Depth at center offers critical value, but big decisions loom large

kevin hayes
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

The Rangers, who had no depth at center just two weeks ago, are now flush with center depth. After Mika Zibanejad, they have Kevin Hayes, Ryan Spooner, and Vladislav Namestnikov. Consider, for a moment, that Spooner and Namestnikov replace some combination of David Desharnais, Paul Carey, and Peter Holland, and you the realization of steps made during the trade deadline become apparent.

Hayes, Spooner, and Namestnikov are all RFAs at the end of this season. Spooner and Namestnikov are probably due big raises, but Hayes is likely due a modest raise due to his poor output this season. The cap space, at least in the short term, shouldn’t be an issue, but the club will need to make decisions on this trio pretty quickly.

Hayes has been transitioned by Alain Vigneault from a scoring 3C to a shutdown 2C. It’s a bit of an awkward transition for someone like Hayes, and to be fair we will have trouble assessing his impact defensively because the entire team and system has been a train wreck. That could mean Hayes was as effective as he could be, or that he contributed to the problem. It’s tough to say.

Spooner and Namestnikov are viewed as more offensively inclined players, and less two-way than Hayes. That probably works both for and against them in the long run, but fancy numbers in a short run are a quick ticket to a new contract. Just look at Brendan Smith.

With this potential logjam at center, some critical decisions are going to be needed. Zibanejad is signed long term. Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson are likely going to make next year’s roster. Add in Hayes, Spooner, and Namestnikov, and we can see the conundrum.

First and foremost, a decision is needed on keeping Hayes, Namestnikov, and/or Spooner. Since the latter pair were just acquired via trade, my guess is they will be back next year. The jury is still out on Hayes.

The next question is which players get moved to wing. I’m staunchly against moving a wing to center, as that’s a very difficult move to make (see: St. Louis, Martin, and Miller, JT), but center to wing is an easier move and puts less defensive pressure on the player. While I am fully in the camp of Hayes at center, I don’t really see a risk in moving him or any of these guys to the wing. Spooner has already been playing wing, and for what it’s worth, I believe Andersson has been playing wing in Hartford, and Chytil center.

We could potentially be looking at Zibanejad-Namestnikov-Hayes/Chytil down the middle, with Spooner and Andersson shifting to wing, and one of Hayes/Chytil on wing as well. Of course this could change with a trade.

Center depth went from a glaring weakness to a big strength almost overnight for the Blueshirts. But with every strength comes difficult decisions. With more trades looming, there’s a chance all the points brought up here become moot. Either way, the front office will need to decide what to do with their three RFA centers, and will need decisions by the draft.

"Depth at center offers critical value, but big decisions loom large", 3 out of 5 based on 17 ratings.

73 thoughts on “Depth at center offers critical value, but big decisions loom large

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    I would keep Namesnikov and Spooner. If Spooner is moved to wing then there is no block for Andersson and Chytl. If the centers are something like Zib, Vlad, Hayes and Andersson. Spooner and Chytl on wing. If Hayes’ contract is going to be to expensive trade him at the draft and shift one of the other to center.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      I’m suppose to think that Mika’s 51 points and 20 goals is superior to Hayes 49 points and 18 goals as a shutdown 3c?

      Namesnikov can play on a top 6 line with top 10 player’s in a position that doesn’t stress you to play 200 ft game and can only put up 44 points as a career high with 20 goals. Do you know what that proved? That Hayes ability to play on the pk can make the difference for someone who played a all offensive role with PP and high quality names like Stamkos.

      Ya damn right he’s going to get paid. Fast got paid for being a high quality bottom 6 player. Hayes is superior to him, he’s the type to lead the league in puck steals. He put up top of the league 3c production consistently.

      A 3C like Sean Couturier was always known for his pk prowess and production as a depth forward. He has all of Hayes sophomore slump numbers as a a career. Do you ever wonder what a 45-50 point player would loik like next to Giroux? It’s a trick question, you wouldn’t need to because he would hold his own weight next Simmonds or Voracek and be a high 50s low to mid 60 player as a 2c.

