Jul
08

Panic at the disco

July 8, 2014, by
Even Margot Robbie is worried

Even Margot Robbie is worried

I was going to post a picture of your average Rangers fan, but I figured Margot Robbie would yield more pageviews. Yes, you’re all suckers.

Other than the fact that she’s hot, I think her reaction is probably synonymous with how most of this fan base reacted to the org’s first week of free agency. Mass panic!

It’s amazing how everyone always derides the Rangers organization for throwing Jim Dolan’s money around this time of the year, yet another summer of keeping his wallet in their pockets and everyone acts like it’s the end of the world. Life of a sports fan I suppose.

Me? I am not worried. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that I actually like the moves our organization made this past week. There’s still work to be done for sure. I mean we are three months away from opening night. But so far, we’re building the roster AV wants.

Last summer, I warned you all that this was going to be the offseason of change. The premise behind this notion was that Sather/Gorton left the roster largely intact last year. The big splash was hiring AV. However, the previous regime and the current one have diametrically opposed systems and philosophies. Change was inevitable. AV was going to keep his guys. The rest we’re going to be shown the door.

The previous regime valued three zone play, heavy forechecking/backchecking and determination. The new regime values playingmaking, neutral zone counters and quickness. When I say quickness, I’m not just talking about quick skating, but quick thinking. This is something scouts look for, #fancystat nerds never think of, and hopefully something we’re finding with each acquisition.

When you look at the moves we’ve made over the last several months, you are seeing a metamorphous from meat and potatoes hockey to the AV squad. Callahan, Brian Boyle, Dorsett, Stralman, and others who will follow them out the door, are the old “right way”. St. Louis, Danny Boyle, Glass, Hunwick and whomever else they bring in, are the new “right way”.

Brad Richards? Well he was neither way, but you get the point. Guys who are quick and can make plays are replacing the lunchpail guys. Certainly not my type of hockey, but I’m not the coach.

AV said it himself, he wants to play up-tempo hockey. Of course, up-tempo hockey is supposed to yield an uptick in offense. Except that his system didn’t yield more offense. In fact, our offense was down vs. the 2011-12 season (2.6 goals per game vs. 2.7 goals per game). That’s not a shot at AV. No coach can squeeze more goals out of a grit squad based on x’s and o’s alone. You need skill.

MSL will provide more offense than Cally. Dan Boyle will provide more offense than Stralman. Miller will provide more offense than Brian Boyle. Glass essentially replaces Dorsie’s role, but has more speed, size and PK work. Corsi doesn’t matter for that role. Whoever replaces Richie, whether the organization has tabbed Lindberg or an external option, will undoubtedly be able to play fast.

Defense will be sacrificed for sure, but that’s the risk you take when you want your team to bring more offense. Something had to be sacrificed. Now, whether or not this all works is an entirely different story, but that’s a result. And as I have said in the past, it’s not about results, it’s about the process. The process is changing for their new coach. Changes that I’m personally not a huge fan of, but the process is changing none the less. Hold fast.

41 comments

  1. TimG says:

    I agree especially with the part we still have 3 months till the puck drops. But I will admit I am still concerned about what many NYR fans when asked what we needed, the almighty #1 center as in, where he might be coming from. Don’t see our #1 line being competitive or even having any real chemistry to compete going forward – also what I believe Nash needs too…

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      Well Timmy there’s really only about 8 weeks until camps open. Nash needs to play on the Left side. I think Sather needs to find a righty to play opposite him. Stepan can remain as the number 1 center. It’s a contract year for him so I’m sure he comes to camp in shape and has his best full season of his career. As a righty Nash would be on Stepan’s forehand on the left wing. Having a lefty on the right is ok for MSL on the 2nd line. But they need a 2nd line Center and at least one righty. I think Kristo could play RW on the 3rd line this year. He’s a great skater and a righty with quick hands and a deceptive wrist shot. They have to get those 2 things. I might be on my own but I think Joe Thornton would be a good addition. Maybe the best passer in the NHL as 1 or 2 center. He and Nash have great chemistry and he said he wants to come here so maybe SJ retains 2 of his 7 mil and we send them Staal or prospects/picks. We would need to shed salary to make it work. Conner Allen can jump in pretty seemlessly on the left side of the 2 or 3rd pair. Then find a righty that skates well to play alongside Nash on the RW. I like Setoguchi

      • Ray says:

        I don’t think SJ can retain 2 of his 7 mil. Oh, perhaps they can physically pay part of his salary, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the cap hit and the new team surely gets all of it.

        • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

          I agree with you but the Rangers need at least one of either a top 6 Centerman with some size and/or grit
          (I’ve heard rumblings about Eric Staal too) or just a couple right handed shots. Thornton’s size alone would be a commodity for us and the cap hit would hurt. If he was the final piece Sather added outside the organization. I think we’d be fine. It may take moving some salary like moving Staal’s 4 mil and using Allen next year. The way it looks the NYR are already weaker defensively than they were last season. Why not fill out up front and count on the top pair and the offense Dan Boyle will bring from the blue line. Or at least the threat teams will have to account for.
          I think Staal is gonna want another Girardi type contract and the Rangers are already towards the top of the NHL in salary per defenseman at $4.3 mil per Dman. Why not move Staal for picks to clear his salary and then see how Thornton can be had or see if the Sharks want Staal. I think Brady Skjei will be ready by 15/16 and Allen can fill in next season.

  2. ianlozada says:

    I was sure this was going to be a post chiming in with “Haven’t you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door?” but I guess you decided to face these kind of things with a sense of poise and rationality.

  3. Walt says:

    When the season starts, we will get the answer we have all been looking for, Lindberg will be the #3 center!

    As for who will replace Pouliot, well it will be JT Miller. These kids are going to get the golden opportunity to play, or stay, in the bigs, and will produce well. Next years Ranger team will be just as good as this past season, if not better, due to speed, and youth!!

    If Slats does anything else, after resigning our RFA’s, it will be for deapth. He just doesn’t have the money to spend elseware, so don’t get your hopes too high!!

    When will September get here???????

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      Right now that’s the way it looks. Except one of either Lindberg or Miller. Gordie Clark said Miller will play but Lindberg from all I’ve seen, needs work on his defensive play in the bigs. He’s a 2 way Center so he must be reliable in the Dzone to be that kind of player. Where I disagree with you is if they did that. There would be 11 left handed shots up front. They should give Kristo every opportunity to make the team out of camp.
      By the lines you have set up Brassard is the 2nd center and your ok with that. He’s a 45 point player. The ideal 3rd line pivot on a good team like the rangers were last year with 3 scoring lines. Have to find a couple reliable right handed shots.

      • Walt says:

        To be honest, I had no idea if Lindberg was a righty, or not??????? You may have a point!!

        • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

          It’s a shame we are so short of righties in the entire organization. At least for players at or close to braking the lineup. The Rangers need to find a couple righties and as a fan. I’d pray Kristo can play at least 3rd line mins. Having his right handed shot along with say Zuc & Brassard may be a good line. Kristo is an NHL calibre skater already and has the tools offensively. Can he hold it down in his end in the NHL tho. From what I hear Miller is slated as a Ranger next season. Somewhere. If they could find a righty to play on the top 2 lines. Preferably with Nash so he can play LW. Torts played him on the LW often and he had a decent regular season. Lindberg is a lefty but he might not be ready for the defensive side of the ice in the show yet. We will see I guess. Settoguchi is sitting on the scrap heap. He may be a smart & cheap 1 year signing with his stats from a year ago. Just like Pouliot last summer.

  4. TeaneckMike says:

    It is the roster you build at the trade deadline that matters…this team continues to lack a sustained phsical presence, especially on defense where you do not need to keep your head up at our blue line or worry about camping in front of the net…unless McIlrath has come of age…and 4 years after his draft year, if he is not ready this season he never will be. Long live Glen Sather, Don Maloney and Hugh Jessiman!

    • Mark P says:

      I was at the garden (season ticket holder draft party) when the rangers drafted Jessiman. If i remember correctly the devils picked Zach Parise with the next pick. Oops.

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      Why don’t we leave McIlraths development to the professionals. The people that get paid to get him ready. He just has to work on his skating. He’s only play 1 full season in the pros after that knee injury cost him 1/2 a season. He will be fine. He may never be the best skater but he can be taught how to skate with the pros. That’ll come.
      Everyone said there’s no grit on this team last summer and I’d say they did well without. If you have the puck all game, there’s no reason to fight. Besides fighting is decreasing each season to more of a speed game. You can fight but it’s needed less. Teams carry goons less and less these days.

  5. Agentsmith says:

    possession and fancy stats dont matter if you cant finish. that comes down to pure skill.

  6. RangerSmurf says:

    Is this pro-Sather or anti-fancystats? I can’t tell.

    • The Suit says:

      Neither. I see value in fancy stats. Just think people are over reacting to Glass signing and I’m poking fun.

      • Ray says:

        It isn’t just fancystats. Glass has a consistently horrible +/-. The Penguins have great players but can’t win; that suggests their supporting cast is bad. When all of the indicators are telling you the same thing, you might listen.

      • Chris A says:

        Actually, Glass’ fancystats are very similar to Dorsett’s if you look at the past three years in total. 13-14 was a bad fancystats year for Glass but I wonder how much of that was playing on a very poor 4th line in Pitt last season.

