May
20

Interactive thoughts for your Friday morning

May 20, 2016, by
sabres.nhl.com

sabres.nhl.com

It’s never fun enduring a long offseason while fans of other clubs get to enjoy a playoff run. This may sound a little spoiled to fans of teams like Edmonton and Calgary, but over the last decade, Rangers fans have been treated to a consistent expectation of contention. Since the Rangers have been eliminated, I have read a lot of great analysis about the importance of this offseason and potential directions for the club to go.

It’s going to be very difficult to handicap the exact moves from an analysis standpoint and hey, that’s up to you guys and gals anyway (shameless plug for the Off-season Plan Contest).   I have kind of a conceptual thought-dump I wanted to share about this coming offseason and to see how you are felt about some of these things…

1.The Rangers have recently been an “offense by committee” kind of roster. Sure, there have been some outstanding individual seasons from Marian Gaborik and Rick Nash, but it always seems like they have a whole bunch of guys hovering between 35 and 65 points. Scoring depth has always been strength, but they have never had that truly dominant line that created serious matchup problems for opposing coaches. Question being, do you think this type of Top-9 construction can put a team consistently in true contention for The Cup?

2. This kind of dovetails from the previous section in that Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan have been something of 1A centers on this team. Obviously, neither one of them fits the mold of a Steven Stamkos, Anze Kopitar, Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, “Number One Center”. The Rangers always seemed to be in that never ending pursuit of that guy, leaving many questionable decisions in their wake (Bobby Holik, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Brad Richards, etc.). Given their recent performance and future outlook, do you think that the Top-6 center position is competitive with Stepan and Brassard, or do you think a true “number one” center is necessary?

3. I read an interesting article from Sean McIndoe over at Sportsnet.ca the other day about GM’s taking a page out of the playbooks of this year’s final four. He had a noteworthy observation that I suppose I was aware of, but never consciously pointed out. Going back to probably the 2007 Anaheim Ducks, every Cup winner has had a Norris caliber defender on its roster. Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, Zdeno Chara, Scott Neidermayer, etc., have been instrumental in their team’s runs. Ryan McDonagh was always expected to take that step forward and become a perennial Norris candidate, but it hasn’t really materialized yet. Even with a re-tooling of the defense, do you think the Rangers can ultimately get where they want to be without one of those guys?

4. I keep hearing small, but vocal corners of the Rangers fan base calling for Henrik Lundqvist to be traded in order to re-coup assets and stop focusing organizational decisions around his window. The issue that I take with this approach, aside from the fact that Hank is one of the best goalies on the planet, is the potential for a representative return.

Historically, the trade returns for high-end goalies are absolutely putrid. Probably the best of the recent bunch has been the number nine overall pick for Cory Schneider. The problem is, Schneider was 27 at the time and entering his prime seasons. He has since blossomed into one of the best goalies in the NHL; making the number nine pick still a little light for his true talent.

The rest of the field: dumpster fire. Seriously. That huge return for Ryan Miller at the deadline a couple seasons ago? Two rentals (who walked a few months later), a late first round pick, a conditional third and the number seven prospect in a stacked farm system. They also threw in a useful bottom six guy in Steve Ott. That return work for you for Lundqvist? Me either.

5. From a systems perspective, do you feel that the front office can put the right personnel in place for AV to continue to run his high-tempo hybrid systems? Do you think he is capable of adjusting to a less mobile unit in 2016, especially if Keith Yandle is gone? At this point, we are past trying to determine if he is the right man for the job next season (the org obviously thinks he is), but do you think the right mix can be put on the ice to keep the team competitive under his systems and deployment?

Those are the big issues to me rattling around in my head on this Friday morning. What are your thoughts?

"Interactive thoughts for your Friday morning", 5 out of 5 based on 7 ratings.

106 comments

  1. Rhodork says:

    No goalie trade.
    No “#1center”
    Retool (blowup) the defense
    Change the defensive system, the PK and the PP
    Need to change out at least one assistant coach.

    • Jon says:

      I agree partially with Rhodork. I don’t think the Rangers could possibly get back equal or even fair value for Lundqvist. What they need to do is rely on him a little less to win games. The last time he was not relied upon to steal every game IMO was 13/14 and the Rangers won the Eastern Conference.
      Part of your theory in this post is why IMO they lost that series was at center. While the Rangers had a lot of depth back then at the position with Richards, Stepan, and Brassard, they were undersized to compete with LA.
      I think last season’s team could have better competed against that Kings team. This (once again) IMO is why Hayes was sought after.

      Now tho the back end is old and slow. The Rangers just need to infuse some youth and speed into the back end and they’ll compete again in the Division and conference. We should still have a good amount of depth upfront with Miller improving and hopefully Kreider & Hayes taking another step in the right direction. Up front all we need is a little more possession from the 4th line. That to me is one of the major differences between now and 13/14 team. The 4th line created better matchups for the top 9 guys by forcing the opposition to shorten his bench to stop the 4th line.

  2. SalMerc says:

    A great thought -provoking article. Not sure with the CAP situation a roster of speedy, defensively responsible players can be assembled.

    We have a hodgepodge of forwards and defenseman who play most of their position and some of their necessary evils. Sure we can supplement some speed guys and some defensive forwards, but how do we cover up for aging and slow defenseman who we can’t trade? How do we carry forwards who give us 12 points? Some very tough decisions lie ahead.

  3. Walt says:

    Where do we start, with so many needs, and lack of talent to really compete with !!!!!!!

    1-Ryan McD could be a difference maker, if only he were matched with the right partner. Let’s be real folks, Girardi isn’t the proper match, and probably never will be. He (McD) has had to cover up many flaws that Danny boy has, and isn’t in a position to really show his offensive skills the way he could with another partner. One last thought to your question, how many Webers, Keiths, Subbans, Letangs are out there?????????? If there were plenty to go around, then the teams in question wouldn’t be as good as they are, now would they???????

    2-There has been a need for a true top end center for years. The last one we had was Mess, and prior to him it was Ratelle…………The two we have make wonderful #2, and #3 line centers. Remember Brass with Zucc, and big Ben??

