Five training camp predictions

September 11, 2017, by

nick holden

It’s that time of year folks. The air is crisp (well in the mornings it is). The temperature is no longer scorching. Long sleeves are out. Pants are worn regularly. It’s almost hockey season. While the Baby Rangers are in Traverse City looking to grab a winning record, the regular Rangers are gearing up for camp. As such, here are some predictions for camp.

1. Nick Holden will not be a Ranger when camp ends. That seems like a gimme prediction, but the relative silence on the trade front hasn’t been reassuring. But the defense trade market is waiting for the Vegas shoe to drop. They have to waive at least three defensemen. When they do, teams get a clearer picture of what’s available. Holden’s contract is cheap, and teams likely want a chance to get a 30 point defenseman.

2. Lias Andersson will make the team out of camp. Another gimme prediction, but it seems like this kid, while deemed the “safe” pick, is NHL ready. There’s a lot to be seen in the coming weeks, but in a sheltered third line role with someone like JT Miller and/or Michael Grabner on his flank, he should be fine. In fact, Grabner-Andersson-Miller can be a solid third line.

3. Ondrej Pavelec will show promise. I might be getting a little out of my element here, and I completely understand questioning this signing. But I trust Benoit Allaire. A change of scenery and losing the pressure of needing to be the #1 guy could bode well for the talented but inconsistent goalie. If he can post a .915 SV% over 25 starts, I’ll consider it a win. Anything more is just icing on the cake.

4. Marc Staal will see bottom pairing minutes, or less (or will be traded if Holden isn’t). The top-four for the Rangers appears to be some combination of Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Skjei, and Brendan Smith. I highly doubt both Staal and Holden will be traded before the season starts, but one of them will be. That leaves a spot on the roster the rookie (ish) battle of Neal Pionk, Ryan Graves, Alexei Bereglazov, and Anthony DeAngelo (not a rookie, but you get my point).

5. The rookie battle on the blue line will be more intense for the fans than the players. We as fans have so much invested in this team. We’ve seen Henrik Lundqvist’s prime get squandered by bad contracts and declining defensemen. We are sensitive to it. With that in mind, we will want a clean break from the disaster that was last year. That includes a complete severing of ties to Holden and Staal. We likely won’t get that, and in turn that will spark outrage when one makes the team over the four kids. It’s going to happen. May as well accept it now.

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Categories : Preseason


  1. SalMerc says:

    I like your 5 predictions, but I must say, I doubt that Nick Holden will be a goner. My two reasons are AV and the less than stellar play of the rookie defenseman. For some unknown reason, Holden, is this years Tanner Glass. He plays too much and adds too little.

    I instead think that outside (other team) issues will influence our team. Maybe a holdout by Duchene or an injury to someone else causing a late training camp move that will bring us a center or a talented winger late. I think the backup goalie situation is meaningless, until it isn’t.

    I am looking forward to seeing our sophomores playing with more confidence and getting more time on the top six. Also need Kreider to become the everyday force in this league many think he can be.

    • Mintgecko says:

      JG isn’t looking for a top 6 wing and especially not a center, I don’t know why that thought is so embed inside some folks heads over here. There’s enough proof to put together that the team is set with Hayes and Zib. AV even said it himself that the most that they would add is a bottom 6 player, a center to be specific about what he said a couple of weeks ago. People better start getting use to the idea that those two will be a upgrade with better potential to be our next 1a and 1b center’s.

      • Egelstein says:

        Personally, I think Zibs and Hayes will be just fine as 1 and 2. Maybe not world-beating…but adequate or better.

        • Richter1994 says:

          The wingers will help the centers. I mean it’s not like we’ve had Crosby or McDavid as our centers the last 10 years. Or even Jeff Carter for that matter.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Hey buddy!

            I sort of agree, but sort of don’t. I agree we have hardly had anything close to stud centers for years now. But I’m not sure I buy into the notion that merely good to very good wingers (which is what we have at the moment), can make average to good centers better–or at least not “better enough” to legitimately compete for the silver chalice.

            There are a lot of guys with potential..I agree. But how much potential is the unanswered question.

            • Richter1994 says:

              Hey bro, hope you continue to progress. We need you here to give your now famous AV support posts. LOL. 🙂

              I really wasn’t clear on my point, the wingers will help but that won’t make our centers elite, far from it. Who was the last elite Ranger center? I’m drawing a blank. Nylander? Do you consider Brad Richards elite?

