Can Brady Skjei handle top pairing responsibilities?

brady skjei
Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Much of the focus the past week is what the Rangers would be able to get for Ryan McDonagh and other players on the roster. However there is still life after the trade deadline, and while trading McDonagh is not a guarantee, there needs to be a contingency plan. The Rangers will need someone to fill in top pairing duties. And by that I mean an actual top pairing defenseman, not another Nick Holden.

The logical step is that Brady Skjei would take that role. He’s already the clear cut #2 on the left side, well ahead of Marc Staal on the depth chart. There aren’t many in the system who could take his role either, so barring a return of a top-pairing defenseman –unlikely at best– we are looking at Skjei assuming the role of top pairing defenseman on the left side.

A big question will be whether or not Skjei can handle the responsibilities of a top pairing defenseman playing in all situations. From a pure skill standpoint, it would certainly be an interesting transition. In a vacuum, Skjei is a better skater and passer than McDonagh, but appears to lack –at least from a reputation standpoint– that #1 defenseman pedigree in his own end. However that is admittedly very flawed analysis, since it only takes into account a season and a half under a coach that likes to ease his youngsters into big time minutes.

There is a lot to digest in the above graphic (which covers this year and last), so let’s keep it simple, looking at the top-third first (the black bars):

  • The top bar is Skjei’s ice time. His even strength time accounts for almost all of his ice time. Getting almost no time on special teams at all. Due to that, he barely cracks into average 3rd pairing minutes (the little bar above his ice time bar).
  • The middle bar is Skjei’s even strength production. Suffice it to say, he produces offensively at a top pairing rate at even strength. I don’t think that should come as a surprise to anyone.
  • The third bar is his powerplay production. He doesn’t play much on the powerplay, so that’s why it looks pretty bad. Plus he –along with basically every Ranger not named Henrik Lundqvist– is having a statistically poor season. Insert your own reason for that here.

Moving to the next section, under the black bars. This section looks at Skjei’s shot and goal rates, compared to the rest of the league:

  • The line in the middle is the 50% mark and the black NHL box is league average. Generally speaking, you want the blue ON box, which is how the team performs with him on the ice, to be above the 50% line. The red OFF box is how the team performs without him on the ice.
  • Looking at Skjei, the team is clearly better with him on the ice. He doesn’t move the needle much when it comes to shots-for, which is expected given what we know about AV’s quality over quantity system. However when he’s off the ice, the team is far worse when allowing shots.
  • That right plot is goal rates. When he’s on the ice, the team produces a lot more. Again, not surprising. What is worth noting is that when he’s off the ice, the team also scores a little more, albeit not as much as when he’s on the ice. I read this as he drives offense when on the ice, more than the team average. The team itself also scores a lot in general. Skjei has a large impact in that.

The bottom third is split into halves. Let’s look at the left half, each bar means something different.

  • The team shoots 10% while Skjei is on the ice, above league average. Their opponents shoot 8% when he is on the ice, roughly average. I read this as Skjei helps drive offense with his solid passing, creating better opportunities. Defensively, he isn’t necessarily a liability, but he’s not a stalwart.
  • The next bar is how many penalties Skjei personally takes/draws while on the ice. That’s easy to read, and is certainly an area for Skjei to improve.
  • The third bar is zone usage – Skjei gets most of his starts in the offensive zone. More on that below.
  • The fourth bar is Skjei’s usage based on score situation. He’s used both when up or down, and there isn’t much of a lean in either direction. Balanced usage based on score.
  • The last two graphs show quality of competition faced and teammates played with. Generally speaking, Skjei faces better blue liners than he plays with (not surprising) and doesn’t face tough forward competition (also not surprising.

The entire Blueshirts team hemorrhages shots, so I’m basically ignoring the remainder of the graphic because it doesn’t paint a true picture. It looks a lot worse than it is, but it is very difficult to separate the system from the player’s results.

So what does all this mean?