    3-Addressing our top line, what top line do we have????????? This dip stick coach makes changes to the lines from shift, to shift. I remember Eddy saying he will settle him combos as we approach the PO’s. There lies the problem, he tinkered all damn season long, and at the end, he still tinkered. That to me is a very insecure personality, please Paul, your input on my statement!!!!!!!!!

    4-Hank, was world class, now is a very good tender, but if they can trade the Great One, then my friend, Hank can be traded, for the right package. There would be a load of upset fans if they do, but again for the right return I’d trade anyone !!!!!!!!!!

    5-As for AV’s up tempo system, he has to make changes in order to survive. The team needs thoroughbreds, not plow horses, and in order to run the system he’d like to run, here it comes folks, “Girardi & Staal have got to be unloaded”. Now that was simple, wasn’t it????? If we can’t recycle the two guys in question to another team, well this is just a waste of time discussing any change of system. Also, what makes any of us think that AV is willing to be flexible, and change anything, even his dirty socks???????????

    • SalMerc says:

      I think McD is not as good as the press make him out to be. He is NOT the second coming of Bri Brian Leetch. All moves need to be made with Cap hits in mind. A trade that loosens the cap-noose has to be considered, especially if it brings back either young talent or some top picks.

      I think Girardi and Staal do have a place on this team, but paired with young, quick, agile defenseman. I also think they need to swap out and take some games off.

      Gorton is pretty smart. AV is pretty smart. Let’s hope they actually talk.

      • Walt says:

        The problem with any NY team is the hype given to any decent player. Case in point, Hank, still a very good goalie, but everyone calls him all-world, that is bunk.

        We have our hands tied with the stupid contracts Slats gave these two d-men who will never be very good again. Both are slow, and their best is well behind them. Until we discard those contracts, well we re in deep tapioca.

        Lets hope that Gorton starts to put his stamp on this team, like right away, and makes demands on AV to play the youth, and not depend on the over the hill gang !!!! And please get rid of Glass to start with !!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Justin says:

          Walt, Hank being all-world is certainly not “bunk”. He is still one of, if not the very best goalie in the NHL.

          • Walt says:

            I said that Hank is a very good goalie, but his best days are behind him now. The all world label goes to Price, Holtby, and several others out there. Sorry, we disagree on this point !!!!!!!!!!!

            • Justin says:

              His best days might be behind him, but his current days are still better than almost every goalie in the NHL.

              • Walt says:

                hence the reason I said he is still a very good goalie !!!!!!!!!!

              • Leatherneck says:

                Who are the final 4 goalies this year? Not 1 number 1 elite goalie on any of those teams….All the elite goalies are playing golf…nah…time to get rid of Lundqvist

              • Justin says:

                Leather, see my post below on the trappings of hot playoff performers. You need a high end goalie to get you through the regular season, anyone can get hot over 4 weeks.

                Also, the return for Lundqvist would likely be garbage…you mean to give away one of the best goalies in the world?

    • Spozo says:

      Funny how in one bullet you bash AV for tinkering with his lines yet in another you bash him for being inflexible. Blind AV bashing rears its head again!

      • Walt says:

        my eyes are wide open, you be the AV apologist if you want, and I’ll be his basher………..

        • Spozo says:

          Cmon Walt I’m not being an apologist here! I’m simply pointing out that two of your arguments contradict each other! You have decided you hate the guy and ANYTHING will be used as ammunition regardless of if it makes sense.

          • paulronty says:

            Tinkering with the lines doesn’t mean AV is flexible, because he did it all season(after stating he would only do it early) denoting more indecisiveness than flexibility.

            • Walt says:

              thanks Doc for the input!!!!!!!!

              It appears that anyone who questions Clarabelle the clown is a hater, and so be it.

              Spozo

              I’m a realist, and say what I think based on what I see, that’s a fact. AV will be forced to play kids this season, if not, he’ll walk. Knowing that it’s going to be interesting to see how he handles the kids, or how he chokes his chicken. I’m of the belief he will be choking it a lot of chicken this season !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              • Spozo says:

                Are we back on the “AV doesn’t like rookies” narrative? That notion by the way is also complete horse crap since he had no issue giving Skjei 20 minutes a night. Instead of the all encompassing broad argument of “AV doesn’t like rookies” how about you just tell it like it is and say “he didn’t play Mcilrath”?

              • Walt says:

                Go read the article on Blueshirt Banter, and Joe Fortunado’s view on this. Enough said………..

              • Walt says:

                Spozo

                As for Mc Ilrath, it’s like both Boyle, and Girardi had all star seasons right???????

                Didn’t AV also say he was going to play Hank less???????

                AV, a man of his word he is, NOT !!!!!!!!!!

              • pas44 says:

                Well timed NOT Joke walt!

                I like!

  4. amy says:

    resign the people you have to resign and get younger

  5. Hatrick Swayze says:

    As usual, I like where your head is at Justin.

    On your last point, the organization would be incorrect to deviate from an”AV” system. What I mean by that is not- AV is the guy we need to build this org around. But rather the game these days is speed and skill. That is what wins. Whether AV is at the helm or not, those are the teams that win. Pit knocked out Was….still can’t believe that one. SJ is having it’s way with STL. Nashville handled a ‘superior’ ducks team. The common theme here is that the faster more skilled teams are winning. So, yes, I believe it is in our best interest to pursue players who fit this mold which means ridding ourselves of 2 special defenders as a start. Not that AV has to be the guy running the system- he doesn’t- but the uptempo style which he seems to like is a good way to win hockey games these days.

  6. Peter says:

    I think it is safe to say that those of us who have opined that trading Hank should be on the table only advocate for it to be an option, not an imperative. Of course you don’t trade someone with Hank’s skills unless you get someone with great skills in return who has the potential to be a star, and then some.

    Yes, the Rangers should consider trading Hank if they can get the kind of return that would justify losing him.

