July 4th musings

July 4, 2017, by

jeff gorton

Happy Fourth of July everyone. Enjoy the day off with some musings of the Rangers’ offseason thus far.

  • Jeff Gorton has had an interesting offseason. It’s clear his goal was to upgrade the defense, and he did just that by buying out Dan Girardi, re-signing Brendan Smith, and signing Kevin Shattenkirk. He got a bonus in Kevin Klein’s retirement. So on that front, so far so good.
  • The top four on the blue line, as mentioned yesterday could be the best in the Metro Division. It has established puck movers who are solid two-way defensemen. This top-four will help resolve the issue the Blueshirts had with zone exits last year.

  • More on zone exits: Nothing infuriated me more than watching the defensemen dump the puck into the neutral zone, which forced the forwards to go chasing the puck. It was a specific style of play that Alain Vigneault had his club doing regularly because outside of Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei (and later Brendan Smith), none of the regulars could move the puck quickly to transition to offense. That shouldn’t be a problem going forward, at least with the top-four.
  • That bottom pairing, assuming it’s Marc Staal-Nick Holden, is going to be a train wreck right now though. They were not good last year, save for a two week span, and were just downright awful in the playoffs. If that’s the third pairing, then the Rangers are going to get exploited regularly.
  • However there has to be something coming, right? With Staal, Holden, Anthony DeAngelo, Ryan Graves, Neal Pionk, and Alexei Bereglazov, the Rangers have six guys competing for two starting roles and the 7D. Even if you assume Pionk and Graves are in Hartford to start the season (Bereglazov has a KHL-out clause if he’s not in the NHL), that’s still four guys for three spots. It’s a good problem to have, as injuries happen throughout the season. But with other holes on the roster, I’m curious to see how this plays out.
  • On to the forwards, and I still don’t like the Derek Stepan deal for a win-now team. With Klein’s retirement, the Rangers didn’t need to clear that cap space. Sure it would have been tight, but it was certainly doable (simply trading Nick Holden would have alleviated that issue, and solved some of logjam mentioned above). The club traded their 1C and got the #7 pick (Lias Andersson) and DeAngelo. Neither of which are guarantees and while significantly talented, have their own concerns. I guess I just wanted to see them get something that was a sure thing.
  • There is still an issue at 2C – I don’t know if Kevin Hayes, who had a sneaky-bad season last year, is the answer. Maybe there’s a trade coming to fix the logjam at defense. Maybe someone actually wants Staal or Holden. If Girardi can get a multi-year deal for $3 million despite getting bought out, then anything can happen.
  • Perhaps there’s more to the Lias Andersson pick than meets the eye? Maybe the Rangers have hopes he can make the team out of camp? Other than that, I find it odd that the club was out on Thornton/Marleau immediately after landing Shattenkirk. I just feel like more is coming.

Enjoy the holiday folks!

Categories : Musings


  1. amy says:

    so far you have to like the moves that the GM has made upgrading the defense and getting a backup goaltender now the work starts in resigning Mika and Jaesper guys that played well this year have a great fourth you all

  2. Richter1994 says:

    How’s Jeff doing so far?

    Top 4 maybe best in the division from being the worst.

    There is a hole at center but moving Miller to center and maybe Andersson making the team as the 4th center with DeAngelo playing 3rd pair makes the Stepan trade look a whole lot better, not to mention having the ability to sign Shatty.

    I feel another move coming. FL has gone stupid so maybe Gorton can fleece them to get Trochek which would be a major coup. Miller for Trochek? And then sign a winger? Yeah I would do that.

    Re-sign Zib, 5 years, $25M. Fast, 2 years, $3M.

    • Walt says:


      Interesting choice of trade name, Trochek, who is signed to a $3.7 mil per contract. Seems high for a 3rd line guy, but he did have two years in a row at over 23 goals, and had 54 points last season as their what 3rd line guy? We paid $6.5 for some 55 points in Stepan, so that would be a great return for us………….I still like the idea of JT on our roster, but this could work well for the team???????

