Jul
08

How the Rangers can make up for the offense they lost this offseason

July 8, 2015, by
Kevin Hayes could easily eclipse the 17 goals he scored last year

Kevin Hayes could easily eclipse the 17 goals he scored last year

With the front office’s apparent decision to hang on to Kevin Klein, it now seems likely the Rangers will entire next season with an identical defense and starting goaltender to the group that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The real cause for concern is up front, where the departures of Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin stripped the Blueshirts of 38 regular season goals, equivalent to over 15% of their total offense in 2014-2015.

Obviously MSL was unlikely to produce near that level again even if he did come back, but regardless, a hefty portion of the team’s offense must be accounted for.

Some had held out hope that the club might somehow scrounge up the money to sign one of the few productive free agents on the market, but New York’s cap crunch has only grown tighter since July 1 with increasing concern over Derek Stepan’s raise. The team is now more likely to unload another key player than it is to sign anyone of significance between now and training camp, so basically what you see is what you’ll get for the opening night roster.

So where could some of that lost offense be recovered?

It would be unfair to expect any improvement by Rick Nash on his 43-goal regular season, but established top-six forwards Stepan, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello all could see boosts in their production with regular playing time alongside top offensive talents.

Ranger fans can’t be blamed for scoffing at this one, but it’s also possible the power play will (finally) be in for a spike with a full year of a healthy Keith Yandle, who ranked second in the NHL in power play helpers last season despite recording only three in 21 games after joining the Rangers.

But the best hope for unexpected offense lies with a quintet of prized young forwards still only scratching the surface of their potential. Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast and Emerson Etem have all shown flashes of considerable offensive ability, but Kreider is the only one that’s come close to putting together a full season of consistent production.

Last year Kreider, Hayes, Miller, Fast and Etem accounted for 21, 17, 10, six and five goals, respectively. There’s room for marked growth from each, and potentially giant leaps for some depending on playing time. It’s not unreasonable to pencil Kreider in for 25 goals, Hayes for 20, Miller for 15, and Fast and Etem for 10 each, which would get the Blueshirts more than halfway to that magic 38 number. Viktor Stalberg and Oscar Lindberg would figure to eat up another chunk, and suddenly the Rangers don’t seem like they’re in bad shape offensively.

Of course, it’s unrealistic to expect each and every player to improve their goal totals or to stay healthy – nor is it imperative that the Blueshirts equal their total from last season, when they finished third in the league in scoring. But the point remains – New York certainly has question marks up front, but it is not an unsolvable problem.

"How the Rangers can make up for the offense they lost this offseason", 5 out of 5 based on 21 ratings.

155 comments

  1. supermaz says:

    Miller scores 25 – 30 if he stays healthy and plays in the top 6, and Fast can pitch in 15 if he doesn’t have to play with Glass.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      That’s quite a jump. I wouldn’t pencil that in just yet.

    • Dave says:

      I think that depends on his PP time. The Rangers were one of the better even strength scoring teams in the league last year, but the PP has been an issue.

    • jk says:

      They will be fine in the scoring dept. Kreider Fast Miller Zuke with more ice time along with Hayes will get more points. I need to see Broussard an Stepan continue to score more. New guys will also help to makeup for Marty an Hagelin.

    • Kevin says:

      @supermaz That may be Miller’s long-term potential, but that’s an enormous jump for a player that’s still figuring things out. Similar expectations for Kreider a couple years back, who has more natural talent, and that has obviously taken time

      • supermaz says:

        I think Miller has more natural talent than Kreider.

        • Chris72 says:

          I have to agree with Kevin. I honestly believe Kreider is one of the most gifted forwards in the NHL. His size, blazing speed and toughness are a deadly package. Unfortunately he takes shifts off. If he learns how to play consistently at the level he’s capable……… I wouldn’t be surprised to see him score 40

          • 43 says:

            I have long said this, and even Barry Melrose agrees, if Kreider can get it all together, he can be one of the best players in the league. I think his ceiling is to play most of his games as dominantly as he played in Game 6 against the Caps.

          • BOBBY B says:

            Kreider has the potential to be another Cam Neely.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Agree completely. I’ve been saying for some time that Kreider is the straw that stirs the Rangers drink. He MUST take that next step in order for the Rangers to do the same. It’s time.

    • Chris72 says:

      A little lofty bro. Kreider scored 24 in 80 games last season playing top six minutes. It’s still undetermined Miller gets those type of minutes this year

  2. Walt says:

    It’s gong to be a tough haul if the arbitrator awards anything north of $7 mil to Step. This could be the beginning of, and ruining, to the salary structure for the team, and start a whole sale of assets to sign Stepan……… Let’s hope that isn’t the case.

    • 43 says:

      I feel like they would move Step before trading away assists to keep him. Though it would be a tough position to be trading from, I doubt we’d get a “handsome” return.

      • Walt says:

        that would be a bad situation, he is a decent player, but the team comes first!!!!

      • Dave says:

        Simply put: You don’t trade your 25 year old 1C because he commands a high salary. You trade others to ensure you keep your 25 year old 1C.

        • 43 says:

          Doesn’t he have to play on the top line to be considered a 1C? I seem to recall Brassard playing top line center last season.

          • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

            Those top two lines were interchangable. Think of Stepan more as a 1A vs. 1B with Brassard.

        • jk says:

          No I would think about getting a cheaper an better size center in the lineup before I overpaid again for Stepan. He has been overpaid for the last few years also if you remember.

          • Kevin says:

            Perhaps trading Stepan would be a possibility for a non-contender, but why in the world would a team with Cup aspirations even consider moving its 1C when there’s no logical replacement that could come back? He’s basically irreplaceable

            • Chris72 says:

              Yeah man. No Step, No playoffs. That’s too much turnover. Not to mention we already lost our best penalty killer in Hags. Pile onto that, we still don’t know the effects of Zuccs injury longterm.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            You’d have to explain what that trade is. If you lose him and downgrade, then that, on top of losing Hags, makes the Rangers nothing more than a borderline playoff team a best.

            I agree to can’t overpay. But the market is what it is. If the first digit is a “6” and the second digit isn’t more than lets say a “5”, I’d do it for sure. Otherwise, losing Hags turns out to be a colossal error in judgment.

    • Dave says:

      Stepan will not get to arbitration.

  3. Mikeyyy says:

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Step is a good center. Don’t get me wrong, but he is not worth more than 5-5.5 mil max. Anything more is a gift from the Rangers.

    If this actually goes to arbitration, I don’t want him. Zuccarello took a great deal to free up money. If step wants to then negate that with an arbitration ruling. Dude would need to go, it’s called selfishness.

    Oh and if i were gm and I have to dump him, coyotes brother , go roast in the desert.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Travis Zajac is payed 5.75 million per (46 mil over 8 years). Not a direct comparable as he was a UFA but for god sakes Stepan is worth more than he is. The guy put up 25 points over 78 games last year.

      What Zuc did unfortunately is not the norm and cannot be looked upon as the gold standard. Every once in a while a player will sign a very team friendly deal and it is extremely refreshing. The uncommon nature of the act makes it all the more special and that is why we love the guy so much. If you expect everyone to do that, then get ready to judge and hate the majority of players in the league.

