Oct
21

Thoughts after four games

October 21, 2016, by
www.newsday.com

www.newsday.com

Even though the Rangers have started the season 2-2, there have been plenty of reasons for optimism. The team has dominated possession and scoring chances in the two losses, and were simply stymied by two goaltenders on their game. There have been some highlights and lowlights since the season began, and as you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. This forward group has been really impressive so far. There is speed up and down the lineup. Oddly good chemistry has developed on certain lines very quickly (coughKreiderZBadBuchcough) and the special teams have had a much better look, as well. The sample sizes are still to small to look at efficiency or league rankings, etc., but the visual analysis tells me that it has been much improved.

2. It is really nice to have some shooters in the lineup for a change. There is obviously a point of diminishing returns with simply firing at the net with every touch, but having those guys with a shoot first instinct has made the offense much more dynamic. Mika Zibanejad has been especially impressive thus far.

3. Obviously, when Oscar Lindberg returns, Josh Jooris is going to lose his spot. I like Jooris as a player. He has a useful skillset, but is made redundant by Lindberg. The bigger issue is that there isn’t a member of the current forward corps I would be particularly happy seeing sit in favor of Lindberg. Everyone is playing well, and Brandon Pirri, who I believe would thrive given more offensively oriented deployment, has given the fourth line a more dangerous edge that keeps other teams honest.

4. I suppose these are the types of things that work themselves out naturally, through injuries or performance issues, but the depth has been superb. That said, I have a feeling that Jesper Fast sort of becomes that swiss army knife type player and I don’t think he fits that role well. To me, he is a really nice bottom six player and PK guy, but AV seems to like the flexibility to move him and up down the lineup.

5. Now, the defense. Oh, man the defense. Aside from Ryan McDonagh’s triumphant resurgence, the back line has been a total mess. Sure, there have been some goals so far that either missed assignments or poor backchecking have forced the defense into difficult circumstances, but their own gross inability to play solid positional defense has killed them.

6. I understand Nick Holden is playing his off side, and has not really been put in a position to succeed, but his positional play has been inexcusably awful. I also have the feeling AV is going to give him the Fast treatment and have him play everywhere, depending on who is in the lineup. At age 29, Holden is what he is: a bottom pairing guy who can help out a team by chewing up 12-14 minutes per game and not completely killing you. He shouldn’t be more than that.

7. Honestly, considering the fact that neither Staal or Girardi are coming out of the lineup, my pairs would look like this:

McDonagh-Klein
Staal-Clendening
Skjei -Girardi

At this point, you have to pair some of the slower guys with quicker skating puck movers to try and create some balance in the pairs. I would like to reverse Skjei and Staal, but I wouldn’t play Staal and Girardi together, given their limitations. Unfortunately, I have a feeling it will be Skjei or Clendening sitting for Holden when Girardi comes back.

8. Which brings me to Anaheim. The entire hockey world seems convinced that a trade is brewing. I’m not so sure. First, hard pass on Cam Fowler. Vatanen is a decent middle pairing option, but my concern is that, even if acquired, you are just replacing Clendening with him. Girardi and Staal remain in the lineup, and you are just adding salary for marginal upgrades around the real problems. Band aid on a bullet wound.

9. A question I would pose to our readership. Would you trade Kreider for Lindholm?

10. I figure before I sign off today that I would give my two cents on the elephant in the BSB virtual room: AV v McIlrath. I will agree that this whole thing has gotten so far out of hand, it’s almost comical at this point. Here is my take on both sides.

McIlrath is not getting the shot he deserves. His skating has improved and he makes quality short, first passes. That said, he skating is still sub-par for an NHL defender expecting bigger minutes, and he misuses his physicality. There are base emotions that we have as humans that love when our team, tribe, group, family, etc., “gets” the other guy who has been physically threatening to our people. I get that. The problem is that a specific role to satisfy that emotion is going extinct in hockey. You can whine all you want that the game is soft now and a physical edge is still needed, but the reality is, even tough guys have to be more dynamic than ever before.