              I think Zib has a chance to very good, like a 60 pt player, give or take. IMO Zib has more skill than Stepan.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                I’m feeling GREAT my friend! One more week of rehab and then I’m 100% cleared. Already running a mile. Hope to be back on the 5k race circuit again next year! thanks for asking!

                My bad….that makes more sense to me.

                I agree, that’s part of the problem. Teams rarely win Cups without at least one elite center, or a center that plays at an elite level when it matters most. We have been a good 100+ point team because while we lacked high end talent, we did have depth. Our center depth right now looks very, very suspect. That will mean that, to compensate, Zib and Hayes will have to carry a disproportionate portion of the load and will need to be that much better.

                That’s asking a lot.

              • Richter1994 says:

                nah, I wasn’t clear to be honest. I was poo pooing the past Ranger centers while (somewhat) poo pooing our current centers as well.

                I do think strictly from a talent standpoint that Zib is one of the better centers we’ve had in a while. 60 pts is a very good possibility.

                NO SC team has won it without at least one elite center in the past, what, 10-15 years? We would be hard pressed to find a Cup winner that did not have an elite or close to elite center.

  2. Andy says:

    I gotta say thinking Staal or Holden would get traded is wishful thinking. Holden yes, but who is going to take Staal with 4 years left at $5.70mill cap hit per? And if it’s a choice…I pick Staal…but I don’t think there’s a choice.
    I would be very happy with Pionk, DeAngelo and Bereglazov taking a shot at the last 2 D spots and the 7th spot to rotate in and out of the lineup. During the season you can mix them up with Skjei and Smith to give them some guidance. (since those 2 D men can play left or right D) Curious if we can we assign Staal to Hartford? I don’t think so, but that would be fine by me as well.
    I also think Andersson may start the season in Hartford. I just think they may want someone with NHL experience and they hopefully won’t rush Andersson.

  3. Doug Peters says:

    Why not trade D’Angelo? Seems he comes with some baggage. Feel Coyotes dumped him on NYR. He is not going to like being down in Hartford.

    • Mintgecko says:

      If only I came on here to predict what Stepan would have gotten the NYR in a return. Then the fact that Rannta had to be a throw would have made me look like I came to troll. DeAngelo was a calculated move that will most likely be looked at as a project so I doubt that they give up on him right away. Don’t get me wrong I totally expected to be a vice versa type of deal compared to the Brass blockbuster that went down two summers ago.

      • SalMerc says:

        I think we have to give DeAngelo some minutes, but he may not get them right away. The fact that we had to “throw in” Raanta shows how little the league thought of Stepan. His leadership qualities as a 1C as much as his scoring must have really tarnished his image.

        • AWDS says:

          “The fact that we had to “throw in” Raanta shows how little the league thought of Stepan.”

          Errr…. sorry, calling BS here.

          The 7th overall pick, a great RHD prospect, and 6.5m in cap space is a terrible return?

          What “tarnished” Stepan’s image was after the lockout (with his 44 pts in 48 games), everyone thought he had ‘taken the next step’ and would remain a ~PPGish center.

          That obviously didn’t happen.

          • SalMerc says:

            Okay, Brassard (2C) for Zibanajad (younger, potential 1C) or Stepan (1C, $6.5M, NTC) + Raanta for unknown quantity #7 draft pick and D’Angelo (baggage)?


    • AWDS says:

      They didn’t dump DeAngelo. The Rangers specifically asked for him. You need to remember, they made this trade before the draft/free agency.

      Actually, the yotes fans were really pissed that they traded him.

      I’d be very surprised if he ends up starting the year in Hartford….

      (He wasn’t even in the prospect tournament…)

      • Peter says:

        Agreed. Gorton stated that they specifically pursued DeAngelo and that their scouting and development staffs had thoroughly researched him. He is very talented and they got him to play him. They think they can help him control his temper which has been the problem in the past.

        • SalMerc says:

          He had to say this! What is he going to say “I didn’t want a kid with baggage, but that is all I could get for Stepan”

          • AWDS says:

            “He had to say this! What is he going to say “I didn’t want a kid with baggage, but that is all I could get for Stepan””

            The thing is, in order to assess whether or not that’s true, you’ve gotta ask the following question …

            Did ARI have another waiver exempt puck-moving RHD prospect that put up DeAngelo’s numbers in juniors (who also had the same diminished trade value as him)?