      He will have that option to go do ^ while getting payed as a top 6 player. I think they will pay him Brass money to run the 2c, PP2 and PK. A team like Calgary would offer Hayes alot to be before Backlund especially with his ties to them and there will be other’s. JG has been on the record giving hints that Hayes>Stepan and >JT by admitting to moving on from them. He recently told the press that this decision was made up with Tampa being in the loop to keep the open negotiation during Miller’s breakout year. The Rangers were obviously admiring Hayes career highs at the time for JG to admit that information.

      Hayes was talking about being a Ranger for life as of late. It looks like the Boston ties and Sather made a arrangement that could keep him here until 30-31.

    • Mar 8, 2018 at 3:01 am

      That’s my thinking as well.

      KZB (4 Lyfe!)
      Spooner Namestnikov Zucc
      Chytil Hayes Vessey (he’s better here)
      Grabner (reup) Andersson Fast

      That would be 4 skill lines, with the 4th line also able to provide good defense. It allows Chytil and Andersson to be broken in gently.

      The key is the years. Got to keep these to 3 years, 4 as a max….but honestly 3 is best. That way you can not only get Chytil and Andersson in the rotation but also accommodate the Howland and Ronning’s in the system.

      As an alternative you could just not re sign Vessey and bump up Fast……but then you better have an answer for that 4th line.

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Namestikov has played plenty of wing himself. I think for next year you just move both he and Spooner to the wing and bring in Chytil and Andersson as your 3/4 up the middle.

    In the alternative I would try Chytil on the wing since the defensive responsibilities for a center are greater, but right now I would prefer the former set up.

    The last thing I would do is move Hayes to wing, we saw what a disaster that was a couple of years back — of course things might have changed for Hayes, but I prefer him up the middle with 2 speedy wingers, one of which needs to be a puck retriever in the mold of someone like Hagelin. That was Hayes at his best offensively IMO.

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    All are options let’s see were the dust settles after the draft. If we keep Hayes he fits best as a center and likely a 2C, I don’t see him in a checking role. Maybe Anderson can slot in as a 3C on more of a checking line. Also so far ZIB has not shown he can carry the 1C so that is a problem, he also seems to be a 2C type guy. From what we have now Chytil seems to be best chance of being a 1C but that is a big unknown right now. I agree Spooner need to stay on the wing if we sign him, Namesnikov I have not seen enough of yet but he looks like he plays 200 feet so he’s in the mix possibly as the 1C if nothing else pans out.

    We still have no one that can finish on the wings and a lot of depth on D but not a lot of top end talent.

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    I’d be open-minded to a lot more things. I’m not advocating trading Spooner or Namestnikov, but, in a rebuild, a good general manager quickly turns some of his new assets. Maybe JG had his heart set on these two guys – or some of the prospects – but maybe they were simply the best he could get in the deals he was making. Hard to imagine the players JG most sought were all on a few teams. So I hope we cannot presume future trades will only involve old Rangers.

    Even strength scoring this year at center, last time I looked, was 1 Hayes 2 Desharnais 3 Zibanejad. Dave, if you are right that Hayes won’t command much money, I say lock him up long term. And for goodness sakes, deal Mika. For a #3 center/ power play specialist, that is a lot of money. And I suspect somebody out there sees him as a major asset and the contract as a favorable one.

