The Musings: Are the Rangers peaking at the right time?March 27, 2014, by
The Rangers are riding a strong run of form, have a goalie close to his peak and beat the Flyers with relative ease Wednesday night. With so many positives let’s muse.
They wouldn’t be the Philadelphia Flyers if they wouldn’t look to start something at the end of a game in which they’re losing, would they? Completely classless franchise.
I had a discussion with some friends today; are the Flyers the least classy organisation in sport?
McDonagh I: I’ve been banging the Ryan McDonagh drum for weeks now. He’s a bonafide elite, Norris worthy defenseman. He’s taken the next step that Marc Staal has always been close to taking but for various reasons (usually injury) hasn’t quite made. This year McDonagh went from being a quality two way defenseman to being a dominant linchpin of a quality defensive unit.
McDonagh II: Jaromir Jagr is perhaps the single greatest trade/acquisition in the Glen Sather era. Or is he? Has the McDonagh trade taken over Jagr as being the best move of the Sather reign? The trade with Montreal allowed so many dominoes to fall in place and that’s without factoring in the top 10 NHL defenseman he has become.
The Rangers are getting great production from their fourth line. Whether it’s Dom Moore, Brian Boyle, Carcillo or Dorsett; the Rangers are getting shift after reliable shift from their role players which is really allowing the pressure to stay off underperformers such as Martin St Louis.
Raphael Diaz: He’s been solid at both ends and a decent inclusion to date. It would be tough to take him out if John Moore is ready to go. I’d go as far as saying this; Diaz is proving what a solid depth guy he can be and what he was, in Montreal. If Anton Stralman really wants to reject 3m/year over 3 years I’d say goodbye and retain the cheaper Diaz. No great drop off in performance from Stralman and it would allow the money spent in greater areas of need.
• Why the Rangers can contend for the cup: Lundqvist, the defensive unit led by McDonagh, overall team depth.
• Why the Rangers cannot contend for the cup: A wildly inconsistent top six, inconsistencies at the center position and a powerplay that has regressed.
The Rangers are playing really disciplined hockey right now and, within themselves. The most exciting thing about the team right now is there’s plenty of room for improvement. The top six aren’t in very good form; even Mats Zuccarello’s line isn’t in the same veign of form that they were. In short, the club could generate much more offense and yet, are in a pretty good spot heading into the playoffs.
• The biggest concern with this roster right now: who would you pair Martin St Louis with?
• Do you get Cam Talbot another start or two in the end stretch?
• Would you keep Raphael Diaz based on what you have seen so far?
• Who would you have as your first powerplay unit?
• Should Derick Brassard be paired with right now?