The above graphic and analysis shows us that Skjei is excelling in his current role. While we all lament about AV’s refusal to play true rookies consistently, Skjei’s growth under AV is a bright spot for the coach. If Skjei doesn’t develop into a successful 2LD/top-four, do the Rangers explore a McDonagh trade?

But while the big question is whether or not Skjei can handle those responsibilities, the real question is whether or not Skjei can handle those responsibilities in an Alain Vigneault system. That’s the rub, since AV doesn’t use new-age logic in his deployments. His top pair is his shutdown pair, for better or for worse.

Skjei’s deployment has been far from the “traditional” use of top pairing defensemen, though, at least per what we see from AV. He’s getting primarily offensive zone starts. That’s not necessarily indicative of his defensive zone play, just how AV uses him. Taking a step back and looking at the personnel on the blue line, Skjei is one of two guys (outside of McDonagh) who can actually handle the puck. So he’s being put in a spot to succeed. That’s fine for now. But again, how would he fare when those starts shift to the defensive zone?

That last question is nearly impossible to answer without seeing him play those minutes. However from what we’ve seen in his first season and a half, and what we can infer from the stats, it appears Skjei would be just fine in that role.

One last tool to use to help predict whether or not Skjei can succeed as a top pairing defenseman. This is how Skjei’s current production compares to the average top defender on a team. The ice time would certainly change, and with more ice time comes more counting stats to pad his phenomenal rate scoring stats. The concern for me would be his shot generation. However I am still of the belief that is system related, as the Rangers choose quality over quantity. The jury is still out on that, though.

The overall body of work for Brady Skjei is pretty impressive. He’s succeeded in his role as a 2LD and top four defenseman. His success hasn’t necessarily fueled the McDonagh trade rumors, but it will make any trade, if one happens, easier to manage. We don’t know if Skjei will succeed as a 1D on this team, but he’s earned a shot.

"Can Brady Skjei handle top pairing responsibilities?", 5 out of 5 based on 15 ratings.

58 thoughts on “Can Brady Skjei handle top pairing responsibilities?

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 6:06 am

    Ahem, did you forget who the coach is? 55-18 FTW.

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      Kreider is back on the ice in skates today. We have to believe the NYR expect him to return by the trade deadline. Making Gorton’s job a little easier.

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Excellent analysis Dave, truly great work!!

    You nailed it. Brady is the real deal. The problem is that the rest of the Rangers’ D is such a mess most of the time that it is hard to evaluate individual performances because they’re always covering up for others.

    I think that Brady could be a top pair guy. Putting Brady with a possible Trouba acquisition would be a tremendous top pair. Putting Brady with Shatty is a big step backwards as we saw during the year.

    Even putting Smith with Brady is a good mix, as Skjei needs more of a defender with him so he can use his offensive skills, as you look at those first assist stats. Just outstanding. Very good skater also.

    He can do it, IMO.

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 10:21 am

      If Skjei looks this good in this broken system, there’s a case to be made he could look outstanding in a more conventional and simplified defensive approach.

      • Jan 31, 2018 at 11:26 am

        and that’s really the point. Not as bad as the Yutes, but OEL is -36. You going to evaluate him on that? Perfect example of why +/- is a very bad stat for evaluation purposes.

        • Jan 31, 2018 at 1:28 pm

          I concur fully. The only area in which +/- can be at all useful is on the team-wide level, and even then it’s a bit fallible; you will still run into anomalies (for example -7 Columbus with 3 more points than the +2 Rangers). The loser point format also further complicates the +/- to points correlation, of course.

        • Jan 31, 2018 at 2:28 pm

          Yeah, I am going to evaluate him on that. One reason why bad teams are so bad is that their good players are just not very good. One should correct for empty net goals and you need to grade on a curve, but there is information there.

          • Jan 31, 2018 at 2:37 pm

            If you need to correct a stat and grade it on a curve for it to contain *some* useful information, you should perhaps find a better stat to use, LOL.

            • Jan 31, 2018 at 4:14 pm

              I don’t have time to create a theory of hockey stats, so I only have done a handful of calculations.