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        NJ gives out a bad contract and now we have to. See that’s the problem. I say no. Travis is a bad one. Let that be NJ problem. You point to a bad deal and say see. Are you Stepan’s agent.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Just giving some color on the market is all. Good, Bad, or Fair contract aside, it exists and we need to look at all of them to accurately determine what number we all should feel comfortable with.

          Cherry picking one contract as a comparable (dollars per production), to me, is still more useful than saying “this guy isn’t worth more than $5.5 million because I say so”. Well the market (dictated by NHL GMs) says that a less productive player is worth more.

          Let’s get acclimated with our surroundings.

      • Mikeyyy says:

        Good points.

        Now let me tell you how I would handle this.

        Sit down with step

        Give him the good reasons to play for ny. There are many.

        And then tell him if he doesn’t want to play ball with a hometown discount that he will get his rights traded to the worst team in the nhl.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          I like the approach… if a player becomes entitled, play hardball and make him blink.

          I guess the difference is that I trust the Ranger’s brass to have a much better feel on how to handle the situation than we all do speculating from here. If that tactic would lead to any type of progress towards getting a deal done, then they would employ it. In a situation like this, I give the professionally groomed front office mgmt. team the benefit of the doubt.

          • HARLEMBLUES says:

            I would Hatrick but Danny G is sitting there with that unmoveable object and a N M C. Please don’t repeat that mistake.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Traded for what? What’s your definition of a hometown discount?

          It’s rare for a player to do that. He has no reason to do that. Few if any of us would agree to make, I don’t know, let’s say 15-20% less than what we could get elsewhere.

          We are fans. We love the Rangers. But fans are not players. Organizations in general aren’t loyal to players and players in general are certainly not loyal to organizations. The only reason it appeared the latter was the case back in the “good old days” was because the players had no rights and no leverage. If Rod Gilbert was playing today, and he got a prohibitive offer from his home town Montreal Canadiens, he’d be down the escalator to Penn Station and boarding the Montrealer train faster than you could say “GAG” Line! πŸ™‚

          Fan loyalty is a different thing. It is virtually unbreakable. Over 48 years of rooting for the Rangers, I’ve only rooted against the Rangers once, and that was on November 2, 1975 (coming up on the 40th anniversary…hard to believe!) when Eddie Giacomin was unceremoniously dumped and played his first game for the Wings against the Rangers. Rangers management showed no loyalty to Giacomin. A year earlier, the Yankees traded away Bobby Murcer. It opened my young (tear filled) eyes that sports is a business, and now I’m happy that players can be as “disloyal” as management has always been!

          • BOBBY B says:

            HEY EDDIE, we might be around the same age??, I remember George Steinbrenner saying he would not trade Bobby Murcer for Hank Aaron and Fenway Park, a year later he was sent packing for Bobby Bonds. its all business!

          • Jerry says:

            Eddie,

            I have been a Ranger fan since I was 9 years old. I also rooted for Detroit when Eddie G came “home”.

            • BOBBY B says:

              I REMEMBER it like it was yesterday, Eddie standing in the goal crease, wiping the tears from his eyes, the garden shouting, EDDIE/EDDIE /EDDIE all game long!! CLASSIC!!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Was the only few days I can ever remember in sports where it went from the saddest day imaginable (his release) to the best day imaginable (the spontaneous tribute to honor him). Unprecedented to the best of my knowledge.

                I remember Bill Chadwick’s words…..

                “Jim, I can’t recall a tribute like this in all my years in sports……”

          • Fotiu is God says:

            I’m with you, EEE!

            It’s a rather upside down, multigenerational Ranger hierarchy that cuts the likes of Nick Fotiu loose.

            To quote Colonel Kurtz, “Apocalypse Now”: “The horror… The horror.”

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              They cut Fotiu loose because of the expansion draft of 1979, as well as the fact they thought they had his obvious replacement in Frank “Seldom” Beaton. Those of us of a certain age all remember how well that worked out! πŸ™‚

              • BOBBY B says:

                Yeah Frank ( Seldom) Beaton, remember how Mel Bridgman ragdolled him the night Fotiu challenged the entire Philly team, nobody wanted to dance to Nicky..

      • jk says:

        Because the Devils overpaid doesn’t mean the Rangers have to as well. They walked away from Clarkson an look how that turned out.

        • Kevin says:

          The Devils are not a contender. You don’t just slam your contending window shut to prove a point to a player that wants more money than you’d prefer to give.

          • HARLEMBLUES says:

            NJ got to the SCF before we did.

            • Kevin says:

              In what any and all would describe as a fluke statistical season. And the Clarkson deal happened well after that anyway…

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      5 – 5.5M just isn’t in the realm of realism.

      He’ll get 6M+ because that’s what the market dictates and that’s what he’s worth.

      And in fairness to the Zucc situtation, he had only one good year prior to signing the deal. Step has accrued a ton more stock, and is in a better position to get a more lucrative deal than Zucc.

      • Dave says:

        You keep fighting the good fight, RFiB. I’ve given up on the Stepan value discussion.

      • Mikeyyy says:

        For a player who only played 3 full seasons with two marred by injury as well as never breaking 60 points in a season. Sorry that is NOT worth 6 million. Throw his slow starts in there and he isn’t what we all think he is. He is a borderline 1c

      • Chris72 says:

        yeah man

    • Greg B says:

      Strome, Duclair and our 1st round pick we sent to them for Step? This is half sarcastic.

    • Chris72 says:

      Unfortunately 5.5 is way under market value for him. That’s just the reality. The Rangers have invested so much of the cap space on the blueline that there’s nothing left to fairly compensate the forwards. They cannot be relying on “Hey, we’re the Rangers…… an original six team in the biggest market in the world who has had relatively great success the past few seasons…………. Come play for us for 85% of what the market is saying your worth” Thats not gonna do it

  4. joe719 says:

    And the rotisserie mentality still rules the day. When Stepan is traded—and joins Hagelin, Boyle, Cally and Stralman on the pile of exRangers who were “not worth”
    what they were reportedly asking for—–all these same geniuses will be crying about not making the playoffs and calling for AVs dismissal. But that will NEVER happen, right? We got Oscar Lindberg coming!!!!!! Or better yet, the people’s champion, Dylan McIlraith!!!!! God help us!!!

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Can you acknowledge that it is outside of the realm of possibility to keep all players year to year as they, and the warrants of their contracts, inevitably grow to a point where a team cannot afford them all under the constraints of a HARD CAP?

      It is a very good and healthy problem to have. As much as I loved every single one of those players, none were irreplaceable- even Captain Cally. And now Tampa is on the hook for paying a 3rd liner north of 5 million per season. I have to say I am relieved that it is not us.

      • Walt says:

        Buttman got what he wanted, parity, at the expense of well managed teams……..

        The hard cap should have never been implemented, and now we have to live with the consequences!!!!!!!!!

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Disagree. I think it is a wonderful thing for the sport. Tough decisions must be made and discipline must be at the forefront of every team’s front office, but you can’t knock how fun the games are to watch now. Forget Christmas…. the playoffs are the moooost wonderfullll tiiiimme of the year.