    But mainly I want an open mind. You don’t just trade older players and players with expiring contracts. The only old players are Desharnais (UFA), Lundqvist, and Staal (the latter two untradeable); Zuccarello isn’t old and neither was McDonagh. The only players I refuse to trade are possibly elite players (I suspect only Chityl) and undervalued players (guys who are worth more than they will net in return, e.g., Hayes). Paradoxically, the best players to trade are the ones that most excite people on this blog.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Between buch who still imo hasn’t put it all together yet and zucc who passes up prime shooting attempt after another and takes weak hacks when he does… Something needs to give there. So sliding a center to right wing wouldn’t be a terrible idea short term IMO.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      If a player is 26 or younger I see no reason why they can’t be an important part of the rebuild. But late 20’s on and it’s something to consider. Now if someone wants to make a real good offer on either Namestnikov or Spooner by all means listen, but I wouldn’t be in a rush to move either and if both are locked down on manageable long term contracts their value should only increase over time.

      The guy I really want to trade is Staal and I would try to do that by retaining half his salary. I would rather they pay half and actually get something in return than to just buy him out and get nothing but the salary cap hit. Can this be done? Possibly … look at Girardi, 2 years @ $3m per … maybe there was a deal out there for him as well if we had retained half his salary.

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 3:42 pm

        Staal ruins the plans to really have fun here with extra money to fool around with but JG should be able to manoeuvre around him.

        Spooner and Namesnikov get effected by Vesey taking a roster spot plus the extra chump change that could keep a 35-45 point center. If Spooner and Namesnikov stays and with additions like Chytil and Andersson then Vesey really doesn’t fit in any of the special team plans. It’s a waste to try him out on the PK again and the PP runs more smoothly without him. Hayes is superior down low and I have a feeling Namesnikov is as well and can play the half wall much better. Spooner as a 1 time option is bette to keep around for if this rebuild is quick. I feel like whatever he gets signed over in his next contract will be a overpayment for his services. There’s bottom 6 player’s who don’t need that PP time and can post up 11-14 goals per season and comes with a better two way game.

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 4:26 pm


        I don’t see Staal being moved at all. Watching him in the AV system, he is like a turnstile, just too slow, but in a system like Tampa’s, he could be functional. Look at it this way, we get a new coach next season, the defensive system changes to a zone, Staal could be functional as a third pair for one more year, then we buy him out!!!!

        I don’t see Marc moving, like Hank, he has a NMC. Let this be a lesson to all listening, you don’t give away NMC ever again, if so you then lose your ability to be in the drivers seat……..

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 6:36 pm

          NMCs are made to be broken and like I said, would rather eat half his salary and get something for him than to just have him take up space in the rebuild and then pay him to go away with a buyout. Just my op.

          • Mar 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

            won’t disagree with you, but what dummy GM will take him off of our hands, even at half the rate???

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    I believe that anyone on the roster at this point is still available in a trade for the right price, and will be right up until the Rangers are called to exercise their first pick in the draft. More deals will be made before the draft, and we might be looking at a completely different set of centers by then.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      I always wondered about the phrase “for the right price”. I mean if Gretzky could be traded, then of course anyone could be — at the right price. Point is, saying at the right price means everyone. The only question is what’s the price?

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    I’m going to post something that I said the other day, “it’s great to have these many options available to us”. Whatever route JG takes, he will come out on top, because he’s dealing from a position of strength as far as centers are concerned. The only one that I can see being traded in the center group would be Zib, who is basically one dimensional. The others can play either the C or wing, and are more defensibly responsible!!!!!!!

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      True Walt ,Zib isn’t really a true #1 center either.He would make a great #2.This team really hasn’t had one since Mess and he was at the end.Need to build down the middle!

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 4:29 pm


        I believe we drafted one in Chytil, time will tell……….

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 8:31 pm

          If one of them is a good #2 I’d be happy , a #1 would be even better! Fingers crossed.

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Because of the possible complicating factor of yet another Betman expansion draft, I would not be so sure about Chytil and Andersson coming to the big club next season. Perhaps that is part of the reasoning behind getting Spooner and Namestikov? I don’t know exactly how the expansion draft will play into the decisions, but I have a feeling that Rangers’ management is thinking about that aspect.