    • Justin says:

      Peter, that was my point with that bullet. For goalies, the return almost never justifies moving them. They are not valued nearly high enough in trades, and the notion that the Rangers could re-stock their farm system through a Hank trade is pretty much a pipe-dream. He is much more valuable to the team than in a trade.

      • Walt says:

        I’d be interested to see what Hank would bring back, vs Price, or Holtby. By the way, I’m not advocating trading Hank, but as stated, if the returns are very good, I’d do it, or at least listen !!!!!!!!!

        • Chris A says:

          Well, since a 27 year old Schneider that was making peanuts brought back only a #9 overall pick, I imagine a 35 year old Hank at $8.5M a year brings back a very late first round pick and either a B prospect or a third round pick.

          Not really worth it if you ask me.

          • Walt says:

            you really think he only gets that return?????? interesting isn’t it……….

            • Justin says:

              He only gets that return because starting goaltenders are criminally undervalued in trades.

  7. Alec says:

    Talent dictates tactics. If the coach can’t adapt his tactics to the personnel at hand(because you can’t fire the team) then the team needs to find a coach that can.

    That being said part of my solution would be to trade Ryan McDonagh for Leon Draisaitl, Matt Hendricks and a 2017 1st & 2016 7th rd picks. Oilers need D, have a logjam up the middle. Rangers have a logjam on LD and need bottom 6 help.

    • Roger Domal says:

      Draisaitl is Derek Stephan.

      Since 2009, only 4 players picked in the 7th round have played over a 100 games in the NHL.

      Matt Hendricks has possession numbers almost as bad as our beloved #5.

      So, basically you would trade McD for a #1 and a bottom six forward? And the Oliers would give up a number one?

    • Chris A says:

      Draisaitl is a nice player, but he’s never going to be significantly better than Brassard or Stepan, and he’s not enough of an upgrade over Hayes to justify blowing up the team. All that trade accomplishes is getting slightly younger while icing a roster that is significantly less talented. Also, putting McD on an improving Oilers team means that first round pick you traded for likely becomes a far less valuable mid-round pick, meaning you traded a top D, in his prime, for a 2C and a middling first round pick.

      Fix the D and you fix the Rangers. There’s nothing wrong with the top 9 forwards, they are a young and talented unit. They just need D that are capable of getting them the puck.

      • Alec says:

        Draisaitl is a better center than Hayes will ever be because he already knows how to backcheck.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      To add to Roger and Chris’ posts, McDonagh is the closest thing the Rangers have to a Norris Trophy player (he’s not – at least not yet).

      You need more quality defensemen, not less.

      I’ll continue to make this argument until I’m blue in the face, but the Rangers biggest issue this year was their bad defensive core. Other issues followed soon after, but the moment you start shipping off your best blueliners is the moment you find yourself in the lottery. The Rangers have to find another defenseman to PAIR with McD, not trade him.

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        This, this, this…

      • Alec says:

        Hence the dilemma: You need to find someone to play with McDonagh, (allegedly)we need to re-sign Yandle and we need to move two contracts that can’t be moved; all while having minimal cap space as is. You’d be lucky to get 2 of those and would likely have to handicap the team elsewhere. I’d go into detail, but I’m saving most of it for the contest.

        Yes, of course if Girardi is willing to waive his NMC so Arizona can give us their #1 pick this year I’m all for it, but if wishes were horses…

        I’ve seen enough of McDonagh to know that barring a change in D zone coverage, he’s never ever in the hunt as a Norris trophy candidate, let alone winner. Doesn’t log the minutes, doesn’t post the points, not a shut down defender. Looking at 5v5 advanced stats will make your head explode, going to show that there’s lies, damn lies and statistics.

        So yes, I move McD to a team that has a need & a position logjam because I can get replacement value at a much lower cost basis in Brady Skjei. Yes, he’s young, but I’ve seen enough over the past 2 seasons live that I have no concerns about him filling those boots. McDonagh’s contract has value that matters as much as his play does, if not more. Freeing up that salary allows the team to be flexible

        I have no problem saying that Graves can be a physical, 2nd pair D that can also move & shoot the puck by the end of next season.

        So if the team now has 3 LD, Yandle and his salary demands are surplus to requirements, which frees up even more cap space to upgrade on the right and even eat a little salary in order to make it happen.

  8. Roger Domal says:

    Because the skill level of goalies has ratcheted up in the last few years, there is a possibility that we will never see the 8 million dollar goalie again. It’s like goalies have become Running Backs in terms of replacement ability.

    The final 4 this year are currently using goalies whose COMBINED salaries are close to 2 million per year UNDER what Hank is making. Yes, injuries have played a part, and TBL is suffering a bit because of the injury to Bishop. But, the point can be made that replacement goalies at a much LOWER cap hit are readily available. However, I don’t know how you unload Hank, and the perceived value is probably all in the cap space.

    AV has never been one to give very large amounts of minutes to anyone. Could McD handle the minutes that Keith or Letang get? We will never find out. And, how many times have you yelled at your TV screen when the bottom six get the same minutes as the top six when chasing the game?

    It’s great that we have balanced scoring, but it is also fairly bad that we have balanced scoring. Is there a need for any club to match up their lines with ours defensively? Who would you be most afraid of?

    • Justin says:

      The problem with the goalie theory is that these guys can get super hot for a few weeks in the playoffs, but can they shoulder a 60+ game load at this level? That is the separator between good and great goalies.

      It’s easy to cherry pick the performance of rookies, platoon goalies of backups when they got hot in the playoffs and write off the salaries of guys like Hank, Rask and Price, but there is a very good reason those guys are paid the way they are.

    • Chris A says:

      The problem, Roger, is that too many teams overvalued their own goalies. It’s not that there shouldn’t be $8M goalies, it’s that there are too many of them.

      And McD can handle those minute loads, look at the past two playoff runs, and he logged, on average, over 26 minutes a game. AV doesn’t do that in the regular season, because, why would you do that in the regular season?

