospal might be the best No. 1 or No. 2 center option for the pivot-poor New York Rangers. Unfortunately, the outlook for the former Tampa Bay Lightning forward’s health is looking hazy at best and grim at worst.
Meanwhile, a well-placed source has told The Post that there’s little reason for optimism that the condition of Vinny Prospal’s right knee will improve following his enforced two-week rest period. Indeed, we’re told it would be no surprise at all should the 35-year-old require surgery that would likely end his season, if not his career.
Brooks goes on to describe the Rangers’ limited options at center now that Prospal could miss a serious amount of time with those knee problems. He does not paint a very pretty picture.
This leaves the Rangers with options so unappealing in the middle that one-time pivot Brandon Dubinsky, who has skated almost exclusively on the left during camp, is probably the best choice to open between Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov as the team’s No. 1 center.
Erik Christensen, capable if not dazzling in that role during the second half of last season, had a miserable camp. Rookie Derek Stepan clicked offensively in the preseason with Gaborik and Frolov but struggled defensively. Beyond that, it’s difficult to imagine Tortorella giving Stepan the minutes he likes to heap on his first unit. It’s even more difficult than that envisioning White being able to keep up with the wingers or handle those minutes.
The NHL is a league dominated by elite centers, yet the Rangers lack many options that are even “very good.” I guess that’s what happens when you pay a second or third line center like Chris Drury more than $7 million per year, though.
Keep in mind that this is just an anonymous source from one reporter, so it’s not set in stone that Prospal will miss a lot of time (let alone face a career ending injury). That being said, if he is gone for a significant amount of time, this could really hamper an already limited Rangers roster.