    Would love to see both of those kids with the Rangers soon, so I hope the expansion draft gets figured out.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 2:34 pm


      Your not the only person to have mentioned this problem. For development purposes, and protection of these assets, maybe we should leave the kids down at the A for the next season. Sorry to have to run an operation like this, but that’s the business we have to work under BUTTMAN!

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      it’s a great point, but i think Andersson and Chytil should be ok if they don’t burn a year this year…and that should absolutely not happen. As I recall first and 2nd year players were exempt from the last expansion draft. We may need to sign Spooner and Namestnikov to have people to expose. But if that is the case I’d like to believe we sign cheaper players to meet those criteria. I believe we did a 2 year deal with Grabner originally so we had someone to leave exposed. Glad Vegas did not take him

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 3:49 pm

        That could either prove to be protection for Hayes or maybe kill two birds with one stone and get a feel if Namesnikov can be a trusted center who can be a 5 on 5 distributer. I think Hayes is here for the long haul so if they sign both Spooner and Namesnikov than that might just be the plan.

        I’m a fan of his game so I might be bias but who the hell would lose Hayes for nothing and your top draft picks?

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 4:00 pm

          I forgot how many players could be protected last time?

          • Mar 7, 2018 at 4:17 pm

  ’s either 7 forwards, 3 D men, and 1 goalie or 2. 4 forwards, 4 D men, and a goalie. As I recall 1st and 2nd year players exempt and player with NMC’s have to be protected.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      Dave has mentioned earlier(and I was mistaken about) is that as long as the ELC contracts slide, the seasons in Hartford don’t count for the expansion draft.

      The only concern would be that Seattle can’t get their barn built in time for the 2020-21 season. OVG has enough experience in doing this kind of buildout and at worst they could start the season at the Tacoma Dome, so I wouldn’t sweat it too hard.

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    So I agree it’s a problem, but you need to decide who is going at the draft deadline to have better clarity as to who stays at goes. I think Zucc is a question about staying or going. I actually think they will move on from Vesey. And candidly speaking is Zib really a #1? I thought he could be early on, but he’s not been great since his injury. (same as last year) I also think Kreider is more a #2 winger. The bigger problem is we really don’t have a #1 center. We have a bunch of 2/3 Centers who can play wing too as you mention. They have to wait and see what they can get for these guys before they decide too. A good problem to have.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      Vessy is overrated. Buch better get stronger ASAP and he needs a better work ethic.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      The way I see it.

      Vesey is was he is was drafted – a third rounder . wjc hype … Not enough consistency for top 6.

      Possibly trade, sign as cheap 3rd liner.

      Buchnevich .. Hockeys future gave him an 8 for talent which is quite high. But he is struggling to get to 20 goals…. ?

      Cautiously keep

      Zucc … Maybe his intangibles are there but let’s face it … You can’t expect to go contend and have wings that pass all the time and can’t finish with authority. Especially when they are playing 20 mins.

      Look to deal at draft. Dont foolishly over price

      Kreider. Our only real threat offensively. Although will never be a 70 -80 point guy.

      Only trade if blown away. B prospects won’t cut it.

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm

        Kreider has a lot of talent but he will never have the hands and puck handling to make a big step up from where he is. Could get 30 goals 50 pts with good mates.

        I don’t see him getting moved I think we rate him higher than other teams do.

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 6:35 pm

          Joen7, agreed. Kreider has all the tools to be an elite player EXCEPT really good hands. Even Grabner seems to have better hands than Kreider, which is why Grabs will finish on many breakaways. Where Grabner would get stuffed by the goalie, Kreider often misses the net.

          I think he is a pretty awesome player and guy in many respects. I know that he works on his shot a lot too. If his hands were better he has the rest of what is needed to score like a Crosby. I just don’t think that he’ll ever have the hands to do it. Naturally, I hope I am wrong.