          • paulronty says:

            Sorry I can’t agree when the zebras put their whistles in their pockets and the game becomes one of who can smash who into the boards and intimidate more. The game is in anomie in the playoffs which is why 8th seeds can win the Cup or go to the final. It’s not even the same game as the regular season. The Caps-Rangers series was a prime example.

            • Hatrick Swayze says:

              What on earth does the consistency of referee protocol have to do with the salary cap and it’s effect on league parity.

              2 completely and utterly different topics.

              And I can guarantee you that pre salary cap and pre 2005 lockout, fans still cried foul about how penalties were called in the playoffs irrespective of other variables.

      • Chris72 says:

        Great point Swayze. Cally is also only good for about 60 games per year. The older he gets, the lower that number goes too

    • BOBBY B says:

      Joe, if the cap was non existent then all would be well in Ranger land, unfortunately , their are rules that come into play. Lindberg has talent and will be given a chance, Mcilrath brings intangibles to the table that do not show up on the highlight reels or box scores, no one will be running us out of the rink as long as he is on the team..

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Let’s not get carried away. McIlrath needs to prove he can handle the NHL game before we christen the guy as a defensive stalwart who will ensure that we never get blown out. I don’t think there’s a player in the world who deserves those accolades, let alone someone who doesn’t even have an NHL resume

        • wayneg says:

          Hatrick- I think you misinterpreted Walt’s meaning of “running us out of the rink”. I believe he’s saying no one will be taking runs at our players especially Hank with McIlrath playing enforcer. That kind of presence can have that effect. I’ve seen the way he can pound people. Agreed, he does have to play at an NHL level 3rd pair d-man.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            You’ve seen the way he can pound people on the AHL level for all of half a season. He’s proven nothing at this point, except hat he has improved as an AHL player. I’m still waiting to hear from a coach, a scout, a talent evaluator, anyone of credibility, these magic words about McIlrath–“this kid is ready to make an impact on the NHL level”. No one has said that. Many scouts already think Skjei is ahead of him on the depth chart. The Rangers defense is set, barring a trade. Where does McIlrath fit in? Can he even play in the NHL, especially on a contending team?

            I’m not saying he can’t, but the mythos being built around this kid is silly. 5 years…still waiting. Looking more and more like a waste of a valuable and rare lottery level pick.

            • BOBBY B says:

              EDDIE,I know you know your hockey, but you have to admit, this past playoff series, all teams that we played, went overboard on aggression, why??, no body out there to deliver pay back!!. I am not saying Mcilrath is a BOBBY ORR/SCOTT STEVENS CLONE. What I am saying is that he has a presence that this team lacks. Pair him with YENDEL. Give him a chance.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                IF….and its a big IF, he can play on the NHL level. Still no one has said he can. No one.

                I get your point though Bobby. Still, I think what doomed us was not a lack of size, but a severely compromised defense, no Zuc, and a lack of “finishers” in the scoring department.

                Size is great, but what size did TB have? They beat us with their quickness in large part because our defense was compromised.

                All I’m saying is, size is great, but the kid has to be able to handl NHL speed. Otherwise he’s nothing more than a large traffic cone.

              • Chris72 says:

                When Yandle and Boyle are gone after next season, The Rangers will be looking for a Defenseman who can play on the PP as well. That certainly will not be Mcllrath. I think Skjei and Graves are better fits for this system as far as prospects go

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Totally agree Chris. Which is why I am skeptical that things are going to work out with McIlrath. He may not be an NHL caliber player, and even if he is, as you said, there may be better fits short and long term coming up in the organization. Now if the kid builds on what was apparently a strong finish to his AHL season, well, then anything is possible.

              This camp for him will obviously be make or break.

              • Chris72 says:

                Exactly Eddie. He is playing for his Ranger life this camp. I’ve heard the comparisons to Beukeboom the day he was drafted. Beuk was special in his own right. We obviously don’t have a Brian Leetch on this roster (and probably will be a long long time until another Dman with his talent finds his way to a Rangers roster). Leetch was able to jump into the play so effectively and so often because Beuk was so good defensively. I know most of the comparisons were made regarding his size and toughness, but there have been a lot of guys who were big and tough. Beukeboom was much more than that.

          • BOBBY B says:

            hey wayneg, its was I who gave Mcilrath praises, although I think Walt likes him too. πŸ™‚

          • BOBBY B says:

            EXACTLY!!

            • BOBBY B says:

              EDDIE, I hear you on the big IF. ( Mcilrath) what burned me more than anything ( part of it was the AV turn the other cheek mentality) was the Tampa series. I know we were hurting at that point, but when a goal scorer ( Stamkos) is throwing body checks in the mode of Scott Stevens, it sends a message to both teams, hey Boys lets crush these guys, nothing is going to happen. I feel if Mcilrath’s presence was available, He would think twice at being so cocky, hey I still have nightmares of Dave Schultz’s destroying Dale Rolfe in the 75 series against Philly. The entire team stood back and kept their distance with their thumbs up their asses.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                I remember that game, and it was symbolic of a shift in hocke style from skill to a certain, shall I say, higher level of goonery. :).

                I read some articles in recent years about 1974 Game 7. Both Rolfe and Park were quoted. Park wanted to jump in but Rolfe said no. The Rangers were caught in a tough spot. Game 7. Did they want their key guys thrown out.

                The optics looked really bad on that. I remember screaming at the TV set. But years later, I’m not sure that restraint wasn’t the right decision. What chance do you have to come back if you are in the box and short handed. Ultimately, they probably lose that game either way.

              • Walt says:

                that game made me physically sick to my stomach!!!!!!!!! why do people have to remind me of it?????

              • BOBBY B says:

                Eddie/Walt, my baptism to Ranger fanatic was the 1972 cup final game 6 loss to the Bruins, I was 10 yrs old, the game was televised on NBC? at MSG. I remember turning to my Dad while seeing the Bruins skate with the cup, and saying, HEY, they are rubbing it in our faces, they beat us at home. My Dad said , don’t worry we will win it all next year. We had to wait 22 more years! The 74 team was cup material, but Philly was on a mission and had home ice and intimidation to the MAX, that Rolfe beating stood with me for years ( literally 20 years) I remember calling into WFAN , the Rangers were in the finals, Sal ( red light Massina) a former Ranger radio announcer , who did the highlights with Marv Albert was a special guest. I brought up that game, how sickening it was to see a teammate take a beating, with no one doing anything , I questioned the Manhood of that group. He reminded me that they had some tough guys on that team ( Ron Harris, Ted Irvine, Vic Hatfield) but the thing was it was game 7 and no one wanted to be the 3rd man in. I never understood it, till this day it bothers me!!

              • Chris72 says:

                Where’s Joey Kocur when you need him

        • paulronty says:

          Everytime we talk about a rookie we go negative because he hasn’t proved anything. That was true of Kreider, Miller, Fast & on & on. Yes rookies are the great unknown but we get good reviews from Beuke on McIlrath so why not give him a chance. An d that doesn’t mean sitting him on the bench when he makes a mistake which I’m sure he will. How often do we read here that G or Staal or Yandle suck because they made a mistake. It’s in people’s nature to beat up on D-men but it is one damn hard position to play. Let’s hope McIlrath makes the team because he’s going to hurt people just like Kreider does when he hits them. It’s just what we need. Go UNDERTAKER!!! Make us all believers man.

