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Musings; Time to enter the Bruins lair

May 16, 2013, by
Is Derek Stepan underrated?

Is Derek Stepan underrated?

Welcome to the Musings. It’s a case of back to the future tonight as two rivals clash seemingly for the first time since time began. The boys have broken down the match up in depth and there’s not much you don’t know so I’m going to muse with you about non-Bruins/Rangers matters. Jump on in

Rant I: I’m beginning this week’s musings with a rant. Derek Stepan isn’t getting the due that he deserves. THN run a nice annual piece of alternative hockey awards and one category is ‘breakout player’. Stepan finished 8th, behind winner Nazeem Kadri, Voracek, Taylor Hall and Chris Kunitz among others. All the players had strong years but as they note, Kadri cooled considerably in April whereas Stepan got better as the games for the Rangers got more meaningful. Kunitz – while impressive – constantly had world class line mates while Voracek couldn’t help his team even get to the playoffs and Taylor Hall surely broke out a while ago.

Stepan would have been close to an 80 point season this year, was a league leader in game winners and plus minus all the while on a low scoring team without – for the large part – elite line mates and he’s twenty two. I think Stepan deserves more credit from league sources, but hey – maybe a Stanley Cup may help his rep. Rant over.

Rant II: Some franchises distinguish themselves with class and dignity and that’s why they get respect; the Red Wings, the Sharks, Nashville etc. Then you have teams who bitch and moan like the Canucks or the Capitals. So, you don’t like the refereeing standards? (Which were atrocious both ways by the way). People get on Ovechkin’s back for his lack of playoff pedigree and in part it’s because recently he’s always bemoaning something. For his first couple of seasons Pavel Datsyuk didn’t do much post-April but he handled himself the right way. Take note Ovie.

Is there any doubt right now that Henrik Lundqvist is the best goaltender in the league? Plenty of quality netminders for sure but when you add up his CV, his form over a prolonged period of time, the goal support (or lack of) and even aspects such as the media market he has to play in, the King is the King for a reason, no?

Ranger games at Yankee stadium? Better check airline prices again. You have to love that the Rangers are officially the visiting team twice; they get the benefits and appeal of the outdoor games and keep the advantage of the Garden in tact.

Right from the beginning I was excited for – and talked up – Derick Brassard. I think injuries considered 47 and 41 point seasons – both in 74 games – as a young man (on dismal Columbus teams) were enough to underline his talent. All he’s doing now is taking full advantage of the opportunity given to him to display his ability on a larger stage. Sometimes you have to be patient with young players (Kreider anyone?). The Rangers are benefitting from the Blue Jackets lack of patience with Brassard and John Moore. Thank you Ohio.

I talk about it quite often but you have to love Glen Sather’s moves in recent years. He’s been a great general manager for a sustained period now. Has he fully redeemed himself yet or does he need a Cup to be truly embraced as Rangers GM?

Quiet performer: Silently Michael Del Zotto has been pretty damn good this playoffs. He’s been needed with Staal out, a little bit more offensive production and he’d be getting some real kudos.

Question Time:

  • Is Brian Boyle’s playoff form making his roster spot for next year safe or increasing his trade value?
  • Does Ryan Callahan need to contribute more offense or is his performance level acceptable?
  • How much – and how long – should the Rangers offer Mats Zuccarello in the summer?
  • Carl Hagelin – maddeningly inconsistent or contributor of unexpected offense?
  • Who is the most underrated performer on the Rangers in these playoffs?
  • Do the Rangers need Ryane Clowe next season?

Hands up who’s excited for game one? It should be an absolute stormer. I’m predicting 3-2 Rangers in overtime; redemption is N-A-S-H. 


  1. Tommy T says:

    Morning Gents, Another great Musing as Always.

    Here are my takes on all accounts.

    1) Boyle will be on the team for his faceoff ability only, unless someone offers something of decent value in return. highly unlikely for an under achiever like Boyle.

    2) Cally while his play and heart can not be discredited he does need to get on the score sheet more often. His value to this team as the leader and how he plays his ass off every night is who he is. With top 6 minutes we need him to get a few more points.

    3) Mats has proven himself and has earned torts trust, i would like to see him get signed for 2yrs @ 1.75-2. Where else can you find his hands, vision and hockey sense for that money. Will he take that amount I have no clue. With a very low cap he needs to take a discount. to be in NY

    4) Hags is a mix of both surprise offense and inconsistency. He works his ass of every game but he can finish… His hands are suspect at best and he usually is flying around creating havoc for the D. I love his game and he will find that scoring touch.. still very young

    5) Arron Asham is the most undervalued/underrated player on the squad this post season. He has been involved in every shift he gets(not many). We can see he has one of the best shots for a 4th liner in the league, he brings some grit and has been here before. As a Vet he gets what it takes to win.

