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Stepan the focus as Ranger camp opens – The Musings

Is Derek Stepan going to be in camp?

Is Derek Stepan going to be in camp?

Training camp is here, the hockey world is back full time and the Rangers have what appears to be a significant amount of questions as they enter first camp under Alain Vigneault. Let’s hit the musings to open the season.

Derek Stepan: Over his first three years in the league he outscored highly rated youngsters such as Jeff Skinner and Evander Kane. He deserves a significant pay rise; it’s a lot harder to produce in a market such as New York than outposts such as Carolina or Winnipeg. That said, I’m in Sather’s corner; you do not give up your strong negotiating position. However, there has to be a comprise. Stepan is a smart kid; he should not risk his immediate future by missing camp.

Johan Hedberg – he should be cheap, knows the division but indirectly he is a huge acknowledgement by the organisation that – as is the case with Biron’s current situation – if the organisation loses Lundqvist or Biron then there is a huge vacuum of talent at the goaltending position. No one internally is anywhere near the NHL level.

Reasons for optimism: If Marc Staal and Brad Richards return to their old levels. The Rangers are stacked. If they return to a level that is ‘just’ close to their ceilings then the Rangers are deep. A huge amount rides on Staal and Richards in the short term.

Reasons for concern: The Center position. There are a lot of question marks at this position for the Rangers: When does Stepan sign? Can Brassard follow up his promising start (his career to date causes concern), Can Richards rebound? Can Moore be effective after a long break form the game? What Brian Boyle will show up this year? Can Lindberg make the team? The Rangers have a ton of potential/talent at center but not a lot of sure things heading into the season.

Stepan’s contract stalemate really adds extra strain on to Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin’s recovery periods. Assume Stepan misses a game or two (surely the absolute worst case scenario) the Rangers would effectively be missing an entire scoring line on the season opening road trip. Huge depth concerns.

A change is as good as a rest?  The Rangers will have an entirely new coaching staff. The team has injury issues so new players will need to be integrated. If ever there was a good time for a long, long road trip that time is now for the Rangers; time to get to know each other.

The Rangers will have a vastly improved powerplay this year. If it’s only borderline competent the team will have a significantly improved record. Will Brad Richards be a focal point? With Stepan potentially missing pre-season/camp time Richards will have a chance to make a first impression on AV and co.

Media funny: TSN listed Matt Gilroy as a ‘key departure’. I chuckled.

Question time:

  • How many goals will Rick Nash score this season?
  • If Marty Biron does miss part of the year would Hedberg be your choice as an addition, or if not who would you choose?
  • Where will Jesper Fast start the season?
  • When will Lundqvist sign on the dotted line?
  • What terms (if any!) do you think Stepan signs up for?

9 Responses to “Stepan the focus as Ranger camp opens – The Musings”

  1. SteveM says:

    36
    I’d give Moose a shot
    WolfPack
    By Xmas
    Bridge deal around 3 mil per

  2. Walt says:

    If healthy Nash breaks into the 40 and over range.

    There really is no other choice, so Hedberg will have to be our man.

    Fast will play the entire season in the AHL.

    Step signs for two years, $3 million, and no more.

  3. TxRanger says:

    Isn’t Gilroy the only real departure, anyways? It’s nice to see the same team two years in a row.

    • Dave says:

      Gilroy, Eminger, Clowe, Gaborik (I guess you can count him), Hamrlik, bunch of AHL guys.

  4. WilliamW says:

    33 for Nash

    Probably not the top choice but don’t have a good idea as to who is available

    Hartford all year

    Around the Olympic break

    2 / 3.25 million per

  5. BigTex1926 says:

    1. 44 goals for Nash.
    2. Bryzgalov! Purely for entertainment & astronomy lessons, of course.
    3. Hartford.
    4. Right after the Olympics.
    5. 2 years, $3.5 mil gets it done.

  6. MBN says:

    Nash should be right around 40. I’ll give it the ol’ optimistic vote and go with 42.

    Hedberg is OK, as long as Hank is healthy, and plays his 60+ games.

    Hartford.

    Hank will sign early in the season. Very early.

    Stepan – 2 or 3 years at 3.5 per. Maybe a slight bump in the 3rd year to 3.75 or so.

  7. Dave says:

    35

    Biron will be back, but Moose isn’t a bad option.

    Hartford, maybe a cuppa depending on performance.

    After this season, which will make people very nervous.

    2-3/$3.75m as I said in June.

  8. Andrew says:

    37
    Yes
    wolfpack
    thanksgiving
    3.8 2yrs