      • Richter1994 says:

        Hey Walt, incorrect, he’s an almost $5M per cap hit. Basically Trochek is an extremely talented center, puts up approx 50-55 pts.

        My trade? Miller, Holden, Graves, and Staal for Trochek and Demers.

        Vanek (signed for one year)-Hayes-Buch


        The Winnipeg guy

        How does that look?

        • Walt says:

          on line it read $3.75 mil, but it not be current????

        • Walt says:

          that would be an outstanding defense corp…………I still like Stallberg on the wing instead of Vanek though!!!!

        • Mintgecko says:

          Hayes will be the 2c, you can count on that. If they let the bottom 6 center issues work themselves out within the club or through a trade is another question.

          • Richter1994 says:

            Hayes would not be the #2C if Trochek were here. I would bet a lot of money on that.

            • Florida Tom says:

              Agreed, living in South Florida and watching Trocheck he is definitely more than a 3rd line center.

              • Richter1994 says:

                Trochek is a tremendously gifted young player. Why would FL even think of trading him?

            • Mintgecko says:

              No I’m simply saying Hayes is the 2c so any speculation of getting a top 6 C is worthless. Yeah if OEL came here then Skjei is a 3rd pair. I’m not going to bring up stuff that has zero smoke to it let alone big time trades. I rather try stay as realistic as possible and to me no way JG trades up for a 1c/2c.

              • Richter1994 says:

                Ok gotcha, I did misunderstand what you meant to say.

                But responding to what you are saying, if a guy like Trochek is available for a reasonable trade cost, then yo have to consider it, no?

      • upstsatetom says:

        don’t jt miller and trochek have history from pittsburgh ? ( state of )

  3. Walt says:

    “With the Steapan trade, the club traded their 1C and got the #7 pick (Lias Andersson) and DeAngelo. Neither of which are guarantees and while significantly talented, have their own concerns. I guess I just wanted to see them get something that was a sure thing.”

    Could it be that you, and others have over rated Stepan, while the GM’s in the NHL don’t think he wasn’t that good to begin with??

    I could see the Bereglazov kid make the team, along side De Angelo, with either Holden, or Staal being the 7th man. I agree that we now have a glut of defensemen, and a trade will be made, even for draft picks to rid us of Staal, or a better return for Holden.

    As for the 4th line center, well we may go to the UFA list to acquire him, but I can see JT, or Andersson getting the #3 spot. The only other need will be to get one more wing, and I for one would like to see Vic Stallberg back in Ranger Blue. He is good on defense, does a nice job on the fore-check, gritty for a European, and can pitch in with some additional scoring. Over all, thus far, we have been having a very good off season, and JG is earning his pay!!!!!!!!!!!

    Everyone, have a great 4th of July, and if traveling, do so safely……..

    • SalMerc says:

      Stepan was overpaid and poison to the club.

      • Walt says:

        Agree, but I didn’t want to start down that road again, may upset too many today………….On numerous occasions someone posted that other than Kreider, no team member attended his wedding. That to me says a lot, you may have hit on something with the poison remark???? Whatever, he is history, and that chapter is now closed!!!

      • Mintgecko says:

        Poison to the club? You don’t want to hear about the true inside of the room and what the team thought about Stepan with the older/younger crowd. It’s a small world and JT was in LP NY at one point and started to spill his guts while being hammered to one of my childhood friends who got alot of juicy information. Kids like him, Buch, Vesey, Hayes, Skjei and even Zucc don’t respect him, it’s probably why barley anyone said bye to him through Twitter or Instagram. I’m just saying it wasn’t like when Brass got traded and you could see the emotion throughout the team with all the fairwells and goodlucks.

        • Walt says:

          If true, interesting stuff???????????? As to your point about Brass, it seemed like everyone came out of the woodwork to say good things about him!!!!!!

