So hockey has actually begun. The preseason games are underway and we’ve seen the preseason roster already begin to dwindle. So, what’s next? The Musings is of course.
When hearing Alain Vigneault discuss the potential of Chris Kreider being used in front of the net it gave a small but significant insight into his different mindset compared to John Tortorella. Vigneault looks at Kreider as an opportunity, not necessarily as a rookie who has to earn his stripes. There was merit to Tortorella’s approach (he was after all successful as Rangers HC) but trying to use players in a variety of scenarios will surely help maximise a players potential and the teams overall success.
Martin Biron: surely the only choice as the back up to the Rangers. Whether he’s more expensive than Hedberg or not, he’s arguably the best back up in the league and over a full season he’ll surely get opportunity to prove himself again.
Have we reached the stage yet where Derek Stepan’s holdout is becoming detrimental to both him and the Rangers for the upcoming season?
I can’t wait to see Danny Kristo in a meaningful NHL game. I think he will get an opportunity to begin the year and would love to see him play with Brassard and Pouliot even if those two have had success with Zuccarello. Kristo’s upside excites me.
Speaking of Derick Brassard; one preseason game does not a season make, but you have to be encouraged that he appears to have picked up where he left off from last year. If Brassard continues the upward career trajectory he has developed as a Ranger then the Rangers roster (when healthy) has a much deeper look and feel to it. Depth equals contender.
Another reason depth is so critical: As currently ‘able’, the Rangers will be missing three of their top six offensive producers when they open the regular season. Good depth will help accommodate such holes. Depth equals contender.
I really liked the potential of Benoit Pouliot when he was signed over the summer and it sounds like Alain Vigneault likes what he sees so far. If you average out last year to a full season, Pouliot would have been averaging over 13 goals per year for the past four years. He could be a cap bargain like the Rangers hoped they had found in Pyatt last season. The difference? Skating ability.
There’s going to be some disappointed players heading to Hartford in a week or so but disappointment can mean opportunity. The Wolf Pack could have a ton of offensive upside to begin the year and the likes of Fast, Miller, maybe a Lindberg, St Croix or even Kristo have the opportunity to demand attention with strong starts to the year. Artem Anisimov was an example of a guy who turned strong, consistent (key word) minor league play into a solid Rangers career.
- Which prospect excites you most heading toward the regular season?
- How many games should Biron start in the preseason?
- What is the greater need entering the regular season: improved special teams or physicality?
- Will Mats Zuccarello be a Ranger for the entire season?
- Brian Boyle or Dom Moore?
- Who will be the second highest goal scorer on the Rangers (assuming Nash delivers)?