              Bear with me. This is a little complicated. Hockey games are decided by goals. The number of goals a team scores can be computed by multiplying the number of shots they take by their shooting percentage. So if you understand those two variables, you have the whole story.

              Guess which one is the important one? If you guessed shooting percentage, you are right. By a wide margin. So why on earth does anyone care about shot-based metrics?

              Seriously, I looked at the numbers for last season. I just took the time to look at goals scored as it seemed that shooting percentages would vary more defensively because of unequal goaltending and so shots would be most important on offense.

              The numbers: The average team took 30.56 shots per game with a shooting percentage of .0901. The average playoff team took 30.65 shots per game with a shooting percentage of .0952.

              The Rangers had a shooting percentage more than 15% above average and were only third. The Avalanche had a shooting percentage more than 20% below average. Shooting percentages varied widely. On the other hand, no team was 10% above or below the average number of shots. In fact, the Penguins were the only team whose shot total was more than the 5.5% above the average by which the average playoff team exceeded the shooting percentage norm.

              So, and now I’m speaking roughly, beating the other team in shots is maybe 25% of the skater part of hockey and the other 75% is putting those shots in. The fact that you can measure thee things exactly is little consolation since we are getting exact measurements of a crap statistic.

              And all hockey stats need to be corrected for usage and teammates.

              The fact that +/- is calculated ridiculously — that it mishandles empty net shots — does not mean shot-based metrics are superior to goal-based metrics.

              • Jan 31, 2018 at 5:24 pm

                Last season, the Senators were 23rd in the league in both shot total and shooting percentage, finished the season at -2, were 25th in the league in CF%…and, as we here all know far too well, played in the Eastern Conference Finals.

                That I’m not on here trying to definitively toss out one class of statistics in favor of another is the difference I see between you and me, in that regard. For what it’s worth, I appreciate that you use statistics at all, to some degree. The 100% Eye Test crowd rally sticks in my craw. That all said, some stats are indeed less useful than others. +/- tends to provide a fairly high occurrence of anomalies (not so much at the extremes, more in the middle), IMHO, and as has been illustrated.

                Bonus Round, Individual Player Edition:

                This season, Brett Connolly of the Capitals leads all shooters who have played 40 games or more with a 30.2% shooting percentage, and is a -4.


              • Jan 31, 2018 at 6:21 pm

                Last season, if you selected the playoff teams using team +/-, you would have almost gotten the same set of teams, the only exception being Tampa Bay would have replaced Ottawa. As two years ago and the present season indicate, +/- was more accurate than reality. That Ottawa actually got to the semi-finals was a function of luck and being in the weakest quarter of the draw.

                The previous year, Detroit got in ahead of Boston. Judging whole teams by +/- over the course of a season is about as accurate can be for a sport with both luck and skill levels changing over the course of a year.

                The problem with +/- (computed correctly) is that the sample size is small. If you break it down to the player level, it is very small — and if you try to adjust the data to reflect usage, teammates etc., the data set is just too small to stand up to that — sort of like interviewing 800 random people to see how they will vote in a national election and then trying to use the data to tell people how Wyoming women will vote.

                Shot-based metrics give lots more data, but they paint such a small part of the picture (accurate or not) that I find them worse than useless. Look, the fact that there are metrics that tell us that Keith Yandle was better than Dan Girardi accurately captures the fact that Yandle was better than Girardi at some things. But anyone who knows how to build a winning hockey team knows that the notion that Yandle actually was the better player is absurd.

                +/- has anomalies. Possession stats tell us year after year that the Rangers are a bad team. Not so much anomalies as drivel.

                The problem is balance. How good is Kevin Shattenkirk? offensive skills, weak in his own end. The eye test tells us both things, but doesn’t tell us how to weigh them. Possession stats focus on only on part of the picture and give us an answer, but it is an answer which only considers one aspect.

                I see merit, but as used on BSB, I find Corsi et al worth less than nothing. Because it gives a simplistic view of things we can’t understand.

          • Jan 31, 2018 at 7:30 pm

            You would not want OEL on your team?