          • BOBBY B says:

            RIGHT ON PAULY!! I ALREADY HAVE MY MCILRATH JERSEY ON ORDER, JUST WAITING FOR HIS #, IN FACT IT WILL SAY UNDERTAKER AND A #, THE KID will give us an intangible we lack so dearly. Mark my words, he will be a decent NHL defenseman, with a mean streak that will have opponents keeping their chins up. He will be a popular as TIE DOMI.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Paul, I hear what you are saying. Rookies by their very nature are unknowns. But I don’t agree that we all go negative on all rookies. Some you can just tell have a chance to be special.

            Kreider excelled on the college stage, and then immediately made an impact in the 2012 NHL playoffs. He made a great first impression (and even Kreider, who did just that, has had his struggles at time finding consistency, and he’s the cream of our crop!). Totally different than McIlrath, who has largely stagnated, regressed, and only recently started to improve. It’s not even comparable.

            Miller and Fast showed steady, consistent improvement. There were some hiccups along the way, but not regression and stagnation on the AHL level the way it has been with McIlrath. Again, not comparable at all.

            You and a few others are getting way too caught up in what Beueke had to say. I’ve been a reporter. I’ve been in NHL lockerroms before. Trust me on this. There is such a thing called “coach-speak”. I wasn’t there obviously, and I don’t have the quote right in front of me, but the reporter asked Beuekeboom a question about the kid. Beuekeboom said something to the effect, “That kid really improved in the second half of the year. He was one of our best players in the playoffs”.

            That’s all good. Nothing wrong with that. Beats the alternative. But here’s where you have to be careful….

            “that kid has improved…..” Might mean he went from being REALLY bad to ok. Or mediocre to good. I’m a competitive 5k runner. If I had a coach, he could say the same thing about me that Beueke said about McIlrath. I’ve improved my times. A lot. But I’m still not very good and am NOT going to win races against top flight opponents! My read on this is that Beuke is confirming what we all heard–he wasn’t good last year. Wasn’t very good first half of his year. But he’s worked hard and has improved now to perhaps an upper tier AHL player. That’s fine. How do we know that that isn’t the limit for him?

            “He’s one of our best players in the playoffs”. Great. BUT, I think it was very, very telling that Beueke, a multiple time SC Champion, did NOT say something to this effect….”let me tell you, I LOVE this kids game. He is NHL ready right now!” All he said was that he improved and is a quality AHL player now. BIG, BIG difference.

            Lastly, here’s the ultimate rule on coach-speak. Especially on the AHL level. Coaches are always going to try and talk up their prospects. What did you think he would say, “McIlrath isn’t very good. I don’t think he can play in the NHL?” He’d be fired the next day.

            And what I’m hearing you say is, just play him. What do you have to lose. If he makes a mistake, the coaches better not bench him. Really? Did you see how Fast and especially Miller improved because they WERE benched. That’s great coaching. You can go with your approach if you are Carolina or Buffalo. I agree, you have nothing to lose in that case. On a SC contender, you have to prove your worth and develop the mental toughness to play when the stakes are highest. AVs approach worked with Miller and Fast and they quickly grew up. They wouldn’t have learned a thing if AV just kept playing them without consequence. That’s great coaching!

            Now, the flip side is, even though he has been a huge, huge disappointment, he’s only 23. He has improved. Who’s to say he won’t be ready after a summer of hard work. You never know. Let’s see.

            But I will say again, we are STILL waiting for someone, anyone, to say this kid is indeed NHL ready. We already have a deep and talented defense with players under contract. They just re-signed Diaz as the 7th D. Skjei by all accounts may be ahead of McIlrath on the depth chart. Without a trade, where does McIlrath fit in? How can you say for certainty he can do the things you say he can do on the NHL level when he has barely done it on the AHL level?

            I haven’t heard anything that says he can, so until we do or see it for ourselves, I think it’s appropriate to be skeptical. Hopeful? Sure. But definitely skeptical.

            • paulronty says:

              Nowhere have I seen a statement that McIlrath has regressed in any way. He lost a season to injury but he’s getting better. He was the last D cut in training camp last year was he not. It’s just impatience that leads fans to call him a bust. Not so fast. If he can’t do it, so be it. but I’m not giving up on him. Rangers aren’t either because they qualified him. Gernander referred to McIlrath as a heart & soul guy & great team player. I love guys like that so I hope he proves al the doubters wrong.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Go to hockeysfuture.com. I think it was their April report card. He was labeled as the most disappointing prospect. Talked about his regression. That was before he apparently ascended in the playoffs.

                It’s definitely out there that he regressed. It also is out there that he righted the ship and improved at the end. Those are pretty clear facts it seems. Where he goes from here is totally unknown at this point. No one knows or has said that he can handle NHL speed.

                And keep in mind that Gernander himself was a heart and soul guy and a great team player–and also the Rangers version of Crash Davis–a minor league star who couldn’t quite stick in the pros. Who’s to say McIlrath doesn’t fit that profile?

                All I’m saying is, there are those out here saying he will be the difference maker. That he’s DEFINITELY ready. That’s where you lose me. The only thing that is a definite is the Rangers have no room for him as currently situated given the defensive depth they have both on the big club and in the organization as a whole. He is out of options. Banking on him to help the team would be pretty risky. Waiting to see what he brings in camp and evaluate if he actually can keep up with NHL-caliber speed? Sure, I’m on board with that. But I’m not counting on him at all. Hope he surprises me.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Joe, with all respect, if anyone is in a fantasy league mode right now it’s you. You don’t seem to want to acknowledge that the NHL has a hard cap, and that it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep all your players, especially the ones you just mentioned. It is likely that every one of those players would still be Rangers under the old system. Under the current system…can’t be done. You keep gong on and on about this without offering a solution that works in the real world. If you could explain how it would have been possible to keep every one of the guys you listed and still make it work under the cap, well, we’d need to submit that plan to all 30 GMs in the league so you can get a job as a Capologist. πŸ™‚

      Now, that being said, I don’t agree with those that say that Stepan going to arbitration or asking for what he’s worth makes him selfish in any way. To expect Step to take anything less $6 bills per is silliness. There isn’t any one among us that doesn’t want to be paid what we are worth, and that wouldnt feel bad seeing someone who is comparable or maybe even less effective getting paid more. Loyalty only goes so far.

      Look at the names mentioned in your post. The Rangers have had a track record of letting go of players who were at the time at their relative peak in terms of performance, and therefore not likely to get much better. That, to me, is smart business in a hard cap world. Sell high before the downward curve hits. Stepan’s case is totally different. He’s 25 yo. He still has probably two more years of growth before he hits his peak. He could easily become a 25-30 goal scorer if he stays healthy. Unless Gorton believes he can find that production elsewhere, I think the Rangers will do what is necessary to keep him, within reason. I’m not an expert on this, but it seems to me going to arbitration is a good thing here. If Dave is correct and the ROR deal is inadmissible, then maybe the Saad deal is–6 years at $6 mil. I would do that deal and I bet the Rangers would too. To me, that’s exactly why they let Hags go–to have the space to get Step signed. If they miscalculated and are forced to lose Step as well as Hags in the same off season, then they totally blew this in my view. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment.