            Since the answer is ‘no’, I’d say your theory doesn’t make any sense.

            They wanted him.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            No one will ever know for sure, but cant agree with you on this one Sal. I think it’s pretty clear the Rangers wanted him. They got a number one and a young kid with tons of potential. That’s a nice return for Stepan and Raanta. Fair trade as I see it.

      • Reenavipul says:

        You normally don’t do the prospect tourney after a season in the A, so DeAngelo was never going to play in TC.

        Kovacs & Stromwall are playing because of age, the train wreck season that was Hartford & the lack of depth in the 50 man roster.

        • Ray says:

          So right. Graves, Nieves, Tambellini and Halverson are not playing – and none of those has anywhere the NHL experience that DeAngelo has.

        • D C says:

          Kovacs is 20 (21 in November) and Stromwall is 23…

          Deangelo is 21 (22 in October).

          So the age comment doesn’t make a ton of sense.

          • Reenavipul says:

            Maybe if you read the entire comment it would make more sense.

            • Ray says:

              Thanks for your knowledgeable and fair analysis of Traverse City.

              Q. What do you think of Andersson? How ready is he now and how much room does he have to grow?

              • Reenavipul says:

                To be fair, when I’m in person I focus more on Dmen because there’s so much that cameras don’t pick up on away from the puck. I sit so I can watch the D bringing it out of the zone.

                Those that are watching from home probably have better views of the forwards.

                That out of the way, Andersson reads the game well, is quality in his own end, thinks and plays fast and doesn’t shy away from contact. Hopefully the offense clicks a little more over the next two games, but I’m not afraid of him playing ahead of Desharnais right now.

                Just read on Twitter that if Chytil doesn’t make the team out of camp he will be returned to Zlín.

              • EugeneP says:

                Andersson will be fine, he doesn’t dominate, but he has right attitude, which in a company of Grabs/Vesey/Miller… will make him to get it quick enough

              • Ray says:

                Thanks again. Many here have rose-colored glasses when it comes to prospects. They think Ranger brass picked someone they knew was ready. Well, they picked someone they thought would be ready, but the devil is in the details. From what you say, it sounds like they probably got this one right.

    • Ray says:

      Not a fan of D’Angelo, but the same baggage that limits his value to NYR also limits his trade value. The Rangers got a guy two teams were willing to part with; the next team would get a guy three teams were willing to part with.

      • Peter says:

        Ha, you all can sound so pessimistic. Yeah, I tend to be an optimist and I guess Gorton may be one too. The kid made mistakes which he can hopefully learn from. He has immense offensive potential and the Rangers seem to believe that they can harness it. It is possible that he can get his head on straight and contain his temper. He is young enough to change. We’ll see.

        • AWDS says:

          “The kid made mistakes which he can hopefully learn from”

          Honestly, regardless of what some people will claim, the intensity of the DeAngelo backlash is purely due to his political affiliations and past statements he made on the internet as a teenager.

          …. Wasn’t Sean Avery a ‘fan favorite’?

          • SalMerc says:

            Why don’t you try to get your facts right. He was suspended last year for abuse of an official. It was not the first time in DeAngelo’s hockey career that he has faced supplemental discipline for a non-hockey play. The Ontario Hockey League suspended DeAngelo twice in 2014 for violations of the league’s policy to “keep homophobic, racist and sexist language out of the game.” The second suspension was for eight games. And to cap off the 2013-14 OHL season, DeAngelo was ejected from a game for – wait for it – abuse of officials.

            Maybe he was 19, but it wasn’t for a political affiliation.

            • AWDS says:

              Like I said Sal, I’m not defending his antics but, plenty of former Rangers/NHL players have done things along those lines.

              None of them received one tenth of the crap this kid has.

              And he’s yet to play a single game for us…

          • Reenavipul says:

            Not to put to fine a point on it, but bullshit.

            Did his political position have anything to do with his on ice behavior? Does it have to do why his teammates wouldn’t stick up for him when things went down on the ice? Do you think that he was team Trump before Trump ever thought about running for office was the reason his 1st junior team moved on from him?


