Apr
19

How much impact will a change in system make for the Rangers?

April 19, 2018, by

AP Photo/Nick Wass

With Alain Vigneault, Scott Arniel, and Darryl Williams all relieved of their duties earlier this month, the focus has moved to the new coach. It’s more than just a new voice in the locker room, though. It’s about a new system that will get the most out of the roster. We can’t predict what the roster will look like in October, but we can at least guess what the impact of a new system will be.

Perhaps the best example to use regarding a new system is Dan Girardi. Way overpaid and completely lost in AV’s system, the Rangers cut him loose to free up cap space. He has found life in Tampa Bay, improving on basically all of his puck possession stats while being used in a more passive system. Jon Cooper has certainly gotten a better version of Girardi than his final few years in New York.

Cooper’s defensive system is very simple, running a hybrid zone/overload system that is designed to be aggressive in spots, but dial it back when needed as well. There is less chasing, and more relying on positioning. In the defensive zone, it is less about skating ability and stretch passes and more about gaps, lanes, and shorter, quicker passes for a breakout. As you can imagine, we’ve seen guys like Girardi and Anton Stralman succeed there.

When it comes to the new system, it needs to be simple enough that the guys on the ice know where the others are going to be –something that was clearly not there the past few years– as well as sophisticated enough to draw on the talents of the roster.

Eyeballing what the projected roster could be, the Blueshirts look to be focusing more on players who have sound gap control and positioning while also being strong puck movers. Kevin Shattenkirk is their only elite puck mover, but guys like Brady Skjei, John Gilmour, and Neal Pionk are more than capable at making short, quick passes to start the breakout.

That brings me to the forwards, who were told to fly the zone for the stretch pass and counterattack. Those days are likely gone, and they will be hanging around in the defensive zone longer to provide support and outlets for their blue liners. It likely means more puck possession, but less rush based action. They will be significantly more boring to watch, but hopefully more responsible.

It’s almost impossible to quantify how a new system will impact the Blueshirts, mostly because there is significantly more work to be done when it comes to quantifying possession to system (I’ve tried and failed many times). What we can do, though, is infer how a more responsible and controlled system will impact the team.

For the young players, we should assume that they will be more comfortable in their roles. All of the skaters should know where the others will be on the ice, so this should lead to fewer turnovers and missed assignments. Ideally, this leads to a huge decrease in both CA and SCA, which in turn should make the goaltending predictability a little better. It’s amazing what a new defensive system can do.

"How much impact will a change in system make for the Rangers?", 5 out of 5 based on 19 ratings.
Categories : Offseason

98 comments

  1. Richter1994 says:

    Well David, being as the Rangers did not have any kind of defensive system in place at all, any defensive system would be an improvement.

    I constantly ask AV supporters what the Rangers’ identity was and they can’t answer. The reason is that AV’s want for veteran players was basically because of those vet players creating their own system on the ice. No direction, just let them play.

    Which would also explain the lack of any kind of reasonable deployment of personnel. Eric Staal somehow is thriving even though he’s past the 30 mark, but for some reason AV could not find a role for him here.

    Girardi is not a good example. He’s on a team that has the puck all the time, meaning great forwards who take a tremendous amount of reliance off the back end. You have the puck, then the opponents do not. Simple D IMO.

    But I have said it many times, I wonder how “the group” would have done with a different coach. I bet a heck of a lot better.

    The reshaping starts soon. I can’t wait to see what they come up with. Bringing in a marquee D man is at the top of the list and a strong leader who will probably be the C.

    Brooks’ article today states that the Rangers offered the King a trade out of NY, just as my boys told me at the trade deadline.

    • czech!!! says:

      Hey pal.

      Think Hank asks for one either prior to the draft or near the deadline next year as good teams with shitty goalies come a calling. It may be time to move on for both.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Hello my friend.

        Nah, Hank wants to retire a Ranger, plain and simple. Plus, no guarantee that he wins if he’s traded anyway.

        He loves it here, maybe more than Sweden.

        • Hockey Sittoo says:

          I for one hope he retires a Ranger with or without a Cup. “With” being the operative word…

          • Richter1994 says:

            Book it pal, he’s not going anywhere as he is smart enough to know that going to any team guarantees nothing.

            Hank’s family life is here, not even in Sweden. He will probably be hired in the org after his playing days are over. He has his Foundation that is tied to the Garden of Dreams” as well. His life is here in NYC.

    • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

      Hey Pal … And one of our old forwards has been steadily playing pretty damn good ! If they knew AV was gone why the JT trade ??

      • Richter1994 says:

        Hey bro. I was worried about that, signaling that AV might be spared.

        But the truth is the Rangers were “tired” of JT and his “attitude.” Him being traded had zero to do with AV, obviously.

        He’s a good talent but playing with Stamkos and Kucherov doesn’t hurt either. Look what Gretzky did for Dave Semenko.

  2. SalMerc says:

    We had a system?

  3. Walt says:

    It’s a day late, and a dollar short, when we discuss systems, or lack thereof under the old coach. We sacrificed defense for offense, and paid dearly as time went by, because of a device called a video machine. Every team in the NHL watched us, knew exactly what we were going to do, and countered us so successfully. Any SYSTEM put it place will be a vast improvement over what we played the last few years in particular.