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 4:17 pm

        How is Kreider our only real threat? The homie is built like ever 21st century video game character. He has break neck speed like McDavid, quads more big than half of the player’s who are over 6’2 and 200 pounds. If you could put Crosby in a better armored body than all he would need is Kreids body mass.
        The guy has all of the super powers in the making to be a realistic top 5 player and so far all he has to show for it is a 53 point season. Nothing in between that displays his power forward tools unless you listen to Joe M and Sam.

        He plays like wimp if you compare him to top 6 power forwards. Hartnell could take you out with a clean check in any of the 3 zones. He would also take advantage of top line ice time by scoring more points. If you’re wondering why I used Hartnell instead of guys like Benn and Simmonds it’s because he’s not even on their level in every aspect that makes up a power forward.

        Sorry but as a power forward he fails at making his presence felt in all 3 zones. He needs to have to many moving parts in order to be successful and score .He doesn’t do it at a first line rate for whatever you call his game. He won’t take the puck from point A to point B and score or make the quality play. In oder to score he needs to have a jump step and even at that he’s not the greatest at. His forecheck is something that needs to have moving parts as well in order to win a puck battle. He won’t regularly win a board battle between 2 guys and make the power move or quality play.

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 4:26 pm

          Hence I said will never be a 70 -80 point guy. He’s a 19th pick not 3rd overall. Prob a 2lw on a cup team. 30 goal potential is no slouch tho.

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 9:16 pm

          See AV. Kreider is find its the soft ass Coach.

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    The depth at center is an asset that will help further moves.

    Chytil would have gone in the top 10 this year. So we got our first gem of this years draft , last year.

    The most efficient way to move up in the draft this year is to package some of these young players and a pick to move up

    There are plenty of roster players make that can be used to do the same

    The real question is who will the next head coach be?

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    From what I see of our centers, we still do not have even 1.

    Continue to blow it up, move assets and start over with youth. No one on this team is indispensable. As I said many times, we have a team of complimentary players with no studs. Get us 2 studs and we can mix and match the rest of the players.

    Gorton, this means getting a top 3 pick. #1, #2 and Vesey and Hayes should almost get that done.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      Not sure that gets you from 10 to 3. our 10th, the 41th, (Vesey = around 100th) and (Hayes = around a 40th). Plus the team has to sign these guys are they both RFA’s

      Think we would need to move possibly all 3 first round picks to get in the conversion to trade up near the top of the draft. Our best shot is to lose a lot, drop a few draft slots inside of 7 and get lucky in the lottery.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      They got rid of JT which meant they will enjoy to keep Hayes around while they continue to leak out negativity about Miller’s personality and off ice preparations which is polar opposite to Hayes. Last few moths I’ve had to read how you thought that you knew about the club wanting to keep JT and trade Hayes insteaf. The information that I read showed me that you were talking about a situation that you were oblivious too. I feel this has all been setup as the time to to show the fans that they will keep Hayes. They took that route and made their minds up about this instead of trying to make Stepan fit or pay JT on his next deal.

      Vesey has been on a long try out type deal that should prove he failed as a top 9 piece and instead just a replaceable bottom 6 player. I just can’t see your reasons on why you think Hayes isn’t apart of this rebuild on the fly. It’s N.Y so they will want to become competitive right away for Hank. I don’t find it odd by them wanting to keep a important piece from the presidents trophy winner team around as cultural thing.

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 5:12 pm

        Hank should not be in the future plans I’d love to move him at the draft if they can convince him that he will get reduced playing time.

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 5:15 pm

          The Rangers asked Hank at this past trade deadline and Hank refused to waive anything.

          He’s here for his career, like it or not.

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Nice job, Dave! The points may become mute, but still good to know all the possibilities. I think this is a great time to be a Ranger fan, very exciting!