            • Peter says:

              No question his on ice behavior is what has been the most concerning. The Rangers’ staff thinks he’s trainable. We’ll see if they are right or not.

            • AWDS says:

              Lol Reena, you & I will have to agree to disagree.

              I don’t dispute that he’s (probably), as a person, a gigantic ____. Nor do I dispute that his value as a player was diminished by his antics.

              I am, however, calling BS on the idea that his pololitical affiliations haven’t adversely affected his standing among NEW YORK Rangers fans as a whole.

              Like I’ve said, a significant portion of the animosity directed thus far as him has been because what he has said as a teenager – not what he ‘did’ to a ref & some teammate years ago.

              The collective reaction by fans thus far has not been proportional to those transgressions.

            • Egelstein says:

              I wasn’t aware of anything to do with his political preferences until I read about that here, which was long after I had read about his notable history of issues on the ice from various sources. Once I learned the gist of his political opinions, my opinion of him as a prospect for the NY Rangers changed…drum roll, please…not at all.

              I’m not sure why there is so much pushback to the concept that his on ice issues are what many fans are more concerned about. He was a big investment. I’m concerned about him a bit myself, in that regard/context. I still don’t even know exactly what he said, politically speaking, because I don’t even really care to research it.

              If he cuts the crap out on the ice, I have no concerns about his conduct off it, so far as he stays out of legal trouble. I’d prefer he become an all-around role model as he matures, of course, and part of that when you have a stage that gives you an audience is in fact to maybe stay out of the media spotlight for the wrong reasons, and all…but if he doesn’t go quite that far in this area, I’ll personally settle for compliance with the law.

              I bet a lot of hockey players in general, and probably a number of Rangers as well, wouldn’t agree with my politics…and I care about theirs just about as much as they care about mine.

              • AWDS says:

                “Once I learned the gist of his political opinions, my opinion of him as a prospect for the NY Rangers changed…drum roll, please…not at all. ”

                “I’m not sure why there is so much pushback to the concept that his on ice issues are what many fans are more concerned about.”

                Well Egelstein, I wish more people felt the way you do.

                The ‘pushback’ stems from observing other sources of Rangers information, including some of the ‘insightful’ non-hockey related things which a few of the beats tweet out intermittently. There’s another ‘bsb’ that, at times, more closely resembles a political blog than a hockey one.

                I’m not saying he hasn’t brought this negative attention upon himself. The disciplinary stuff is a tremendous red flag; we wouldn’t have received such a great RHD prospect (with stellar junior stats) as a relative throw-in if ARI didn’t have concerns.

                I’m saying that, had he never expressed such divisive remarks, I don’t think the backlash towards him would be nearly as intense in some circles as it currently is.

                If you need proof, look no further than ‘The Sean Avery saga’ (and to a lesser extent, Dan Carcillo’s). Sure, there were a lot of fans who didn’t appreciate either player…. but, on the other hand, I don’t remember such discussions being so vitriolic in the past. In other words, I think there’s more fueling this than just his prior suspensions.

              • Egelstein says:

                I just started frequenting NYR blogs in the past few years, so I can’t speak to Avery or Carcillo. Avery especially, though, he got a lot of heat far as I remember. Not political, though, of course…just because the dude was an arse, haha. I also think the participating audience of sports blogs in general was smaller in Avery’s day. Carcillo stigma, I agree, was to a lesser extent.

                That said, the other BSB I you mention, I also frequent. And I do know there were some issues there. However, I guess I perceived that more as the topic coming up and then some fans duking it out based on their own interests in relation to each other, more than the fans turning on DeAngelo as a prospect because of his political commentary.

                I may have mis-perceived that though – I don’t mean to come off as an authority on it. I just know that there are also a lot of people out there who may have concerns about DeAngelo’s personality…but only as it pertains to staying on the ice in the NHL.

      • Ray says:

        I realize people in this thread are DeAngelo fans, but all I really observed in this comment is that the more a young player gets traded, the lower his trade value goes. [witness E3’s comments on Clendening]. There are lots of things I say here which get thumbs downs which don’t surprise me, but here people just aren’t reading.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          And thanks for the reference! 🙂

          We agree on that. There’s no doubt in fact that is true. Clendo has more team jerseys in his closet than most players his age have ever had. Doesn’t mean he won’t flip the narrative this year and finally put it together. But there’s a reason why he keeps getting dealt and getting close to the bare minimum salary for an NHL player, just as there’s a reason why Girardi was snapped up and signed to a two year big money deal on day one of free agency–the NHL community rates DG as a significantly better player than Clendo or the prior year’s savior Dylan (Two way deal) McIlrath.