      We’ll see how Letang holds up the rest of the way. He’s dangerously close to being pushed past his limit. The Rangers pounded him, Washington pounded him, and TB continues to pound him. He’s due for a catastrophic injury or a serious downgrade in his play.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        You keep mentioning Letang’s supposed drop off, but where is it? I don’t see it happening. He’s been huge for the best team right now, and I’m willing to bet he’s more refreshed than most of the other players in the playoffs right now due to his lengthy absences the past couple of years.

        • Chris A says:

          I know, it hasn’t happened yet, but it has to, right?

          Clearly some of this is me being irrational because I hate the Penguins so much. But it really doesn’t make sense how the oft-injured Letang has been able to stay upright all this time.

  9. Alec says:

    This is where I wish nesting on mobile still worked.

    Draisaitl is a bigger, cheaper 20 year old version of Stepan with upside. Hendricks is a make weight pick up so we have enough salary to expose for any expansion draft. 1 Dman does not turn a team around overnight(or even in 2 years) and they don’t really need the pick.

    With Skjei I get 95% of McDonagh at 20% of the cost, have Graves playing at the NHL level and clearing salary to get somebody like Shattenkirk to play on the right side.

    That isn’t blowing up the ship, that’s rebuilding on the fly.

    • Roger Domal says:

      And if you think that Skjei is 95% of McD RIGHT now, then the conversation is over!

      And McD has a comfortable cap hit.Shattenkirk is a year out from getting 6, so we are back at the same place defensively paying close to 50% of the cap for D and goal, with the Twins still somehow on the payroll and Yandle re-signed.

      And about minutes played, of the group of defenseman who,played 82 games this year, Yandle was on the ice for nearly 500 minutes LESS than Burns.

      Yandle and McD were the 56& 57 defenseman in TOI this year. AV will not change that. Kopitar averaged nearly 3 minutes more per game than Stephan.

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        If you’re still winning games, lower mins in the regular season is probably better. No need to ride your top guys in December if you’re in a comfortable spot in the standings. It’ll just wear them down later on. Once the playoffs hit, then you should start ramping up the minutes of your top performers.

        You’re correct on the McD/Skjei/Kirk analysis/mathematics.

  10. Alec says:

    Why re-sign Yandle when trying to clear salary and a log jam on the left?

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Because Yandle makes the Rangers a MUCH better team. Keep Yandle and figure out where/how to move Staal and Girardi.

  11. Alec says:

    Right now Skjei is 100% of McDonagh, as they’re both playing golf.

  12. Dunc says:

    “At this point, we are past trying to determine if he is the right man for the job next season (the org obviously thinks he is)…”

    This is the same org that handed out amazingly bad contracts to Girardi and Staal, while letting Strallman walk and trading away Hagelin, so if they feel AV is the right man for the job he almost certainly is NOT.

    • Chris A says:

      The Staal contract is only bad in hindsight.

      There is no logical explanation for 29 year old Marc Staal turning into end career Wade Redden. It’s as if there was a 1 in 500 chance of Staal turning out the way he did, and it happened. Just poor luck if you ask me.

      Marc Staal should be gracefully aging into Paul Martin, reliable, but not flashy, puck mover/defender. He shouldn’t be a dumpster fire at 29, 29 is still a prime age for a Dman.

      • Dunc says:

        Staal = dumpster fire may not have been predictable, but apart form his (secret) agent Larry Brooks, I don’t know anyone who thought Staal was better than a 3rd pair defenseman except for his ability (which evaporated completely) to match up well against Crosby.

        • Chris A says:

          That’s a harsh assessment.

          Up until the bottom falling out this season, Marc Staal was comfortably a Top 4 type of NHL D. His advanced stats might not have been great (I still believe advanced stats show almost every defensive Dman in an unflattering light) but if you watched him night in and night out, he was a very good defensemen.

          What happened this year is really hard to understand. No one’s game tanks like that at 29. Especially a guy that isn’t reliant on speed or being overly physical. It’s as if Marc retired and his previously unknown identical twin took over his unbeknownst to everyone.

          • Walt says:

            Chris

            Not to be a smart ass but can it be that he signed a huge contract, is now very comfortable, and isn’t hungry any more??? I’ve stated on numerous occasions how I hate signing these vets to big contracts, with long term. Do you think management will ever learn, I don’t???????

            Staal’s contract isn’t as bad as Dan’s, who really isn’t as serviceable as Marc is !!!!!! LA exposed Dan, and Sather in his infinite wisdom signed him anyway….

            • Dunc says:

              I think it was the eye injury.

            • Chris A says:

              Personally Walt, I have always hated that concept. Do you really think pro athletes just give up like that? These guys are too competitive to just downshift and throw it into cruise control like that.

              I always felt that it was just a lazy narrative the media invented to turn the fans against certain players that weren’t giving them what the wanted. It’s similar to the dumb ‘party boy’ angle. Ask Boston how they feel about that? First they gave up on Joe Thornton, then Kessel, and finished off the circle of idiocy by dealing Seguin for a bag of pucks.

              Is there the occasional flake that just doesn’t believe in playing hard? Sure. But I think those are guys that have done that and gotten away with it their whole career. Pro sports are too difficult and too competitive for that many guys to make it to the top leagues without full commitment.

              If I had to guess what’s wrong with Staal, I would say it’s his confidence. He seems to have a lot of doubt and is very tentative on the ice. He had one tremendous game in the last part of the season, I think it was the night McD was hurt, it looked like the old Marc Staal was back. He was hitting, moving the puck crisply, breaking up all attacks, but he reverted right back to this crappy version of Staal shortly thereafter.

            • JoeS. says:

              I thought all hockey players without the CUP were hungry. If I’m wrong….I’m not sure I like hockey anymore….

            • rich says:

              the word wisdom should NEVER be used in the same sentence as Sather !!!!

              Fire AV hire messier

          • Dunc says:

            Not to be snarky, but I would counter that you were watching Staal with rose-colored glasses.

            Staal’s 2014-2015 season was marked by lots of missed coverages and terrible positioning. He wasn’t bad all the time – and we even got flashes of the old Marc Staal from time to time, but there were clearly several extended periods of outright bad play.