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Whatever we do going forward I hope we do not sign anymore no more contracts. I’m ok with giving limited moves in some cases but the no move is a killer.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      Here are the expansion protection rules from the last time:

      Protected Lists

      * Clubs will have two options for players they wish to protect in the Expansion Draft:

      a) Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender

      b) Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

      * All players who have currently effective and continuing “No Movement” clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who to decline to waive such clauses) must be protected (and will be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

      * All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

      Player Exposure Requirements

      * All Clubs must meet the following minimum requirements regarding players exposed for selection in the Expansion Draft:

      i) One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.

      ii) Two forwards who are a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.

      iii) One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club’s protected list.

      * Players with potential career-ending injuries who have missed more than the previous 60 consecutive games (or who otherwise have been confirmed to have a career-threatening injury) may not be used to satisfy a club’s player exposure requirements, unless approval is received from the NHL. Such players also may be deemed exempt from selection by the League.

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 4:25 pm

        First thing we need to do is get Smith back up here we will want to protect Brady S. Although most of the kids playing now could be exposed since they will all be beyond their 2nd pro year by than, as long as they get to 70 games played by than.

        The 7 forward to protect will be interesting Vesey could be left unprotected we’ll have to see who is moved and added this summer.


        (I’m assuming Zuc is moved at the draft

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Does the fact that none of these players project as a real 1C cause concern?

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    I won’t say what I think the Rangers will do because people here won’t like me, lol.

    On another note, Shesty has one more year on his KHL contract, meaning 2018-19. I’m hearing rumblings that he really wants to come here next year. He’s so good that Hartford is not even a stop for him.

    So that means 3 players on that KHL team may be on the Rangers next year: Shesty, Kovy, and Rykov. The Russions are coming!! lol

    Please God, can we get Zadina in this year’s draft? Please?

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      What’s the point of drafting zadina when fun little zuc will play instead of him ?

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 5:27 pm

        I keep reading abut this kid in the draft and they say he’s a goal scoring beast. Something the Rangers have not drafted in quite a long time.

        As for your concern, I feel like the player will not be here to block him and the coach to block the kid won’t be here either.

        No worries, lol.

        Talk about Zuc, that shot he put back into Mason with a wide open net is indicative of one of the Rangers’ major problems: finishing. Maybe it was really a pass across the crease, lol.

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 5:43 pm

          Well written response. Literally wouldn’t change a word.

          • Mar 7, 2018 at 6:40 pm

            Thank you my friend.

            • Mar 7, 2018 at 9:46 pm

              That’s my problem with Zucc. He always looks to pass.

              • Mar 8, 2018 at 5:19 am

                It’s very interesting because whenever he’s on an odd man rush, everyone in the building knows he’s going to pass. Including the defender and goalie.

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 9:05 pm

          Zadina has a Brendl stink about him.

          • Mar 8, 2018 at 1:44 am


          • Mar 8, 2018 at 5:20 am

            Oh, then we will definitely get him, lol.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      I feel sorry for Georgiev already.

      Just say NO to Kovy!

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

        Georgie’s doing good huh?

        I love how poised he is in nets, very impressive for an undrafted rookie.

        This what you do when you believe in yourself.

    • Mar 7, 2018 at 7:21 pm


      Please God, can we get Zadina in this year’s draft? Please?

      How do you say Hell Yes in Russian????

      Can’t wait for the two kids to get here!!!!! I’m lukewarm on Kovy, but he would carry a load of influence, and respect, and make a nice role model for them…….

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm

        At the risk of getting dumped on again, I just report what I hear. People can take it for what it’s worth. But my boys are pretty good and they told me things that turned out to be basically true.

        So that being said, that’s why I do not think the Rangers will go all in for a rebuild from “step 1.” Andersson and Chytil? Both here next year, no question. Zib, Buch, Kreider Shatty, here next year. Skjei? Probably, unless he gets traded for a D upgrade.

        I do not know why there is doubt as to whether Namer and Spooner are here next year, meaning whether they will be re-signed or not. Maybe used as trade chips? Who knows?

        Hayes is interesting to me. I do not think that he’s a lock to be here next year. I have a feeling that he may be traded.