      Barring a trade that would make sense, losing both Hags AND Step would be too much to overcome. A team competing for the Cup is not going to do that. I say this deal gets done…..prediction….6 years/$6.25 mil. Cap relief comes next year with about $10 mil coming off the books and that can get Kreider and Hayes deals done in theory.

      Btw, don’t be so quick to diss Lindberg. He looked good when he was up last year and the word on him is that he is NHL ready right now. Why do you assume he won’t be ready? The Rangers have been really good at developing their own players and getting them on the big club when the time is right in recent years. What was your boy Hags four years ago? Essentially, he was Lindberg right? Not a highly touted star. Just a potentialy solid player with upside. McIlrath? On that I agree. It’s 50/50 at best he even makes the team, let alone plays a major role. Decent chance Rangers will have to deal him for something like a 5th rounder come training camp. (to all the McIlrath fans, hold off on the thumbs down button….yes, I know Buekeboom said he improved. That’s fine….but NO ONE that I know of has yet said he is ready to be an effective NHL player. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that). Time will tell. Maybe he will surprise everyone and prove he can be an effective NHL player. But right now, this is looking like one of Sather’s biggest mistakes in selecting McIlrath over other options back in 2010 (makes me cringe that 5 years later, we are still waiting for SOMETHING, ANYTHING from this kid).

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        “The Rangers have had a track record of letting go of players who were at the time at their relative peak in terms of performance, and therefore not likely to get much better. That, to me, is smart business in a hard cap world. Sell high before the downward curve hits. Stepan’s case is totally different. He’s 25 yo.”

        ^THIS. This is the CRUX of the matter in the whole NYR free agent debate. Eddie hit the nail on the head.

      • Section 121 says:

        Check the history on this site, I said Dylan would amount to nothing more than a Dale Purinton in the NHL when we drafted him.

        Dylan, please prove me wrong – we’ll see…

      • BOBBY B says:

        Excellent points, I will agree that Mcilrath has to prove to all that this is his time ( and I feel he will). He must show the world he belongs. HE HAS to show that he can bring something to the table, that Skeji and Diaz CAN NOT.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Bobby, you nailed it! You’re a McIlrath fan and I respect that. I’ve just been waiting for someone like you from the “Mac” camp to just acknowledge that he has to actually earn his spot, as opposed to just handing it to him and let him play just because he’s a large guy. There’s a janitor in my building with some pretty good size that would look great in a Rangers uniform, but it doesn’t mean he can skate on an NHL level. πŸ™‚

          All I’m asking is that he prove himself as an NHL caliber defenseman in camp before we annoint him as some kind of savior.

          • Walt says:

            sorry Ed but I have stated that he has to earn his stripes, and not have it handed to him !!!!!!!!

            As far a coach talk, well, would you, given an opportunity to address this, as a coach, put your reputation on the line and make the statement that Beauk made if there were no truth to it????? I suspect not…………

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Walt, I stand corrected. You are another who’s shown restraint in that regard. He has to earn it, we both agree.

              As for Beuke, I disagree with you. That’s exactly what he should say. If it’s true that he’s improved and became one of their better players come playoff time, that’s truth and he should say that and tha exactly what he did. No more, no less. He can stand by that because apparently that was the case.

              My point is he was unwilling to go beyond that and say something to the effect that the kid is NHL caliber, or will be by September in his opinion. Minor league coaches are supposed to talk up their prospects. He obviously wasn’t willing to say that, which to me says something.

              I’ll say it again, based on what we’ve heard from Beuke and others, he is now a real good quality AHL player. Beyond that, we know nothing. NHL? Unknown. Capable of unseating someone on an already deep Rangers defense? Able to stay ahead of Brady Skjei, who in short order has either closed the gap on him or moved ahead of him? All to be dertenined.

              It just seems like a very tough hill to climb. Still, it’s possible. We shall see.

              • Walt says:

                good points, but if they really didn’t think that he is ready, or will be shortly, why then make an offer?????????

                time will tell, as always…….

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                I think what they see is a kid who has improved. They also see a former number one draft choice who they don’t want to cut loose just yet. And you need players to fill a training camp roster.

                He COULD take that next step, but it’s a very big step to take. He has to prove he is NHL ready, which he has not done yet. And he has to prove he can fit into AV’s system, which requires a player to be smart and disciplined. Can he do that?

                He will be very motivated this summer to prove that he can. His future depends on it. If he does, if someone gets hurt in camp, he’s a cheap alternative. Or, if Stepan’s contract forces the Rangers to trade let’s say Klein, then he could be a fit if he proves he’s ready. Or, if he shows he’s capable, there’s no room for him on the big club, he either clears waivers or is traded for some low level pick.

                All those things are reasons to make him an offer. But the act of making him an offer doesn’t mean they expect him to make the team. It means they are hopeful he can bring some value as either a trade chip or an emergency fill in. Being a significant contributor would be a long shot at this point.

      • BOBBY B says:

        RANGERS WERE NOT THE ONLY TEAM TO PASS ON TARASENKO.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      I bet the Rangers make the playoffs nxt year.

  5. SalMerc says:

    1. Maybe Stepan starts to put up 1C numbers
    2. Hayes doesn’t get the sophomore jinx.
    3. JT gets more PP time
    4. Oskar puts 30 points on the board
    5. Our defense actually adds to our scoring
    6. Zucc feels no ill affects from his injury

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Number 5. That’s the big key for me. Need more offense from McD, Boyle and Yandle.

      Each having better seasons (Yandle with a full season with the Rangers) will help make up the rest of the gap.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Yup. Agree completely on that. Number 5 is key. I’m expecting McDonagh to put himself back into the Norris conversation. He needs to be better. Also expecting a huge year from Yandle as he approaches UFA status next summer and he has a training camp to fully grasp AV’s system.

        Boyle? Tougher to predict. On the one hand, coming off a solid playoff performance, has had a year to adjust to AV’s system. That should make him better. But, at his age, he could also suddenly hit that expiration date on the proverbial milk carton and see his game turn sour. Total unknown on that one.

        I’m in for the first two for sure RFiB, and as Meatloaf would say, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”. πŸ™‚

      • BOBBY B says:

        right on.

  6. Hatrick Swayze says:

    You pretty much hit the nail on the head, Kevin. Many of the naysayers out there are completely discrediting the ‘open-canopy theory’. If a tree in the rain forest comes crashing down, sunlight hits the forest floor and all of the smaller trees/undergrowth race to the top to fill the canopy. To relate it to hockey, the trees are the players (goal scorers) and the sunlight can be likened to opportunity (more minutes, PP time, quality of linemates).

    Growth happens every year across the entire NHL. Our team (as is) is plenty capable of scoring enough goals next year. All will be well.

  7. roadrider says:

    Count me as highly skeptical that all of the guys you mention will take significant strides forward. Some of them likely will, others may stay about the same and others might stall out or even regress. The bottom line is that a lot of things have to go right for the Rangers to make up for the lost offensive production and Nash’s likely regression from a career year. The more things that have to go right the less chance there is that all of them actually happen.

