Kicking Things Off Right

March 3, 2018, by

Friends, as we enter into this rebuild it’s important to consider what we lost and what we got in return. While we did sell off Nash, Grabner, Holden, McDonagh, and Miller, we ended up getting a boatload of picks in return (we now have three first rounders, two second rounders, two third rounders, and then one each in rounds four through six, with our own seventh rounder having been traded away as part of the Mika Zibanejad deal – a fair enough swap I’d say) but we also got some roster players, and so far it’s been going alright.

While guys like O’Gara and Lindgren may be underwhelming (I think Lindgren will be alright, but I know others aren’t so crazy about him) with regards to Namestnikov and Spooner, the future is looking bright. Now, both of them will have to be re-signed long term, providing the Rangers intend to keep them and not flip them both at the draft along with every prospect and pick they have for the first overall, but as far as production goes they’ve been pretty solid so far.

Let’s consider for a moment Jonathan Tanner Miller. In 881.43 minutes of time on ice he’s put up 5 goals and 19 assists at even strength, for a total of 24 points, 17 of which were primary points. His overall points rate was 1.63 per 60 minutes, and 1.16 primary points per 60 minutes. His CF% is 46.42, his relCF 0.1, his xGF% 47.99 and his relxGF% 0.08.

While these numbers all include the meager time he’s played with Tampa Bay so far, for the most part they represent his time with the Rangers, and while his production is nice it certainly wasn’t mind blowing, and his lackluster relative percentages mean he’s just slightly better than team average (keep in mind too that these relative percentages may have gotten a bump in TB, because I seem to recall them being worse last time I combed through his stats when he was a New York Ranger, but that’s just me and my spotty recollection). All of this is to say he was an nice player to have, but if you’re getting something nice in return then it’s not so bad.

Well, we did get something pretty nice in return in Vladislav Namestnikov. While these stats are going to mostly represent his time with the Lightning, and while they may be a little bit skewed because of his solid team and linemates, if the generic eye test is to be believed he’s still got it even now that he’s playing in New York.

Although he may not wind up quite as electric as he’s been these last couple of games (small sample size warning) I think it’s safe to say he’s got what it takes to be a successful hockey player no matter what. His stat line is 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points, 17 of which are primary points, just like Miller. His rate stats are very similar to Miller’s as well, with his P/60 being 1.92 and his P1/60 being 1.17.

The difference here is that his percentages are better – his CF% is 52.19 (which is to be expected, given how dominant Tampa Bay has been on the puck all year) but his relCF% is 1.88, and similarly xGF% is 53.55 with a relxGF% of 1.49. He’s not the greatest player on his team, but he seems to be pulling his weight a little bit more than JT has been all year, given that his numbers relative to his team mates are actually a decent bit in the positive direction while Miller’s are marginal, if you even want to call them that. Remember also, since these numbers relative to team mates are based on the team’s percentages, one or two percentage points in the positive direction is fairly significant – if a player is anywhere near 4 or 5 percent in the positive direction they’re really outplaying their team mates.

Now we turn to Ryan Spooner, who I’m not going to compare to Rick Nash for one reason which you may or may not agree with, although I’ll stand by my decision: he was not the centerpiece of the trade. The Rangers were looking for picks and prospects with Nash (they said as much) and they got that too – a first rounder and Ryan Lindgren. They also wound up with Matt Beleskey and Ryan Spooner, almost as after thoughts.

In any event Spooner has, like Namestnikov, looked pretty good so far with the Rangers, and even if it’s a little bit unsustainable I’m willing to be he can still hang even when he cools off. His stats for the year (no custom query on corsica, so I couldn’t get just their time with NYR for any of these guys) are 8-14-22, with 15 of those being primary points, a P/60 of 2.81 and a P1/60 of 1.92. While it should be noted that he’s played significantly less time than Miller or Namestnikov (469.3 minutes to Miller’s 881.53 and Namestnikov’s 874.02), meaning these rates are going to be a little bit skewed, that’s still good production.