          I’m not there yet on DeAngelo. This is only team three. He’s had very little NHL experience, which is different than Clendo. But no question, this is a big, big year for him.

          • Peter says:

            Poor Clendo. Maybe he finally gets it together and sticks in the NHL. I could be wrong, but I think he has sufficient skill, but he will likely never be more than a bottom pairing guy. DeAngelo is what Clendo aspires to be but doesn’t have the same skill level.

    • Richter1994 says:

      The Rangers got him because they think DeAngelo is a potential offensive stud.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Exactly right. Plain and simple. It remains to be seen if his other issues can be coached out of him. Sometimes all it takes is some maturing. We shall see.

        • Richter1994 says:

          He’s got the tools, whether he leaves them in the shed or not is a different story.

  4. Ray says:

    Dave, agree with 4 and 5, but don’t like your first three predictions.

    #1. Hardly a gimme that Holden is traded. AV likes veterans. From what I’ve read here about Traverse City, Pionk and Bereglazov aren’t ready – and the fact that he wasn’t called in April indicates Graves is not in the mix I think they will want to slide Day. DeAngelo is a good puck-moving, weak in his own end dman, not AV’s type frankly. It remains to be seen what AV will actually think of him, but he is waiver-exempt and not a lock to make the team.

    IMO, the top eight defensemen on the depth chart are McDonagh, Shattenkirk, Smith, Skjei, Staal, Holden, DeAngelo, and Kampfer. That is not a crew that screams “logjam, trade somebody”. Now, IF, if, AV likes what he sees in DeAngelo and if the brass thinks Bereglazov is good enough to be passable in the #7 slot (and they want to keep him in the US), then maybe we see a trade. But I’d bet against – certainly not a gimme. Main reason I trade Holden is the lack of depth at forward.

    #2. I too expect Andersson to make the team, but this also does not seem a slam dunk. Biggest reason it is compelling at the moment is the lack of competition.

    #3. Maybe, but I think we know nothing and this is just wishful thinking,

    • EugeneP says:

      U r right, but one exception…. AV not the person who picks, it’s JG. if it would be AV choice, we would never traded for DeAngelo, we would never wave Gi, we would never sign Shati (Ak Yandle). If it would be AV choice our 4th line would be Glass-Glass-Glass 🙂 and guys like Buch, Hayes, Miller would never make the squad

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        And you know this how exactly?

        I love this totally absurd supposition that AV and Gorton are somehow at loggerheads on player evaluation. I mean, why else would JG give AV a mega extension and raise…because he wants to have a guy as his coach that he regularly disagrees with.

        Makes perfect sense. 🙂

    • Reenavipul says:

      The thing with Graves not being a Black Ace might have to do with what was happening down in Hartford

    • Richter1994 says:

      #1. Holden sucks and I would put just about anyone else back there, especially a young player that can skate. And BTW, AV is not the Sheriff anymore. He’s lucky just to be in town at this point.

      #2. If the Rangers didn’t think that Andersson was their 3rd line C then they would have gotten someone already.

      #3. Two words Raymond: Benoit Allaire. Benoit “recommended” that the Rangers sign this guy. That’s good enough for me until further notice.

      • Ray says:

        I just don’t believe a GM runs roughshod over his coach. On 2 and 3, hope you’re right. Just saying neither is certain. I’d bet on 2 and against 3.

        • Richter1994 says:

          I’m not saying that the GM is now “running the bench” during games, but I would bet my life that the GM gave very strong opinions on the coach’s player deployment after being the cause of at least 3 playoff game losses.

          • Ray says:

            Not a wise bet, Richter. Yeah, maybe there’s a 99% chance you are right, but still, I don’t like your stakes.

            Of course, playing Staal-Holden ahead of Skjei-Smith was dumb, but no need to tell AV that – he knows. But the broader issue of what makes a good defensemen is more complicated. Almost everyone here thinks Keith Yandle is better than Dan Girardi because of possession stats, but I don’t and I don’t see why we can assume that GMs (and JG in particular) think as you do. Just because he is smart doesn’t mean he agrees with you.