McIlrath has the potential to be a guy who can play some useful minutes and provide a certain physical intimidation. Don’t tell me he is necessary, though. That is just not the modern game. Like it or not, in probably the next ten years, hockey will look far more European in style than it does today. Speed and possession creates goals and wins. No such correlation exists between fighting and standing up for your teammates and success on the ice. I’ve played this game for twenty-five years and seen multiple eras of the sport. This is the future.

As for AV, he is a stubborn man. You could also argue arrogant. He believes deeply in the things that have brought him success, not all that dissimilarly to John Tortorella. There are pro’s and con’s to this type of approach. Rarely, at the pro level do reactionary decisions end up going well. However, sticking to the process through rough patches is not an excuse for an inherently bad process to begin with.

His insistence on giving his veterans hugely long leashes is problematic, but not fatally so. Rick Nash goes on a little scoring drought and want to help bring him out of it with some big PP minutes, be my guest. However, this has been years with Girardi and Staal, and it begins to look more and more like willful ignorance.

I do sympathize with what the expectations are in New York and that indulging rookie learning curves might not bode well for job security, but leaning on declining veterans isn’t the answer either. I would rather see a younger player completely screw the pooch and make a big mistake that costs a goal, than see a declining player slowly ground down to the same result because they can’t simply transition the puck the other way.

This whole thing has taken an oddly political bent (and don’t you dare start talking politics in the comments just because I said that). It’s an us vs. them mentality with no middle ground. AV has his good and bad as a coach and McIlrath has his good and bad as a player. If McIlrath is ultimately traded, you have every right to feel like he got shortchanged. However, if he is relegated to a depth role, before you go nuts, realize that there just might be a hockey justification for that.

Point is, we have a wonderful community of passionate and informed commenters here at Blue Seats Blogs and that readership is growing every day. For those who have been with us for years, thank you and we hope you will try to set an example for newer commenters about how we conduct ourselves around here.

To the newbies, welcome. We are glad you are here. Make sure when you are sharing your thoughts with the community; you share them with sincerity, thoughtfulness and respect. This is a place where everyone can discuss the in’s and out’s of our favorite team, and we want it to be an enjoyable experience for everyone. Thank you for reading and have a great weekend.

"Thoughts after four games", 5 out of 5 based on 26 ratings.

56 comments

  1. Richter1994 says:

    IMO:

    Forward group just great, including the BACKCHECKING they have displayed so far. But please, tighten up in the slot area.

    Clendening is a huge (good) surprise. I would put him with McD until the Rangers finally get a worthy, righty, top pair D man.

    Zib line, wow. But they need to tighten up defensively too.

    AV, up to usual and old tricks of terrible personnel management. Let’s see what happens when the rest of the league is on to how the Rangers’ D men are being sheltered by the forwards and the opponents start forechecking them to death. How McIlrath is not playing given the choices is beyond bizzare. BTW, I’m sure G is back to top pair again, lol.

    Kids showing very well so far, good stuff.

    The Rangers need to keep up the speed game as this will be the winning formula going forward this year.

    Should be interesting to see what happens when Lindberg comes back.

    Fast should never play any line but 4th line. PLEASE!!

    • paulronty says:

      Agree with everything you said, but after 4 games I’m not getting too excited about Clendening. In a previous poll here, I responded that I wasn’t expecting much from Holden & so far that seems to be the case. He says he’s comfortable on both sides & playing him on the right is AVs excuse to keep McIlrath on the bench. I think he’s probably going to keep Holden out there no matter what.

      • Richter1994 says:

        I like Clendening because he can skate and he makes simple plays. Those little passes that start the forwards going the other way.

        The problem with trying to evaluate D men from Edmonton is that they’re so bad that you never know how good they are individually.

        • Reenavipul says:

          His puck control is 2nd brst on the D corps

          • Richter1994 says:

            For $600K or whatever it is, not bad.