    And count me as extra skeptical that they will make up for the lost production through the PP.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Were you also skeptical last year when we lost established NHLers, Callahan, Boyle, Stralman, Richards, Pouliot….. and rookie replacements such as Hayes, Fast and Miller ALL stepped up, some with extremely expedited learning curves (i.e. Hayes)?

      The result was that the squad out performed their predecessors. Now is not the time to doubt the org.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Agree with Hatrick.

        True, not all will take strides, but given their age and talent, I agree with the premise of Kevin’s points. Growth can and should be expected here. The Rangers will remain strong Cup contenders IF they re-sign Step. If not, then that’s a different discussion.

        As for the PP, on that, I will just say I’m hopeful for SOME improvement. πŸ™‚

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        Excellent point. Hatrick.

    • paulronty says:

      Yep a lot of things do have to go right as we saw in the playoff defeat. Read a study that showed that of all the major sports luck plays the biggest role in hockey above all others. So if this go our way I think this team is defitely capable of winning a Cup.

  8. kevshockey says:

    Stepan put up as many points as Bergeron and Duchene in 13/14 less games, missed training camp with a broken leg and was playing with a MSL who was awful with his possession stats this season.

    1C numbers really are the top 30 in the league. With the extra games, he puts up Toews stat line. I don’t really know how this keeps coming up as a huge issue. He’s not asking for the moon.

    So by the math the Rangers lost St. Louis and his 52 pts (21/31) and Hagelin and his points 35 pts (17/18). That’s 87 points to make up throughout the roster. So if we assume Yandle goes back to producing .65 points a game over 82, Stepan produces like he did in his 68 games at .81. There’s roughly 40 pts between the 2 of them to take away from the 87 pt loss. It’s that high because Yandle only chipped in 11 points as a Rangers and has been in the 50 range for most of his career, Stepan would have gotten 11 more over 82 last season.

    Asking for an increase in points from the collection of Kreider, Miller, Hayes and Fast isn’t out of the question, even if all of them only improves slightly 5-10 points each that will do a significant amount work to making up that ground. Not to mention adding Etem into the mix where he’ll likely see some PP time and at least 3rd line minutes should at least see a 20 point jump. But since the rest of my points have been all numbers based on history, he’ll likely be in the 18 point range for a full 82. Lindberg who won’t put up outstanding numbers but 10-20 points isn’t out of the question as well.

    Even at the most modest improvement from the young players 5 for the 4 on the roster, Etem increasing over 82 to 18 points and Lindberg chipping in 10 the Rangers are at a +8 on points over last season’s offense.

    Alright feel free to tear the reply apart because there are a lot of assumptions here.

  9. InvalidBeard says:

    The PP issue for me continues to be the coaching staff’s refusal (I’m beginning to think they’re not just ignorant) to make adjustments. In the playoffs, it was painfully obvious that the second unit, you know, with NASH, YANDLE, and Miller (who could win the draw) was superior to St. Louis, Stepan, Boyle, even Girardi at times. I believe Yandle can help the PP, if he’s put in a position to do so. He wasn’t last year with New York. It might have cost them the ECF.

  10. Jerry says:

    In the world of PP mysteries as it relates to AV’s Rangers. Hank said that Klien possess the “hardest shot on the team”. He is accurate with that “hardest shot on the team”. He scored 9 goeal last year. He actually know how to play defence unlike Boyle, who in my opinion is a negative, a liability and redundant with the acquisition of Yandel. At least try him on the right point on the PP.

    • InvalidBeard says:

      Agreed 1000 fold. Klein’s lack of use, and beating the failed St.Louis/Boyle combo into the ground was maddening.

      • Jerry says:

        Thanks Beard. Glad to know I’m not the only one who has that view.

        • InvalidBeard says:

          To boot, they’d stick Stepan on that left side of PP. He has no power in his shot. I thought Klein was going to see a big boost with Yandle’s arrival. Wheelhouse, misdirection passes to our right D with the hardest most accurate shot.

  11. Jerry says:

    As to the discourse many here have about McIlrath. I personally would be happy if he is the Rangers third pairing right D-man. Stay at home, cover for Yandle, CLEAR THE CREASE, make opposition left wings pay coming down his side. I’m not asking he become a top pair D-man. As to what Buek said about him, was more than he was improved over the second half of the season. He stated McIlrath was one of the best Pack players in the playoffs. McIlrath hit (HARD) without taking himself out of position. That is some positive praise coming from a guy who KNEW how to play D. Just ask Leetch.
    He will protect his team. Period. His toughness is needed on this team the way it’s structured presently.
    McIraths progress was hampered almost one full year while he recovered from a nasty knee injury. Big, defensive D-men historically take time to develop. Again I am not saying he will ever be a #2 D-man. I ma happy with him being a #6 D-man with the attributes mentioned above.

    • Bobby b says:

      Jerry,McIIrath jerseys on order for you,me and Pauly πŸ™‚

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Who knows, they may become collector’s items–just like the jerseys fans ordered for another Rangers tough guy from the early 80s named Frank “Seldom” Beaton. The only thing that got “beaten” when he was on the ice on the NHL level was himself when it became clear that his toughness wasn’t enough, and he was quickly exposed and gone.

        Time will tell with McIlrath.

    • Walt says:

      well stated!!!!!! totally agree, and am pulling for his success, which means team success………………

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Yes, al true what Beueke said, but again, what is a minor league coach supposed to say when asked the question? He COULD have said he is NHL caliber right now. He did not. To me, it’s more telling what he didn’t say than what he did.

      Cautionary tale–his head coach, Ken Gernander, was once among the best Pack players (had his number retired in fact) and was a career minor leaguer. So that means nothing. Being among the best AHL players doesn’t necessarily mean he’s an NHL caliber player.

      Let’s label it as an “unknown”. The kid may work his tale off this off-season and make himself into exactly what you are hoping. I’m sure he realizes after 5 years now that his time is running out to be considered a legit NHL prospect.

      Time will tell.

      • Jerry says:

        Hey Eddie,
        I hear you loud and clear. But this has been the first time any Pack coach has said anything good about him. Mostly all that’s been said is that he needs work.
        Please don’t get me wrong, his fighting ability is just one aspect of the game I like about him. And that’s not just that he can fight. The fact we have someone who WILL take care of the skilled players can be a deterrent in itself. As I said, he shoots right, will clear the crease, make opponent left wings skate with their heads up, win corner battles, can cover for his D-partner, hits extremely hard AND is cap friendly, are all positives.
        I’m sure he will find a job, if not with the Rangers then with another team that needs a D-man, as he either sticks with the Rangers or gets exposed to waivers.
        I am not a Boyle fan, and even less so now that we have Yandle who I believe has more upside than Boyle. Boyle had two distinct playoffs. He was HORRID defensively but did come around offensively somewhat. He got pushed around by a relatively small Tampa team, didn’t win one corner battle and Tampa set up camp in the crease whenever he was on the ice. He was brought here to improve a pathetic power play and failed.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          I’m with you Jerry. I guess what has me worried is a few things.

