Some thoughts on the blue line

July 21, 2018, by · Comments (13)

shattenkirk vegas rangers

A lot of attention has been placed on the blue line this offseason, and for good reason. The defensive play was a train wreck last year. David Quinn should bring some stability to the position, but there is still a lot of speculation regarding that group of Rangers. As always, I have some thoughts.

1. The Rangers, as it stands today, will enter next season with a virtually unchanged blue line. Nick Holden is gone, but that’s it. A healthy Kevin Shattenkirk will be nice, and perhaps Brendan Smith finds his game. Marc Staal and Brady Skjei will still be there. Anthony DeAngelo will make the team out of camp out of sheer asset management. I’d assume Neal Pionk and John Gilmour duke it out for the final spot with Frederik Claesson taking the 7D spot. That’s basically the same blue line, and it’s not intimidating at all.

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Categories : Defense
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Thoughts during the dog days

July 20, 2018, by · Comments (35)


Happy Friday, BSB crew. It is officially the dog days of summer. The Draft and free agency have come and gone, and surprisingly, we haven’t seen much movement out of our (beloved?) Rangers since the end of June.  We have seen a few contract updates and the major RFA’s are still yet to sign, but as we inch closer to the return of hockey, I have some scattered thoughts while there isn’t much happening in Rangerstown…

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Is commiting to Brady Skjei long term a smart move?

July 19, 2018, by · Comments (48)
brady skjei

Bruce Bennet/Getty Images

Brady Skjei isn’t the most talked about RFA this offseason, as Kevin Hayes seems to be taking that honor, however he is still an important offseason move for the Rangers. Skjei, coming off his entry level deal, is due a significant raise, and one that may shape the blue line for years to come.

The 24 year old former first round pick had one of the best rookie defensemen years we’ve seen on Broadway since Brian Leetch. Skjei put up five goals and a whopping 34 assists in that first year. However his stats regressed big time last season, with a line of 4-21-25. The goals were more or less there, but the assists weren’t.

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Categories : Players
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What do the Rangers have in Matt Beleskey?

July 18, 2018, by · Comments (40)

matt beleskey

When the Rangers made the big Rick Nash trade, the prize bounty was the first round pick, Ryan Lindgren, and Ryan Spooner. The name Matt Beleskey caught some attention, but mostly because it appeared to be a salary dump by the Bruins to fit Nash’s salary. Beleskey was finishing up the third year of his five year, $3.8 million cap hit deal, but was doing so in Providence in the AHL.

Beleskey was signed to that deal by the Bruins –one that most thought was a bad deal at the time– after his “monster” 2014-2015 season with Anaheim. Beleskey put up 22 goals and 10 assists that year, and was viewed as a breakout player. After a decent but not worth the salary year in 2015-2016, Beleskey was eventually a healthy scratch and then demoted to the AHL.

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Categories : Players
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jimmy vesey

Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesJimm

Check off another RFA. Jimmy Vesey has re-signed with the Rangers on a two-year contract with a cap hit of $2.275 million. Vesey will be a UFA at the end of the contract, but regardless a short term deal made sense for Vesey. In two years with the Rangers, Vesey has put up 33 goals and 22 assists, split almost evenly through both seasons.

Vesey on a short term deal is ideal, since his peak is likely a bottom-six forward. He has a nose for the net, and is a very useful player. His work ethic has made him a fan favorite as well. This is a very good deal for the team and for Vesey.

Categories : Transactions
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greg brown david oliver

The search for the remaining assistant coaches appears to be complete. David Oliver and Greg Brown have been named as assistant coaches, joining Benoit Allaire and presumably Lindy Ruff. Oliver was a Ranger for a hot second (14 games) in 96-97, and has spent the last 11 years with the Avs organization.

Brown was rumored to be coming to the Rangers last week, and this makes it official. Chris Peters, one of the best prospect writers on social media, noted that Brown is one of the best tacticians in college hockey. In addition to his role at BC, Brown was on the staff for three US Junior teams, one of which won gold (2017).

Categories : Coaching
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anthony deangelo

Anthony DeAngelo is a polarizing figure for Ranger fans. The key cog –in addition to the 7th overall pick– in the Derek Stepan trade, DeAngelo came to the Rangers with high upside, but has yet to put it together on the roster. He didn’t stick with the Yotes, playing in 39 games before being shipped to New York. Last year, he played 32 games with the big club, notching 8 assists.

DeAngelo, a former first round pick in 2014, is approaching his make or break season. At 22 years old, he either needs to show what he has, or be passed by other, probably less skilled, defensemen in the pipe. There’s no doubt the kid has skill, and perhaps new coach David Quinn can hone that skill into something tangible on the ice. But even then, there are going to be questions regarding DeAngelo.

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Categories : Players
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Rangers re-sign John Gilmour to one-year deal

July 16, 2018, by · Comments (7)

AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

The little work is done for the Rangers. John Gilmour has re-signed for one more year (contract details pending), marking the final RFA outside of the big names that need to be re-signed.

Gilmour, 25, was a midseason call up last season after spending a year and a half in Hartford. In 28 games, he put up 2-3-5 while playing primarily bottom pairing minutes. Gilmour will be in the mix for a roster spot next year, but nothing is guaranteed.

Categories : Transactions
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Tale of the Tape: David Quinn’s BU, Part I

July 16, 2018, by · Comments (2)
Still not our guy

Not our guy, unfortunately

The Rangers have a new head coach as you may have heard, and with that comes a new style of play. The latter part of the equation there raises some questions about the style of play he intends to implement and the way he hopes to use his personnel, all of which can be alluded to in press conferences but have to be seen to be believed.

As such, a little bit of video analysis is called for, and although this is just a short clip and the analysis here will be pretty cursory (I’m unfortunately writing this on a bit of a short schedule, for no fault but my own, so apologies) I hope to go more in depth in the future. Without further ado, here’s a clip of BU playing Denver from 2017. It’s worth noting in this clip that BU ends up losing, which is not totally unexpected given that Denver was ranked first overall and BU only sixth, however, BU hangs in there and creates some nice plays worth picking apart.

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Categories : Hockey Tactics
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Some Sunday Thoughts

July 15, 2018, by · Comments (39)
pavel buchnevich chris kreider

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/AP

We are officially in the dog days of summer. The Rangers have made some housekeeping moves, re-signing Boo Nieves and Rob O’Gara to their qualifying offers this week. But it looks like until the Erik Karlsson deal is finalized, nothing else on the trade market will materialize. So we wait. But there’s still some stuff to talk about.

1. I’m not surprised that both Nieves and O’Gara signed their QOs. It’s a standard 5% bump on their salary from last year, with a normal AHL salary. For borderline players who may or may not have a future with their current club, it’s a show me deal. Personally, I think Nieves has a good shot at sticking with the NHL roster, whereas O’Gara is likely headed to the AHL.

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Categories : Offseason
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