    Funny how you mention Girardi, and his new found success. Like Tony stated above, the Bolts are a possession team, Dan isn’t chasing for the puck all night long, therefore looks functional, as opposed to running around like a chicken without his head under AV the system??? Let’s not forget the vast improvement JT Miller has shown under his new coach, and their system, or Mac Truck’s improved play as well. Everyone thought Jeff Beukeboom wasn’t ready to replace Ulfie, so then they replace him with Ruff, same results, disaster. Some of us were screaming about the thick headed old coach, and we impugned for it, who is laughing now? Simple is easy to follow, may be a bit dull, but Hank won’t face 1000000000 shots a night under the old guard, and his minions!!

    Lets get to the next season already, I miss seeing my team in the PO’s!!!!!!!!!

  4. Walt says:

    Dave

    You listed probable defense men who will more than likely play for us next season. I suspect that John Gilmour won’t be one of them. He is undersized, and his defense isn’t as refined as Pionk’s game. He will be replaced with someone with more size, we have enough puck movers. We need a big strong, crease clearing d-man with a bit of snarl!!!!

    • Ranger17 says:

      Exactly Walt. Nice kid might make team in a tear or two but would be better in a trade at the draft .October can’t come quick enough

      • Walt says:

        Ranger

        Your right about trade bait, could help bring back something better in a package. I can’t remember in my entire lifetime, following this team, that we had so many d-men in the system, and can’t believe we will field the list above. Have a great day big guy!!!!!!!

    • Andy says:

      I agree with you we need some size and someone who defends as well as moves the puck. Libor Hajek may be that guy. Also if Rykov comes over the year after, we may actually have 2 of those guys over the next 2 seasons that is before we even draft.

      • Walt says:

        Lets not forget the Ryan Lindgren kid who came out of college early, and played a few games with the Pack. He plays with an edge, and already in the his first few games, scored a goal, and dropped the gloves. He came too us I believe for Holden from Boston? I can’t wait for the new defense men to start pushing people around who have been parked in front of Hank for years!!!!!!!!!

        • Andy says:

          Lindgren is definitely one to watch as well. I think he has a lower ceiling than Hajek and that may be the thing that keeps him in Hartford to start the season.

          Looking at our D I think Skeji, Shattenkirk and Pionk have spots and so does Staal because there is no good option with him. That leaves 2 spots for Gilmour, DeAngelo, Hajek, Lindgren and Day. Also if we draft a Dman in the 8th spot(assuming we don’t move in the lottery) there is going to be a log jam for those last 2 spots. Kampfer can be the 7 D man because the kids who don’t make the team need to be playing nightly in Hartford to develop. Not riding the bench in the NHL. I imagine O’Gara and Sproul who were OK, but they will likely end up in Hartford.

          None of this factors in, do we trade a bunch of assets for a premier D man. So lots left to consider on the D front. But lots of good options. We will need a system that works for everyone.

          • Walt says:

            Andy

            Agree, but don’t be surprised if Staal isn’t the 7th d-man on the defensive side of the house…….We have more left d-0men than right side guys, and they all skate better than him!!!!!

            • Ranger17 says:

              I was just going to post the same thing Walt . Think Staal serves the team the best as a role model as to act with the media and on road trips , and some spot time when one of the kids are having a rough go at some point in time which is going to happen.
              Don’t think Gilmour is a lock coming out of camp

          • Nikolai the Drunk says:

            Like many of us, you forgot about Smith.
            I realize he’ll have to re-earn his spot in camp. He’s clearly a competitive guy so I don’t see him rolling over and letting his career disappear already.
            Hopefully he’s motivated to come back fighting (but not literally this time) for a spot in the line-up.
            Otherwise it’s back to riding busses for him (no way he reitres and was walks away from money).

            • Walt says:

              Nik

              Agree, but he is a good throw in for a trade if he doesn’t work out for us. There are teams in need of a right d-man, the Oilers come to mind, who may take him off of our hands?????

        • BOBBY B says:

          Hey Walt,Music to our ears. A NY Ranger D man who plays with an edge!! An early Christmas present.

          • Walt says:

            I believe that will be the case, now that the guy who teaches turn the other cheek is gone!!!!!!

      • Richter1994 says:

        Rangers love Hajek and think he’s NHL ready. That’s why it was a deal breaker for him not to be in the deal.

        Howden is tearing it p BTW.

    • Reenavipul says:

      Gilmour makes a nice 7th defenceman/emergency call up if they need a PP2.

      Guys like that get you a conditional 7th, if you qualify them. At $780k(technically $779,625, but why fight over money) it’s worth it as Hartford’s D will be green as grass next season.

  5. amy says:

    a new system could benefit the boys in this fashion if they get a coach that can work with the youngsters and some of the vetrans an up tempo style does work in some situations and if there is a situation to block shots you do that

  6. Andy says:

    I was watching the Tampa game last night and scratching my head as they had Girardi playing with Hedman, in the top pairing, and he did not look out of place. Then I started counting all the ex-Rangers and JT comes in and scores. He only had a 3 point night…

    I am not really sure what our D system has been the past few years(I don’t think the coaches and players knew either) other than chaotic most nights. So if it takes boring to stabilize us back there. I am all for it. you can bore me into winning the Cup any year. 3 Defensive coaches in 3 years is telling.