          • Mintgecko says:

            It’s very true Walt, I have alot of examples but the story itself gets whacky good. I could add more to it and of course it’s he said she said while being drunk but word is JG/Sather had this planned to ditch Stepan to Arizona ever since Hayes got here. That management part is good but I won’t go any deeper than that but let’s just say they’re very high on Hayes right now.

            Examples of other stuff…. Things like if you have any acess to watch the full games then look towards the end when everyone is going through the tunnel on home ice.

            Remember Stepan’s meltdown on the bench? Noticed nobody spoke up for him to back up that he’s a true leader. Usually that’s the time the team should rally aroung you, no? I think Staal said something but watch Steps face as everyone goes in, Kreider had to hold him. I guess he was crying from what I was told lol. Re watch his post game for that night, he sends subliminal shots and basically said it himself that he doesn’t have the respect of everyone.

            Go read what Hayes said about him in his Tribune, it all matches up imo. Stepan’s wedding only Kreider showed up from the NYR. Guys like Hayes and Brass ditched and went to Zuccs home town instead. This Stepan as a leader or well liked is a giant illusion from the NYR media as JT told my friend.

      • Swarty says:

        Overpaid – absolutely

        Poison – don’t see that

    • Mintgecko says:

      That’s exactly it with a certain crowd who has overrated Stepan and now they make up these insane narratives. I knew this was going to happen after he got traded, those fans can’t see the truth that’s infront of their eyes.The NYR sent a 26 year old center with only a 2 year window of having a NTC to a garbage team in the dessert that will soon be relocated after Bettman finds out that a rivalry in Arizona isn’t worth it. I think the trademarket with the GM’s have spoken and I’m pretty sure since 14 they knew to dump him to the Yotes

    • Ranger17 says:

      Staal is not going to waive NMC. We have him unless he has another concussion and goes on LTIR. Only way he is going away but until than play him as 7th D meaning you need to sit him and hope he wants out and asks for a trade , cost too much to buy out . Hope his pride kicks in being up in the press box . Maybe a team under the Cap floor will come a calling

  4. Bloomer says:

    No doubt with the jettison of Girardi, Marc Staal and Holden become the de facto whipping boys at Madison Square Gardens. I am definitely with you on Stepan, he was effective at both ends of the ice and a good leader. I am assuming by these offseason moves, Gorton wants a team that is younger and faster. In hockey speed does kill.

    However, there is not much left on the free agent board that fits the bill, thus Jeff Gorton may have to go the trade route. There is still a need out there by many teams for blueline depth. Perhaps he could ante up Holden and some prospects for a pivot that fits the bill.

    • Mintgecko says:

      I’d say Stepan was “jettison” with a bottle of nos but Girardi time ran out and people exposed that the last couple of years.

      Yeah who’s going to help all those kids Stepan took under his wing? Those vets like Drury, Richie, Marty and Nash must have taught him well lol. Stepan wore the A by default, he was the reason why Nash needed to be randomly added to that group.

  5. Rob says:

    I do not have the data, but if you look at a combination of lobsided score and quality of opponent, Stephan mostly contributed in runaway games and/or bad opponents.

    Clearing the cap space was brilliant.

    • supermaz says:

      Never been a big fan of Stepan, but saying he never scored big goals is an untruth.

  6. Eugene says:

    Look@ amounts of Marloe and Jumbo? 8 and 6 mil, there was no space for those guys, as for Bonino, the only guy in reach was Sam Gagner, that’s it.

    I say give Anderson, Miller, Nieves and Chytil a chance, nothing to loose in current situation, and also find the way to trade Lindi = Holden + something, that would be the best of the best…. and I forgot, Fire AV

    • Bryan says:

      How do you write an article criticizing the Stepan trade saying “simply trading Nick Holden would have alleviated that” then a paragraph later say “Maybe someone actually wants Staal or Holden”? Am I missing something? Just like you and I see Holden sucks so does everyone else including GM’s and scouts!