          1. Can he fit in to AVs system?

          2. He has the size. He doesn’t have to be an elite skater obviously. But can he keep up with the speed the of the NHL game? We can say Girardi and Staal aren’t fleet of foot, but they have incredible hockey instincts. Does McIlrath possess that?

          3. My sense, just based on the little I’ve seen, and the things I’ve read about him, is that he’s a freight train. That’s great. But if he gets frustrated, will he start to take really bad penalties in order to make his mark? We all know that’s a fine line. Sending a message is great, but putting your team shorthanded too often is a recipe for disaster. Especially in the playoffs. Can he be smart and disciplined enough? We talk about the comparisons to Beuekeboom. Beueke was a smart player. He didn’t put the Rangers in bad short handed situations too often, especially when it mattered most. Most modern NHL coaches are not going to stand for undisciplined behavior, and we certainly know AV will not.

          We know about his size. We know about his thunderous hits. All good. I’m most interested to know what’s between his ears. That will likely determine if he is NHL quality or not.

          • BOBBY B says:

            I know this is going to get me in trouble, but here it is anyway, Mcilrath reminds me of a combination of Jeff Beukeboom and Marty McSorley, now that would be a welcome addition!!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              From your lips to the hockey gods ears! πŸ™‚

              But this goes back to my whole problem with this premise. How effective would a McSorely and/or Bueke even be in today’s NHL? Could they keep up with the speed of today’s game? That’s the big question that faces the Rangers as they evaluate McIlrath.

              I have a question for all of you McIlrath fans, and in no way do I mean this as taking a shot at your guy. Just a logical question.

              Why are you so excited about what he can do compared to let’s say what Brady Skjei can do? Why aren’t we hearing all of you scream for Skjei to make the team? To give him a chance? To just let him play and not bench him if he makes a mistake? Why aren’t we showing him the love the way some of you are showing it to McIlrath? By all accounts, Skjei is the far more skilled player with higher upside. Personally, I’m much more excited to see what he can do in camp than what McIlrath can do.

              If the reason is simply that McIlrath is 6-5, 230, and that Skjei is “only” 6-3, 206, that’s just not enough for me. The NHL is a skill league now more than ever. Teams that win cups have immense skill, not necessarily immense size. Now if you have size and skill, like Kreider, that’s great. But skill trumps size in today’s NHL.

              If all McIlrath has is size, even if he has heart and courage and all those great qualities, is that going to be enough? Do you really think, given the choice, knowing AVs style of coaching, and realizing the glut of veterans the Rangers are committed to, that they are more likely to go with McIlrath in the near term than Skjei, assuming that choice even comes up this September?

              In my view, the presence and emergence of Skjei makes McIlrath’s path to the Rangers that much more difficult. I just don’t see how he can fit.

              • Walt says:

                Ed

                I personally want to see the kid succeed because of all the things listed, but also because he is a right handed d-man.

                Skjei is very skilled, but will need maybe a few months in the AHL, and then will be ready, by all I’ve read. Problem, what do we do with Mac Truck, Staal, and Yandel, all lefties??????????????

                Everyone is saying trade Klein, who do you replace a right handed d-man with, other than Mc Ilrath?????????? That is my feeling, and thought process on this matter!!!!!!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Good answer Walt. Makes sense.

              • BOBBY B says:

                Eddie, its called INTIMIDATION and it is still needed ( although not as much) in today’s Hockey . Do you think the opposing team will look at the roster and see Skjei name and say, OH NO, Skjei is playing tonight, we better keep our heads up, better not pitch a tent in front of Hank, lets not even think about dropping the gloves. Mcilrath brings that intangible to this Team, NOBODY else on the roster ( save for Tanner Glass) is even close..

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Bobby, that’s only going to be true if he can play on this level. Otherwise opponents are going to say, yes, keep your heads up with this guy, but he’s slow a foot, he’s inexperienced, he’s a hot head, you can goad him into taking stupid penalties, etc.(Assuming of course, that that is who and what he is, which in fairness, we don’t know that either). Opponents will be salivating to play against a guy like that. NHL players are a tough lot and don’t intimidate easily, but will exploit players with obvious weaknesses in their game.

                I have no doubt a player like that would be an asset back 20-30 years ago. Not so sure about today UNLESS he can skate and keep up with NHL speed.

                Aren’t you concerned that, with so many vets on defense, and knowing AVs style and smart, disciplined approach he expects, that McIlrath will be a square peg in a circle hole trying to fit into a scheme that may or may not suit him?

                Meanwhile, if Skjei is another McDonagh type, as an opposing coach I’m much more concerned about a player like that. It’s another matchup against a skill player I have to worry about.

                Size is great if it is accompanied by talent. In today’s NHL, size is meaningless without some level of skating and passing ability.

                We won’t know until September. I remain skeptical. Very skeptical.

        • BOBBY B says:

          Dan Boyle shouts, the Rangers did not bring me here to win games in the regular season, they brought me here to win a stanley cup, I may take a few seconds off a shift here and there, it may cost us a playoff game, but I am worth those millions you are paying me.. His time as a productive player has come and gone, please send him away, give the kids a chance..

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            I’m all in favor of giving kids a chance of they are ready. I’m not in favor of giving kids a chance on a SC contending team if they are NOT ready. We have no idea if McIlrath or Skjei is ready.

            As for Boyle, it’s highly improbable he’s going anywhere. He has one year left on his deal. He has a no movement clause.

            It’s ironic that our oldest defenseman, Boyle, was the only one who was healthy in the TB series. You can make a case that he was one of the more productive players for the Rangers in that series.

            Now, at his age, what will he be this season? Unknown. Just like McIlrath. The difference is that Boyle has an NHL track record. We will know a lot more in about 10-12 weeks!

            • BOBBY B says:

              Eddie, this sport has a funny way of catching up with you. Look what happened to MSL in one year. Boyle looked gassed in the playoffs, is he somehow going to rejuvenate and get younger.?? We have a younger/stronger, similar type player in Yandle. Boyle is excess baggage with a big $$$$$ price tag.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Disagree. He played his best hockey in the playoffs. He was arguably the Rangers best defenseman in the TB series. He put up decent numbers.

                That being said, your point about MSL is valid. We have no idea what to expect. He could have a very solid year with a full season playing for AV under his belt.

                And it’s also a moot point. He’s on the squad for this season for sure given his no movement clause.

              • BOBBY B says:

                Eddie, you do have a way of opening eyes with your objective point of view, good points on Mcilrath ( who I root for) and Boyle ( who I am very tough on) . We do have to consider that Mcilrath is not an AV type player, which makes a tough situation even tougher.

  12. "The Original Rob" says:

    Just wanted to let everyone know…..daaaaaaaamn this is a great thread!

    Just so tied up w work, that it’s impossible for me to chime in today, but man o man….The heart of all here that pumps Red White and Ranger Royal Blue Blood in all of you is so evident and admirable, regardless if I disagree or agree with any people here.

    Makes me proud to be a BSB’er!