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 7:48 pm

          Trading Hayes might cause the Rangers to lose some credibility as far as signing future college free agents is concerned. Not sure if Vesey signed here because of Hayes, but Hayes, I believe, is totally enamored with NY and wanted to play here. Funny how both Boston area kids wanted to come here.

          • Mar 7, 2018 at 7:51 pm

            IDK, I just get a personal vibe there with Hayes. Maybe it’s just me, but it would be logical to ship Kevin out as part of a package for a higher level center.

            And you are correct, Hayes basically recruited Vesey to come here.

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 9:41 pm

          Trade Hayes? Geesh…..maybe he is only 4th in points but he has size and has been more effective than anyone else left on the roster. Please find someone else to pick on…..

          • Mar 8, 2018 at 12:48 am

            True. one of hayes is one our better players right now.

            I can think of a fwd 7 years older who has no size and cant shoot to save his life. Apparently he’s immune to criticism tho. bc leadership ya know.

          • Mar 8, 2018 at 5:21 am

            For a top center? Yes, I’m not saying trade him just to trade him.

            IMO, Zib cannot be our #1 center next year.

      • Mar 7, 2018 at 9:15 pm

        Any Kovy contract framework should look like this:

        1 year deal
        Salary $650k
        Signing/roster bonuses ????(whatever it takes, but it’s a 1 team competition)
        A bonuses $850k
        B bonuses $2mm

        The CBA is really nebulous on performance related bonuses for over 35 types, but the above ishould be all within the agreement.

        So the Rangers can set fire to the signing bonus and if he goes nuts and the team are winning, Kovy gets what he’s earned.

        If the team is losing and Kovy is scoring, you deal him on a cheap salary as a rental and the performance bonuses are pro rated.

        If the team is losing and Kovy is over the hill, MSG is out the signing bonus.

        • Mar 7, 2018 at 11:03 pm

          He’ll be looking for something approaching the Radulov deal with Montreal last year. He’ll never sign for 650k plus bonuses, more like 7-8 times that.

          • Mar 8, 2018 at 5:23 am

            The bonuses do not have to be hard to attain. They can be for games played, healthy scratches by AV, how many smoothies he makes in a month, etc.

            • Mar 8, 2018 at 7:29 am

              Healthy scratches by AV, LOL, then Buch would be the highest paid player on this team!!!!!

          • Mar 8, 2018 at 7:40 am

            Radulov wasn’t 35. The signing bonus you can be whatever you need it to be to get it done.

            The class A & B performance bonuses are the max under the CBA, the B bonuses also get $$$ from the league as well.

        • Mar 8, 2018 at 3:05 pm

          Did the digging in the CBA: the performance bonuses that the team can hand out maxes out at 7.5% of the upper limit(cap.) That overage would be added to the following year’s payroll.

          If next year’s cap was $82mm, that would mean $6.15mm in bonuses. The only players with a shot at earning those would be Kovy(if signed) Andersson & Chytil in all likelihood. Reserve $2mm for the latter two and there’s your performance bonus pool for Kovy.

          Considering how below the cap they will be next season, it would be insane not to take a run at him with the cap considerations.

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    I just saw a tweet that showed a graph that says that Henrik is by far and away the best playoff goaltender of his era. I wish I had the technical skills to post it here, but trust me, according to the graph I saw, it’s not close.

    • Mar 8, 2018 at 9:50 am

      Saw it too. And not from a Ranger fan…

      • Mar 8, 2018 at 6:29 pm

        good point my friend.

  • Mar 7, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    I would rather have 9 forwards that can play either inside or on the wing than be short on depth down the middle.
    We have a nice group up front now, may need to look for a shooter on the free agent market. See if management can find lightning in a bottle on a relatively cheap contract.
    Need to find the same kind of depth on the back end. I don’t see where it’s coming from. Right now it’s dependent on several young kids earning NHL spots out of camp.

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