            • Jan 31, 2018 at 9:05 pm

              I haven’t seen him play honestly – and he may even be good – but that number suggests a player not as good as people think. I’d need to understand why the number is so bad.

              All I know for certain is that the Yotes are getting crushed when he is on the ice – and more so than other players.

      • Feb 1, 2018 at 12:50 am

        There’s nothing wrong or broken with the system. It’s your opinion of it and I respect that but i agree about Skjei.
        The Dzone coverage worked in years past when the Rangers had the personnel for it.
        The 1st 2 seasons of AV not many teams had the same amount of scoring off the rush which often began in the Dzone.
        In my opinion it’s not the system that is faulted. It’s the coach not wanting to alter his strategies to fit the team he does have.
        In years past AV made minor adjustments to his man defensive coverage so the defense could peel off his Check at the dots and that player would then become the wingers responsibility up high in the zone. Personally I think he should switch to a Low zone coverage and play man to man up high. That might be easier on his shallow defense core and limit shots and time defending. Just my 2 cents. Great analysis on Skjei tho fellas. The best as always.

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 6:55 am

    Can we see some charts comparing Skjei to McDonagh?

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 7:15 am

    If Skjei will take responsibility of McTruck, who is going to take responsibility of Skjei 🙂

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 7:46 am

      Two words: NICK HOLDEN. Two terrible words.

      • Jan 31, 2018 at 10:23 am

        At least he would be on his natural side and off the top pair in that scenario. Silver linings!*

        *Disclaimer: I feel it is more likely that we would simply see a Skjei-Holden top pair from AV, however.

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Move Smith , to his natural left hand side and pair him with shatty or deangelo.
      next year bring up graves or pionk unless the russian returns or hopefully future star, sean day is ready…..

      • Jan 31, 2018 at 1:37 pm

        Practice pairs today were:

        McD-Nick “Lost My Man Again, So Will Just Also Cover Yours” Holden

        If AV liked what he saw in practice, you may just see that pairing running third tomorrow (until DeAngelo commits a turnover and gets benched for the rest of the game, anyway).

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      Cough cough… Trouba… cough cough. Not for this year but Win. just became much more desperate for a top D. Trouba’s out 6-8 weeks. Trouba++ for McD?

      • Jan 31, 2018 at 1:12 pm

        That’s only one thing I would consider in trade 🙂

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Brady is a big kid, strong on his skates, can dish out passes, and plays a decent defensive game. Can he be an effective first pair guy, YES he can!

    If we do move Mac Truck, I’d feel comfortable with this kid filling in his shoes……Just for the record, he was a #1 pick for us, for those who pooo pooo keeping draft picks! This isn’t meant to start an argument, but to make a point…

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 7:51 am

      Excellent point about keeping picks.

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Trade McD now! You go for a decent shut-down veteran defenseman (to replace McD) a number one pick, and a good young forward in return. Gordan get it done!

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 8:16 am

    If he steps up, then other need to do the same. Is D’Angelo a 2nd pair defenseman? Can one of the other kids on the farm handle the 3rd pair? Can we move Kampfer so he isn’t an option anymore? IS Staal worth one more year before we buy him out?

    Lots of questions with few answers.

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      Package Staal with Nash or Grabner or McD and take a little less return Addition by subtraction. That is if Staal will wave his NMC. That is the only way you get rid of Staal , don’t get me wrong he was a very good D man before his 2 concussions and the puck to the eye , its a wonder he can still play the game at all .If a player retires can they pay him his salary @ the same pay rate if he stays with team and goes to the front office for the term of years left on the said contract NYRs have the money to make it happen if Buttmen would allow it just a thought

      • Jan 31, 2018 at 5:11 pm

        The only way Staal would get full pay if he retired would be due to a career ending injury. Case in point, Chris Pronger got 100% of his money due to him because he retired due to concussion related issues!