His shots and expected goals percentages are as follows – 52.71 CF%, -0.69 relCF%, 51.86 xGF%, and -0.59 relxGF%. Not so great, but in the right role he might be able to fix those issues a little bit, and anyways he’s played a little bit more than half of Miller’s ice time, so maybe those numbers would look more similar to Miller’s given 800, almost 900 minutes instead of a a little less than 470 minutes. Keep in mind also this is all at 5 on 5, so maybe Spooner and Miller look more similar when considering PP numbers, and then it’s a wash (I’m not going to get into all of that, because that’s another 400 words you don’t want to read).

What I’m trying to get at here is that the Rangers not only came away with a haul of draft picks, they also got two solid, prime-aged roster players, at least at forward (the defense remains a mess, but I’m almost certain Ryan McDonagh’s best days are behind him, or at least that his next contract is going to be a Bad One). This might seem not so great though depending on your persuasion though, so I’m going to throw one more element into this analysis: the money.

The Rangers were looking at two large contracts in McDonagh and Miller, both of which would have crippled a rebuild. I’m not going to drop a load of numbers on you right here, because I think I’ve done that enough and more importantly because there’s an easier way for me to do it.

Above are the salary predictions for each of Miller, Namestnikov, and Spooner (unfortunately for whatever reason McDonagh simply isn’t listed) as predicted by Matt Cane’s model and visualized by Bill Comeau. The good news is that we’ve also got our very own Chris Watkins using a similar model to explain why the Rangers won the trade deadline in terms of money. Any which way you figure it, just going by the arm chair GM “I’m guessing Miller gets x and Namestnikov gets y” or by these fancy models, the Rangers are going to end up paying less for Namestnikov and Spooner than they would for Miller and McDonagh.

I realize, still, that the defense is a mess and these swaps weren’t made one for one – they were all part of a larger plan. What I’m saying though is that even if things don’t cut up nice and tidy the way I’ve presented them here, even in the broader context of things, rough estimates are that the Rangers made away like bandits as far as kicking off a rebuild.

They got two solid roster players who they can lock down long-term for cheap if they so choose, they shed one forward who’s more or less in between two of the guys they got in terms of performance and well above both of them in terms of the money they’ll make, and they also dumped a defenseman who’s been playing injured for quite some time this season (and over the course of his career) who’s likely to get the big payday from one team or another. Given that, in addition to the treasure trove of draft picks they received, I’d say we’re off to a good start.

Now all we need is a franchise defenseman, and the good news there is that the Rangers are certain to win the draft lottery and select Rasmus Dahlin. Right?

"Kicking Things Off Right", 5 out of 5 based on 14 ratings.


  1. Leatherneck says:

    The issue with this draft is that you’ll get good players into the 4th round. A key component of winning the Cup is depth and developing your talent and talent analysis. This draft you can do in one draft what you couldn’t do from 97 to 02 combined. One day this draft will be compared to the 03 draft.

    Look at Montreal….Sergechev, PK Subban, McDonagh all gone so what happened here? Analysis and development went array and look at where they are. No depth, so take the opportunity and get even more draft picks in both round 1 and two.

    Patience is vital now…..don’t get enamored and stick to the plan.

    Stay away from marquee UFA signings and build the right way

    When the time comes and you are a true contender…minimum 3 years you can adjust your team via the depth if need be….now is not the time.

    Rangers have another problem….wasted money in cap hits…..gotta be wise here, as an example Marc Staal…no matter what he can not be on the roster next year, we need to play our young guys for a very valuable reason to get experience

    Elite talent on cup winning teams were drafted one exception is Marion Hossa who signed twice with different teams and won the cup with each one and was traded once and won the cup. This is a very rare thing the key is all of the teams made the adjustments at the right time to win it. We are not even close to being there

    This is the infancy stage, first time in my time I am hearing and seeing “re build” Sick to it and execute and avoid temptations

  2. Fotiu is God says:

    Wrong, Pat. Respectfully.