            Fact: Rangers let Yandle go and increased point total from 101 to 102 and got one round further in the playoffs. Florida signed Yandle and went from 103 points to 81. This evidence that a good puck-moving defenseman who is not particularly defensively responsible may not be as valuable as a Girardi-type.

            It is true that JG bought out Girardi, but that does not give incontrovertible proof that JG didn’t appreciate Girardi. JG needed cap space for the Shattenkirk, Smith, Zibanejad contracts and Dan was quite clearly overpaid. JG unloaded two good players in Stepan and Girardi to make the numbers work.

            The argument is overwhelming that JG rates Shattenkirk above Girardi by a considerable amount. However, that is not the same as thinking buying out Dan was addition by subtraction – or thinking that AV was playing the wrong guys as a general rule.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Ray, brilliantly written. I 100% agree.

              Richter, I think your are overreacting a bit here. You are making it sound like Gorton has now put AV into “the corner” with his back to the class with a dunce cap on. I doubt seriously that AV is any more or less the “sheriff” (he was never the sheriff, he was always the deputy to sheriffs Slats and Gorton) than he was before this year’s playoffs.

              The late game issues were not good, I agree. But I still maintain that whole narrative as been overblown. There were three different deployments and they ALL failed. In the final game, Skjei and Smith were putrid. The bottom line is, we just weren’t good enough–largely because our best players couldn’t put the puck in the net.

              And the person I suspect was the the real “culprit” in deployment-gate, Jeff (McIlrath-whisperer) Beukeboom, was relieved of his duties and I wouldn’t be shocked if that was part of the reason.

              After last year’s mega-extension and raise, unless the team implodes, I doubt AV will be on any kind of hot seat in a largely transitional season. Next year? Different story.

              On your Allaire point, I agree to an extent. He is an incredible coach. But my fear is that even the greatest eventually run into a pupil that isnt quite up to snuff. I expect Pavelec to be more like Valiquette or Biron and less like Talbot and Raanta. Still solid, but not superb. Part of why I see a point regression this season.

              • Richter1994 says:

                I wonder what happens if the Rangers do not make the playoffs this year. Could that happen? Meaning no playoffs? Probably not but stranger things have happened.

                If it does happen then my guess would be that AV gets fired. Whether Ruff takes over at that point and whether that would be the right move at that time would remain to be seen.

                I do believe that the “AV watch” has started this year. I don’t know why Staal wasn’t bought out too. He should have been IMO, unless he miraculously is traded with the Rangers retaining cap space.

                There was some murmurs that the Habs would take on a bad contract if some sweetner were added in the trade as they have about $8M in cap space. Why would they would do that? I’m guessing the “sweetner” would have to be significant. Would the Rangers trading Staal, retaining 50% of Staal’s cap space, and someone like Graves for a pick get it done? Maybe.

                As for Allaire, he turned Talbot and Raanta, 2 guys who had no NHL track record, into excellent back up goalies and now probably excellent starting goalies. Benoit recommended Pavelec’s signing, I’m buying.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                In NY, when you dont make the playoffs, your job is in jeopardy. Heck, the NY tabloids are already calling for McAdoo’s head after the Cowboys debacle on Sunday. And he had a great rookie debut last year.

                So sure, miss the playoffs and of course anything is on the table. But on it’s surface, I doubt he would be fired for missing the playoffs ONCE in five seasons. I think he would be given a “probationary pass” into 2018-19. Depending on how that season goes, he could get canned midway through. But just speculating.

                To me, the bigger question on every personnel decision–coaches and players–is simple. Unless the person you have hired is a train wreck (clearly AV is not), then it’s not do you fire, realease or trade said player or coach. It’s whether or not you can UPGRADE that position.

                Tom Renney was a good coach. But in 2009, after several years of success, the Rangers were struggling. He was fired in part because of the struggle, yes. But would he have been fired at that point if Torts wasn’t waiting in the wings? I’m not so sure. Clearly, that was an opportunity to upgrade, and IMO that is the KEY reason why Renney was shown the door at that time.