      • Walt says:


        You may be right, but we traded for Holden didn’t we?????? There may still be a small market for the guy, more so than Staal, who can’t skate worth a damn!!!!!

      • Joe B. says:

        Stefan had to go…the guy is soft…soft beyond what any team can tolerate. I watched him look right at a teammate getting clobbered in the playoffs and he did nothing…not even engage with another player….soft kills any team and he was the leader of soft. Secondly, the guy is simply not a $6mil player. So he wins a few face-offs…I can see him at $4Mil maybe??? bottom line is…if we didn’t trade him now we were stuck with him and another no trade clause thanks to Slats….just think…another Rick Nash…paid big with no production….this is what is holding the team back…I like all the moves JG has made…our defensive issues are fixed…I just hope for one more move….sign Mikhail Grigirenko and solidify the center spot….please!!!

        • wwpd says:

          Grigorienko signed with Moscow yesterday so he is off the board now

        • Walt says:


          Hence the name Daisy, by your’s truly!!!!!! As for Grigirenko, I proposed that move as well, that would work well in my opinion……

        • Mintgecko says:

          Yeah Nash and the hype that came with him was fully true, he was a elite scorer with one of the better 2 way games. Stepan at 28 yrs old when Nash was 26 doesn’t even sound right. He’s a guy who will never have a single vote in the Selke race, none and his two way is nothing to compare to when Nash was around his age. There’s no comparisons between the two, one makes team Canada top 9 and the other one will never be on another team USA.

        • supermaz says:

          Nash, no production?
          I was with you until you pulled this ignorant statement out of your a_s.

    • Richter1994 says:

      I was hoping for maybe Marleau, but at $6M per? Not a chance.

      See Toronto can do that as they have a ton of cap space and they can use a good vet with all the young players. Smart move for them.

  7. DAVID k says:

    they might be able to get something for Holden he had decent offensive numbers. Can they buy out Staal in August? He was so much worse than Girardi. They should grab another center like Mikhail Grigorenko.

    • Walt says:


      They don’t have cap space enough to buy out Staal, and sign the necessary players to put a decent team on the ice. If it were possible, I’d have done that in a heart beat!!!!!!! Hey, we got rid of Dan, and got cap relief for it, just too much for both though……….

  8. Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

    I see the trade as Stepan and Raanta for Andersson, DeAngelo AND Shattenkirk.

    • Mintgecko says:

      No….. That’s the long term vision that JG and his crew made up in order to make up for Stepan’s value of just getting us a hotheaded defensive prospect that could maybe be a game changer down the road. This wasn’t as black and white like when Brass got us a potential 1c whose still pretty established and a 1st round pick, make no mistakes Raanta was a throw in to get that 7th round pick.

      We got Shatty through maneuvering and building a good enough brand so a guy of that caliber would leave money on the table to come play for. That’s impossible for Stepan’s name to get Shatty and that prospect.


        Err… I think you may have a couple of things mixed up.

        Brass was traded (along w/ that 7th) for Zib and a 2nd, not a 1st.

        Also, I’m not so sure Raanta was a throw-in, especially when you consider what comparable goalies have fetched recently in the trade market.

        That being said, to link the Stepan trade w/ Shatty’s signing makes no sense, because the Rangers did not even anticipate the option (per interviews etc).

        Had they known Shatty would be willing for forgo so much $ to play here, they almost certainly would not have retained Smith IMO.

  9. Spozo says:

    This team right now kind of reminds me of the Rangers following the Rick Nash trade. They gutted the team down the middle in order to add that shiny new toy. Anisimov and Dubinsky were shipped out and they were a train wreck down the middle until they eventually dealt Gaborik for Brassard. Dubinsky and Artie weren’t allstar center’s but they were solid experienced NHLers and the team suffered with their loss. For the record I would make that Rick Nash trade any day of the week but I hope the Brassard trade was in their heads the whole time and not a result of seeing how bad they were down the middle.

