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Hagelin and Callahan injuries represent other opportunities

JT Miller and Chris Kreider could have a huge opportunity next season

JT Miller and Chris Kreider could have a huge opportunity next season

It is never good news when a player as crucial (and popular) as Ryan Callahan goes down with a serious injury, even if the timing couldn’t be much better from a recovery stand point. The same goes for Carl Hagelin who despite consistency issues has proven to be a good find for the Rangers and who is a core piece moving forward. That all said, where this is a hole to be filled there is an opportunity.  Step forward Chris Kreider and JT Miller.

The appearance of the New York Rangers roster next season depends on so many factors; the coaching decision, the draft and free agency to name a few but the Rangers already have viable candidates to step up with Kreider and Miller being the obvious choices.

Sometimes a club needs to be forced into a situation and a decision taken out of their hands (aka can no longer afford to mishandle a prospect like Kreider) or a player needs to step up without fear of fourth line minutes or demotion and the opportunity is there for Kreider and/or Miller to grab a spot and run with it. This could benefit the Rangers enormously.

If the recovery periods for both Hagelin and Callahan are closer to the longer estimate of five months, neither will be starting the season in uniform. That leaves camp, preseason and several early regular season games for Kreider et al to get re-acquainted with the roster, to get confident, to get serious ice time and make an impact. The fall out of these unfortunate injuries could be significant.

Successful transitions from both, or either prospect, would see less pressure on the club as they renegotiate with multiple forwards over the next twelve months as the knowledge of some key prospects stepping up will be fresh in the minds of Sather and co. The team will have alternatives and young, hungry and cheaper ones at that.

It works both ways; the negotiating positions of Hagelin – because of the injury – or Derick Brassard or any of the restricted free agents not likely to receive longer term deals like Derek Stepan most likely will, will be affected by Miller or Kreider stepping up. The whole long term audition scenario to start next season also gives a chance for those younger players to make a case for their own new deals so there is plenty of motivation for all concerned.

Chris Kreider and JT Miller are very important prospects for the Rangers. Thanks to a very unfortunate situation they may get their chance to make a lasting impression sooner rather than later and that may be the best news so far out of this disappointing end to the Rangers season.

18 Responses to “Hagelin and Callahan injuries represent other opportunities”

  1. supermaz says:

    I agree, it is difficult for a young player to perform to expectations when they play 6:00 a game with Powe and Asham. No disrespect to those players but they are not known for their offensive prowess.

  2. Walt says:

    Things always work out no matter how bleak it may seem. That stated, the kids get their chance, without pressure, or fear of riding the pine, and will do well. This could be a blessing in that if the kids do well, and when Callie and Hags return, we have many more options to work with.

    Worst case, it takes a little longer for the recovery to take place, we still have 82 games to play, and can make up plenty of ground when the boys return.

    I just hope that both Callie, and Hags have successful surgery, and come back 100% healthy, we need you guys!

  3. Dave says:

    I doubt these two take the full five months. They are under 30 years old, so them youngins heal quicker.

  4. Erixon20 says:

    With a full 82 games and a non-Tortslike coach, JT and Kreider will get plenty of ice. Also Lindberg I bet. Wonder if Bourque and Thomas get a sniff. Of course Cally and Hags will return stronger than ever.

    • Dave says:

      Lindberg/Bouruqe/Thomas aren’t shoo-ins. They will get a long look at camp (same with Fast), but I’d expect that they will be sent to Hartford.

      It’s not about the skill, it’s about the roster makeup. There’s no room for them right now with Pyatt, Asham, Powe, Boyle, etc. If they deal from those 4 (preferably just the first one), then there’s a roster spot.

  5. TxRanger says:

    I think Pyatt’s performance early in the season compared to what he did the rest of the year is indicative that he was a victim of the system, of like Anisimov, although Artie is the better player. Why I don’t think Pyatt is a great player, he has game, but Torts’ system and subsequent disappointment with Pyatt led to bad play.

    I loved having Torts here, but his Achilles Heel is his ability to kill confidence in some of his lesser players. Erik Christensen comes to mind.

    • becky says:

      Christensen was a head case – with some players, no matter who coaches them, they’re so in their own way that it’s difficult to break free. Richie is another guy who can’t get out of his own way.

  6. Jerryin MA says:

    The way Tortorella handled Kreider was, I think,indicative of his failures as a coach. Yes, Kreider wasn’t skilled defensively and made errors in coverage at times but with more patient coaching he could have improved in that area while providing some speed and offensive imagination to a team that had trouble scoring. But every time he made a “mistake” Torts sat him down or he was sent to Hartford. Compare how he treated a great raw talent like Kreider with how Sather, as coach of the young Oilers, handled a rookie Messier. I clearly remember reading an article in the Hockey News decades ago (a friend subscribed) when Messier played his first months with the Oilers and failed to score after twenty or so games or more. Writers were calling for him to be sent down, claiming that for all the hoopla about him, he was too raw and unprepared for the big time. Sather, quoted in the article, told them to be patient, that Messier’s talent would eventually prevail, that all he needed was to keep playing and competing and that goals and points would come. Tortorella, in my opinion, kept his players in too tight a harness and was too ready to sit them down when they deviated from his defensive system or made what he regarded as “mistakes” which are naturally endemic to hockey, given the split second nature of the game. If you are going to nourish young players you have to be more flexible and patient than Tortorella was capable or being. People, of course, will point to Stepan and McDonough and say he did work well with young players. But they were the exception rather than the rule.

    • Chris says:

      In Tortorella’s defense; an abbreviated season like this one just gone didn’t leave much time for coaching and playing through mistakes especially with our muted start/expectations.

      That said, I do agree that kreider wasn’t handled well – whoever was responsible!

      • TxRanger says:

        Torts didn’t have time to let Kreider make mistakes. Had it been an 82 game season, he would have had a longer leash with him.

      • Joe says:

        I have to say, enough of Tort’s defense! It’s over. Jerryin MA great post. Agree 100%.

        • TxRanger says:

          it’s not about defending torts, its about the reality of the situation. it’s a simple objective, rational understanding of the situation. of course it’s over, duh! either way, you have to call it what it was. it was not irresponsible, it was unfortunate, but it was the best thing to do for the team.

    • Spozo says:

      Stepan and Mcdonagh are two players Kreider is one. When two out of three players succeed how are they the exception to the rule?

      Kreider played like crap in Hartford. He couldn’t score against AHLers so when exactly did he earn the right to get playing time on the Rangers? He was forced back on to the team at the end of the season due to injuries.

      I still don’t get how you can expect this kid to get a different set of rules from everyone else. This no defense/back check/own zone responsibility set of rules are rediculous and sounds like a situation that would make Alexander Semin semin in his pants.

  7. Chris says:

    Erixon,

    I think Fast and Lindberg would be better suited playing together on a line in the A with less pressure adapting, initially, to NA hockey and developing chemistry.

    Of course, if they blow away the team in pre-season give them a chance but lets not rush these kids until they are ready.

    As a few have said, its an 82 game season so a little more room for both patience and development compared to this year.

  8. Zev says:

    Ever the optimists… I love this blog because of it.

  9. Bloomer says:

    Messier needs to prove himself as a coach before he goes behind the bench as a coach, same applies to Gretzky.