Aug
24

Wolf Pack sign forward Philip McRae

August 24, 2016, by · Comments (15)

The Wolf Pack have added some depth to their lineup, signing forward Philip McRae to a contract. McRae’s name may sound familiar, as he’s the son of Minnesota North Stars and “The Mighty Ducks” star Basil McRae. Oh how Basil must have loved lining up next to Mike Modano for that movie.

McRae is on an AHL deal, so he won’t be at Rangers camp or be a Ranger at all, nor does he count against the 50 contract limit. He’s veteran depth for a very young Hartford team.

Categories : AHL
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Pavel Buchnevich

Photo: Andreas Hillergren/AFP/Getty Images

Hockey season is right around the corner. But before pre-season, we will get to see prospects duke it out in the Traverse City Tournament. While the tournament is always fun, the Rangers haven’t been overly competitive the past few years. The issue has been the lack of prospects, and while there is some sweet talent coming in –Kovacs, Stromwall, Buchnevich, Gilmour, to name a few– I am certainly more excited this time around than last year.

While certainly not a big deal, I love when the club invites players non-roster players. You don’t need all of them to succeed, but if you’re scouting staff is good maybe you find someone that can become an NHL player. Last season, the Rangers had 11 invites, a major step up from 2014 (5) and 2013 (7).

One thing that remained constant with these invites is that the team did not have a single NCAA invite. I assume that is because technically, NCAA players cannot participate with any pro type game outside of a prospect camp (without paying their own way), so this list will not include any players who will be returning to the NCAA this upcoming season.

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Categories : Prospects
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It might be much easier to find a trade partner for Mats Zuccarello than Rick Nash this late in the summer

It might be much easier to find a trade partner for Mats Zuccarello than Rick Nash this late in the summer

Now that the Blueshirts have pulled off another late-summer coup and added coveted prospect Jimmy Vesey to their lineup for the coming season, the club is loaded with forwards and many are wondering if the next domino to fall is a deal for help on defense.

But though the Rangers are well equipped to trade from their excess depth, finding a trade partner will be no easy task. This late in the summer teams have basically assembled the rosters they intend to bring to training camp. Adding free agent scraps is one thing, but making a blockbuster move at this point is extremely rare.

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Photo Credit: Steven Ryan

Photo Credit: Steven Ryan

The Rangers landed Jimmy Vesey on Friday, which bolsters their forward depth at a bare minimum cost. Vesey isn’t a savior and likely isn’t even going to crack 40 points this season, but he certainly opens up some options for the Rangers. Vesey likely slides into a third line role with Kevin Hayes and possibly Pavel Buchnevich. That pushes Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast to permanent spots on the fourth line.

This, of course, is if no other moves are made. The blue line has gone suspiciously unaddressed this offseason, and a change there is needed. Moving Dan Girardi and/or Marc Staal likely isn’t happening, but there are still other ways to upgrade the blue line if Jeff Gorton goes that route. The forward position is a major strength for the Rangers. They have arguably ten forwards that could feasibly play a top-nine role on this team, plus another three that slot in well on the fourth line.

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Aug
20

Thoughts following the Jimmy Vesey signing

August 20, 2016, by · Comments (119)
jimmy vesey

Photo: American Sports Net


The wait is finally over, #VeseyWatch has concluded, and the 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner is a New York Ranger. While the young college free agent, whose rights were originally owned by the Nashville Predators before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres, was considering teams such as the Devils, Islanders, and Blackhawks, he ultimately decided that New York is the place to begin his NHL career.

It’s worth noting before we get into unpacking things a little bit that Vesey is not the second coming of Alex Ovechkin, and is likely to play in the middle six as Dave has mentioned. He’s not going to score 50 goals, but there is a decent chance he scores between 10 and 20, he has high upside, and plays on a bare-minimum entry-level contract. There’s a lot to like about this signing however, even when acknowledging that he’s not the panacea to the Rangers’ problems.

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Categories : Musings
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Aug
19

Rangers sign Jimmy Vesey

August 19, 2016, by · Comments (58)
Vesey

Vesey

The Rangers have landed their guy. Jimmy Vesey is now a Ranger, signing a two-year entry-level deal to be in New York.

Vesey was the most sought after NCAA player that became a  free agent on August 15. In landing him, the Rangers get a middle-six forward for the bare minimum, a huge need for a team that needs bargain scoring.

Vesey, originally a third round pick of the Nashville Predators, was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, where he did not sign. It’s expected Vesey will make the roster out of training camp.

Categories : Signings
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My all-time favorite

Welcome to the 5th Annual Pre-season Top 30 Goaltenders List. It’s that time of year again, and after five years of putting this list together, the one thing I have learned is the value of consistency. Many a goaltender has now passed through this list with worlds of talent and bright futures’ ahead. The NHL, however, often has other ideas. The mainstays at the top are some of the most talented and hard working athletes on the planet, and it is truly a pleasure to watch them work.

This year’s list felt a little bit thinner than in seasons’ past, as performance attrition reared its ugly head on more than a few tenders this season, both vets and rookies, alike. There are a few bounce back performances and some steady steps forward, but I feel like this list has been scrambled quite a bit over last season. Read More→

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Aug
18

Calming some of the Jimmy Vesey hype

August 18, 2016, by · Comments (44)
Vesey

Vesey

A lot has been made all over the internet about Jimmy Vesey’s free agency. Vesey became a free agent on Tuesday, and has met with several teams, including the Rangers. Celebrities were tweeting at Vesey to sign in New York. That’s how ridiculous this has become. It’s kind of humorous, but it may actually wind up shooting Vesey in the foot with ridiculous expectations.

Here’s the thing with Vesey: He’s not Gretzky. He’s not Crosby. He’s not Ovechkin. He’s likely a middle-six forward who at his peak could be a consistent 20-goal, 50-point player. That’s a solid NHL player, but not a top line, can’t miss guy.

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Aug
17

Rangers sign NCAA free agent John Gilmour

August 17, 2016, by · Comments (37)
Gilmour (Photo: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

Gilmour (Photo: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

Per Mark Divver, the Rangers have agreed to terms with NCAA free agent defenseman John Gilmour. Josh wrote about Gilmour, who is a left-handed defenseman our of Providence College. The former 7th round pick for Calgary is a strong skater who makes good decisions with the puck. He’s the type of “new-age” defenseman teams want, in that he can quickly transition to offense with a strong first pass out of the zone.

Gilmour put up career highs in his senior season, with a line of 9-14-23. The 5’11, 185 lb defenseman signed a two-year ELC, and will likely spend the first year at Hartford, where he will complement Ryan Graves on the left side.

Categories : Signings
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mats zuccarello

Generating offense can be tricky to analyze. Most use raw point totals, but those don’t tell the entire story sometimes. What point totals can miss is overall creation of offense and quality chances. Only 8.5% of team chances wind up in the back of the net on average (assuming a .915 SV% as league average), and that’s in all situations. Are we only supposed to judge offense on 8.5% of all hockey plays?

That’s where some of the passing projects come into play. The main one is Ryan Stimson’s (@RK_Stimp) passing project, where he employs many different people to manually track pass types and how they lead to goals. This got taken one step further by @loserpoints, who looked at specific pass types (Steve Valiquette’s Royal Road passes, behind the net passes, etc) and how they led to dangerous shot attempts. The full details are here.

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Categories : Analysis
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