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I am personally against McTruck trade, you don’t trade 2-way D-man, without finding his sub, or sub to the guy who would replace the sub…. we don’t have in our system such a guy, Day is too raw, Graves is not the caliber… who else? nobody, to get Skei/McTruck sub, you’ll have to pay the price similar to what you gonna receive 🙂

    All concerns about McTruck is aging not exactly correct, since he is a perfect skater, he is not running, he is gliding, this means he doesn’t need much effort to skate, and he probably has another 6-7 years in his feet.

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Good points but if a young solid 2-way defensemen is on the market then we go get him in return or package pieces from McD, Nash, and Grabner trades to get him. We need a 1st/2nd line to backfill McD’s departure and Skjei stepping up.

      • Jan 31, 2018 at 11:37 am

        The problem is it’s pricy asset, 2-way D-man, and not many of them not only on a market but also as a matter of existence of such an animal 🙂

        The only name is there is Trouba, any other suggestions, names?

        • Jan 31, 2018 at 3:02 pm

          Shea Weber Montreal needs to get out of his contract and he would only cost 1M a year on the last 3 years of the contract , as it was heavily front loaded mto keep him from signing else where

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 10:42 am

    I think an important fact to remember in all of these hypothetical trade discussions, and the re-build/don’t re-build debate, that we are I believe, the fourth oldest team in the league.
    Think about that, the fourth oldest.

    So apart from this being a perfect storm year for a re-build, add in another element, we will get younger.

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 10:54 am

      Nash – DD – Hank – Staal… + now McLeod adds most of the age

      • Jan 31, 2018 at 11:26 am

        and most of the money!!!!
        Trade or Buy out stall, unload DD, kampher, Trade nash…..and resign Grabner for 3-4 years……Like they should have done last year!!!!!
        Dont want another Strallman disaster move!!!!!
        KEEP GRABNER !!!!!

        • Jan 31, 2018 at 2:57 pm


          • Jan 31, 2018 at 4:15 pm

            did i misspeel somethig?????

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Interesting question, but the assertions are fantasy land. First off, Brady Skjei is now the #3LD. He doesn’t even kill penalties for Pete’s sake. He is unquestionably behind Marc Staal in the current Ranger line-up.

    Whether or not he is better than Staal is not relevant. The coach sets the line-up. I am neither defending nor criticizing AV – just noting reality.

    One of the reasons the Rangers fared so well in the postseason against Washington in recent years was because McDonagh could shut down Ovechkin. So far, AV has not trusted Skjei to play important defensive minutes. [does not mean he can’t]


    The first pair left D should either be a quality defenseman from the defensive perspective, or somebody like Erik Karlsson who transforms the game. And there are not many at that level. The Rangers need the right person going forward. They need to figure out whether Brady Skjei can play that role. If not, the options are keep McD, get a new face, or Marc Staal.

    If the second choice seems too hard and the third is unacceptable, trading McDonagh is a bad idea.

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      It is correct to say that the coach sets the lineup, so it may not be relevant who is better. This is (one of myriad examples) why the coach needs to be relieved of his duties in lieu of someone who will use more common sense rather than try to masquerade as the smartest guy in the room by way of bucking conventional wisdom for bucking conventional wisdom’s sake.

      • Jan 31, 2018 at 6:36 pm

        I half agree. I do not believe that AV is bucking conventional wisdom. The wisdom exhibited here is not conventional wisdom.

        But I do believe that AV is not using his players properly. I’ll give an example which may not be precisely correct, but it makes my point.

        Who would you rather have defending with Ovechkin or Crosby rushing? Skjei or Kampfer? There is a very good chance that Kampfer is better. Why? More experience. He has been in that situation more times. BUT BUT if you never let Skjei defend against players like this, he will never get any experience – and he will never be able to do it – you just don’t see Crosbys is college or the AHL.

        Without a doubt, Skjei is the more talented player. He needs to be given more responsibility, not because he can necessarily handle it, but because the Rangers need him to learn how to handle it.

        Here is my fundamental disagreement with AV. I believe that there are two goals in every game – win and be a better team tomorrow than you were before the game. I think AV is too focused on winning the game at hand.

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      Ray – I gave you a thumbs up because I have not seen an 0 for 17 lately.