            • Chris A says:

              That’s certainly possible, I’ve been known to don the Red, White, and Blue glasses from time to time. I still don’t think there were any stretches in 14-15 that met the depths of his consistently awful play from this past season.

              Anyway, it’s really a shame. He was supposed to be a great one, it seems like the concussion problems (thanks Eric!) and then the eye injury took too much out of the kid.

    • Swarty says:

      Interesting Logic Dunc.. – which is much of what I said yesterday.

      I guess it comes down to whether Gorton gets to be his own guy AND knows how to fix things or his is just Sather 2.0……

  13. Alec says:

    The 1st rule when you’re digging yourself in a hole is 1: stop digging. Yandle at his current price point makes the team better. At $4mm he makes them marginally better. Anything above that and you’re just digging a deeper hole.

    I’d love to move on from Staal(I’d also like to win the Power ball and buy the team), but NMC is a NMC.

    I would move McD for RNH, but I’ve heard too many legendary nights out about him for me ever to want him in a Blueshirt. Hence asking for Draisaitl.

    • Chris A says:

      I kind of agree with you on the NMCs, but I was thinking (hoping?) that those clauses expire and convert to limited NTCs in a year or two. If the right situation came up for G or Staal and they were presented with the option to move on, they might take it, knowing that if they don’t take it now, they may screw themselves when they inevitably are traded away in a year or two.

      Just a thought

      • Alec says:

        Girardi’s NMC converts after 2016-17 season, Staal after 17-18. Even if Girardi waived his clause, money & term makes it impossible to move, even with Rangers eating half the salary. You’d have to find a team on a crazy rebuild trying to make the salary floor and even then they would want a high pick to take him off your hands and sending a puck in return.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Why not heed some of your own advice and put the shovel down, Alec?

      Another question, how’d you arrive at 4 million as the cut off point for when he stops improving our team? Surely, you must have not taken into account that against all defense men who played over 800 minutes, Yandle was 15th overall this past season in Assists/60 and 27th in Points/60. “Top pairing” numbers in both categories.

      The guy is worth paying for and 4 million doesn’t get it done. He currently justifies his 5.75 mil contract based on production so I’m not sure how we arrive at your valuation.

      Furthermore, your plan to let him walk and then trade the only defensemen on our team better than he is for a middling center in RNH is baffling. Do you expect to compete next year with a back line of Staal, Girardi, Klein, Skjei, McIlrath and Graves?

      That shovel you started with is turning into a backhoe fast….

      • Ray says:

        Standard problem. Playing hockey is complicated and every player brings strengths and weaknesses. yet everyone wants to judge players by stats that stress one or the other. I get it, what is good about Yandle is good.

      • Alec says:

        More minutes doesn’t make Yandle a better player, it makes him more exposed.

  14. Chris K says:

    I think the horse is dead and beaten enough already but what the hell, why not take one last whack at it for the summer, and by one last whack, i mean today’s whack

    There is no reasonable or logical way to improve this team while both Staal & Girardi are given meaningful minutes, at least under the system AV is currently deploying. I personally do not like the buyout route and would prefer to retain major salary in order to move these guys so the pain is much shorter term (half duration right?), that being said, if necessary we CAN and SHOULD buy out STAAL, the shorter duration on G and his RD status (not to mention reputation) should give us the ability to find a suitor (if he politely declines to waive his clause we should politely decline to remove him from the press box).

    I”m not worried per say about the future of this club, we are getting younger as a team, and have enough talent in the system to graduate players on an annual basis. Of course we lack top tier talent, but we have done a hell of a job drafting mid to late round gems over the past few seasons. Being that NY will always be a coveted destination we usually get some college UFA to at least give a hard look our way.

    1 & 2 I do not believe the lack of a true 1c removes us from contention, I think the depth provided being able to roll at least 3 competent lines with scoring threats outweighs that necessity of having 1 guy to take over a game.

    3. RMCD will be a norris caliber dman when he can actually play with a an actual top pairing dman – girardi was a decent partner for a short time, but no longer. He can absolutely handle those minutes and should get them more regularly, AV needs to take the leash off and let the guy skate and create. Great controlled zone entries when he gets to carry the puck up.

    4. You put out feelers, see what offers you might field for him, simple due dilligence GM would not be doing his job if he didnt ask. That being said, I agree – there is no way almost any team could actually muster the package that would be worth hank. (although it would be nice if we could stop making organizational decisions based on his “window” )

    5. Gorton can put in some quality pieces for sure, it wont be earth shattering, little addition by subtraction on the back end, and a depth signing or two plus a reclamation project or two, this team will be in great shape to contend (maybe not win, but contend) again next season.

    -LGR

  15. Alec says:

    Again, the buyouts for both Girardi & Staal are murder for anything but the short term. If you can wait a year, Girardi converts to a NTC and you have a year to see if the downward trend can be attenuated.

    No need to panic now, plenty of time for that later.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Yes, buyout should be a last option. You can never press undo and as such have to live with the expensive ramifications for a number of years to come.

  16. Alec says:

    Hatrick,

    I’ve been watching Yandle since he started with the Coyotes and while I get what people like about him, he’s only been past the 1st round twice in his career. If he’s your best player on D, you have a bad D.

    As for RNH, I’d suggest reading what I wrote again. But to clarify, I wouldn’t touch RNH with a 10 foot pole because he likes to party too hard.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Judging Yandle by the coyotes playoff success is an absurd metric.Based on that metric, we really undervaluated Rosival, given the Blackhawks success with him on the roster.

      And again, I’m not trying to build our D around him. He is our 2nd LD behind McDonagh. I’d like to resign him and also acquire a RD like Barrie or CapnKirk. All of this could be done without Girardi and Staal. Again, I agree not realistic today, but if I am at the helm I try to responsibly keep Yandle in the fold and figure out what to do with Staal and Girardi after that. Why? Because a player like Yandle doesn’t come around too often. His skillset is exactly what this team should be seeking, not walking away from.