    This club–at present–assembled in a visionary if not adroit fashion by JG and co. is not only a stone gas to watch, they’re wicked talented. For three, upwards of four months I haven’t yelled at my flatscreen during an MSG broadcast. Their complete disinterest, lack of any discernible passion begat mine.

    No more. The Smurfs are back. Exhibiting great skill if not world class speed on the wings, they stretch the ice masterfully. (Rob O’Gara: this gen’s Barry Beck.)

    No Pat; despite The Order to tank, to throw the remainder of their season for the Big Win, these Blueshirts are standing tall.

    I, for one, dig the disconnect. Notwithstanding the rich subtext, there’s the pride; the virtuous compulsion. The raw, shining truth that is an instinct to compete. To put your back in it, battle and scrum.

    To a man, they’re thinking for themselves; not some abstract 18- or 19-year old Swede, framed as a savior.

    The post deadline Rangers are Private Joker standing tall before The Man.

    • Leatherneck says:

      This is in my territory…..Yutttttt

    • Richter1994 says:

      Did you type this several times before posting? Or was this a passionate fan’s perspective that came right out after breakfast?

      Thumbs up bro.

      P.S. Imagine a top C, Kovy, Nash Chytil, and Andersson with this group.

      • Fotiu is God says:

        Three espressos in, Anthony. No first, or second drafts. One take; from the heart.

        I dig this group. Hell, they might go completely off script, reeling off wins. Henrik’s gotta be on the juice. He looks 27 out there. Thoroughly engaged, having a blast.

        Bless his tre kronor/royal Swedish heart.

        Now, going forward Coach Anthony, what’s your play if they begin to flirt with .500?… When does the Front Office to BSB freak out begin: when we catch The Isles?

        And please, dude: enough with Nash. Let it go. Leave it. My god.

        Is his poster still hanging above your bed, sharing space alongside Farrah Fawcett and Barbarella?

        • Richter1994 says:

          Well, the caught the Isles. STOP WINNING ALREADY!! So they (we) are freaking out now.

          Imagine if you will, the look on your face when Mr. Nash signs a 3 year, $12M contract, plays 3rd line to create terrible mismatches for other teams, scores 20ish goals for the 3 years, retires a Ranger, and works for the org afterwards.

          Bro, you need to come to grips that this will, probably, happen. Nothing is guaranteed but from everything I hear, his coming back next season for a discount will happen. I would be shocked if it didn’t.

          So what do we give the Oilers for Draisaitl?

  3. joe cafardo says:

    Nash with Kreiji are keeping the lamp on. Interesting…Spooner playing well….and watching Nash he’s a different person: Skating hard; hitting people all over the place and when McAvoy got into it with a Pen….Nash slapping people around. People bash me about the Bruins….but they are a TEAM and I so hope whoever takes the job from AV instills that idea ( and discipline and scheme on the D side as Hank had to stop what…50 shots last night?) into the Rangers

    • tanto says:

      …. but let’s be blunt here, they’ve wandered the desert ever since they won the Cup to get to this point. A lot of lean although not horrible years before they hit on the right mix and “guide”, of course they still haven’t won anything here this year.

    • Walt says:


      The difference with us under AV, vs the Bruins is they defend one another, we turn our cheek, and invite another slap in the face.

      I love speed, skill, and grit, don’t care for goons, but AV just doesn’t get it. Sure it’s not his sorry ass getting pounded, and his check getting slapped. Like you, I look forward to seeing a skilled team, with grit and determination, that fills their jock straps with a three piece set, wearing a blue uniform!!!!!!!!

      • Leatherneck says:

        Yes I noticed that too about Nash….Miller too….they were coached and neutered…..AV has to go….he’ll never win the Cup

      • joe cafardo says:

        Walt…my exact, precise point. I really do think AV de-balled these guys. It IS a contact sport…but most importantly….you never ever ever let someone make you surrender. And thats the mentality installed by that lump of a coach.

        • Fotiu is God says:

          Salient post, Joe. Stick-tap.

          The beauty of the post deadline club is that they’ve shifted the narrative. From our backstop forward, they’ve dug in rather than turtle.