    6) Ryan Clowe needs to go. He is 31 i believe and injury prone as of late. I love how he plays and what he can bring to the table, but his age and health concern me. He is still going to want a decent salary after this season, which is not doable with who needs to be re-signed.

    Any and all feedback is greatly welcomed.

    LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!!

    Beat the B’s

    • Jimbo says:

      I agree with Tommy T here for the most part, with a few exceptions. First, I’m not a huge fan of Boyle, but if he does what has made him successful in the playoffs and in his 20 goal season, plant himself in front of the net, he can be very effective. That combined with faceoffs and I wouldn’t mind re-signing him short term with a moderate salary.

      Secondly, I am a big fan of Clowe. He has taken the role of Prust, and is probably more effective on offense. He goes hard, hits anything that moves, GOES TO THE NET (which we need a LOT more), and also brings some intangible benefits of a veteran with good presence.

    • Jimbo says:

      I agree with Tommy T here for the most part, with a few exceptions. First, I’m not a huge fan of Boyle, but if he does what has made him successful in the playoffs and in his 20 goal season, plant himself in front of the net, he can be very effective. That combined with faceoffs and I wouldn’t mind re-signing him short term with a moderate salary.

      Secondly, I am a big fan of Clowe. He has taken the role of Prust, and is probably more effective on offense. He goes hard, hits anything that moves, GOES TO THE NET (which we need a LOT more), and also brings some intangible benefits of a veteran with good presence.

      Most underrated player would have to be Stralman. He can be a real offensive defender, he’s not afraid to rip some shots, and really has a great shot. Sound on defense, great hip check (did you see him hit Ovi?) and just a mature hard working disciplined player. I’ve been a fan of him since we picked him up.

  2. RangerSmurf says:

    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. 2yr/3-3.5m Right back where his initial deal was. He’s a strong player, but needs a full season production to earn more.
    4. Hags is a 3rd liner, so it’s the latter. He’s never going to wow on offense, but he’ll chip in 30-40 a year, and his speed/forecheck is extremely valuable to the bottom 6.
    5. Stralman. He’s been nothing but solid on the back end.
    6. Nope.

  3. Matt Josephs says:

    The Rangers don’t neccesarily need Clowe next year, but he’d be helpful if he came back this year. If he does come on board next year he’s going to need to take a paycut.

    I’d give Zucc $1.75 million a year, for two years.

    Hagelin hustles. That’s what makes him different from top 6 players who don’t score consistently. The other stuff he does for his team makes up for any scoring inconsistency.

    Mentioned above, but Stralman’s my guy as well. He’s brought stability to the lineup and he’s a right hander which has been useful.

    Brian Boyle’s an interesting one. Going to have to see what management thinks about our kids coming up. Before the playoffs I gave up on him, but I think these playoffs have lit a fire under his ass.

    25-30 goals a year in a full season from Callahan should be acceptable. Anything less would be a bit of disappointment, and anything more would be a huge bonus.

  4. Walt says:

    Tommie T must be on the same page as me!

    Boyle stays, PK, face offs, when motivated can play good physical game, and he seems to elevate his game in the play offs.

    Callie very much acceptable, plays his heart out. Lets face it, the play offs brings out the best defensive play of all teams, so we can’t expect 5-0 games every night, with Callie scoring a goal.

    Zucc should get an offer of $1.5 mil, or so, for 2 years. If he then performes as we’d like to see, he then gets a much better contract.

    Hags contributes every shift. His speed scares the crap out of any team, and he plays a very nice fore check game, and scores some. What more can we ask for?

    Most underrated is by far Asahm. I even mentioned that the other day, he is tough, gives his all, soft hands, and is tough as nails.

    Ryan Clowe is damaged goods. At the age of 31, and looking for big bucks, we can get a younger player, with heart to take his spot. I mentioned Clarkson, as much as we hate the guy, he would fill the role very well, and score a hell of a lot more.

    I’m so excited about the next round that last night I believed was thursday, and was so upset to see the Hawks vs Wings game, not realizing I was a day early. Real dip stick on my part.

    By the way Chris, you hit the nail on the head, the Caps are a low rent team, with Ovie, and even Mc Phee whining away about the officiating, like we agreed with all the calls, NOT!!

  5. HARLEMBLUES says:

    1.Both 2.Need more production. 3.2yrs at a fair rate. 4.Still learning/getting better. 5.Zuccarello 6.At his age health concerns, does he demand that last big payday,he will not get any faster and he will take a spot from a yougner player.I say no.

  6. SalMerc says:

    As said in earlier posts, we need output from all 4 lines, but will need our top line to match production with their top lines as I feel they are deeper on the 3rd and 4th lines. I think our defense is better in top 4 also.