    • Walt says:

      Great observation about both Dan, and JT who was AV’s whipping boy to say the least.

      Great article in the Post today dealing with what the team will be looking for in a new coach per Dolan. Read between the lines, very telling about his feelings about AV after all!!! Oh well, that’s for another thread……..

      • Andy says:

        It’s ironic 3 of Tampa’s top 4 D men are ex Rangers. All from the 2014 team. But led by Hedman.( the elite talent that seems to elude us) The Miller/Namestnikov portion of that trade is going to be a sore spot forever. JT will be solid long term with Stamkos and Kucherov. I am just not sure about Namestnikov. He gets the benefit of the doubt because of AV. But if I had to trade Hayes, Spooner or Namestnikov based on the late season audition Namestnikov would be my choice. That said we don’t have the forward talent Tampa has and thus JT may never have thrived in our system the way he will in Tampa. He was kind about AV in the recent interview, but AV did a fair amount of damage to him. He’s clearly rebounded.

        All that said I do think Howden and Hajek are going to make a push next season to make the team. They may end up in Hartford to start the season. But i do think in the medium to long term we got that portion right. Time will tell.

        It’s a little painful watching all the ex Rangers playing so well in Tampa. I will be happy for them instead of sad for me.

        • Walt says:

          Andy

          I like how you said your happy for them, rather than sad for you, feeling here is mutual. As for Howden, and Hajek, they will be players for a long time from all I read about them. We also should pull for the Bolts to win it all, then we get 2-#1’s from that trade. We should also consider the Sean Day kid for an upgrade, he is for real. I wouldn’t be too upset to see three young d-men in the line up next season, with the number of kids we have, sure is nice to have options isn’t it?????????

          • Andy says:

            Amen Walt. Let these guys win in Tampa and show our management what they needed to to win.(elite talent and depth) Hopefully our guys learn something. We have kids in the system who need to be given a shot. This will already be an interesting training camp with the new kids we know. Hopefully the draft makes it all that much more enticing. It is sure is nice to have options and cap space. And I don’t think we are done moving out pieces.

        • Mintgecko says:

          He put up 50 something points up as a shutdown 3rd liner. I think Hayes has brought out the best in him, Hags and Grabner and it’s all been done on the 3rd line.

          I believed that both him and Hayes could have been something together. All they needed was either a sniper or someone who can chase down picks. I remember at the draft last year that JG told the press how he thought those two player’s were top 6 ready. Well obviously he wasn’t including JT in the NYR top 6

          • Andy says:

            Ironically we saw JT as a 3rd line grinder. Tampa see him as a first line wing/center. Tampa appears to be getting more out of him than we did. Miller and Hayes did have good chemistry on the penalty kill until they were separated. And you bring up a good point about them doing well playing with Grabner and Hagelin. The speedy winger brought out the best in those two. 50 points is fine, but will he be a 70 point guy? Sure looking that way.

            • Chris A says:

              Which winger at the start of this season was going to be moved out of the top 6 for JT?

              Kreider? No
              Zucc? No
              Buch? No (personally I think Buch is a far better offensive player than JT)
              Nash? No

              So, JT was a third line talent on the Rangers at the start of this season. Just because he is having a little hot streak on a talented team doesn’t necessarily mean the Rangers misused him.

              • Reenavipul says:

                Absolutely would’ve played him ahead of Zucc, Should’ve had Nash as a 3rd liner just to create mismatches like Grabner feasted on.

                He had succeeded in the role they gave him. You give them better roles until they show they can’t handle the new one.

              • Chris A says:

                I was wrong about JT being a 3rd liner on the 17-18 Rangers. Based on usage, JT was a 1st liner and did slot in ahead of Nash, Kreider, and Buch.

                JT was 3rd on the team among forwards in EV TOI and 6th on the entire team for PP TOI, so how much more could he have really been used? I wasn’t thrilled he wasn’t on the PK, but AV was pretty clear about trying not to use the same set of forwards on the PK and PP.

                Maybe that was the problem with the Rangers? JT Miller was a 1st line forward, and the team was awful.

              • Andy says:

                I half agree. Buch-No…Kreider-No..but Nash or Zucc-Yes I would have played him above them. Neither one of those guys was lighting it up. Nash played well but he did not produce. Miller had more points as a Ranger(playing 3rd line minutes) than Nash had all season for whatever that is worth. Also is he a center or a wing? AV could not seem to resolve that problem all year long. Maybe played him at center ahead of Desharnais? Kreider missed 8 weeks. That would have been a time to play him on the first line? Or when Zib was out? Remember this is a coach who had Buch playing on the 4th line while Fast played on the first line. I love Fast but as a first line winger? not so much. Also Miller has 20 career play off points. 4 of them in 4 games with Tampa. Tampa clearly sees Miller in a different light and they are being rewarded for it. I have no doubt Miller was misused by The Rangers.

            • Mintgecko says:

              Them? No you mean Hayes… That’s who I remember on the 3rd line next to Hags. JT lost his spot to a rookie who just decided to play center out of the blue.