    • paulronty says:

      You are so right. People can disagree here & still be civil. I was on other sites and I gave up posting because I was personally attacked(as were others) with impunity. Here it’s a discussion not an attack. So kudos to the moderators.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Totally agree. Wouldn’t even dream of posting elsewhere. Just a load of $@$& bombs and not a lot of intelligent discussion. I learn something new every day out here which is great. The hockey IQ on this site is obviously ten times higher than what you’d find elsewhere. Agree, kudos to the moderators for seeing to it that we all behave! πŸ™‚

        • Chris72 says:

          Yeah man. I just started posting. Nice and smart bunch of guys on this site. I live in Queens NY and most of my close friends are Islanders fans. It’s great to be able to talk Rangers hockey on a daily basis

  13. Chris A says:

    Anyone else think Vlad Tarasenko’s 8 year/$7.5M cap hit contract is good news for the Rangers? I understand that the contract situations of O’Reilly, Stepan, and Tarasenko are like comparing apples to oranges to bananas, but still, Tarasenko getting the same money as O’Reilly, when Tarasenko is miles better than O’Reilly takes some of the shine off of O’Reilly’s deal and makes Buffalo look desperate and amateurish for offering that much money.

    I’m thinking long term here, I’m not talking about the potential (but very unlikely) arbitration hearing. I’m assuming the Rangers want to lock up Stepan for the next six to eight years, not just for the next two and then see Stepan hit the open market as a 26 year old #1C.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      If the money is right, agreed. 6 years tops though. Eight year deals are for superstars like Hank.

      • Chris A says:

        I wouldn’t mind signing Stepan until he’s 32. That’s how long an eight year deal locks him up for. I think a player like Stepan starts a steep decline around 33-34, once the legs go.

    • kevshockey says:

      The fact that he is a wing may come into account in this particular comparison. Generally speaking you only hear comparisons based on position not just on age. I have to imagine that has something to do with arbitration rules on comparisons.

      • Chris A says:

        Oh I know that Kev, I wasn’t talking about the arbitration hearing. I was talking about the actual long-term contract negotiations which are taking place or going to take place later this summer between Stepan and the Rangers.

        Stepan’s agent can point to ROR’s deal as a comparable and the Rangers can simply say that ROR is vastly overpaid thanks to Tarasenko’s contract.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      It can’t hurt. As yes, they should be looking to lock him up long term, so as to not be in this position again in a year or two when salaries are only going higher.

      O’Reilly’s deal has to be looked at as an outlier, but he was also starting from such a high point anyway, the way he was overpaid in Colorado.

      • Chris A says:

        That’s true, that Calgary offer sheet (which almost became a hilarious disaster if Colorado chose not to match it) really messed up ROR’s future salary.

        Thanks to a loophole in the rules, because ROR played a handful of games in Switzerland while he was unsigned, Calgary would have been forced to put ROR through waivers if his offer sheet wasn’t matched by Colorado. If another team made a claim of ROR off of waivers Calgary still would have been required to surrender their compensatory picks to Colorado for ROR’s offer sheet.

      • Walt says:

        your last part of the statement says it al….

        he was given an offer sheet that Colorado had to match, putting him light years ahead of where he should have been paid….

        as for Tarasenko’s contract, the kid scored in the high 30’s, and the Blues wanted him tied up long , he will be a super star in the near future, while Step, and ROR won’t be !!!!!!!!!

        • Chris A says:

          Walt, if Stepan signs for $6.5M per for six to eight years, would you be happy with that?

          • Walt says:

            if that fits under the cap, and we can sign all the RFA, and not have any additional cap casualties, then it’s fine. I just don’t want to loose any other member of the team to accommodate Step alone!!!!!!!!!!

          • Chris72 says:

            6yrs-39mil is the magic number for me. Sadly i don’t think that will get it done though

            • Chris A says:

              I think it will. Don’t forget Stepan has two more seasons until he would be come an unrestricted free agent. He can’t ask for that much money for the next two years.

              I see Stepan’s contract breaking down year to year like this: $4.5M, $4.5M, $7M, $7M, $7M, $7.5M, $7.5M, $8M. That comes out to a $6.625M cap hit for 8 years. I would be thrilled if Stepan signed that deal. Add on some no-movement clauses and you probably can take 3 million off of the back end of the contract and bring the cap hit down to $6.25M

              • Chris72 says:

                I’d be stoked if he signed that contract Chris A. I really would. I think his days of playing for 4.5 any season are done though. I hope you’re right man. Especially since we have to go through this all over again next year with Kreider. Fortunately, Dan Boyle’s 4.5 cap hit will be coming off the books at the same time. That money gets shoveled right over to Kreider’s acoount

        • Chris72 says:

          Thats a lot of casheeesh! It makes sense why St. Louis is entertaining offers for Shattenkirk. They have to start planning departures for the guys they are not gonna be able to pay in the near future. This is what separates the good GM’s from the mediocre GM’s. Contracts like these are game changers

  14. JoeS. says:

    Great article Kevin, thanks for the work.

  15. supermaz says:

    I just would not be happy if the Rangers are locked into a slow skating, weak shooting #1 center whose not great at faceoffs and has no physicality to his game whatsoever, for the next 6 years. I think we can do better.

  16. JayinToronto says:

    Kevin — where did the Rangers rank last year in Goals and Goals Allowed? You are making two assumptions:

    1. The same # Goals this year will be sufficient

    2. Rangers GA will not be affected by the loss of Talbot and any decline in D

    Of course I hope you are right.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      If I may answer in Kevin’s stead…..

      Rangers ranked third in both categories.

      They lose MSL’s 21 goals and Hags’s 17.

      No reason why, assuming normal, expected growth from their young core, that they can’t collectively make up most of those 38. Even if they fall short, they don’t have to be top 3 again to be a formidable playoff team.

      On defense, McDonagh should be a better player this year and he makes the defense go. Losing Talbot is not really a big deal unless Hank suffers another long term injury, which is unlikely.

      These things are always unpredictable, but as long as they re-sign Stepan, we should be fine.

  17. Hatrick Swayze says:

    I am less concerned with the actual cap hit than I am with a NMC or NTC being part of the deal.

    Many fail to mention that Staal and Girardi have 3 years of NMCs before they become limited…so the Rangers have an out on the back end of the deals.

    Even if we have to pay Stepan more than most of us would like (6-6.5 mil is deserved, maybe 6.75….7+mil is just too steep though for our salary structure) perhaps we are forced to, in order to ice a contender for this year, and possibly the year after. If things don’t work out, then we can still move him in order not to squeeze out anyone else on the roster –> provided he doesn’t control his own destiny with one of those clauses.

    Obviously there is a market for overpaid centers- if he becomes one- and we can cut ties and test the market. So long as we hold the cards, and not he. (or him… grammar)

    • Chris A says:

      Normally when those clauses are given out the player has to agree to take less salary as part of the negotiation, basically trading money for security.

      If Stepan gets an NTC/NMC added to his contract then his cap hit is going to be knocked down to around $6M. I would gladly sign Stepan long term with the added clauses to get him down to a $6M-$6.25M cap hit.

    • Chris72 says:

      If the Rangers are dumpster diving in 3 years, I’m sure all these guys will be willing to waive anything they need to waive in order to play for a contender. I don’t worry at all about those clauses. Thats just me