  7. pat says:

    1. hes helping his cause to stay with the team in these playoffs
    2. Goals are needed but give him a few good bounces and pucks will start going in
    3. 2 years 2mill plus or minus 1m
    4. in the context of that question hes inconsistant, as a player ingeneral, I like his game in the playoffs
    5. Stralman has been an animal in the playoffs, in some of those caps dominate times in the games his effort and performance stood out, could be the D-man who provides some offensive spark
    6. Bring Clowe back, after the deadline he provided the team a physical identity they didn’t have before hand. Hes a tough guy who does wonders for the locker room (his first fight early on as a ranger displays his understanding of how to build chemistry). He wants a long year deal, so let him test market, if he doesnt sign, try to get him on a short deal.

  8. ranger17 says:

    Boyle can play center or wing and play in the crease on the PP . Zucc for the right price . Cally will never be a 30 goal scorer , would be great on 3rd line with Hags and fairly good center . Clowe is going to ask for too much money and years. need to make room for Kreider JT Miller and Lindberg and or Fast next year .Don’t know what to do wit BR think he will come to camp and either make or break it by himself.Think this new kid Moore has great protential .Stepan 1st line center Brassard 2ed oscar lindberg 3rd or BR boyle 4th . Next year should be a line up with a lot of options
    We need to make a package for a good D man . would love to see them get Big Buff for a package of 2 or 3 of the extra forwards we will be carrying

  9. DPeters says:

    1)Boyle is a keeper for now – PK, faceoffs, & size. Showing more grit as well. However, the kid St Croix could make him expendable in the future.
    2)The Captain just needs to be the Captain and the rest of the team will follow! Game is much more defensive in playoffs.
    3)2 yrs @ $1.5 to 2.0. Not sure he will take this offer.
    4)You cannot teach speed and he is still young. Luv his work down low for undersized player and he backchecks.
    5)Stralman. What a hit on Ovie! Give him a chance on 1st PP.
    6)Like Dorsett more – younger, hungrier, & just as gritty. Do we have to sign him?

  10. Evan M says:

    Boyle gives us solid depth down the middle, a good penalty killer, good faceoff, and solid D. I’m a fan of his game as long as no one is expecting another 20 goal season (which I’m not).

    I’m a huge fan of Zucc and 2.5/year would hopefully close it out.

    I’m a fan of Clowe on the cheap, but I don’t see him as top 6 as should not be paid as such.

    Cally has been good, and I’ll take how he played last series any day of the week. It would be nice to see him pick up on a few more second chance opportunities at the net, but I’m happy with our Captain.

    Asham as most underrated during the last series. The drop by Kreider to Asham with the wrister was awesome.

  11. bogans says:

    1) Boyler should be safe, he is proving himself as a giant (pun intended) playoff performer. A guy who steps up in the postseason two years in a row is not a guy you trade when you are a cup contender.

    2) Cally’s performance is perfectly acceptable. He is the on ice and off ice leader of this team and they won in the first round. Other guys play harder because of the effort he puts forth.

    3) If we can sign the Hobbit for $2M for 2 years it would be perfect.

    4) Shaggy is incredibly streaky, but always acceptable in the lineup due to the other things he does so well – forecheck, backcheck, open up space on the ice. I could see him hitting his stride at 28 or 29 years old and finally getting consistent and putting together a couple career years.

    5) Anton Stralman.

    6) Ryan Clowe is done as a Ranger unless he gives us a discount. If he is anywhere close to $5M I think they need to let him walk, clearly on the latter stages of his career and there are young kids who needs some ice like Miller, Kreider, and Lindberg.

    Also, I respectfully disagree about DZ, he is the one player in Blue who I would say has been maddeningly bad at times. The forecheck destroys him, and that will get no easier in this next round.

    Glen Sather has been nothing short of brilliant in recent years. To be fair, he came in with a squad that was picked clean in order to win a cup by Neil Smith. You cannot retool with no farm whatsoever. I will forever have great memories of 1994, but I gotta wonder if that team could’ve won several cups instead of one if they hadn’t given up Amonte, Weight, Domi, Beiser, Patrick, Turcotte, Marchant, and Gartner. It’ll always drive me a little nuts.

  12. TxRangerLovesSideBoob says:

    Shouldn’t trade Boyle, cannot afford to weaken our center depth. Plus he’s a fan favorite and does come up big in the playoffs.

    As long as Cally gets a few goals and does all the other things that make him so important to this team, then it’s acceptable.

    They should offer Zuc enough to keep him here. Obviously Sather will not over pay for him, but I think he will definitely give him more then he’d like to. Zuc has proven that he can play in the show. He says NY is where he wants to be, so let’s keep him there.

    Hags is young, talented, and inconsistent for now, but I think his game will round out with experience.

    Asham for sure, best off-season acquisition. Sather knows what he’s doing.

    Clowe is up in the air, it depends on what he wants, and on what other teams are willing to offer him. The Rangers have will have to meet his market value to keep him. He is older and prone to injury, so he should understand that he is a risky option for teams to take.