                In 2013, Torts apparently lost the room. That, combined with the earlier than expected playoff exit, contributed strongly to the decision to fire him. But would Sather have done it IF guys like Ruff and AV were not available? Torts was/is a quality coach. I don’t know if the room was THAT bad that they would have fired him to bring in, let’s say, Dallas Eakins. Some may disagree, but AV was an upgrade over Torts. And the record proves that is true and was the correct move. But you don’t fire a Torts unless you can upgrade (unless he goes nuclear like he did in Vancouver).

                So the question on AV’s future isn’t, should he be replaced, but instead, replaced by who? Ruff? Well, maybe. But remember Sather/Gorton chose AV over Ruff four years ago. Would Ruff be considered an upgrade now when he wasn’t looked at that way in 2013? Not sure. Who will be out there next summer? Unknown. Sutter I suspect is done. Bylsma? Very good coach when he has the likes of Crosby and Malkin. He won’t have that here. Therrien? Uhhhh….no thanks.

                But my sources in Chicago tell me that Coach Q was none too pleased with Stan Bowman after this past season. He didn’t like it that a trusted assistant was made to be the fall guy. He was less than pleased with losing Panarin. Could there be a rift? What if Q became available? Well, it would be hard to say that a three-time Cup winning coach wouldn’t be an intriguing hire. That would be an upgrade. If he were fired and AV missed the playoffs or even had an early exit, I could easily see that IF such a high end superstar coach became available.

                I take the same approach with players. Want to get rid of or bench Girardi? Fine, But replaced by who? Clendo? McIlrath. Uhhhh….no. Shattenkirk? No brainer! Want to get rid of Stepan? Fine. Replaced by who? So far, replaced by nobody. And that’s a problem.

                The Staal thing is complicated. I understand the pros and cons, but to buy out BOTH Girardi and Staal in the same summer? That’s a tough pill to swallow.

                You may well be right on Pav. I have no doubt Allaire will improve him. None. But Raanta/Talbot level? That’s asking a lot. Even from Benny!

              • Richter1994 says:

                I don’t have a source on this one but there have been rumors that Coach Q is pissed. That would be a change that I would applaud for sure. And it would be a typical “Rangers’ move” for sure.

            • Richter1994 says:

              Very good post Raymond. I don’t agree with it but very good post. I even gave you a thumbs up for the effort.

              Girardi – Let me be clear, I love the guy, I love what he did here and I love the effort he always gave. Now for the reality: He stinks in this current skating league. His shot suppression stats did not even register last year. Let me repeat that, the shot suppression stat, for a player who is supposed to stop opponents from shooting and scoring, did not register a stat in that category. So what is it that was even redeemable in keeping this player? The only thing I will say is did Gorton miss the boat on trading him to TB while retaining half G’s cap space? Which would have been less than what he got for the 2 years. What is Stevie Y smoking? Idiot signing.

              Yandle – How can you make a year to year comparison based on one player? Come on Raymond, I’m not buying it. I was all for the Yandle to Ranger trade. He was what the Rangers needed at the time. But then we have “you-know-who” who did not play him properly based on Yandle’s skillset. Shocker. Not. As far as re-signing him, was never happening. No way the Rangers were giving a 30+ year old a 6 or 7 year deal. They didn’t even do that for Shatty who is a couple of years younger.

              And BTW, G was addition by subtraction. Look at the numerous plethora of lowlights that showed him flat-footed, out of position, or simply lost while the opponents either scored a goal or at least put on incredible pressure in the Rangers’ zone.

              If nothing else, this year’s D corps will allow the Rangers to come out of their own zone without a fire drill, which will help the forwards in of itself. And in transition too.

    • tim says:

      AV doesn’t determine who is traded and who isn’t. JG will move holden sooner or later.

  5. Egelstein says:

    I’m leery of #1 and #4. I very much want to believe that if Holden and Staal are on the team, one will be playing 3LD and one in the press box on any given night at most, no exceptions outside of injury forcing them into the lineup in different scenarios. However, Staal-Holden were not only deployed by AV as a pair in the playoffs…but more concerning to me, at key moments when they didn’t absolutely need to be. To me, that says not only did AV trust them…but he viewed that as a viable “lock-down” pair. I certainly hope that somehow, his mind has changed since then, no matter what the cause (better and more defensive options in play, Gorton informing him that it was a terrible decision, reviewing game tape, heck, reading blogs for all I care).

