Sep
25

Thoughts following Rangers/Devils

September 25, 2018, by · Comments (29)
rangers devils kevin hayes

Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Another preseason, another game against the Devils. It seems like the Rangers are only allowed to play the Devils, Islanders, and Flyers in the preseason. I guess that’s a good thing, since they don’t have to travel far. Probably why they do it that way, but would it kill you to get some variety?

The Rangers were definitely the better team in this one. Henrik Lundqvist was strong. The defense was near suffocating, save for a few mishaps here and there. And this was against some of the better players on the Devils. It’s not going to be consistently like this, but if this is what the defense is going to trend to, then I’m all for it.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups, Preseason
Comments (29)
Sep
24

Preseason Game 4: Devils at Rangers

September 24, 2018, by · Comments (9)
kevin hayes

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Another day, another preseason game. I’m surprised the roster hasn’t thinned out yet, but I guess there are new things to get used to on a rebuilding team. Henrik Lundqvist is getting the start, so I expect us to see a better performance as he shakes some of the rust off.

As for the lineup, both Neal Pionk and Tony DeAngelo are playing today. I get the feeling those two are competing for spots with each other. I still think ADA has the inside track –he’s been better all preseason– but there is still a competition there.

Oddly enough, Matt Beleskey’s performance intrigues me. Wonder if he’s a viable option at half his salary.

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Categories : Game Thread, Preseason
Comments (9)
Sep
24

The need for an elite defenseman

September 24, 2018, by · Comments (22)

Jacob Trouba

As mentioned this morning, the Rangers are in need of that elite #1 defenseman, be it an established young #1D or a prospect with that kind of future. With potentially elite prospects up front and in net, defense is still an area of concern.

Let’s look at two scenarios, one where we make this rebuild a longer-term project and one where we’re trying to accelerate more rapidly. The idea here is we want good players who can potentially fill that hole no matter what. The former scenario would mean a lower-but-still-significant return during this year’s fire sale, but a longer/larger window. The latter is more likely to put us in “win now” mode as far as contending sooner, but shortens the window.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (22)
Sep
24

This year’s trade deadline and addressing future needs

September 24, 2018, by · Comments (19)
mats zuccarello

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

The secret is out, and well, it’s been out for a while actually. The Rangers are in a rebuild, or a retool, or whatever. Among the other worst-kept secrets in Rangerstown is the defense is a mess, and probably will be for quite some time.

Last spring we saw a massive shedding of players in the push to restock the farm. Still though, what we wound up with wasn’t really any elite talent – that came mostly internally. Quantity over quality was the approach, which I’m honestly fine with it, but again, it led to no elite talent in the deals. Depth is great, but elite talent gets teams over the hump.

This year we’re likely looking at a fire sale too, but with a twist. Several contracts expiring not this year but the next, a fact that might add value to a team that wants to contend for the next two years rather than going for broke this Spring only. This year’s expiring contracts are all depth guys, so there isn’t much value there. Rather, we want to set our sights on teams that are a little less short-term and looking to shore up their second/third lines this year and next rather than add a game-breaker.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (19)
Sep
23

Remember, it’s just the preseason

September 23, 2018, by · Comments (14)
henrik lundqvist marc staal andrew ladd

Credit: Jim McIsaac

After last night’s loss to the Islanders, one that was in a bit of a blowout fashion, there was a little frustration on Twitter. I’m going to chalk up most of this to the fact it was the Islanders, but there was still some frustration in the first two preseason games as well.

Hockey is back, and we love it. But let’s remember this is the preseason. The games are almost entirely to see who will contribute in the lineup, what lines click, and what kids will make the team.

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Categories : Preseason
Comments (14)
Sep
22

Preseason Game 3: Battle of New York (Part 1 of many)

September 22, 2018, by · Comments (32)
rangers islanders mats zuccarello brady skjei

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The Rangers take on the Islanders tonight in their third preseason matchup of the season. This is when the roster is going to start thinning out, and those with a legitimate shot of making the team start sticking around.

I find this matchup to be funny. The Islanders are trying to be a good team this year, but likely are going to be bad. The Rangers are trying to rebuild, but may actually finish with more points than the Islanders. One of those situations is better than the other, and it certainly isn’t the Isles’ situation.

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Categories : Game Thread, Preseason
Comments (32)
Sep
22

Projected lineup for tonight’s game against the Islanders

September 22, 2018, by · Comments (5)

Here is the lineup ahead of tonight’s matchup against the Isles. Some interesting names here.

Bobby Butler, the guy famous for making us Google him, is in the lineup. Also Ryan Spooner returns. We also get a good look at John Gilmour to see if he has what it takes to stick.

Categories : Preseason
Comments (5)
Sep
21

What to do with Mats Zuccarello

September 21, 2018, by · Comments (47)

mats zuccarello

The Rangers are in Year Two of the rebuild, because let’s be real, last year was the first year whether we want to acknowledge it or not. Jeff Gorton and company are expected to sell off more assets throughout the season and at the trade deadline to collect as many young assets and draft picks as possible.

While we expect players like Kevin Hayes and Adam McQuaid to be sold off to the highest bidder, the one one pending UFA that has the cloudiest of futures is Mats Zuccarello. He is a pending UFA, will be 32 by next offseason, and can bring back a haul in a trade. He’s also one of the only players who can bring back that aforementioned haul.

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Categories : Players
Comments (47)

anthony deangelo

I formally polled Twitter yesterday for some mailbag questions, but also cheated a bit and answered some here that I received before I polled Twitter. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or via the mail feature on the right to have your questions answered here.

Multiple people asked: Henrik Lundqvist was bad the other night. But yet Cam Talbot always made this defense look great.

Ok this isn’t really a question but it’s something that gets pointed out a lot. Yes, Cam Talbot was solid in New York. But guess what? Henrik Lundqvist has been and always will be better. So, get over the Talbot thing already. He’s been gone for a while.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (18)
Sep
20

A look at the defense battle

September 20, 2018, by · Comments (43)

neal pionk henrik lundqvist rangers wild

One of the stories coming into camp was who would fill out the defense. There are at least three, most likely four, spots that are filled by Marc Staal, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Skjei, and probably Brendan Smith. If Smith isn’t a viable option out of camp, the Rangers have shown a willingness to demote him, so it’s either two or three spots up for grabs, plus the 7D spot. That’s a good amount of spots open, despite the lack of moves in the offseason to address the blue line.

There are a few guys vying for these spots as well, some that played last year (Tony DeAngelo, Rob O’Gara, Neal Pionk, John Gilmour), some that were just acquired this offseason (Frederik Claesson, Adam McQuaid), and some unknown rookies (Ryan Lindgren, Libor Hajek). That’s a lot of names competing for spots.

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Categories : Defense, Preseason
Comments (43)