      Plus – you brought Karrlson into the conversation. And he is truly a transformer on ice.

      Honestly, I don’t think 8 years @ $10M+ is too bad for someone who just instantly elevates things. They’ve been paying Nash nearly $8M for a bunch of years for a guy who was supposed to be a “transforming” goal scorer but has settled in as really good two-way hockey player.

      Personally – I am in on exploring the EK options – but we need to get through the deadline and see what happens with all of the other moves or no-moves come Feb 26. It is going to be tough for Ottawa to trade him from a PR perspective but….

      And if he goes UFA then no assets are shed to get him. patience is the word.

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    no ones trading mcd.

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Another team is going to have to blow me away if they want McD now. I’ll listen though … but over the summer if he’s still here it’s either sign him to another 5-6 years at a decent cap hit (under $8m) or trade him with 1 year left on this current contract … but personally I don’t think the Rangers are going to do a full rebuild and trade away guys like Zucc, McD, etc. They’ll probably do a mini-rebuild and trade Grabner, Nash, Holden and DD (if anyone wants him) … but I don’t expect more than that tbh. I think the’re committed to Hank for at least another 2-3 years. If a total rebuild is happening, it will be POST-HANK.

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      Screw that……have him waive his NMC and get rid of him….

      getting tired of reading about Lundqvist did this or that on his time off like that retarded post by Adam Rotter….

      Leaky is not the Rangers, he is a member of the Rangers

      Adios Leaky

      • Jan 31, 2018 at 2:59 pm

        Don’t read about Lundqvist then. And maybe try not posting about him either, your view of him is poisoned by bias and completely dishonest.

        • Jan 31, 2018 at 4:51 pm

          Like your posts aren’t…..yeah…ok

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    He ain’t winning the Cup here….it’ll be a win win win situation by getting a haul for him too

    Adios Leaky

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Hell yeah he can!

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      Oh yeah…..let’s see…..yup….no Stanley Cup since 94….13 years the keeper and no Cup…..odds say he can’t

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Hey everybody! Back in U.S. and ready to watch some hockey again. Wow, what a wild and crazy past two weeks! Shatty’s injury, trade speculation, etc. I tried to read as much as I could while I was away and I am really thankful to all of you for your insights. It kept me connected to the game I love!

    A few random thoughts…

    1) It is more than understandable to question the Rangers medical staff in terms of the Shatty injury. But I doubt seriously anyone is guilty of any gross negligence or anything even close to that. If Dave’s supposition was true, that the Rangers have a pattern of mishandling these situations, don’t you think that after all these years, Jim Ramsey’s reputation would have taken a beating? He remains one of the most highly regarded trainers in the game. The Rangers are considered one of the classiest franchises in the sport. Do they have that rep if their management team consistently botched these things? Why would any FA want to come here and put their career at risk if that were the case? Wouldn’t the NHLPA, and/or former players, be filing a grievance if the Rangers were ruining guys careers? And are you REALLY sure the Rangers handle these things so differently than every other team? I’m willing to bet that most teams if not all teams are NOT raising an eyebrow here wondering what the heck the Rangers were doing.

    Remember that scene in “Miracle”, when Brooks asks Doc if the injured McClanahan could play through his injury? (“If he plays, can he hurt it any worse?”) That’s what hockey players do. They play hurt. I’m no doctor, but I looked up meniscus injuries. It’s hardly unusual for an athlete to attempt to manage the pain and play through it. So sorry, I’m not buying this whole narrative that the Rangers as an organization botched this.

    2) Let’s shift gears from Herb Brooks to Larry Brooks. I have great respect for his hockey knowledge and no one has better sources on the Rangers beat. But remember, this was the same writer who insisted this summer that Shatty was NOT coming to NY. I am sure that his sources told him the Rangers are strongly considering selling assets. Makes sense. But I also do not believe it’s a GIVEN this will happen, for a number of reasons. First, the Rangers play on the ice and the health of key players will dictate next steps. What if the Rangers go on a tear like the Avs recently did and vault themselves into a solid playoff position between now and the deadline? What if the doctors (“incompetent” as some believe they are), tell them that Kreider and Shatty could well be back by early March? Rangers get hot. Players get healthy. Hank continues his stellar season. That hardly sounds like a recipe for selling, IF all those things turn out to be true.