          From CK to Namestnikov, Spooner and Lunqvist to Pionk, O’Gara, the received wisdom has been to put pride and character before quitting, irregardless of its long term/Big Picture expedience.

          My takeaway is that they’re completely in synch with your ‘never surrender’ message. As I am.

          Sure, without question, selecting anywhere from 1-6 come June would be godsend.

          Yet the cultural about face, the energy and attitude borne of this nascent reboot/rebuild on the fly, however you frame it has given this observer more hope than any elite prospect.


        • Walt says:


          I saw that a long time, and have been beating the dump AV drum for the last three years. Oh, and I made a shit load of buddies in the Pro-cess, as indicated by my usual thumbs down, especially the three stooges!!!! LMAO…….

      • stevesse says:

        Other than Kreider and Zuc, who is even capable of hitting? Desharnais, Buch,Fast,and all of the other lightweights on D. Perhaps Staal who cant see out of one eye? This team was neutered by Slats when he got rid of anyone with grit in their game, Skjei and Hayes, for all their size are hit averse, Maybe some of the new blood can change the pattern. A new coach also

  4. joe from newburgh says:

    IMHO, our GM did a pretty good job with these deals. As Pat said, we’ve got 2 productive players right now, several good prospects (The Hockey News rates three of them among their top 10 prospects moved at the trade deadline), and a pocketful of picks. The rest of the season gives JG a chance to evaluate what we’ve actually got before the draft, so there will probably be a few more moves made then, hopefully netting another high draft pick or two. Now, Leather has it right in that there are good picks available in later rounds (Lundquist in the 7th, Datsyuk in the 6th come to mind), but the odds go down each step down from the first overall pick (Even that one can be bad. Remember Alexander Daigle and Patrick Stefan?). We just have stockpile picks, and pick the best available player with each and every one we have, and hope for the best.

    • Leatherneck says:

      Agreed….look at 97 to 02 draft….but this draft has elite into the 8th pick
      high end into the beginning of 3rd….good prospects into the 4th …this draft has to be the foundation for the depth Rangers lack.
      Virta…who actually gets excited about him?….yet he is one of the better prospects as is for the Rangers before the trades
      Doing it right, we’ll be talking several prospects with anticipation.
      This is another draft that you can draft for need and not miss a beat and why it is so critical for them….better position better odds to meet your needs and best available….we gotta end no lower than 5….we could’ve realistically gotten to 4 outside chance of 3 instead we are winning meaningless games against EXACTLY who we needed to lose to, climbing down the draft order is stupid pride….not smart thinking and winning the war instead of an irrelevant battle like Peleliu …because of the arrogance of McArthur

  5. Playground 9 says:

    I can put the Yankees back on hold. Stayed up past my bedtime having so much fun last night. Trying to decide which is the #1 line…..Namestnikov/Vesey/Zuke or Hayes/Spoons/Fast 🙂

    Hey Nicky –
    I can only pray O’Gara ups his game enough to stay, because aside from Namestnikov’s two-way game and Spooner’s playmaking, it was ‘Barry Beck’ making people pay for standing in front of our King with a Northland Pro across their back.

    Kudos to JG

    • tanto says:

      Not convinced with O’Gara, he looks like a career “spare” part.

      • Bloomer says:

        Once O’Gara learns how to skate he might be ok.

        • Leatherneck says:

          I like O’Gara’s reactions when a goal is scored while he is on the ice…..the kid really cares
          give me attitude over skill….

          Imagine you hired the best carpenter in the world…he shows up when he wants to leaves when he decides….but his apprentice is eager….willing….excites….learns who would you rather have?

          I’ll take the apprentice….I can teach him skill. attitude is a behavior and eagerness to excel choice

    • Richter1994 says:

      I would say that it is near impossible to judge anyone’s defensive game this year.

      New coach, hopefully a structure, and then we can evaluate.

    • Fotiu is God says:

      Truth, Niner.

      Just scan south of your post. It’s like attending a UFO conference in the exurbs of Phoenix, then sitting in on a talk hosted by The Flat Earth Society.