        • RangerSmurf says:

          2011-14
          Points/60
          Dorsett 1.11, Glass 0.85 (444/480 of F with 500 min)
          FF%
          Dorsett 47.7%, Glass 43.5% (466/484)
          FF% Close, ZS Adj
          Dorsett 48.8%, Glass 44.5% (358/380)
          Penalty Kill, SOG/60 against:
          Dorsett 18.1, Glass 20.3 (289/298 forwards with 50 min)

          If you do 2010-2013, you get the same general conclusion. By fancy stats, Dorsett isn’t great, but Glass is one of the worst regular forwards in the league.

          As for not measuring that role that way, spending too much time in your own end has terrible consequences, whether you’re Tanner Glass or Sidney Crosby.

          • Chris A says:

            I take it back, Glass is pretty bad through the Fancystats lens. I think I only looked at FF% Close, ZS Adj. and assumed the gulf between Glass and Dorsett wasn’t all that big. When you write that Glass was 358th out of 380 qualified skaters that’s a whole lot of meh. Am I wrong in saying Dorsett wasn’t much better though?

            Still, I’ll defer to AV’s judgment. Let’s hope he wasn’t too far off the mark here. And who knows, maybe that 3rd rounder the Rangers got for Dorsett becomes a useful NHL asset.

            • Bob says:

              Interesting that Glass’s offensive zone finish % was much higher than his offensive zone start %. Guess that fancystat isnt irrelevant or doesnt fit the narrative.

              • RangerSmurf says:

                It’s been shown that zone finish doesn’t have much predictive power, so yes, it’s generally not considered as a reliable fancystat any more.

                That said, we do know the game swings towards equilibrium. (see here: http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2011/2/3/1967901/expected-zone-shift-2007-08-to-2010-11)

                So Glass is expected to finish at 46.4 last year, it’s actually 50.2, which is a net positive.

                The flip side to that coin is that if he is moving it up ice as that would indicate, they must either be getting completely caved in when he’s in the D-Zone, or they’re not generating much offense when he’s in the OZone.

          • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

            Add in that he was given a 3 year deal, and the whole thing is baffling. Why does a guy like that warrant a mult-year deal?

            It’s not just the player, it’s the term also.

            He may be just a 4th line guy, but a downgrade is a downgrade.

            • Bob says:

              So if the coach starts Glass in the defensive end, but he finishes in the offensive zone, wouldn’t that be a good thing?

  7. SalMerc says:

    Change is never welcomed when it is thrust upon us. It is only handled after time when acceptance gains control.

  8. Blue Heaven says:

    “There’s still work to be done for sure. I mean we are three months away from opening night. But so far, we’re heading down the right path.”

    OK, here’s the problem with what you wrote…the work that needs to be done, cannot be done at this point. There isn’t much of a path to travel down. The organization missed out on the No. 1 centers available in free agency, which means they will have to trade for one by taking on an unfriendly cap contract, which they can’t really do. Team will not win a cup with Stepan and Brassard as their top 2 centers, especially since their best faceoff guy from last year in Boyle is gone. Not going to happen. The No. 1 center is a glaring hole in this lineup, never mind that they don’t have a bruising defenseman or rugged winger (a Shawn Thornton type) that can drop the gloves and stop the smaller guys (St. Louis, Zuc, etc.) from taking a pounding night after night.

    Plus, St. Louis is going to be a year older. Next season is crucial because the window on St. Louis and even Hank is starting to close. This team just went missing at key times and lacked scoring depth. Hank played off the wall; all the losses always came down to miss scoring opportunities. That needed to be upgraded and it really wasn’t. If anything, it took a step backwards because their will now be less offensive production out of the 4th line with Glass.

    • The Suit says:

      I agree, a #1 center would be nice. But there weren’t any available this summer that wouldn’t have cost an arm and a leg. Spezza & Stastny were good options, but great options? I dont know.

      A year ago we thought Stepan could be that guy after he produced a point per game pace. Maybe he’ll bounce back this year. Maybe not. Worth giving it another shot though.

      The whole rugged argument doesn’t make sense to me given that the direction of this team is to play a more skilled, up tempo game. Not sure how signing a Shawn Thornton type would help with that.

      • Chris A says:

        Shawn Thornton would have been a great addition, to the MSG skybox where all the healthy scratches sit.

        Thornton is washed up.

        Stepan/Brassard will be adequate. Stastny would have been nice but adding his cap hit would have meant trading away Zucc or Brassard for non-NHL assets (young prospects or draft picks)

  9. nicobiasio says:

    Well Mr. Suit

    I think this is bang on, and after the free agent frenzy and departures, I believe the NYR are better than they were at the end of the year. The defense, if Moore is signed is an upgrade with Boyle. The 4th line has it’s most important player signed on for 2 years + added Glass, who will not spend half the game on his ass like Dorsett. The Brass/Zucc line will find another big winger (I like Nash here). Step & Kreider can play with Haglan, and the third line has yet to be assembled. Looking forward to 2014/15 and am also feeling better about the moves this year vs. last. Would like to see the assistant coaches both remain with AV.