        • tanto says:

          The trade was not Namestikov for Miller. The story goes that we wanted Hajek and TB didn’t want to trade him … we sweetened the deal with Miller (TBs ask) and they added Namestikov. So it’s more like McD for a 1st, a conditional 1st and Howden … Miller for Namestikov and Hajek. Not saying it was a good idea to trade Miller, but it wasn’t as lopsided as some fans are making it out to be — and to look at Miller’s numbers, you have to bear in mind he’s playing now with two elite talents in Kucherov and Stamkos … it will skew his numbers somewhat.

          • Andy says:

            Break out Miller’s numbers as a Ranger (40pts in 63 games=.635 points per game ) and as a member of Tampa(18 points in 19 games .947 points per game). (Not the same sample size but the only sample size) His numbers are better, as a Ranger than Nash’s(38 points in 67 games= .567 points per) and in total when you add in Nash’s numbers from Boston. (6 points in 11 games = .545 per) Nash’s number with NY and Boston are almost identical. Miller points per game jumped almost 50%. Nash is playing with DeBrusk/Backes and Kreji. Not exactly slackers.

            Look at Millers numbers as a Ranger vs Namestnikov as a Ranger. Miller had 40 points in 63 games before we traded him. Namestnikov’s numbers in NY were not so good. (4 points in 19 games .21 points per game) Namestnikov (44 points in 62 games .71 points per game) also played well with Stamkos and Kucherov. His drop off of almost half a point per game as a Ranger should concern people.

            Miller should have had a look in the top 6 and there was plenty of opportunity to give him that look. Is the trade that loop sided? Won’t know until we see what Howden and Hajek can do. Was it Miller for Namestnikov? It was advertised that way at first then the narrative shifted. All this said. Miller would not do in NY what he will do in Tampa for 2 reasons. 1. he will play with elite players and 2. they view him as a top line guy. We did not. Also, Miller is playing vs top line guys and thriving as opposed to playing vs 3rd line players.

            • tanto says:

              Sorry, it wasn’t Miller for Namestikov … if that were the case then we fleeced TB for McD.

              Again, he’s playing with Stamkos and Kucherov, two guys that were in the Top 20 in scoring well before JT arrived. Who exactly was going to compliment JT that way on the Rangers? Right, no one. His numbers will remain higher with TB as long as he plays with those two.

              Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to see Miller traded and think he’s a good player (just a tad inconsistent).

          • Richter1994 says:

            Rangers were tired of Miller’s “attitude” and inclded him the deal for Hajek, yes that is true.

            • tanto says:

              Right, just something we’re all not privy to … I must admit though that if his dedication, etc. is questionable, one can only imagine how good he could be. Could very well be that AV was not the coach to get it out of him. Shame.

              • Richter1994 says:

                Miller is a very good talent, no question.

                I think people underestimate the power of NYC and how it’s too easy to not focus 100% on their jobs as players.

                That and playing with Stamkos and Kucherov doesn’t hurt either. No players on the Rangers on that level at all.

                Sad that if Kovy signs here he automatically becomes the most talented offensive player on the team, unless Tavares signs here first.

    • Swarty says:

      Did you see what players were the first to come in and congratulate Vasy?

      It was an ex-Ranger group hug….

      About those systems – Girardi has had a solid year – any other questions?

      • Jerry says:

        PERFECTLY stated!

      • Walt says:

        Another example of trying to force a round peg in a square hole!!!!!

        Dan doesn’t have the foot speed, so he was ineffective under AV’s system, where now he doesn’t have to chase all night long, and he became effective again!!!!!!

  7. Ranger17 says:

    See if we can get Beuk back or sign Scott Stevens to be the D coach. Its all on the new coach whom ever that may be . There are plenty out there to choose from , JG needs to pick the right one for this group. College coach will need NHL asst coach help on the bench . Don’t think if you bring in College coach you can have 3 College asst coach’s JMHO LGR

  8. Jack says:

    For all the perceived good that Gorton has done….he has done almost as much harm…trading JT was nobodies fault but his own…that was a terrible move and it will haunt us for a very long time.

    • jrrangersdad says:

      Is there really any player that has consistently flourished in AV’s system/subjectivity? Most times these days banging a square peg into a round hole doesn’t work. Miller, Vesey, Hayes, and Buch must be breathing a sigh of relief! Good riddance!

      • Mintgecko says:

        Vesey is just a 4th liner who can maybe score at a above average rate. AV did more good for him than harm by always giving him PP time, top 9 minutes, if someone would go down than he would get the first chance to secure a top 6 role. It’s wrong to try and question the deployment that he had gone through compared to Hayes and JT.

    • Chris A says:

      Stop it. JT Miller was a nice middle six winger. He’s the kind of guy that gets overpaid as a 25 year old RFA and ends up destroying your cap in three years.

      I’ll laugh when the Bolts hand him a 6 year contract with a $6.5M cap hit this summer and he proceeds to post 50 point seasons while continuing to make ridiculous mental mistakes like taking dumb penalties in the O zone and committing game changing turnovers at the blue lines.

      But hey, he hits someone from time to time, so … he’s a beast!

    • tanto says:

      Again, you need to look at the trade as Miller for Hajek and Namestikov, it isn’t a lopsided trade unless Hajek proves to be a real bust.