    3) Obviously, if the Rangers continue to stumble along as they have in recent weeks, then yes, selling is inevitable. But here’s the thing. Are we SURE that the rest of the league values our assets the way we in the blogosphere do? Remember how excited we were when we were going to trade Talbot? Turned out there wasn’t really much of a market.

    Some mentioned the Yankees rebuild as an example the Rangers should follow. But that may not be an apples to apples comparison. The Yankees already had some significant stud prospects in their pipeline (Judge, Sanchez, Severino and Bird). The Rangers farm system is much more barren. Then, the Yankees were able to deal Chapman and Miller, two of the best relievers in the sport, and were able to acquire more “A list” prospects. It’s hard to draw an exact comparison, but in terms of the positions they play, you can make the case trading Chapman and Miller would be like dealing the Crosby and Malkin of relievers. Are we REALLY sure that the guys we would be dangling would bring back the kind of franchise-altering return we are looking for?

    4) IF the Rangers continue to scuffle, yes, there will be trades. But are we sure it will be the guys we THINK it will be? Brooks talked about this today. Maybe the Rangers will look to deal Miller? Or Hayes? Maybe Vesey? Heck, to grab a top tier number one pick from a lottery-bound team, wouldn’t the Rangers have to at least consider dealing Buch? Or Skjei? Or both? Nash may be looked at as too old to warrant a big return. Grabner…..I still believe teams will be very cautious in terms of giving up too much for him. McDonagh likely yields a nice return, but a franchise altering return? Zuc? Just dont see us getting a big haul.

    Now, if the goal is to just blow it up and trade some guys to re-create the 2007 NY Rangers and land the next Cally or Dubi…ok, I can see that. But doesn’t that just create a reset that puts us right back where we were a decade ago…a good but not great team that can compete but lacks the star power to win it all?

    5) The “lessons learned” article was interesting. But I think there are a few things that were taken out of context in that article. Stralman for example. At the time when both he and Girardi were coming up on their UFA summer, go back and look at the articles from back then. Most writers had Girardi as the top available defensemen. Most folks were not sold on Stralman and in fact, I think it’s not really clear how good he would have been paired with McDonagh as opposed to being paired with a top tier star like Hedman. Also, while I would agree the Stralman vs Boyle argument would be valid if it was simply about dollars, those who advance that argument are forgetting it was primarily about term. Could the Rangers commit to a 5 year deal at that money? What impact would that have had on other moves they made after that? I get the frustration but to not consider the term element to me misses a key part of the argument.

    It also constantly amuses me that the “decline” of the Rangers began immediately after the SCF in 2014. The 2014-15 season was one of the greatest in team history. And frankly, it is a significant distortion of fact to not even mention that the Rangers were victimized in the ECF due to the loss of Zuc and basically the entire defense wiped out due to injury. If not for that, the Rangers likely cruise to the SCF. Yet somehow, those facts are conveniently forgotten about every time that season is revisited. Instead it’s about Glass, Sheppard, Cooper “outcoaching” AV, etc. Sorry, that’s totally distorting the real story of what happened.

    So it’s not about failing to learn lessons. It’s about bad luck. The following season they ran into an absolute steam roller in the Pens. No one was beating them. Last year, our best players completely no-showed in the playoffs. The only thing I would have done differently would be passing on Staal, especially after all the serious injuries he had suffered. The rest of the moves I totally get why they did what they did.

    6) While I was traveling, I got to read “We Did Everything But Win”, which is a terrific recap of the Emile Francis Years from 1964-1976. Kind of scary how many parallels there are from that era to this one. I strongly recommend it.

    I will be traveling quite a bit the next five weeks or so, but at least I will be in major NHL cities on each stop so hope to see some games. Not sure how much time I will have to post, but I certainly will be reading all of yours. Whether we agree or not, I learn a ton reading your opinions!