            Gorton has done a great job of making subtle changes that have made the Rangers a much faster and skilled team.

            Unfortunately, that $11M+ of horrible salary cap on the back end is keeping him from making changes there that will make the rangers contenders this year. he may have to wait until next year to change the D with a G buyout.

    • paulronty says:

      And Fast should never be on the PK either!

  2. amy says:

    they are 2-2 where they could of been 3-1 they should of won on Wednesday against Detroit the Kids are playing well and z-bad is playing great as well but I think Dylan should be playing a little more

  3. Pootie Tang Jr. says:

    Re: points 8 & 9

    No way should Kreider be traded. Should be an untouchable Ranger–he’s off to a good start, he’s under contract at a reasonable rate, and his offensive dynamism would be impossible to replace. Lindholm makes the D instantly better if acquired, but not at the cost of destroying chemistry. Rangers have had Kreider for years, to get rid of him as he’s starting to peak would be the height of foolishness.

    Secondly–Sami Vatanen is a much, much, much better player than Clendening. To call him a “replacement” is inaccurate–Vatanen would be a massive upgrade. This is a guy who’s been an NHL regular for 3+ seasons, posted 35+ points twice already, and played for his country’s national team in the olympics and in the World Cup. Clendening is a marginal NHL player with barely 50 games of experience. There’s no comparison as far as who is the better player. I’d rather the Rangers sneak in and steal Vatanen away rather than giving up way too much to acquire Hampus Lindholm.

    • Richter1994 says:

      I didn’t realize Vatanen was a righty. In any case, the guy that should be “replaced” is the most expensive one.

      McD-Vatenen
      Staal-KK
      Skjei-Clendening

  4. Reenavipul says:

    Time & space w/ possession creates goals: speed can create time & space but it can also shrink it; then you have to have skill to create in a small window instead of a bigger one.

    Plenty of teams play fast, most of them can’t think fast.

    • jeff says:

      great post….

    • paulronty says:

      I remember Dave King, former Team Canada coach saying–there are better skaters than Gretzky, better shooters, better checkers but nobody thinks the game better than Gretzky. It’s a read & react game, so speed is great but so is speed of processing & reacting.

  5. Stranger Nation says:

    Since you brought it up…
    Dylan should play because he is more effective Dman than Girardi (and Holden), not because he fights. The facts are Girardi cannot skate well nor clear the crease nor make a break out pass, etc etc. The Dylan as goon analysis painting supporters as knuckle-dragging blood-thirsty know-nothings is using an extreme view and frankly, condescending.
    .
    The fact Dylan will play physical is a plus, but he is good with the puck, has a cannon of a shot and will support the blue paint. His lateral speed is wanting and he can take himself out of the play but he is a better option than Done Girardi and after 4 games, Nick Hold-on (who was given away by a poor D team). And they have yet to lose with him in the line-up this season ;-0
    .
    The fact is this team’s D is its albatross and all options should be exhausted to try and improve the units overall play. Clendening is a stop-gap, not a solution (cut by Edm). He is getting the Stralman-treatment without the evidence to support it. Those who think Staalled has gotten better are in for a long season. The fact the Offense has become very exciting to watch, as has the D for different reasons. A trade is highly improbable given the contracts already on the back line unless they move a big chip (Nash please!)
    .
    Yes, the NHL has gotten fast, but you need the puck in order to break out…

    • Pootie Tang Jr. says:

      Agree 100% on McIlrath. A defensive upgrade sits in the pressbox while a bunch of defensive nonentities do what they do at this level–struggle!

      Why is it that our coach expects 28-33 year old players to be able to suddenly start playing better? It goes against reason and evidence to think like that….guys like Staal and G are who they are. As is Holden….McIlrath was one of the few bright points in a dark 6-week period last season, he definitely showed that he can be a fine 3rd pair dman. And if Girardi and Holden and Clendening are the other options at RD I take McIlrath over them in a heartbeat.