    • Richter1994 says:

      Gorton wanted to change the “room” and viewed JT as a detriment.

      I’m not saying I agree with it or not, because I’ve been a huge JT fan since he came up, but that’s the reason why he was traded. Like it or not.

  9. Leatherneck says:

    How many of you have watched a few Knights games? This team is built on a system and it is incredible. They play as a unit. Sure they have powerplay guys and penalty kill guys but everyone one of them has bought into whatever it is Gallant is selling.

    Every playoff game I waited for the dam to bust and it didn’t. They pretty much swept the same team that beat us in the Cup final. In each game I saw no more than two glaring errors the entire game that we saw 4 per period from our guys.

    Murray yet again showing we don’t need Lundqvist, Knights showing we don’t need the prima donna, In fact Murray is now officially better than our so called super star.
    Lundqvist is nothing more than a complimentary player now and for sure it isn’t with us if he desires a cup.
    Nashville showing us because you have a couple of prima donnas you can’t rest your hopes just with them,

    Any one want to tell me physicality and toughness doesn’t matter, better yet more exciting than watching for a breakaway every 5 minutes as your highlights for a game?

    I want a system like that, I prefer a team of stars rather than a couple of super stars to advertise and promote the team to sell seats and merchandise. Keep the team hungry and maintain depth.

    The entire culture needs to change…no more Ooooh la la sassoon mentality with our players. We will lose some fans….good riddance exactly what we need to lose.
    We need a coach who can teach and buffer the players from the media. The real meat and potatoes is going to be player development guys and the AHL coaches. That’s the foundation, the body….the coach and his staff needs to be the brain that aligns to the team concept, contributing to the success of the club.

    The coach coming in should not be bringing in a system foreign to that system the management decides how they want the team to play and function. This is the single most important reason for the success of the Knights and after game 3… I am a believer now. This Knights team can win the Cup and I will no longer be surprised.

    • Walt says:

      Leather

      Thumbs up, stick tap for a great post.

      I have a funny feeling that is what we will see as our next coach. Jim Dolan was interviewed by Brooks in the NY Post today, read that article, worth the five minutes to read. I believe Dolan is going to let JG run the show, and prove himself as a GM, and based on the players he’s been getting, we will be a TEAM of character players, as opposed to pretty boys!!!!!!

      • Mintgecko says:

        This must be why I’m feeling that Kreider is one of those “pretty boys ” and that he will be traded this summer. He shows zero desire 8/10 on the forecheck. His board battles are shameful, he loses more 1 on 1 battles and if he’s outnumber than forget about it.

        • Jerry says:

          Mint,
          Maybe Kreider just needs a coach who can teach a power forward to play like a power forward.
          I’m not ready to give up on him.

        • Emile the Cat says:

          Gene Carr on steroids. There, I said it again. Two players that we just expected SO MUCH more from. Whether fairly or unfairly.

        • joen7 says:

          The big problem with K is he has no hands and a new coach can not fix that. I’ll give him a chance with a new coach but needs to go at the next deadline while he still has value.

          • Reenavipul says:

            Maybe he just needs a tweak to the lie of his stick, or play on his off hand.

            Lots of little fixes, just have to have a coach to try them.

            • Peter says:

              Agreed. His shot has been mediocre, but is said to work on it a lot. If he could improve it and hit the net consistently, he’d be the player we all have though he could be.

    • Reenavipul says:

      That is a shell of the team that beat us in the final.

    • Egelstein says:

      Las Vegas is not an overly gritty team; the Kings are the more physical of the two. What the Knights are, however, is extremely well-coached, very patient/composed, rather conservative, well-disciplined, and a very deep roster. Call them blue-collar if you like, but they should not be confused with a team whose avenue to success is based on their toughness. Tough to play and an emphasis on toughness are not the same thing. The Ducks are one of the tougher teams in the league for example, yet they hardly made SJ break a sweat. They were tough, but not tough to play.

      I also see that you are glorifying Murray in some sort of strange comparison to Hank, who of course has seen zero shots and made zero saves in these playoffs…Fleury has seen more shots so far per game than Murray, and more difficult shots as far as I can tell, and has stopped more of them. Murray also is going to get paid too, someday, to note – and deservedly so. In any case, goalkeeping is indeed another bigger reason than toughness that the Knights just swept the Kings (and Quick was one of the biggest reason the Kings were in it as much as they were, to note; he made some incredible saves). Both Vegas and Pittsburgh have significantly better defensive depth, defensive systems, and defensive/head coaching than Hank has seen in years. Apples, meet oranges – oranges, meet apples.

      I don’t disagree with you at all that it is quite important for the GM and coach to be on the same page. That said, I think you’re going to continue to be disappointed, because Gorton doesn’t seem overly interested to me in prioritizing toughness to a counter-productive level. I don’t know as anyone has said that toughness flat-out doesn’t matter. It can do more damage than good however if it becomes the focal point. Then, you end up being the 2017-2018 Philadelphia Flyers. Big, heavy roster, toughness throughout – only a few guys under 6’0″/190lbs. – but a roster that is not skilled/fast enough overall to make a serious run in today’s NHL short of some 2011-2012 Kings-style luck.

