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Musings: The game day edition

Derek Dorsett could be a difference maker (Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)

Derek Dorsett could be a difference maker (Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)

The Rangers facd the toughest possible opponent tonight. When an elite team like the Blues head to town fresh off a mauling, they will be conscious of stopping the rot before it starts. This will be a great benchmark game for the Rangers. Can they go toe to toe with a contender? Can they put behind them their own disappointing game? Tonight’s game is the definition of a character test.

Kevin Klein’s arrival meant the end of Michael Del Zotto, but does it also signal the end of Anton Stralman? Stralman is reported to be looking for $3 million plus at season’s end, despite being distinctly average for the most of this year. Would the Rangers be willing to lock up what are essentially two third pair guys for what would be $3 million each?

Rick Nash’s outrageous recent production has him on course for 30 goals. The media made a big deal about the timing of his return to form and linked it to the Team Canada announcement. Surely it’s much more to do with prolonged health and a return to full fitness? In his current form Nash can carry the Rangers very deep in the playoffs if Lundqvist is also on his game. Not many teams have those kind of game changers.

More Del Zotto fallout: Obviously more focus will now turn to John Moore. Moore has been so-so all season long. The training wheels now need to come off and Moore needs to produce. Talent (as Del Zotto showed) only counts for so much. Expectation and pressure will be much greater for Moore going forward.

With health comes options: When Derek Dorsett gets healthy, coach Vigneault will have some real physicality in the line-up. The opportunity to move Dorsett up and down the line-up while Dan Carcillo annoys teams on the fourth line could be a real x-factor for the Rangers.

The Rangers increased production and eventual health also means consistency for JT Miller. Barring unforeseen issues, Miller should now be left to play out the season with the Wolf Pack. Consistency and ice time are exactly what the talented forward needs right now.

Question time:

  • Whose return to form is more critical: Derek Stepan or Ryan Callahan?
  • What should it take to lock-up Cam Talbot?
  • If you could only keep one, who would it be: Boyle or Moore?
  • How many goals will Rick Nash finish the year with?

18 Responses to “Musings: The game day edition”

  1. Melissa says:

    Agree with you on Klein possibly replacing Stralman. That’s who I see him as a replacement as so it’s nice to see someone else say that.

    As for questions:

    1. Stepan. Yes team needs Callahan but his job isn’t to score goals (no matter how much people want to believe it is.) Rangers aren’t going far without a first line.

    2. I haven’t a clue. Guess it depends if he’s okay being a backup or not.

    3. Boyle cause he’s younger? I don’t know. They are the same player to me so it’s like DZ and JMoore – one has to go.

    4. If he stays healthy, I don’t think 30 is unreasonable. But I’ll say 28. He’s not going to score 2 goals a night, every night for rest of season lol.

  2. Walt says:

    Step, only because he skates with the two big studs!

    Same as we paid Marty, no more than that!

    Boyle, nothing against Moore, but Boyle does so much, and is younger!

    Between 27-30 goals.

    As for Stralman, if he is seeking $3 mil, show him the door, or trade him for a bucket of pucks. Stralman, don’t get greedy, your not worth it, AMF!!

  3. Walt says:

    Just a quick thought, with Kline, Carcillo, Dorsett, and J Moore, we can be tough to play against if someone wants to throw haymakers. Put in McIlrath next season, now bring on the Bruins, Filthadelphia, and Puttsburgh!!!!!!! Yes Puttsburgh!!!!!

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      Chris Kreider is a POWER forward who’s tough to play against and learning.We don’t need him throwing any just punishing people.This team is getting tougher without losing skill.JT and Dylan to come.I still have faith in Mac.

      • Walt says:

        As do I, can’t wait for him to patrol our blue line!! No one will dare touch Hank again!!!!!

  4. AD says:

    If Dorsett were healthy right now, either he, Boyle, D Moore or Carcillo would have to sit.

