Rangers got deeper

July 17, 2012, by

The Rangers were eliminated in the Eastern conference finals against the Devils for a few reasons. Most fans question the lack of goal scoring and high end skill and rightly so. The fact that the Rangers still haven’t gone out and addressed this frustrates many, even though Glen Sather has been right to not over react.

Then there is the theory that the Rangers may have run out of gas, with two gruelling series against the Senators and Capitals taking a lot out of the young, hard working team. Finally though, was the fact that the Devils’ depth out produced the Rangers equivalent. This however, is an area that Sather has begun to address and is a reason why a lot of Rangers fans should calm down and not panic about the apparent lack of offseason progress.

Forget for a moment the uncertain future regarding next season and the CBA discussions. Assume that the Rangers start the season on time with the current assembled roster. It has improved. As the Rangers added Taylor Pyatt, Jeff Halpern and Arron Asham, most fans were left underwhelmed and frustrated that the new signings names didn’t begin with Zach or Bobby. Sather still did well.

Through the trio of aforementioned signings the Rangers got deeper, kept a physical edge, got bigger and even improved the bottom of the line up offensively. They got better at face offs and added a pretty big dose of experience without blocking the paths of the young prospects. That’s pretty efficient manoeuvring by Sather if you ask me, especially when you consider none of them were given overpriced, excessively long contracts.

The Rangers basically added an entire bottom line. They addressed needs with all three additions. Jeff Halpern adds tremendous face off ability that is a serious Achilles heel of the Rangers. He comes to New York at little cost, with little risk attached. He is one of the league’s best faceoff guys and should help.

Taylor Pyatt comes to New York off the back of a decent post season run with Phoenix, brings size and an ability to score off the lower lines. Given a bigger opportunity he has the talent to score twenty goals – where was that kind of bottom six production/offensive potential last year? Pyatt has been a regular 10-15 goal scorer everywhere he has played.

Then there is Arron Asham. He knows the Atlantic division inside out; he adds a tough element thought lost when Brandon Prust chased those over generous Canadian dollars while Asham is just as offensively ‘able’ as Prust was when looking at his career to date.

The Rangers still need to add some top end skill, especially with Gaborik likely to miss playing time. However, with a certain Vezina trophy winner in net, a strong defensive unit in front of him and plenty of young talent up front, the Rangers got better this off season when they added their trio of unheralded free agents.


  1. ranger17 says:

    Why not just go out and sign Semin with out giving up any of the kids or Dubie for Nash, if we can even get him . If we are going to sign Semin we need to get it done so Torts can let him know how to train over the summer to be ready for CAMP, Stalag TORTS

    • Chris says:

      If you can add Semin to this team, with a healthy Gaborik and the depth at forward we have then you have to do it, if the $/term commitment is acceptable.

      If you add talent to this roster without losing any then its a seriously strong squad. Imagine if Semin meshed with Richards/Gaborik? I’d try it in a heartbeat.

      • Mark says:

        The longer this gets drawn out, the more i believe Semin Should be the target of the Rangers. He has never played with a #1 Center and he is a guy that knows how to finish. With the sniper shot from the left wing, maybe he could show Krieder a thing or 2 as well. Not to mention a top line of Semin Rcihards and Gabby adds to out depth issue allowing Haglin to play and bring speed to the 3rd line with maybe Boyle Anisimov or Dubi with Cally Stepan and Krieder being our second line… Very dangerous… with one signing it makes our team look very solid throughout… no trade or giving away of anyone…

        Semin Richards Gabby
        Kreider Stepan Cally
        Dubi Anisimov Hags
        Boyle Halpern Pyatt (Asham and Rupp waiting to play a ‘tougher’ team)

        • Walt says:


          Only negiitive to your suggestion, the top line would be so soft, non of the three really likes the rough stuff. Also, do you see Semin go into the corners to dig out the puck. The only thing I see would be him hitting you with his purse!!!

          • Section 121 says:

            A line like Semin-Richards-Gabby shouldn’t have to dump the puck in and dig it out of the corner. Skate, pass, skate, pass, shoot, score, done.

            The other option to balance out the toughness/grit would be to start Semin on RW with Gabby out and then have Gabby on the 2nd line when he returns.