    Fast forward to this season and they lose Lindberg and Stepan in order to add Shattenkirk. They need at least another center. JT may be serviceable there but he’s a better player on the wing and I don’t view him as the long term solution here. There’s still plenty of time before training camp starts but there is nothing of note as far as center’s go on the UFA market right now. So that means a trade must be pulled off.

    • Ranger17 says:

      Johansson in Nashville is a restricted FA. Don’t know if he has arbitration rights and if Nashville would have to walk away from a big money payoff with their cap space


        He’s also coming off a peculiar thigh injury that, rumor has it, hasn’t healed properly.

        IMO CLB traded him for more than the contract concerns…. hopefully I’m 100% wrong on that (you’d hate to see a kid’s career end for BS like that).

  10. Ray says:

    It isn’t a question of if they do something to strengthen the forward corps; it is a question of what they will do. The cupboard was bare at Hartford. Stepan, Lindberg, Glass, Pirri, Hrivik are gone and just two AHL depth players have been added. They don’t have injury protection and they don’t even seem to have a complete fourth line. At the very least, they need to do some stuff like the Grabner, Pirri, Jooris signings of last year.

  11. Ranger17 says:

    They can still try to get Lindberg back from Vegas

  12. Ranger17 says:

    Vegas is trading away every body they drafted , they will be the first team in NHL history to ice a team with only future draft picks and the Flower in net

  13. Peter says:

    I understand Dave, but have to disagree. I see Lias Andersson and Anthony DeAngelo as two guys who should get every chance to make the starting lineup.

    Either they put JT Miller in the 3C slot and Andersson at 4C, or Andersson at 3C and Boo Nieves or trade Holden for a 4C.

    Since they are stuck with Staal, pair him with DeAngelo on the third pairing. Have DeAngelo quarterback the second power play unit.

    That is the way to make sense out of the Stepan trade and build the club around its young players. Zibanejad gets 1C, Hayes 2C and we live or die with them this season.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Why do we have to “live or die” with anything or anyone not mandated by the cap? If the young players are good enough, then sure, play them. If Hayes and/or Zib can handle 1C/2C, great. But if they can’t, then why force feed something that may never work.

      That logic makes no sense to me. If a player can’t handle a role on the NHL level, he shouldn’t be in there just because he’s young.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Toronto needs cap relief, let’s trade them Holden for Tyler Bozak.

      • Peter says:

        Hey 3E, good to see you feeling feisty!

        I think that the ship has sailed on replacing either Zibanejad or Hayes as 1C or 2C at this point? I think that they are going to have to live or die with them.

        • Reenavipul says:

          That’s the great thing about not spending willy nilly; you accumulate cap credits so if some team decides to blow it up, the Rangers can come in and grab a guy on an expiring contract to fill a gap(like Paul Stasny.)

          Berezgalov might have a KHL out, but he’d make more in Hartford than he would in the KHL. Dynamo Moscow just had their entire team released as UFA due to debt problems. That’s 3 KHL teams out, so upwards of 60 players looking for work.

          • Walt says:


            Does that mean Mikhail Grigirenko then is an UFA again??? Sign him on the cheap, and we have our 4 centers!!!!!

  14. bernmeister says:


    we hit more than we miss, methinks — not taking a hard count here — but the above is a miss

    1. We are NOT a win now team
    That stupidity has been debunked and as long as Jeff G is in charge, we are going to build, build, build.

    We already have enough to compete vs best teams.
    Just continue to grow, steady and sure, and we will prevail now and going forward

    2 Stepan was hugely overrated.
    He was solid, yes — but never spectacular as many made him out to be.
    We were fortunate to get that deal w/AV

    Also, given restrictive clause he would have earned July 1, it made ZERO sense to retain him and FORCED A REQUIREMENT that we move him.

    Any protestation to the contrary, IMO, is not defended by the facts.