      • Ray says:

        Do the 2017-2018 Rangers win the Cup with Fleury in goal? I just don’t know. The Ranger defense was falsely maligned. Under AV, the Rangers fared just fine with Talbot and Raanta in net, so it was simply not Hank being a miracle worker that kept the puck out of the net.

        Just because Vegas is better than the Rangers does not mean they have more talent.

        • Egelstein says:

          I view Vegas quite similarly to the 2013-2014 Rangers, actually. Depth and goalkeeping are arguably their two biggest strengths at the moment IMO, and because of the latter, they simply need adequate defense – not a Predators-like fleet of mostly above average defenders. I think Vegas has been a great story, would not at all be bothered to see them represent the West…but I am not quite ready to give them the Cup just yet. They might be in a fair bit of trouble against teams who can create offense better than the opportunistic, but uncreative, Kings. Then again, they also may not have to again deal with a goalie playing as well as Quick was, on the flip-side.

          The Rangers defense was – putting it nicely – absolute hot garbage this past season. We shall have to agree to disagree if you think they were not, but I am basing my stance on the numbers alone. The simplest/most basic of which is: 35.3 shots allowed per game. Only the Islanders were worse at limiting opponents’ opportunities, and that of course has nothing to do with the guys between the pipes.

          • Ray says:

            It’s important to realize that throughout the Vigneault era, the primary purpose of the Ranger defense was to make Lundqvist look good — and it was for the most part quite successful.

            Shots against this year were somewhat misleading. The team did bleed shots after trading away McDonagh and Holden and bringing up Hartford’s defense. The average was admittedly high before the deadline as well, but it wasn’t 35.3. And the average is about 32. Two extra shots per game above average is not that big a deal.

            True fact: Games are decided by what percentage of shots go in, not by number of shots.

    • tanto says:

      I don’t want to minimize his X’s and O’s, but it isn’t just the system, Gallant is a true players’ coach and that works real well with vets — especially vets with a chip on their shoulder. I met him a few times when he was coaching in Fort Wayne (IHL) and in Louisville (AHL Panthers affiliate), he’s a good one.

    • Richter1994 says:

      Love you bro, but yo are so way off comparing other teams with subpar goalies but elite forwards to the Rangers and Lundqvist. So way off.

  10. Jerry says:

    Dave,
    Good piece.
    I agree the system will change, and if forwards need to spend more time in our zone, Grabner will flounder here as he is with the Devils. He is someone I would NOT want to resign.

  11. Ray says:

    I am not convinced we really know anything yet. In the last year, the Rangers have signed Neal Pionk and Brandon Crawley. I see both as talented young defensemen, but they are nothing alike. I just don’t see drawing conclusions about what kind of players the Rangers are looking for and what kind of a system the Rangers will use. If I am Jeff Gorton, I really don’t care. I want to bring in a coach who looks like he will be successful and who deploys a system that he believes in.

    I do not believe you build a system to match your players – unless you have a McDavid or a Karlsson. You get your players to fit into the system and you rid yourself of players who either can’t or won’t fit in. The problem with AV’s system, IMO, was that it was just too hard to execute properly. Instead of having 3-4 square pegs, he seemed to end up with 10 or 12. And that is a problem the GM can’t fix with a few good trades and waiver pickups.

    I think (perhaps wishfully) that those here at BSB are jumping to conclusions. Just because JG has fired AV and has brought in more prospects and draft choices (two desired goals here), we cannot conclude that he shares the rest of your goals. I don’t share your long term vision and I too am happy with almost everything that has happened so far [I am skeptical about trading McDonagh and Miller for what is effectively two #1’s, two #2’s, and a likely to be overpaid forward. But that too may turn out well.]. Which underlines the fact that the current road leads in many directions.

    We want to take a bus to LA and hope we are on the right bus. Just because it starts out by heading through the Lincoln Tunnel is not proof – there is a long way to go.

    • Reenavipul says:

      Rule #1: Talent dictates tactics.
      Rule #2: See rule #1

      Has always been that way and always will be if you want to win. Ask Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Napoleon. You hide flaws and capitalize on your strengths, attack flaws and minimize the other side’s strengths. Beyond that, you find skill where you can.

      • Ray says:

        Pete Carroll? Russell Wilson got the QB job initially because he fit the system; the system was not designed to fit him. In 1975, Golden State won the NBA championship by putting Rick Barry and four rested players on the court at all times. The supporting cast just played hard and followed the system.

        In hockey, there is wide availability of an assortment of bottom six forwards and third pair defensemen. You just find the guys who you can plug in. And stars, by and large, fit any system. But you need a system that works and one that isn’t that difficult to learn.

        The difference between Napoleon and Scotty Bowman is that the rules of hockey are standardized, while the rules keep changing in war – every adversary plays by different rules.

        • Reenavipul says:

          Russell Wilson got the job because he had more skill than Matt Flynn(who the Seahawks had signed as a free agent the month before to be the starting QB,) so your argument is specious at best.

          Those teams were built on playing cover 3 because they had the players in the secondary to do it. Talent dictates tactics.

          What I know about the NBA could fit on the head of. Pin, so I can’t argue that.