            Of course, Gabby, Richards, Semin on the 1st PP

            Could be lethal – as Suit said I would pay $4m per for Semin to have these options (even though he may not think we’re the team that should sign him)

            • Mark says:

              I agree they wouldn’t need to dump and chase. With Gabbyout you can get creative and maybe try to jump start Anisimov or Dubi playing with Semin and Richards… And then see how it gels… But imagine the assist totals for Richards centering two of the most lethal snipers in the game when Gabby comes back… Then our second line with Kreider Cally and Stepan should all take a step forward this year, and Haglin can be an energy guy on the 3rd line… I think it’s a no brainer, and if it takes signing him for 2 years at 4.5 I say take the added cap risk to keep the youth in the organization

              • Scully says:

                I love a third line of Boyle – Hagelin – Dubinsky… I think they’d be killer with puck possession and if they can hit the net they’ll be lethal. I’d also love to figure out a way to have Hagelin and Kreider out there together occasionally… talk about speed.

              • Mark says:

                It be fun to watch Haglin and Kreider skate together, but seperating them gives us good speed on a couple of lines… To start the year they could center Stepan with kreider and Haglin and Richards with Cally and (hopefully Semin) but probably Dubi or Anisimov till Gaborik gets back… that leaves either Dubi or AA fort he 3rd line, with Boyle and probably Pyatt. Rupp Asham and Halpern are your 4th…Solid team even without Gaborik, then 2 months we get a nice resurgance of offense

            • scrangersfan says:

              Dubi on the first line? You’re kidding rite? Put a 10 goal scorer on the first line would kill the production of the entire line.(my choice would be Kreider with his size and speed.)

              • Section 121 says:

                would be only to balance the toughness on the line – Dubi has scored 20+ before, no reason to think he can’t do it again with the opportunity

                plus, hard to expect Kreider to make the transition to the 82 game NHL season with top line minutes no matter his potential

  2. Kris says:

    I totally agree with everything said but would like add if the cap is reduced by 10 million as some people have suggested there will be many teams in need to shed salary. That could lead to other players becoming available. I would love Nash but not at all costs. My offer of Dubi/Hags/Erixon a first, and a choice of AA/Miller/Thomas, has been viewed fair by those who agree What Nash brings. Nash would still fit under the reduced cap, but many teams on list would need to send back more then Nash’s cap hit to be under the cap. At that point CBJs can only take an exess of 3 million to be under the cap themselves. This would leave only the Rangers and Detroit able to make a move for Nash, would CBJs really move in the division?

    • Chris says:

      I have no issue with staying patient, Sather is doing the right thing – no panic moves, overreactions… I’m not sure the cap changes at all, although you never know.

  3. Rob L says:

    Unlike Kris above, I disagree with most written here, and to be frank Dave I’m somewhat confused as to why you keep advocating that this fourth line will be better than last seasons.

    I like the Halpern signing, don’t get me wrong. The perfect kind of pick up, despite face-offs being worth little (http://jetsnation.ca/2011/8/1/the-overrated-value-of-a-faceoff) – and the fact that NYR as a team was 50% on FO’s last season, hardly an “achilles heel”. But the signings of Asham and Pyatt make the fourth line hands down worse, as I explained in the comments of one of the articles on here last week.

    Asham’s “toughness” will probably see him in the press-box a good amount, while Pyatt’s goal scoring potential rides heavily on him getting luck bounces, as he has only sniffed 20 goals in years where he shot ~40% and ~30% over his career average, clearly indicating some puck luck. Couple this with the fact that solving the goal scoring issue will not come from a bottom six solution, and the Rangers in fact did not get better with the signing of two out of the three players.

    I understand there isn’t much to talk about during these days of summer, but I’m just confused because I know you understand the value of the statistics which clearly say this fourth line is worst than last seasons. It’s also pretty clear in the GVT that NYR took a step backwards so far as well:


    Sign Semin, solve the real problem.

    • Rob L says:

      My mistake on the name issue. Came to the site through Dave’s twitter handle, didn’t notice that it said “Chris” under posted by. So yeah, no excuse there.

    • Dave says:

      We have agreed that the fourth line is not as good as previously, but the Rangers saved $2.5 million in cap space the next 2 seasons, and more than that over 4 seasons by cutting these guys loose.

      If you want to sign a guy like Semin (or trade for Nash), and still have room to sign the key RFAs, then sacrifices need to be made.

      The fact is that the bottom six guys were, and always will be, replaceable.

      Rob, you know Slats isn’t done yet. Doan is holding up the market, as is the expiring CBA. If you think that Slats doesn’t realize he needs a top-six forward or 2, then you are sorely mistaken.