  6. EugeneP says:

    I don’t believe JG would be able to get rid off Staal contract, even Sakic will not buy it, the only chance to get rid of him was in August 2nd buy out window.

    Holden is most likely goner

    Pavelec will play Packs, and Georgiev will backup King

    Andersson is making the team, no way he doesn’t, even he didn’t dominate Traverse City, his partners where not that thrilling, he’ll be just fine with the club

    Which makes DeAngelo #6 def, Kempfer #7, Bereglazov if he is still up to his dream will spend year in Packs if money then back to mother Russia, Pionk will need 1 more year of seasoning, Day and Graves are ready, but they are still have time, also Packs

  7. Reenavipul says:

    Pedrie scratched, Kotyk & Zbor to play tonight.

    • Reenavipul says:

      The lineup tonight looks good:
      3 Swedes

      on D:

      Have more puck possession, yet only have 6 shots after 20.

  8. Richter1994 says:


    Well done Dave.

    Habs saying they have cap space to take on someone else’s bad contract with some sweetening. Hmmmm.

  9. Leatherneck says:

    Watching the baby Rangers…Kotyk, Pionk and Day have been good, Crawley SOLID so far
    Andersson is going to be a beast….no other forward has really stood out other than Gettinger in limited ice time, …I think Gettinger will become a bottom 6 forward sooner rather than later. Nell is very sound in goal….Powerplay is a carbon copy of the big brothers (too many cute passes)….Penalty kill has been good

    for some reason Kotyk has caught my eye doing the subtle things and good lateral movement

  10. Leatherneck says:

    Refs calling way too many penalties to get an assessment of players

  11. Leatherneck says:

    awful giveaway by Gropp…1-0 Wings

  12. Leatherneck says:

    I don’t see Bereglazov making the team,,,not even as a 7th D

  13. Leatherneck says:

    Fontaine is a good player

  14. Leatherneck says:

    through 2…best players have been Crawley, Pionk and Gettinger
    Honorable mention Nell, Kotyk, Day. Andersson and Fontaine
    Worst Bereglazov, Gropp and Kovacs

  15. HARLEMBLUES says:

    DeAngelo can really play I mean really play. He’s a highly skilled RHD who can skate his ass off. It’s all there for him to be better than both Skjel and MCD offensively and in due better both ways.

  16. Leatherneck says:

    Crawley and Gettinger’s positioning has been superb, right place right time
    Pionk is very composed with the puck
    Day is a very high risk player, one terrible decision led to a 2 on 1, and there was no reason for him to try and make that play that led to the 2 on 1
    Fontaine looks good…has potential
    Kotyk has excellent lateral movement
    Andersson is tenacious, good on faceoffs
    Nell gave up 2 none that were his fault, just good plays by the opposition and 1 on a terrible giveaway by Gropp
    Gropp is tentative, I just don’t see what the hype has been over Bereglazov and Kovacs positioning and hockey IQ is low
    Rest including Ronning are just eh…nothing standing out good or bad

  17. Leatherneck says:

    Pionk and DeAngelo are battling for the 3rd pairing….Pionk is very poised
    our 7th D is going to be Holden

    I see this
    McD / Shatty
    Skeij / Smith
    Staal or holden / Pionk or DeAngelo
    7th is Holden subbing in for Staal
    Likely scenario will be Pionk and Graves as our third Pair next year with those 2 paired as the number 1 unit in Hartford this year

  18. Leatherneck says:

    3-0 baby Wings…great shot…if someone to blame….it’s Nell and the centerman who lost the draw

  19. Leatherneck says:

    Gropp scores…he is not ready though

  20. Leatherneck says:

    Lack of quality forwards shows it’s head big time
    Quality prospects on D
    Rangers need right handed shot forwards and a 1 C. I Don’t see Andersson becoming the number 1 C or 2 C, but one heck of a 3 C and if only the 4th C then the best 4th C in the NHL. Gettinger I see becoming a bottom 6 forward and a stellar PK specialist.
    Pionk and Graves as part of our third pair D next year and 7th D
    Kotyk becoming a Graves type prospect to talk about in the future. Fontaine next year getting a cup of coffee if injuries occur
    Day and Gropp possibly Stromwall as highly touted prospects a few years away