    • Egelstein says:

      I’m a big fan of analogies, and your bus analogy is pretty good at face value. Although…I don’t fully agree that it actually fits when it comes to Gorton.

      What we have to go by with Gorton is, of course, the combination of what he has done, and what he has said. Regarding what Gorton has done, he has made multiple moves that seemed to go against the (quite predictable, to note) grain of the types of players AV was known to favor in his systems for the roles in question. DeAngelo is arguably the best example of this; AV has not historically shown a propensity towards offensive defensemen, and he’s not known for handling attitude adversity from young players well. Regarding what Gorton has said, he has not spoken of finding players to fit any given system as the top priority. In fact, he said recently that he does not think it is important to even have a named coach by the time the draft comes along. I think that alone is a pretty sound tell on what he thinks about building a team to a specific system.

      • Ray says:

        I agree that we do have more information. Concerning DeAngelo, I am not sure what that means. Was ADA really the kind of player that JG wanted? Or was he simply the best R defenseman that the Coyotes were willing to part with? Personally, I think a good GM can appreciate both a Staal and a Shattenkirk – and signing one does not really deny appreciation of the other.

        Really though, I am playing the same game as everyone else here. Unlike most, I think the obsession with puck-moving defensemen has gone too far. Like most however, I interpret JG’s moves to date to be consistent with my vision.

        I also think good players can adapt to reasonable systems for the most part and so largely see getting good players and the right coach as separate decisions. And there I fault AV. His systems were just too hard for most players.

  12. Leatherneck says:

    Watching the under 18….oh my lord….Wahlstrom….Rangers gotta get him

    Ty Dellandrea made the Canadian team…Kid needs to be in a Rangers Jersey

    Jack Hughes….just wow

    Laffrenierre…just wow

    Impressive talent on display here between Canada and the US

  13. SalMerc says:

    The AV System was based on a players historical and perceived value and not on their potential value. When you utilize that system, vets get the benefit of the doubt and play on top lines. Everyone else starts on the lower lines and have to succeed to move up the food chain. It works for some, but others get discouraged (see JT Miller).

    A new system needs to remove some of the preconceived notions of players and puts all players in a position to succeed, while not hurting the club. This would allow younger players to be shifted in to the top 2 lines if they produce and because they have the ability to produce (not the same as AV).

    Kids need to be defensively responsible (on O) and defenders need to move the puck aggressively and get shots on goal.

    This will most definitely be a transition year that will tell us the following:

    Are Zib & Kreider premier offensive threats
    Can Andersson, Chytil, Letteri
    Will the defense step up – are they NHL reasy

    time will tell.

  14. Odielicious says:

    Systems I believe are based around your talent when you are hired to a existing talent riddle team of veterans. If you are doing a rebuild then talent should be drafted to the GM’s or New Coach’s system. There has to be a game plan in either version which both the COACH AND GM agree on.

    Now this team we all love has become for better or worse Gorton’s and Sather’s idea. Personal have been traded and picks have been made without the coach’s input. (this is my personal prayer) So really anyone who gets hired is going to be a patsy to Gorton/Sather. And this new coach’s success or failure is totally predicated on the GM’s office. Especially since it is looking like no coach will be hired before the draft.

    So this discussion on systems is pointless since it is going to come down to the front office and what style they would like to put on the ice every night. Those 2 are going to hire someone who will listen to them. Not the other way around. They are and have been making changes since last year with a plan and playstyle in mind. You don’t draft a guy 7th overall who was slated to get selected sometime in the 20’s without a idea of what type of playstyle you are looking to field.

    IMHO this franchise is doomed as long as those 2 bufoons are still in the front office. It was a miracle they fielded the team they did for 10 years. Sather’s ego and Gorton’s confidence are a bad combination no matter how you look at it. Everything they have done has chipped away slowly at this miracle of a team throughout the years. If it wasn’t for the fact this is New York …half the players would never have stayed here or signed here.

    Just have to say this….JT Miller is very close to a ppg player now that he is with Stamkos and Kucherov ….that aside Namestikov was playing with them and put up 44 points in 64 games as the other winger. And at one point was demoted off their line. JT was a product you raised. And to trade him for a maybe and a lesser talent….I don’t see the logic. Just like the Stepan trade. Just doesn’t make sense. What baffles me even more is …most of you regulars and insiders all feel the front office is going to try and trade up in the draft with our picks and a player to be decided. I don’t see that logic either.

    You want to give up and start over…well the best and most proven way to is stack the prospect cabinet with draft picks and let the domino’s fall where they do. With 7 or 8 picks in the first 3 rounds that is a solid plan. You are going to hit bull’s eye once. If you are really lucky 2 or 3 times. And for next year just sign some low cost under utilized free agents to fill the gaps til the kids all pan out. Guys like Stralman and Pulliot are perfect examples. There are always tons of guys looking to get their last kick at the can for low cost high reward. Til the kids fill out and become NHL ready you can still field a fairly competitive team without crushing your cap space.

    • tanto says:

      It wasn’t a straight up Miller for Namestikov trade. We had to add more to get Hajek and TB had to add more to get Miller.