      • Bobby G says:

        So if we all agree that the fourth line is not as good as previously, what is the point of this article? The Rangers did not get any deeper at all. One could argue they have the POTENTIAL to have more scoring depth with the saved cap space, but the team as a whole is definitely not deeper now than it was last season. Not even close.

        I understand that this was the best Slats could do (although I too wanted Konopka) in terms of replacing the players we lost as UFAs but I think you guys are hyping them up to be something that they aren’t.

        The Devils fourth line would still burn our fourth line with ease.

  4. SalMerc says:

    Standing pat and looking at the glass as half-full is fine for some, but I beg to differ. We barely out-scored our opponents in the playoff series. Our goalie had to stand on his head because every game was tight. You may say some of that is playoff hockey, but it is also because our skill players (or lack therof) could not create more opportunuities. Our 4th liners WILL NOT add any scoring punch or high-skilled players. We need a presence on the ice that can make something out of nothing. Skill players can do that, of which we have not improved at.

    • Alex says:

      People seem to forget that our best skill player and the number 3 goal scorer in the NHL last year tore his labrum in the 3rd game of the playoffs.

      • Chris says:

        well said Sir

        • SalMerc says:

          Then we need top-line depth than can step up. Who should that have been? Richards?, Cally? Dubi? Maybe they should have, but they didn’t. Instead we our muckers (3rd & 4th lines) averaged about 6 shots on goal. Not a recipe that fills the cup (Lord Stanley’s!)

        • Scully says:

          Definitely but it also exposed a weakness being that Gabby was our only true sniping threat… until Kreider came along :D.

  5. Steve C says:

    If you look at the Devils playoff run and the rangers series in paticular one of the main reasons they went on a run and beat the rangers was the play of Bernier/Carter/Gionta.

    While I do feel the rangers need a top 6 forward for the long haul…if you win a cup or get to the finals it is usually a line that is not expected to score that puts you over the hump.

    By upgrading the back 2 lines the rangers now have hardworking back line players that have skill level to score in the playoffs.

    That being said this team will not win a cup without that top 6 forwarded added, but do not need to panic and give up the farm for a Nash.

  6. TxRanger says:

    I really feel if we sign Semin, he’ll be the next Zherdev.

  7. SalMerc says:

    It also would be nice if any af the so-called added depth could score in a shootout, as we seem to need some help there as well.

  8. Mikeyyy says:

    For the live of god sign Semin already.

    We all know this is where it’s going. We cleared the money already. And we need a player with the ability to break a game wide open for a year or two.

    • Section 121 says:

      I would give it a shot although, I think the only way to get Semin’s cap hit per down in the $4-$4.5m range is to offer more years

      I see the realistic options that Semin would agree to as something like this:

      1 yr – $5.5 – $6m
      2 yrs – $5 – $5.5m
      3 yrs – $4.5 – $5m
      4 yrs – $4 – $4.5m

      If this was the case, I’m not sure how comfortable we would be with the term to get the cap lower.

      • scrangersfan says:

        And what would we do with a 4 yEar contract if Semin will turn out to be another Zherdev? (You can’t punt in the NHL.)

        • Section 121 says:

          as I stated above, I would be more than happy with a 58 pt man at $4m/yr who is a + player and doesn’t take too many penalties

          why would you want to punt that?

    • Spozo says:

      I’ve actually warmed to the idea of getting Semin but my own issue is the price. The only real game changers left out there are Doan and Semin (I’m talking about UFAs, not trade targets). This means several team will be bidding on him. Let’s be honest Semin will have one thing on his mind and that will be dollar signs. Everyone seems to be in a agreement that 4-5 million for 1-2 years will be great but Semin is not taking a pay cut to come to New York and play for Tortz. He will go to the team that offers him the most money and that will be more than 8-10 million over two years and at that price I don’t want him.

      • scrangersfan says:

        I totally agree with you Spozo, you can’r possibly say that we got worse with loosing the likes of Mitchell and Feds.I agree that losing Prust will hurt but getting Asham will help with the phisical play.

  9. Leatherneckinlv says:

    In all honesty I don’t think we down graded that much losing Fedotenko, Mitchell and Prust and replacing them with Pyatt, Halpren, Asham and Haley. Somehow I get a gut feeling we will all like Haley. Just a gut feeling. Losing Prust was a bummer but in the end the Rangers did well.

    If Semin can be had for a 1 year contract I would think it wise to sign him as a stop gap measure. But only for 1 year.