      • Ray says:

        We did undervalue Rozsival! That really isn’t debatable. We look at a guy who seems over-matched as a top pair defenseman and conclude that he doesn’t belong in the League. There is a middle ground.

        It is hard to judge Yandle at all because he is a very rare player. The only comparable that comes to mind is Mike Green — a guy who was so poor defensively that he didn’t belong in the NHL and so good offensively that you had to think HOF. Green’s teams have been 4-4 in round 1 of the playoffs and 0-4 in round 2. And such a critical player that I had forgotten he was still playing.

        Important: because Yandle is so hard to judge, almost certainly he will be overvalued by several teams and hence be overpaid.

        • Chris A says:

          Rozi had a $5M cap hit at the time. He was basically today’s Girardi in 2008 or 2014 Brad Richards. A nice player to have in the lower part of your lineup, unfortunately he is getting paid like a top player.

          • Ray says:

            Didn’t mean to say we should have kept him or that he wasn’t overpaid. Just that we went overboard in running him down.

            • Chris A says:

              I get that, my point was he got run out of town because of his contract, and in a cap league, the contract is just as important a stat as goals, assists, and save%.

              Look at the treatment Rick Nash gets now. Tremendous player, does everything right on the ice, but a few pucks don’t go in and all of a sudden he needs to be gone.

              • Swarty says:

                A few pucks don’t go in?

                Nash does not use his size, shows no outward signs of leadership and his playoff performance is putrid.

                But hey – he has turned himself into a $7.8M forward who plays good D and can occasionally score an empty netter….

      • Alec says:

        If it’s not realistic, why bring it up? You get a 1st pair for right D and Yandle, then you have money to sign 1 RFA. So you trade their rights for replacement level talent, hence your forward corp is garbage. You can buy out everybody under the stars & skies, where does that get you? Short term gain, long term hell and when Yandle’s game implodes in 3 years; you’re right back where you started but with even less wiggle room.

        No thank you.

      • JoeS. says:

        problem is Rangers can’t afford him. Not in their situation.

  17. Peter says:

    We all have many and varied opinions regarding what we think the Rangers should do this off season.

    I wonder what they will do?

    I think they should undertake a solid revamping of the club. I also think that is highly unlikely, and I find the likelihood of a minor tinkering to be fairly scary.

    • JoeS. says:

      I am really not sure that we can expect a whole lot from this team next year. We could get lucky, but the “window” for this team seems to have expired and the contracts are killing them. Much like a drunk, the only cure is time. I can wait and root for a miracle, after all, I’m a Mets fan as well. Know this feeling well.

  18. Ray says:

    Tongue in cheek first: You point out that we have a long offseason with little to talk about. AV should have been fired. The last time the Rangers went out in the first round, Torts was canned and we could focus on the choice of a new coach. Leaving AV in place might have been right for the team, but certainly it was wrong for the conversation.

    1 & 2. I don’t see a huge problem with offense by committee and lack of an elite center. You need goals. It doesn’t matter how they are spread out. And you have to work with what you have. One caveat though. It is well nigh impossible to win the Stanley Cup if you don’t believe that you can win it. For five years in a row, the Rangers have been eliminated by a team they knew they couldn’t beat in that series. Does a Mark Messier or a Jonathan Toews make you immune from this malady?

    Incidentally, I like your 1A classification. Brass and Step are true top line centers, just below average ones and well below average for playoff teams.

    3. I think McDonagh is close to Norris level. Team performance has a big effect on player evaluations.

    4. I agree that Lundqvist would likely not need yield a great return. You would need two teams (the Stars and ?) who think he is the final piece to the puzzle and would bid against each other. In my view, there is one and only one reason to trade him — and frankly I don’t know if the reason is actually valid. He is the identity of a Ranger team that does not believe it is good enough to win the Cup. You don’t have to be the best team to win (indeed the best team usually doesn’t) – or even top five necessarily though it helps a lot. However, you do have to believe you can win and my gut feeling now is that the Rangers cannot achieve this with a team revolving around Hank.

    5. I think a serious rebuild (possible right) will hurt the team in the short run. Without such a rebuild, the key to next year’s team is Marc Staal. Was this year an aberration, or is he too damaged physically and/or psychologically to be a top pair defenseman?

    • JoeS. says:

      I think you are wrong in your assessment that this team can’t win with Hank, any team can win with Hank, He’s awesome! Trading him would be a mistake of massive proportions!

  19. Alec says:

    The only way I resign Yandle is if they announce expansion between now and July 1. Then I front load his contract to the max allowed in the 1st year without a NMC, so as to make sure he’s the player selected in a expansion draft.

  20. Egelstein says:

    1. I often say that the Rangers are a roster mostly full of 1A and B level players. (And I don’t mean to exaggerate, but really – how many of our guys grade out no-contest A level compared to the rest of the league at their position? Hank and…it’s certainly debatable from there.) The upside to this is our third line can be just as dangerous as our first on any given night. That depth is quite useful in the regular season, but doesn’t always translate to playoff success.I don’t think it is impossible to win a Cup that way…but it’s definitely the long way.
    2. Similar to my last response…it’s not impossible to win a Cup without a true A level prototypical center, but it certainly isn’t the best way to go about things.
    3. This one, I think is more plausible to win without that guy, even if still not the optimal approach. BUT…the coach needs to deploy his defense wisely in terms of both minutes allocation, style pairings (i.e. Yandle and Boyle on the ice at the same time is not wise), and having a defensive scheme that fits the roster at hand. I don’t feel as if AV does any of that.
    4. It would have to be a “can’t miss” return, and as you have pointed out, those are few and far between for some reason in this type of scenario. For arguably the most important position on the ice, it is rather amazing that so few top tier goalie trades work out well for the team shipping out the goalie. Fact of the matter is, Hank saw the most shots of any goalie in the NHL last year. Many of them high-percentage chances. That’s on the defense. Hank saw over 200 more shots than the number 10 on the list, who happens to be Corey Crawford. That’s madness.
    5. No. AV doesn’t use his roster correctly. That’s not the roster’s fault.I just feel that unless/until he is willing to send out lines that make sense from a results standpoint rather than lines that fit his stubborn definition of “the right process”, we will just see more of the same. Jesper Fast is a fine player, but he shouldn’t see a minute of top 6 ice time, for one example. There are numerous others. I say no because I do not believe he will adjust; nothing in his coaching career indicates that he will start using a zone D with slow skaters or that he will start trusting younger guys more, etc. I hope he proves me wrong.