      How anyone can take issue with O’Gara–a kid with what, less than a dozen games in the bigs–who did nothing less than take of business in his own end!? I mean, WTF?

      His assignment was simple: Flatten Matthew Tkachuk. Defend his goalkeeper. Tell his smaller teammates, ‘I got your back’.

      In other words, assert himself at a lower risk threshold than Brendan Smith. He did so.

      With Crawley, Smith and now O’Gara, we can project the balance, the potential stay-at-home Mike Sauer/D-man to Shattenkirk; to a freelancing D’Angelo, a roaming John Gilmour, a small but way smart Pionk.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Watch Crawley for next season. Gilmour and Pionk are keepers.

        DeAngelo may end up being a trade chip.

        Hajek, according to his coach John Paddock, is close to NHL ready.

        Maybe after all is said and done, the D pieces are already in place and they go for offense in the offseason. Tavares? Draisaitl? Another big offensive star?

        Chiarelli is stupid so maybe we get Draisaitl from him.

        • Walt says:


          If John Paddock says that the Hajek kids is almost ready, I’m very encouraged because I respect his opinion as a coach. Funny, that trade with Boston is returning some nice assets…….

          • Richter1994 says:

            While players like Serg, Pointe, and McAvoy did not come back in the 2 big trades, it appears the hyperbole tantrum reactions that some Ranger fans had were not warranted.

            I agree bro. If that’s what Paddock said, then I’m excited. BTW, what is he doing next year?

  6. Peter says:

    The decisions the club makes regarding the draft will be of paramount importance. The team will be in transition over the next three seasons, but things will start to be laid out on draft day. By the third opening night I imagine we might see most of JG’s plan having taken shape on the ice, with more players almost ready to take the ice as well.

    • tanto says:

      I think we can be very competitive in 2 years if the D just gets a proper defensive scheme and can stick to it. I still think the biggest issue, aside from the “chemistry” in the room and the lack of proper leadership, is the coaching staff. They’re stale, nay they’re moldy at this point …. ah shelf life, just ask Torts.

      • Leatherneck says:

        Not with this coach….Nash is in your face evidence that it’s his system….soft

      • Peter says:

        Yes, I think in two seasons they will be a lot better. Hell, they will be a lot more fun to watch in many ways next season. But I see it taking somewhere close to three for people to mature in the system and make it to the NHL. I am willing to be patient because building a club that will be competitive for a long time takes some doing. I will have all the patience in the world if they draft good kids and bring them along when they are ready.

        • Leatherneck says:

          yup…it’s called growth….process ,,,learning standard operating procedures….instincts….refining those instincts

  7. Bloomer says:

    Going forward what will hold the Rangers back is their defence. The Smurfs are nifty ( i put shatter in the smurf group) but they certainly are not shutdown defencemen. Perhaps they can be part of a deal for a young defensive dman. Lundqvist is not going to continue to stop 50 shots a night.

  8. Reenavipul says:

    We’d be in a sweet spot for the lottery if Hank stopped standing on his effing head to spite us.

    • Richter1994 says:

      Can we tie his arms to his sides and his goalie pads together?

      Now is the one time I hate that he’s so effing great, lol.

  9. Emile the Cat says:

    Nash’s game used to be gritty and involved on both ends of the ice. But it’s effing demoralizing when you slamming into an opponent or in his team’s crease and being ganged up on by 4 of the opposing players then watching YOUR sissy teammates skate away. Was it any wonder his game deteriorated some.

    Brendon Smith needs to come back here, minus AV, so maybe he’ll be revitalized just like Rick Nash. One of the only guys with a set of balls on this team.

    • Bloomer says:

      Hopefully after spending months riding the bus down in the iron league, Smitty will find his game. He has all the tools to do so.

    • RagsFan says:

      Smith needs to get his lazy out of shape butt together. He needs to prove that he is not a loser piece of crap wasteland.

      • Dunc says:

        Smith was never within miles of bad until he played under AV and his “system”.

        Just sayin’.