The official start of summer is here, and it is historically a slow weekend for hockey teams not still playing. There is no hockey tonight, but there will be hockey on Monday.
However May 29 has some interesting history recently for the Rangers. In 2013, they fired John Tortorella. In 2014, they eliminated the Montreal Canadiens to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. In 2015, they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Final by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Interesting how that works out.
Use this thread for your discussions this weekend. I’m thinking Pens in 6, but I’d love to see Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau finally get Stanley Cups. If the Pens win, at least Carl Hagelin will get his hands on a Cup.
Although this past season certainly didn’t end the way fans wanted it to, and the regular season had its own fair share of disappointment, one of the brightest spots for the Rangers was the continued development of Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast.
The two of them were juggled around a bit, but each player demonstrated a solid two way game and managed to put up some points as well. While Fast found himself often in the top six, much to some fans’ frustration, Lindberg found himself continuously scratched towards the end of the season.
Normally, I would say “Happy Friday” and other pleasant greetings on the eve of Memorial Day weekend. Nope. Not today. Last night, my air conditioning decided that it didn’t feel like cold air was the life choice it was looking for anymore. This was on top of the Penguins winning, the Yankees losing and few other personal life factors that I could have done without. In the wake of this, I decided to take it out on a few Rangers off-season concepts that have been irritating me over the last few weeks. You’ve been warned. Just to qualify these fractured mini-rants to those who will find themselves disagreeing with me. They are not meant to insult you, I just find them to be ridiculous and need to vent. Feel free to pick a fight with me in the comments.
Apparently, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal are so bad (p.s. they’re not) that they are untradeable unless the Rangers do something ridiculous like take back Bobby Holik and Scott Gomez’s Ranger contracts.
Well, the rather perplexing trade between the Canucks and Panthers this week has taught us two things that should excite the Rangers and those are: NHL General Managers still make stupid decisions and there is most certainly a market for mediocre defensive defensemen.
Here’s the deal; Erik Gudbranson is a better, younger player than either Staal or Girardi but he has neither lived up to his draft billing (3rd overall in 2010) nor is he such a particularly impressive blueliner that teams ‘just have to have him’. Factor in the Canucks gave up the 33rd overall pick in what appears to be a solid draft, gave up on their 14th overall draft pick from 2014 and you have the makings of an overpayment regardless of the other bits and pieces in the deal.
Twitter broke last night when Larry Brooks published his article with his latest in Rangers rumors. Brooks is the only beat writer with real sources, even if he is about 50/50 on what he breaks. This time around, what he broke was a series of absolute doozies that rocked Rangers Twitter last last night.
Brooks’ first bomb was that the Rangers have no plans to buy out struggling defenseman Dan Girardi. They also have no plans to ask him to waive his no-move clause either. We’ve spoken at length on Girardi, and you know where we stand. But I do want to point out that you can want certain players traded for the benefit of the team and still be a fan of that team.
Sportsnet’s John Shannon lit a match next to a can of gasoline when he sent this tweet on Saturday:
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) May 22, 2016
Does the idea of dumping a bunch of salary via trade only to immediately reinvest a mega deal in another free agent sound familiar to anyone else?
On June 30, 2009 the Blueshirts shipped Scott Gomez and his remaining $33.5 million to Montreal. The very next day those short-lived savings were spent on Marian Gaborik, who inked a five-year, $37.5 million deal. Read More→
Unless you were living under a rock this season, you noticed that the Rangers need to make some changes if they wish to stay relevant in the NHL. Without singling out specific players, they were slow, apathetic, careless, and sloppy all season long. Some of it was attitude, with the apparent expectation that they could just flip the switch in the playoffs. That didn’t work.
The bigger issue was the inability to get the puck out of the defensive zone to transition to offense. On defense, only Keith Yandle consistently moved the puck out of the defensive zone. But he’s going to command $6 million on the open market. That snowballed throughout the lineup, as the forwards were unable to generate speed through the neutral zone. That stymied the offense, especially in the playoffs.
With the exciting news of Pavel Buchnevich finally signing with the Rangers there’s been some talk of finding a fellow Russian to help ease the transition to North America for the highly touted youngster. While this discussion has involved Alex Radulov, given the likelihood of the Rangers parting ways with Dominic Moore there might be another option the Rangers should look into pursuing: Vadim Shipachyov.
Shipachyov is a skilled centerman who put up 60 points in 54 games with SKA St Petersburg last year, surpassing the 54 points he put up in 49 games the previous year and 32 points in 52 games the year before that. His most notable asset is his vision, finding space and setting up high-quality scoring plays with ease, as seen in the two videos below, but our very own Josh Khalfin also notes that he’s defensively responsible and an intelligent player generally who will likely succeed at the NHL level.
Last night’s appearance by James Reimer in San Jose made it official: all eight goalies, starters and backups, have had playing time in each conference final series. Though not surprising — Martin Jones had given up four goals at the time of Reimer’s entrance, and Jake Allen got the nod in an attempt to wake up the sleeping Blues — it raises a question. Just how important are goalies in the playoffs?
It’s clear that goaltending can make or break a team; we’ve seen teams with loads of talent disintegrate in the playoffs, as with the Dallas Stars. Neither Kari Lehtonen nor Antti Niemi as primary goalies will lead to a Cup in Texas. However, the differential between elite goaltending and above average goaltending doesn’t make a great difference for teams to go far in the quest for the Cup. Read More→
It’s never fun enduring a long offseason while fans of other clubs get to enjoy a playoff run. This may sound a little spoiled to fans of teams like Edmonton and Calgary, but over the last decade, Rangers fans have been treated to a consistent expectation of contention. Since the Rangers have been eliminated, I have read a lot of great analysis about the importance of this offseason and potential directions for the club to go.
It’s going to be very difficult to handicap the exact moves from an analysis standpoint and hey, that’s up to you guys and gals anyway (shameless plug for the Off-season Plan Contest). I have kind of a conceptual thought-dump I wanted to share about this coming offseason and to see how you are felt about some of these things…