    In summary, I do think the Rangers can be Cup contenders as constituted roster-wise. I don’t think our coach is flexible enough to make that happen, however. Not in the playoffs, anyways. AV lacks willingness to be flexible with his approach and/or creativity. He’s been thoroughly out-coached in arguably most of our playoff rounds during his tenure. The roster has overcome his deficiencies.

    • Ray says:

      One reason why Hank saw so many shots is that he played so many games. He started four more games than Craig Anderson and saw only 29 more shots. Certainly Anderson saw more shots per game. He started seven more games than Crawford. Correcting the numbers for that gives Hank an extra 15 shots, not 200+. That’s like one extra shot every four games. Yes, the number of shots per game was high — but it was not extraordinary and not way higher than everyone else.

      • Egelstein says:

        These are fine examples to your point, but there are also other examples that go my way. The most damning of which would probably be Quick seeing 124 less shots with three more games played. I see what you’re saying, but some of this is also beyond stats. I’m not a huge eye test guy, but the amount of times it looked to me like Hank was working his ass off was very high to me.

        • Roger Domal says:

          My argument about goaltending is the pay scale. If you are in trouble cap wise and your assets are declining. 8 million is a terrible overpay for a goalie.

          But, I bet everyone who paid big for a player never envisioned the cap stagnating like it has. 21 million for Toews and Kane combined is seriously going to hamstring the Hawks.

          I figure everyone was thinking the cap was going to be closing in on 80 by next year, and it looks like it may actually be at a dead stop.

          • JoeS. says:

            It’s the cap, I agree, but raise it and and the teams will give the money away. The NHL needs maximum salary parameters. Sounds like bulls@t, and I’m a union guy, but if someone is willing to pay ridiculous dollars, doesn’t matter what the cap level is.

      • Egelstein says:

        Just another quick side note about eye test…it was also when the shots would come, often in bunches when there were less optimal D pairs out. 10+ shots bang bang bang is exhausting, even if they aren’t necessarily high danger. That seemed to happen to Hank a lot this year to me as well – even in good games, those nail biting stretches were quite frequent. Part of the reason there was a problem protecting a third period lead so frequently, I think.

    • Walt says:

      There you go bashing AV again, how dare you criticizes the guy???????

      Sorry, I thought I wrote your post, and am trying to defend myself….You are spot on with the AV assessment, the man is just to rigid, and that unfortunately won’t change any time soon !!!!!!!!!!! Welcome to the AV bashing club………that is according to Spozo, he knows??????????

      • Egelstein says:

        Haha. Indeed, I do skew towards the “AV Hater” side of things, I won’t lie. I can admit that! I just see a roster that should be able to make the playoffs more or less on auto-pilot, I saw the same back when AV was in Vancouver and wasn’t a complete mess such as they are now, so I’m not just entirely impressed with his well above average regular season record. These are not mince meat rosters we are talking about when we examine AV’s regular season success and playoff failures, any more than could be said of the teams Boudreau has similarly failed to take to the promised land.

        And, although I tend to focus on AV more and be less vocal about management, Sather and Gorton certainly deserve some of the blame as well for this current situation. Same goes for the assistant coaches; they deserve some flack too since it is their job to take care of many of the players’ individual bad tendencies that kept happening over and over this year. Players obviously shoulder it too. Nonetheless, I think the easiest thing to change is the system/process, and that’s fully on AV.

        • Walt says:

          the only point I can argue with you on is Gorton, he had no pull to speak of, so it’s Sather, and AV !!!!

          • Egelstein says:

            I suspect Gorton has had little to no pull so far too, but I threw him in just in case I’m wrong on that. He has been at least in an advisory role for some time, even if Sather comes off to us as a guy who only has advisers because its just what front offices do, even if he never listens to them, haha. Tough to gauge unless we are behind those closed doors though, I suppose.

  21. MMF says:

    I never understand the argument about Hank’s salary being too high. The best player on the team has the highest salary. There is absolutely no one on the Rangers who comes close to Hank in that regard. And he has shown zero signs of tailing off – when he in fact regresses, by all means shop him around or buy him out. But right now he is the backbone and the face of the franchise. The needed cap space can be cleared by looking at the players who have actually regressed – Girardi, Staal, Staal, Nash, etc.

    I also fail to see the relevance when discussing Hank’s salary of the fact that there are 2 young goalies currently playing in the ECF who make under a million each. First, let’s see over the next few years whether Murray or Vasilevsky has the capacity and consistency to be a starting goalie and bring their teams to the playoffs year after year as Lundqvist has done. I believe that both Pitt and Tampa are in the playoffs because of Fleury and Bishop, not because of their backups. Second, any goalie can get hot at any point – Dustin Tokarski anyone? It does not mean that they stay hot or that they can be a consistently elite starting goalie who gives their team a chance to win almost every time they get between the pipes. Don’t get me wrong – I am blown away by how well Murray has played and I do think that someday he will be a superstar. But not yet – right now he is a backup goalie who has gotten hot and happens to be playing for a powerhouse team.

    • Rog says:

      I’m not saying Hank isn’t worth the 8, but what I AM saying is that you might not have needed to pay the 8. In a hard cap environment, Bishop at 2 million less and MAF also much lower puts the NYR in a competitive disadvantage.

      I really believe with the stagnant cap in place (limited projected growth) 6.5 is the max you should pay a goalie.