      • Duffis Mclane says:

        There’s been guys that came to the rangers and became good after bouncing around the league. Benouit poulliot, Stralman and a few others. I think Mclrath would’ve been good in the league 20 years ago but the game is faster now. I wish he was better. As far as kids getting a chance to play,look at Vesey and Buch playing on top lines. I know what I’m talking about because I know everything about the Rangers. I’ve been watching them since the days when they had Mickey Mantle and Andy Bathtub

        • Ranger17 says:

          Hey Duffis been a Rangers fan since 1949 old Garden , Iceland practice facility on top of the Garden where you could go and watch and interact with the olayers when they left the ice it was great .Bathgate , Prentice Hebenton Herny Howell ,the Gump Ingarfield , Park Bones Raleigh, Clear the tract here comes Shack, Stemmer Off sides Lewicki 50 cent seats with GO card LGR

          • Walt says:

            You may be of the few who’s been following this team longer than me. Thanks for the memories !!!!!!!!!

      • Bobby B says:

        Tanger, your comment is Spot on, unfortunatly Mcllrath will be traded, because AV will not bend. He will take Holden, and a half crippled Girardi before giving Mcllrath his due.

      • Christopher Smith says:

        Will all of you please stop
        with big Dylan!!! I like him too hes a fun throwback, but a marginal player at best. Waaaayyyyyy too mich ink on this guy. G and Staal are crumbling yes, but their contracts are not. I have faith in management for the first time in years. Be calm let it happen..

    • upstatetom says:

      agree with you whole heartedly….. but ya gotta give him a chance like with holden, clendening and this years girardi, he’s better than all three. so where does that leave us ? with damn poor coaching decisions or coaches, that’s where !!! dylan doesn’t HAVE to fjght, just play hard and be a presence…

  6. Peter says:

    Clendening has been a nice, inexpensive acquisition who should stick around as a spare D-man if the Rangers can land a top defenseman. He may even develop into a fair player. But if the Rangers can get Vatanen it would certainly be an upgrade. He is also only 25.

  7. Agentsmith says:

    There s a reason holden cost what a 4th Rd pick?

    Also don’t get ur hopes up – mcilrath wouldn’t fetch much more than that

    Feels like we should be better than 2 and 2. But that’s solely based on the fwd play. … and that’s where you will get pdo’d.

  8. Dave says:

    Vatanen is an instant 1RD Justin. YOU’RE WRONG I’M RIGHT LALALALALALALALALALALALA

    • Chris F says:

      I sense a little tongue in cheek there, but I think that’s generally correct.

      Vatanen is leaps and bounds better than Clendening, and could easily slot in as a 1RD. Though I’d prefer he drop to the second pairing and allow Klein to try first pairing duties.

    • Pootie Tang Jr. says:

      On this team he certainly is a #1 RD. I like your reasoning though, it’s really nuanced and full of statistical evidence.

    • Dave says:

      Big fan of the people who missed the clear joke in this comment.

      Salty much?

  9. Robert Skettini says:

    Jooris doesn’t get taken out of the lineup when Lindberg returns, he comes out of the lineup when Buchnevich returns….

    We don’t know who (if anyone) comes out when Lindberg is healthy…. tough call.

    • paulronty says:

      Should be Pirri in my view who comes out because he’s not a 4th liner & when Buch comes back there is no place for him in the top 9.

      • Ranger17 says:

        Another AV move i don’t understand is Fast up to the third line and Perri staying on the fourth line . Perri is lost on the fourth line and Fast shouln’t be on the third line . I like Fast but he is at his best playing on the fourth line for the betterment of the team just as Grabner is even tho i would rather see Grabner move up instead of Fast . Again just my opinion LGR

  10. SalMerc says:

    I like the speed through the neutral zone and I feel that the breakout from our own zone seems more controlled and organized.

