For part two of the Player Profiles for the New York Rangers, I’ve decided to write a little about the best forward the team has today, Marian Gaborik. Although injured and still possibly with 1 – 3 weeks to go until he returns to the ice, Gaborik plays a huge role in the success of the Rangers both for today and tomorrow.
Weight: 198 lbs
Drafted: 1st round (3rd Overall) 2000 by the Minnesota Wild
NHL Experience: Currently in his 10th NHL season
Before the NHL:
Prior to when he was drafted by the Minnesota Wild, Gaborik enjoyed some success as a teenager in his home country of Slovakia playing for HK Dukla Trencin. In his draft year season of 1999-2000, Gaborik scored 25 goals and added 21 assists in 50 games to gain recognition in North America and eventually be taken third overall by the Wild.
Whether it be in the Olympic Games, World Championships, or World Junior Classics, Gaborik has had the privilege of representing Slovakia in 11 international tournaments. Since the World Juniors were when Gaborik was younger then 20, we’re going to focus on the World Championships and Olympic Play. In 29 World Championship Tournament games Gaborik has recorded 14 goals and 10 assists. In two Olympic Games appearances including this past year in Vancouver, Gaborik has enjoyed success by recording 7 goals and 5 assists in 13 games. Slovakia has failed to medal in both Olympic appearances with Gaborik on the roster coming in 5th in 2006 and 4th in 2010.
Gaborik was immediately put on the Wild roster the year he was drafted and has never looked back since. As a rookie Gaborik was able to play in 71 games for the Wild while never playing in more then 50 in a season before. In his rookie campaign Gaborik managed a season of 18 goals and 18 assists for 36 points. Believe it or not, those 36 points were good for second total points on the Wild that year who finished the season with a not so surprisingly poor record of 25-39-13-5.
After his rookie season Gaborik enjoyed increased success while also bringing the Wild into competition in the NHL. In the 7 seasons with the Wild that followed his rookie year, Gaborik played in 431 games and scored 201 goals along with 200 assists for 401 points. He also led the Wild to three post season campaigns and in 29 playoff games recorded 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points.
After an injury riddled 2008-2009 season with the Wild that only saw Gaborik dress for the last 17 games on the season, Marian decided a change of pace was needed and decided to hit the free agent market. This is when Sather displayed his inner genius by getting rid of the Gomez contract in order to make room for Gaborik. Not only that, but Sather was also able to acquire top D Prospects Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko. Both of whom almost cracked the Rangers lineup this season.
Last season was Gaborik’s first with the Rangers and he enjoyed an amount of success that not many could have predicted. Not only was he healthy for majority of the season, but Gaborik was able to lead the Rangers in goals (42) assists (44) and points (86). Not only that, but Gaborik’s 42 goals accounted for approximately 19% of the goals the Rangers scored that season.
Although the Rangers were unable to make the post season, it was still a very telling year for Gaborik and the Blueshirts. We learned that Gaborik would be able to sustain a fantastic level of play for an entire NHL season after being injury plagued the year before and for most of his career. We also learned that Sather DID in fact have the ability to throw money at a player and have it actually be a good investment.
Outlook 2010-2011 and Beyond:
Although he is injured now Gaborik expects to be back with the team shortly, and of course when he returns he’ll take over his role as top forward on the team. Hopefully this injury is but a mere glitch in the season that Gaborik plans to have when he returns. So maybe he won’t go 40-40 again after being out for a few games, but this guy is an elite talent in the NHL and a complete superstar. If he gets hot nothing can bring him down and 40-40 is never out of the question. With one of the quickest releases in the NHL and an insanely accurate shot Gaborik is a force to be reckoned with and would be a welcome addition to any NHL team.
Gaborik’s current contract has him with the Rangers until he hits the market again as a free agent at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 season. I wouldn’t expect to see Gaborik in another jersey but Rangers blue during that time period.
About the Author
Written by Adam Gavriel