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 7:34 pm

      Welcome back bro.

      Nothing much has changed around here since you’ve been gone including the “thumbs downs” that you get, LOL. 🙂

      • Jan 31, 2018 at 8:42 pm

        Thanks my friend…hey, only one thumbs down so far. But the night is young! 🙂

    • Jan 31, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      Eddie – welcome back dude – Agree on a lot of stuff there but at some point evaluation of talent comes into play and the boys upstairs need to look themselves in the mirror.

      Since you mentioned Stralman and Boyle let’s take a looks at what went down with just those two.

      Brian Boyle was a freaking stud – There was a big trickle down effect from losing him – Why? Supposedly he wanted a lot of money. But how would you know if you don’t reach out – they did not even talk to him. Sure his wife is from FL and he wanted a bigger role. Well he signed for $2M and was their 4th line center – Big evaluation miss – both on talent and intangibles as well as what it was going to take to sign him.

      Stralman – He put in three solid, much under-appreciated, and much underpaid years with NYR. We lost him because he wanted what – 5 years at age 28? The talent evaluators (here and everywhere but Tampa it seems) were not sold on him? So we signed 38 yr. old Dan Boyle for two years at the same money after having already kept a 30yr. old Girardi for $33M/5 yrs. (and then bought him out two years later). That is very, very bad evaluation of talent.

      Just a couple of items to get your rebuttal juices flowing Eddie – welcome home…

      • Jan 31, 2018 at 8:52 pm

        Thanks for the “welcome back” Swarty!

        Just to clarify, when I mentioned “Boyle” I was referring to Dan not Brian. My point was the decision to let Stralman go in favor of Dan Boyle. Same money yes, but 2 years vs 5 is a very, very significant difference and certainly it was reasonable to go with Boyle under those circumstances.

        Brian Boyle to me was a victim of the cap, plain and simple. The Rangers were pretty cap strapped that off season and they simply could not keep him. To me, it was nothing more than that and a more than reasonable business decision to make.

        In the case of both Stralman and B. Boyle, I think long range the Rangers felt they had up and coming stars in Kreider and Miller that they would have to pay, and if they had emerged into “A-List” players as opposed to the “B-listers” they are, then they would have commanded big bucks. I think the Rangers were keeping their powder dry in the event that had come to fruition.

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    One more observation. Do you think AV gets canned at season’s end IF the Rangers are sellers? I think, if anythng, selling makes him a virtual lock to return. The team has made the playoffs all four seasons he’s been here including three straight 100+ point seasons—with a team that has had few highe end players to rely upon. If he falls short on both counts this year, it’s likely due in large part to a “retool on the fly” approach that he probably is in on. To me, if the Rangers go all in and are surprise buyers at the deadline, and they go out in the first round or miss the playoffs altogether, then yes, that screams “fire him”. But if they fall short this season after selling assets, I believe he will be back for at least the start of the next season. I think everyone went into these last two seasons with their eyes wide open. The trades they have made the last two seasons all scream “future” rtahwer than “win now”. If that’s true, I believe they would not have given him the extension and raise only a year ago if they felt this coach can’t develop young players. Just a hunch.

    If the Rangers are sellers, the only way AV gets canned is IF Gorton believes the coach has lost the room, AND they’ve identified a better option is out there. I don’t believe the Rangers will make a change for change sake. It’s not the current management’s approach.

    • Feb 1, 2018 at 6:13 am

      Selling makes AV a virtual lock to be canned. I think you got it backwards bro.

  • Jan 31, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Good to see you back Triple E

  • Feb 1, 2018 at 8:08 am

    Welcome back 3E . Missed your books to read and put me to sleep at night .
    Really enjoy reading your insight , i am on the site every day , but don’t post much . Been a Ranger fan since 1949 what else can i say that hasn’t been said already. Can’t believe i am married to my wife for 55 years with my mood swings ,with to way the Rangers play any given night . Days and nights are always better between June 15 and Oct 1st for us

Comments are closed.