    The top two forward lines look good. I still think the Stepan line lacks chemistry and needs more time, but that is expected. Hayes looks better, but I do not see him generating any sustained control of the puck in the Ozone. The 4th line has done their job, but we need to solidify and stick with 3 players. I know AV loves Fast, but he does little for offense. If he is there solely for defense, than he stays and put the other wing as an offensive threat.

    The defense – Holden is a mistake. McD is playing like a man possessed, but he needs a real linemate. Clendening is a nice addition, who on any other team is a third line player. Klein and Stall are our second line and Skjei is playing well and will have issues. Girardi, if healthy, can be tolerable, but nothing more than a 7th D. I won’t mention McI, because it causes this board pain. We need to address the situation by game 20 or every team in the league will expose our weakness. We do not have enough sharp-shooters to win games 6-4 every night. Why do we run into hot goalies? Because we tend to make average goalies look great by throwing continuing to throw average low shots at butterfly goalies.

    Hank has fallen back to the pack. Don’t get me wrong, we can win with him, bet the days of him winning by himself are long gone. He needs help and the 6 D we put in front are not the correct D for that job.

  11. AD says:

    In my view,

    – Jooris would fill the 4th line role better than Lindberg.

    – we’ll be talking about our porous defense for a while as long as we play man-to- man, and then maybe every other game after that

    – Gorton has the flexibility to reconstruct our defense, so that is the big hope for this team as I see it, and the path toward winning the Cup. However, it will take time, and in all probability will not occur until next summer.

    – McIlrath’s skating is more than adequate for the NHL. While unable to stop on the dime and accelerate in opposite direction quickly, all other facets of his skating are just fine. Interesting fact: McIlrath and Klein have had nearly identical NHL development paths and, as suggested by your comments “McIlrath deserves better”, McIlrath may very well be ahead of Klein if given opportunities which matched his performance first half of last season. There is NOTHING about Kevin Klein’s game that McIlrath could not match or exceed over the next 8 years experience Klein has over him right now. 8 years. Wasn’t it just a little more than 2 seasons ago many fans were claiming JT Miller would never make it in the NHL? Give it a rest and let’s all hope McIlrath gets traded to a team that cultivates and develops him as a player, and does not hold him to double standards.

    – I recall a certain 6-12 month love affair with John Moore that a certain coach had, and it was a big factor which justified trading Del Zotto. I am not a big fan of Del Zotto but he was and always will be a better player than John Moore. And I never played organized ice hockey, how ’bout that?

    • paulronty says:

      Right on AGAIN!!! You don’t have to play hockey to understand it. There are many guys who played & would be lousy coaches, like………:)

  12. Todd N says:

    This is one of the better written blogs on this sight on the not so distant past.
    It is great to see the speed game back. The back line is a major problem
    Although I agree that the North American game is transitioning to a European style, which I like, present day you still need a enforcer to protect our skill players.
    In the first game this year against the Islanders, onew of the Islanders bumped Lundquist. McDonagh game ever the guy a love tap against the boards.
    Teams lime the Flyers look at that like a shark smells blood.
    Remember Dale Rolf

    • Reenavipul says:

      A European game is on a bigger sheet(which creates time & space) with way more east/west action and the puck does way more work than the skaters do, not this 30 second shifts of skating like a chicken with their heads cut off and all creativity is sucked out.

      If you want to see, LAOLA1.tv is showing Jokerit/Spartak right now.

    • Bobby B says:

      Todd N, The Dale Role incident cost that 74 Ranger team a Stanley Cup, we were the better team, but they BULLIED us to a pulp in game 7. AV’S 2011 Vancouver team,( only 5 years ago) they were the better team, but the Bruins kicked their As**in the trenches, and BULLIED them. Both times the Team that being the BULLY, WON THE CUP!! History has a way of repeating itself!! Current Ranger roster, very talented European type players, very soft team. The one player who brings the element of intimidation, the one guy that will take on any other teams tough player, the guy who plays with an eye for an eye mentality, will be shown the door, ALL BECAUSE OF AV.