      • MMF says:

        But in context – Bishop is at $2 million less only having been a starting goalie for a few years. Hank has been the starting goalie, a perennial Vezina candidate, the only goalie in history to have won 30 games in each of his first 11 years (except for the lockout) etc etc etc. He is a legend – he earned his contract by virtue of several years of incredible play. There is no doubt that had he chosen to leave the Rangers in 2013 he could have been the first $10 million goalie. But he chose to stay because he loves New York – he fits the team and the team fits him. So give him a blue line that can protect the house. And then let the King raise the Cup.

    • Egelstein says:

      There also can be a big “Sophomore Jinx” with goalies like Murray. I’m not saying there will be, just that there can be. It’s a simple thing in many cases I think, really – goalies, like batters in baseball, have certain holes. They all do. But in order to exploit them, you need enough tape and data on them to write the book on them. AHL and lower leagues can give you a start, but it is a different roster around them at the NHL level.

      A guy can even look average in AHL and nails in NHL, and when you dig deeper, you’ll often find reasons other than the goalie himself when you look hard enough. Like, complete fiction here, let’s say a goalie has a tendency to leave a gap on his glove side below the glove and above the kicker. Maybe he has a string of poor defenders on that side in AHL who constantly give the opposition good looks at that side, thus average performance. But then he comes up to the NHL team, the string of defenders on that side are all above average. That’s the goalie’s big hole, and it is effectively almost eliminated in that scenario, therefore he becomes a much better goalie statistically. Just so many variables. That’s why I fully agree with you that when you look at a goalie’s body of work over time, with different rosters in front of him, that’s when you can truly start to assess what they are worth

      I believe Hank is worth every penny, personally. I am befuddled by the trade Hank crowd. There is only one position on the ice that plays all 60 minutes, and I’m fine with having our best player also be that guy – and being compensated accordingly for it.

    • Walt says:

      One point I’d like to make, and this may offend Hank fans, of which I am one, is he has always had a decent defense in front of him and the numbers reflect that. This season, we had a marginal defense in front of Hank, it reflected in his game as well.

      I’m not for trading Hank, but if an offer that’s out of this world is made, well we have to listen to it. Before you all get your feathers ruffled, we have some good kids in the system, who play that position, so there is light at the end of the tunnel !!!!!!!!!

  22. Joseph O. says:

    1. Having players who can interchangeably be considered “first liners,” or “second liners” is by no means a negative in my opinion; however, there is a strength in consistency. The seasons you mentioned–Gaborik’s and Nash’s, most notably, were followed or preceded by sub-par showings. Without Nash’s scoring, the Rangers looked hollow on the offensive end, and for a player who makes above 6 million dollars a year, such a showing simply isn’t going to cut it. I find Nash’s overall play to be admirable, but he was not brought on the team to grind or play defensive hockey (though he does both exceptionally well)– no, he was brought on the team to score, so there needs to be a sense of leadership through example from him on the scoring end if the Rangers are to succeed. So, this construction can lead a team to a cup–we have seen it before– but your best players must play like your best players if you plan to win it.

    2. I don’t believe that a legitimate number one center is needed when two centers of such exceptional skill are both on the same team. I believe that Brassard and Stepan are both profoundly skilled, and I believe that both of them are also underrated as centers. I think their versatility allows for flexibility in the roster, which is beneficial when rough patches are encountered during the season.

    3. I cannot answer this question because I believe Ryan McDonagh is one of those guys. I view him as a top-10 defender in the NHL, and I think his strength on the Ranger’s back end has been, and will continue to be, a reason for their success.

    4. Trading Lundqvist would be an idiotic and self-destructive move that would garner little to no return and years of issues in the goaltender position. His age may become an issue in the coming years, but his competitiveness and overall skill will make him among the elite goaltenders for the next few years.

    5. I think AV’s system, when the Rangers are playing well, is a system that can win a Stanley Cup. However, without the right pieces, major alterations would have to be undertaken. I personally believe that losing a defender like Yandle would be a very difficult obstacle to overcome, especially on the offensive end, and I think that AV would have a difficult time finding a substitute for such a strong puck moving defensemen. The front office must look to improve if the Rangers are to be competitive in the level that they could undoubtedly play at, but only time will tell if such will be the case.

    • Egelstein says:

      I love Nash’s game even when he isn’t scoring, but I couldn’t agree more with you regarding the cost to benefit ratio. That version of Nash would more appropriately be paid much less in a perfect world.

  23. Peter says:

    Yandle has passing skills that are an excellent weapon and many teams would love to have him. Unfortunately, his price is going to be bid up quite high. I’d let someone else take him and focus grooming kids to do what he does. Girardi Staal Nash and Hank are signed to huge contracts. Unless they jettison substantial cap costs I believe that they cannot afford him and improve the team for the long term.

  24. paulronty says:

    The real problem with the Rangers lies at Centre ice. Stepan & Brass are both skilled but they are both maddeningly inconsistent & too soft. We do need an elite centre like Stamkos, he’ll make all the difference in the world. JT Miller would be another good centre because he plays tough, passes well & can set up his linemates. The system sucks because we are not an aggressive forechecking team. We need centres who can forecheck the D hard & create turnovers. I keep hearing AV runs an uptempo system. Really? I think it’s closer to a no tempo system. If uptempo is having your D pinch then we are in real trouble because our D pinches have been often catastrophic. We have no presence in the defensive zone because we lose too many board battles. The forwards will score when the centre icemen drive the play. As for McDonagh he has really regressed under AV the last two years. He’s often a shell of his former self & he made many mistakes too. Klein always starts out like a house on fire & deteriorates quickly as the season progresses. You can’t get a great first pass when there is no one to pass to, so the problem is that the forwards need to backcheck honestly. As for trading Hank that doesn’t happen until Shestyorkin or Halverson is ready to play. They should get Shestyorkin over here ASAP & get him acclimatized to North American hockey. He is Hank’s successor and he’s going to be a good one.

    • Walt says:

      Doc

      As always right on point, great analysis, and I love the comment about the Shestyorkin kid, he has the makings of a great goalie. It’s funny, the KNL is known for wide open offense, poor defense, no hitting to speak of, but it appears that Russia has been putting out some nice goalies lately !!!!!!

  25. Mikeyyy says:

    Bring in the beuk