A quick review: Holden providing value, Kreider breaking outJanuary 6, 2017, by
The Rangers have been incredibly up and down the past few weeks. Which version of the Rangers is the real version we can expect to see down the stretch?
There is no way of predicting the end of the Rangers’ season. I truly believe the blueline will look significantly different come February and we do not yet know how the top nine forward set up will shake out when all are healthy.
How will this influence the team’s ability to match up against the Caps, Pens, Habs and yes, the Blue Jackets?
Reading back that first comment – only the Pens scare me. Even the Pens however have their flaws, their warts. There is no perfect team in the East. That’s why Rangers fans should remain optimistic.
Asset management is a topic I’ve written about a lot. Kevin Klein has became an example of poor asset management. I think, had the Rangers ‘sold high’ on Klein, they could have got a strong return a year ago. Now, he’s regressed so much he’ll be a throw in or a makeweight in any deal. Klein has lost a step and his decision making with the puck has become a huge issue.
Kevin Hayes is, one cold streak aside, having a very strong year. However, when everyone is fit I am still not sure almost three seasons in if the Rangers know how best to utilise him and where he should line-up. Is he a C2? is he a C3? is he best deployed in the top six as a winger?
When Mika Zibanejad is healthy you have to assume he slots straight back into a top six role which means Hayes is a third liner flirting with a 60 point season. That’s a good thing. It’s also a problem the Rangers need to solve: how to maximise his ability and get him good ice time.
Prediction time: Chris Kreider will score 35 goals and Jeff Gorton will look like a genius. Kreider genuinely has the chance to be a 40 goal scorer in this league and if he reaches that level on this contract the Rangers will be giddy.
I’ve been really impressed with Nick Holden. I wasn’t as down on him early in the season as some and I’m not as high on him as some right now but I think he’s a really nice depth defenseman for a team that has some offensive punch. He seems to be growing in confidence, makes good plays with the puck and he’s absolutely willing to get involved offensively. If he has a competent season defensively and gives the Rangers 30 points he’s a success. We always talk about cap era, value for money and Holden is a bargain thus far. With that said, if he could be sheltered somewhat I think that benefits everyone.
The Rangers should/could have 12 players who score 10+ goals this season. That’s outstanding depth. That’s assuming Pavel Buchnevich and Zibanejad actually get back on to the ice of course. The Rangers should also have three defenseman who break 30 points.
I can’t help feeling that Jesper Fast will be a player the Rangers flip for some defensive help or as part of a bigger deal toward the deadline. He’s quick, can play up and down the line-up, is defensively responsible and is cheap. He’s exactly the kind of depth player that teams covet. He should be retained but the Rangers can afford to move him if he helps improve the blueline.