    Might Boyle be next, in terms of a trade? He is an upcoming UFA that will target a materially higher salary going forward.

    • Chris A says:

      If you are eyeing a deep playoff run, and I think the Rangers are, keeping Boyle at the deadline and letting him walk in the summer gives the team more value than the late 2nd round pick or C level prospect they will receive in return for Boyle.

      Depth is King in the postseason. Boyle can play pretty much anywhere in the bottom six, devours, top PK minutes and takes all the important faceoffs. You can’t trade away something like that.

  5. Ray says:

    1. Stepan
    2. really interesting question. If you offer Talbot $6M for five years, that gives him real security at a time when even he doesn’t know how good he is. So he might jump at it. And if he really is a first rate goalie, he won’t remain a backup as he will be too highly sought in trade to keep.
    3. Keep both. Teams really need three penalty killing centers. (PK wings aren’t really a problem.) With Brassard an unlikely PK guy, this is a concern. [But I like Boyle better.]
    4. Who knows with a streaky player?

    Personally, I think the Rangers now have three second pair right Dmen. The trade makes both Girardi and Stralman more expendable.

  6. Chris A says:

    - Stepan needs to start shooting on net more. Once that happens the goals will come. Other than that Cally and Stepan are both doing exactly what the team needs them to do

    – I can’t answer the Talbot one now as I doubt he signs any kind of contract with the Rangers unless it’s a major overpay. I think if you offered him $6M over 3yrs he would sign that, but that’s a bad contract for the Rangers.

    – If you can somehow keep Boyle at around a $1.75M cap hit then I’ll take him. Otherwise I let him walk in the summer and I sign D Moore to another one year deal and start grooming one of Miller or Lindberg to play that role.

    – Like I said last week, Nash (and Kreider) both finish with 28 G for the season.

  7. Gary says:

    1) Step
    2) Don’t know, do we want to lock him up or get a return? If he comes back down to earthy pay him on avg. w/ the best b/u’s.
    3) Moore, by just a teeny.
    4) 34

  8. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Stepan/Sign Talbot fair market rate/keep Moore faster more skill,Boyle can bring chips in a trade and Miller and Lindberg are waiting/31.

  9. Leatherneckinlv says:

    In all Honesty to question 1 it has to be stepan. Cally is just Cally….Very dependable and our Captain.

    Talbot will be re signed. I somehow think loyalty comes to play and he will sign a 2 year deal. If he produces at the same rate as he has so far from now and hypothetically he will get a huge deal after those 2 years. Sign him for 2.5 mil for 2 years

    I like Boyle. However the both of them on the 4th line is preferable. Resign both of them. They do much more than eat up 3rd line minutes. Winning faceoffs is a huge advantage in hockey which both do well and they are excellent defensively and on the PK. If only Colton Orr was on that line….good old days

    Nash will have 36 goals by years end and Richards and Zuccarello will have 72 and 69 points to be the leading scorers.

    I will add that John Moore will have 5 goals and 11 asists starting today to finish the year

  10. bernmeister says:

    Trade Stepan for high return

    Zuc does all Step does but better!

    Correct posture is to play Miller, only C fast enough to keep up w/Kreider, in pivot w/him. Let them play, mistakes be damned. Doing the learning now = barely ready for playoffs this season, but butt kicking next year. Want that development accelerated NOW not next year.

  11. Frank Cerbone says:

    Stepan not going anywhere

    Conor “glass jaw aka TKO Allen”Allen is over rated

    John Moore needs to improve or will be just another 3rd pairing journeyman defenseman

    Callahan on the way out

    Girardi MUST be signed

    Dalton Prout, RFA right handed 23 yr old tough guy defenseman is more ready than McIlrath and was
    held back by the numbers game ALONG with John Moore at Columbus. Mcilrath for Prout & Columbus has one more year of McIlrath under their control.

    Both Dorsett & Carcillo aqre NOT good fighters?
    Janssen is available-go for him now that NJ put him on waivers.