    As for Nash and the bounty I still say what I said in the last thread. We have to do nothing, Howson must trade Nash in an embarrassing situation caused by himself. Any trade with Columbus for Nash has to include either Johansen or their 1st round pick in 2013. If they don’t want to do that then Mr Sather just block Howson’s number and move forward with the group we have.

    Offer opportunities to some of the kids and see what they will do. We have had a plethora of nice surprises with rookies in Sauer, McDonagh, Del Zotto, Stepan, Hagelin and Kreider. Who is to say that St Croix, Thomas, Miller and Erixon wont do the same. I actually think Thomas has a higher ceiling than Hagelin. Miller will also be a fun prospect to watch at camp.

    What many fans don’t realize is we are in the drivers seat in trades and I also believe in next years FA pool. Don’t be surprised to see the additions of at least two of these players in the FA pool next year; players being Weber, Getzlaf or Perry.

    Best move for the Rangers right now is to do nothing or get a steal in a trade. Sather can sit and laugh which is a nice place to be in as a GM.

  10. SalMerc says:

    Lots of rumors that NYR are shopping Gaborik. I think he has a no trade clause, so may be sports-writers with nothing else to report.

  11. Seahorse says:

    i think we can all agree here that the solution to all of our problems is to sign mike modano when he officially comes out of retirement

  12. Walt says:

    I have stated many times that Semin is a quality, soft handed player, who can light the boards for you. He is just a player who won’t bust it for you, and it could create a chemistry issue in the locker room.

    I agree with leatherneck’s posting 100%, and I wouldn’t get into a situation where we sign him to anything over one year, and that is being generious. I can see Torts having a heart attack with this clown in the line up. Please, Slats, do very little, other than Ryan, or Nash, for the right price, and or go with the kids.

    • Bobby G says:

      I totally agree with your Semin comment. People here seem to think that Torts can “whip him into shape” and that suddenly he’ll become this hard working player who goes into the dirty areas and that he will wholeheartedly buy into Torts’ style of play.

      People seem to forget that we have tried this with two players already, Frolov and Wolski, and neither worked out for us. What makes Semin so different? If anything, Semin has a much worse reputation than those two players do. I cannot see a situation in which Semin is a right fit for the Rangers. No way.

      I could MAYBE understand a one year signing for $5mil or under but I dont see Semin agreeing to that.

  13. wwpd says:

    why hasn’t Semin signed a KHL contract yet? it seems pretty unlikely any NHL team is suddenly going to step up with $7 million a year offer for him. does he want to play in the NHL that much he will do it for millions less?

    • Mikeyyy says:

      if a contender comes forward…cough cough….us. And we offer him 4.5 with bonuses for scoring and recorded hits on the season. Mmmmmm yeah.

      I say recorded hits because if he wants the money, if he wants the cup, he has to play like he means it.

      The real question is can torts coach a solid 2 way team. I hope he can for all our sakes.

    • scrangersfan says:

      I know I would, who wants to play in Siberia?

      • wwpd says:

        haha, he is from Siberia, he could probably deal with it for an extra 8 figures over 3-4 years

        • scrangersfan says:

          Because he is from Siberia is why he doesnt want to go back.Once you been there, you never want to go back. Siberia is the best place to be from LOL.

  14. Mikeyyy says:

    My last quip.

    One more reason to sign Semin.

    He hates crybaby as much as I do.

  15. Tim B says:

    I hate to say this but the Slats might not trade or sign anybody. There is always a chance that Slats and the rest of the NYR management wants to wait till next offseason to get a scorers and improve the roster. Rebuilding teams build from within the organization. Slats has made bad signings and may have learned his lesson. I dont know who is a top unrestricted free agent next offseason but if Slats signs no scorers and doesnt make a trade than he will sign top name players next year. Like i said, there is always a chance. If i were the GM i wouldnt trade prospects, draft picks or roster players that are worth something. But if Slats is done with free agency this year (unlikely) than this is what it could turn out to be.

    • Tim B says:

      And a few other things came to mind. Semin fights like a girl (against Staal) and could create a feud. Semin doesnt tie his jersey down. Huge cap hit, lazy, inconsistent at times, etc….

    • Walt says:

      Nough said!

  16. Willie says:

    The problem as I saw it was the refs extended the season for the Rangers. The Rangers were suspended for indiscretions and the other teams weren’t. Too many phantom calls and fake being clipped in the head acts extending the season.Shanahan what the hell is wrong with you?