  10. Hatrick Swayze says:

    lol….’#fancystat nerds”

    One question though, Suit. Is Glass really faster than Dorsett? Dorsett had legs. Always quick on the forecheck and I honestly thought he was one of our fastest guys despite never getting credit for it because, well, who cares how fast a 4th line grinder is.

    Glass’s PK abilities will certainly be helpful, but is he really a speed and playmaking/cycling upgrade for our 4th line? If so, I’ll have to change my first name to Pleasantly and my last name to Surprised.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      His possession stats will tell you he’s not a playmaking/cycling upgrade on Dorsett.

      We’ll see if he can up his game with a new cast of characters.

      For me, he was part of the problem with Pitt – their 3rd and 4th lines were not good.

      • The Suit says:

        I think Glass is an upgrade over Dorsie. Coaches have trust this guy to kill penalities and you don’t throw a guy out there that you think is going to hurt you defensively. The fact that AV hand picked this guy also shows some promise.

        I don’t think Corsi is the metric we should be using to define success for this particular role.

        • Spozo says:

          If the exchange of Dorsett for Glass and a third round pick is the biggest gripe people have this offseason, then I consider it a success!

        • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

          Maybe, but he didn’t really pass the eye test either. That team lost because their depth players were not good. He was a part of that.

          Point taken on AV though. He must see something that I can’t.

        • Ray says:

          Dorsett also killed penalties. However, among the 8 wings the Rangers dressed, he was not among the top three PKers. And neither will Glass be.

  11. Ray says:

    I still hate the Glass acquisition. The fact that he can kill penalties is a huge minus. At the end of the season, the Rangers had one of the better PK’s in the history of the game and this was true in large part because the PK wings were Hagelin, St. Louis, Nash, Zuccarello – explosive scary guys who could play at both ends of the ice. The big improvement in the PK came with the departure of Callahan, who was simply not of this caliber. If Glass is a PK wing, he will take time from a really good player and hurt the Rangers.

    The weak point on the PK is center, since it is hard to find three guys on the team who can do the job. The Rangers need to replace Boyle here – hopefully Lindberg is up to it. They don’t need another wing – in fact they need to not have another wing.

    Doubt Glass is as fast as Dorsett.

  12. jerseyranger says:

    AV signed a 5 year deal. We are way ahead of schedule.

    He is going to have a lot of influence over what this team looks like in the years to come. I think he will be a positive influence on Slats and his penchant to spend. So lets give it some time. There is still a very good core here and some young talent that is NHL be ready. In spite of our run, this team was going to look different for the 14-15 season no matter what.

  13. supermaz says:

    I love Margot Robbie, the world’s most perfect female

  14. flatbush says:

    Suit Nice write! Playing up tempo and the hype by the media and upstairs did not make goal scoring better from the evil Torts regime. Glad you set that straight. You need the skills and talent to score and there is change from the lunch pail to the “pretty” but ideally you need both. Agreed we need to forget about getting the # 1 center- no money- and even if we did it does not guarantee anything. The Kids can make their bones but we’ll see come Oct.. I’ll make the case that Nash could be the center we’re looking for if he wants to buy it. What do we lose for trying. He showed reliability on defending and PK work as well as working hard on the back check. He’s big, has hands and could certainly be a help low in our D zone. Give him speedy wingers and he could join. He was never the 1st forechecker and hung out on his off wing. So predictable! More freedom and a different look may get him going. We don’t need to see the same stuff and hope that he will score birched on the off wing. Thats real change

  15. Frank Cerbone says:

    Both Tanner Glass & Matt Martin are “efficient” PHYSICAL players. You can put either one on the ice, have them play physical WITHOUT GETTING PM, and are pretty goof fighters.

    Dorsett has more PM than hits. Both Glass and Martin body check very well, and if they fight, they usually win & PROCEED TO THE PENALTY BOX.

    Dorsett throws a body check & more often than not gets a penalty. Dorsett gets into a fight, loses, then yaps & yaps until he gets additional PM or a misconduct.

    Glass is a leader, former captain at Dartmouth, so he’s a smart guy. Maybe that is why after he finishs a fight, HE PROCEEDS TO THE PENALTY BOX & NO DRAMA.

    No one is afraid of Dorsett, but middleweights avoid Glass, and even heavyweights have been bloodied by Glass (see Ryan Clowe, Chris Neil, Matt Martin, & the Nystrom kid). While the much bigger Simmonds kid didn’t get bloodied by Glass, you could see he was afraid of Glass’s punching power

  16. Frank Cerbone says:

    In short, Tanner Glass, Dominick Moore, & maybe Setoguchi would be a good checking line….if they could get Setoguchi.