      • Odielicious says:

        I don’t care if it was 10 first round picks for Miller. He is and will be a good to great player for the next ten years. You meaning the front office in place drafted and raised him. If they couldn’t see his talent/value but the rest of the league can what does that say of our chances this draft?

        Lets clear the air here on this trade.

        Mac and Miller for Lajek,Howden a 1st and a 2nd next year and Namestikov.

        So essential Mac returned Howden and a 1st in your mind.
        Miller returned a Lajek and a 2nd and namestikov.

        Is this how you see this trade went down? Did you listen to yzerman after the trade went down on the Tampa site? Miller according to yzerman was a add in. Last second whim. So out those assets who was Yzerman not willing to give up without Miller in the deal?

        In my eyes the trade was Mac for a 1st and 2nd and Lajek and or Howden. Howden and or Lajek and Namestikov for miller. So Miller got traded for Howden essentially. Cause Namestikov’s record was not shining playing with the 2 best offensive talents in the league. While Miller is thriving and will continue to thrive under those players. But this front officed valued him with a head coach who was playing him all over the map and never giving him a consistent line mate. DUMB TRADE. SIMPLE.

      • Odielicious says:

        Please read what I write….”And to trade him for a maybe and a lesser talent” where in that sentence does it say straight up for Namestikov?

        You like the Stepan trade also don’t you? Great move for a dying overpaid crybaby right?

    • Egelstein says:

      “If you are doing a rebuild then talent should be drafted to the GM’s or New Coach’s system. ”

      I’m not trying to be an ass when I say this, but…that is exactly the opposite of how it usually goes. That is exactly wrong, in most cases.

      A true rebuild means that all positions are up for consideration…and that means you draft the best player on the board. Regardless of not even just position, but also regardless of style, handedness, mullet or fade, Bauer or Easton…doesn’t matter.

      • Mr. Doe says:

        At first I wanted to refute this argument because it kind of goes against my structured ideology of what I have been falsely led to believe a rebuild to be, but after some thought I think this is on point.

        A rebuild isn’t quite like a house or traditional structure that you’re working to create: blueprints/specs, foundation, frame, supports, roof and trimmings. It’s more of a forest where the biggest trees grow and other plants either find their place and flourish…or perish. Obviously there’s a vision in the types of players with which you want to obtain; the goal is to try and gather as many assets and see which players grow tallest and which will flourish around the “tallest” players.

        The bottom line is that after listening to JG in interviews and viewing empirical evidence I think it’s safe to say his MO is to grow a forest, not build a house. The fact that he said that finding a coach before the draft wasn’t a top priority and seeing him pursue players from all over the world that each play in different systems and different leagues speaks volumes about the blueprint he’s following.

      • Ray says:

        I think we are on the same page in this thread. Do you really want a shut down defensemen who doesn’t excel at moving the puck? Well, are we talking Michael Sauer or Dylan McIlrath?

      • Odielicious says:

        I will disagree. Only because I look at the teams that have won the cup the last 10 years and the one thing that they all have is Center depth. Toews, Kane,Kopitar,Brown, Crosby,Malkin, and guess what …all done by design and drafted or traded for. 8 wingers, 18 Centers, 9 Defensemen, 14 Goalies have won the Conn Smythe. You have to figure half of those 14 goalies were giving the trophy cause no one really shined on the winning team so well give it to the guy who played the most.

        Perfect example of a team built by design is Vegas. Every single guy on that team is/was brought there with a role to fill. Shocking how well a team can do with a game plan and not just drafting based on the best talent available.

  15. Emile the Cat says:

    With the 35 year old Kovalchuk apparently in the fold, Tavares becomes almost essential for the Rangers. When an immense need meets an immense opportunity you gotta do it.

    It’s easy to dream on the Rangers riding Tavares, just like the penguins ride Crosby, as they advance through the playoffs.

    Plug that into your “system”.

    • Egelstein says:

      I’m not gonna lie, I won’t be shedding sorrowful tears if the Rangers do land JT. He will cost a lot, but he’s a pretty stable 1C.

      That said, I just don’t think it is the right move, right now. The Rangers have a lot of existing talent that they need to evaluate, and they have some new faces that they want to get a look at as well. I think next year is a complete “Eff it, let’s see what happens!” sort of situation, and the year after, all bets are off.

  16. Bloomer says:

    If the plan all along was to can AV, then why the tear down. Moving free agents Nash, Grabs and Holden made sense as the Rangers were going to lose them anyhow. However, trading their blue chip defenseman and team captain McD as well as gifted forward JT Miller was a bridge too far in my books. Gorton has now dug a deep hole and the Rangers currently do not have enough ready for primetime talent to fill it.

    It could well be a nuclear winter before the Rangers become competitive again.

  17. Arisrules says:

    I think any discussion needs to add the following caveats:

    1. If fully healthy, despite AV, we make the playoffs; and
    2. The issue with AV is more his stubborness, his inability to adjust which we saw time and time again the playoffs, and his riding players who are not NHL level players.

    I also think we can do a quick turnaround, but that would have been easier to do with Stepan/JTM (two top six forwards) and McD (a top pairing dman) on the team. I do not think we got enough for these three pieces who would be key cogs on any team.

    I also do not really trust the FO to do this turnaround. Gorton has been erratic at best with some hits and some misses.