  13. Walt says:

    I have to admit, you gave a fair assessment of the team, and the coach, but as I see it, nothing will change !!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Randy says:

    Nice post Justin.

    I specifically liked where you said, “I would rather see a younger player completely screw the pooch and make a big mistake that costs a goal, than see a declining player slowly ground down to the same result because they can’t simply transition the puck the other way.”

    Couldn’t agree more with that statement, and this is what I view as AV’s main flaw.

    Kreider is untouchable at this point with the way he is playing.

    IMHO, I think the Rangers will see what they can do this year with the group they have, and then find a way to sign Shattenkirk next offseason to bolster the D-corps back to where it needs to be. A true RD1 makes our D a whole lot prettier…

    McD-Shattenkirk
    Staal-Klein
    Skjei-Clendening/McIlrath/Girardi

    I am not sure how the contracts/expansion draft play into the D next year, but it seems like waiting to get Shatty for $$$$ is the right move, considering no one wants the pylons and Holden/Undertaker/Clendening won’t bring anything back.

    • Stranger Nation says:

      Just cannot see how they can afford Shatty UFA $$$ with the twin anvil contracts still against the cap. Shatty is not a great Dman but another Yandle type who still does not give DMac a true 2-way partner.

  15. Steffen says:

    Let’s put a bit of oil on the fire:
    What about sitting G and putting Lindberg on defense? Or is D to hard to learn later on?

    • paulronty says:

      The game is not transitioning to a Europen style at all. Europen hockey has some great skaters, but the game is actually slower because of the bigger ice surface, Players have more time & they take it. In fact, over the last twenty years, Europeans have transitioned more to the North American style because there are numerous imports in the Canadian Junior Leagues and they do this to get acclimatized to the NA style, just like a guy like Zbovorisky is doing. Some Europeans also play a more physical style now, even a little guy like Zuccarello.

    • paulronty says:

      You must be kidding,right? D is the hardest position to play, you have to skate backwards & do backwards crossovers. Ever done that? Lindberg is too small for D as well.

    • Egelstein says:

      I’m not advocating for this necessarily and definitely don’t see it happening, but it is curious to think about for fun. I can’t tell you how skilled Oscar is at the type of skating required for D…maybe he’s more proficient than we would assume, maybe he’s not. As far as size goes, that’s a non-factor. If this was Zucc, I’d agree he’s too small. Lindberg however is bigger than defenders already starting around the league, and he would assuredly be used as an offensive defender, not a lock down stay at home guy. And their was a piece last year someone did here that gauged effectiveness of hits, and if I recall correctly Oscar was pretty good on that chart. Biggest issue I have though (same issue we have in general)…he shoots left. A completely new role and on his opposite side because we need the D help on the righ…not sure that would work out well.

  16. Andy says:

    The start of the season has been generally a pleasant surprise. We should probably be better than 2-2 ,but that’s where we are and that’s fine. This cap and player selection is a puzzle. The reality is we have too many pieces in the front and the back. We do have the right pieces up front and we all know the 2 worst pieces we have in the back end. Good teams make adjustments but so do good coaches. AV has come close to winning the cup twice, but has not gotten over the hump yet.His biggest detriment is his stubbornness and unwillingness to let young players take on bigger roles. When things are not working you need to have an honest conversation about the problems and he appears to be wearing blinders when it comes to Staal and Girardi and Holden to a lesser extent. And if he does not adjust his approach he will never win the Cup. No move we make will matter if he does not limit the twins playing time and use Holden in a more reasonable way. They are the square pegs trying to fit in the round hole. Nick Holden has been uninspiring. His positional play is the most glaring issue. He should probably be less minutes as you point out as well as sitting from time to time. Let’s hope we can come up with a good package to move out some spare parts for a solid Defensive piece the coach will lean on.

  17. paulronty says:

    Why do you perpetuate the myth that McIlrath’s skating is sub-par for the NHL? Of the current 8 D, if we had a race from one end of the rink to the other McIlrath will beat everyone there, except for McD, Skjei & Clendening. I’d bet you a thousand dollars on that.

    • Richter1994 says:

      I am FARRRRRRRRRRRRR from a Dylan fan but please play the ef’n best line up every night. Based on what we have, Dylan should be playing.

  18. Ray says:

    I don’t think it matters whether Holden is comfortable on the right side or not. It matters if he is good on the right side. Those two things should perhaps correlate, but they don’t seem to be correlating.

    Del Zotto was a perfectly good left defenseman who simply was not adequate on the right and the Rangers got rid of him. It may very well be that Holden is better on the left than McIlrath is on the right as AV surely thinks. But AV needs to play his best right D option on the right side.

  19. Egelstein says:

    Regarding #6 and in relation to #10…Historically AV hasn’t even usually played defenders on their offhand side when he SHOULD give it a shot…let alone when he definitely, glaringly should not give it a shot. Just when you think you’ve seen it all from AV in terms of personnel placement within the lineup, he puts a third pair/7D caliber lefty in the top pair right hand slot. Just un-friggin-believable. I don’t care how much he dislikes McIlrath on a personal level – that is completely uncalled for. Of all of the head-scratching personnel decisions AV has made last year and so far this year (I feel like he didn’t used to be so bad with this aspect), Holden as P1 RHD may be the king of them all.

    That said, I pretty much agree with all of your points Justin. Solid piece! On the good news front, I’m fairly ok with most of what AV has done so far with the forwards group, with the exception of my personal preference to see Fast to always be on the 4th line, nailed right to it. He just fits so darn well there IMO, but we all know “Quickie” is a favorite. So far this looks like one of the most electric forwards group I’ve seen (and can remember well) in my lifetime as a Rangers fan at age 34, so I also am cautiously optimistic about things in general.

    • Egelstein says:

      Oh one more thing…I watch the Ducks a lot as I am in LA and they are kinda my second team since I can see all their games (and can’t stand the Kings who may have the collectively least knowledgeable most fair-weather fans in the league). Very familiar with their roster, and I honestly don’t think they are a great fit for us.

      We’ve recently paid all the impact young forwards we have that they would seem to want, which means they won’t save a ton of money sending us one D for one F. Fowler is alright and he’s had an unexpectedly solid start, but he doesn’t actually defend well at all, and that needs to be a priority I think. I like Vatanen more and of course Vatanen is a righty whereas Fowler is a lefty. If the Rangers are seriously looking to do something with the Ducks, I just don’t see how it works smoothly for both sides unless a third team (Winnipeg with Trouba coming to us, in a perfect world) is involved and multiple pieces are being moved.

      • Richter1994 says:

        good info on the Ducks, thanks. If there is no 3 way trade and the Rangers deal with the Ducks directly then I don’t know how it works cap wise either. Ducks want no cap space coming back for Lindholm.

        • Egelstein says:

          Yup, and even if they have an eye on Miller for example who is quite reasonably paid, he is making 2.75M now I believe, which doesn’t save them enough. (I would also flip over a net Hank style if they traded Miller for Fowler straight up). There would have to be more money coming to us and perhaps picks or prospects going to them to even get the discussion for Miller going, it seems. However, Bob Murray is a pretty savvy GM and Gorton is showing flashes of thinking out of the box in his budding career as a GM, so still can’t rule them out fully.

          • Richter1994 says:

            If Miller goes to the Ducks then maybe it would be for vatenen instead of Fowler, doesn’t Vatenen make more than Fowler cap wise? The trade would save the Ducks at least $2M I believe.

            For the Rangers, they have approx $2M in current cap space. Trading Miller gives them $4.7M and I think that Vatenen’s cap hit is $4.8M, so they could do it.

    • paulronty says:

      Personally, I think AV had already chosen Holden to be in the top six before camp even started. He probably had input into that trade, the Q will be whether he takes Holden out if he plays poorly.