Jun
21

Some Pre-Draft Thoughts

June 21, 2018, by

jeff gorton

The big day is tomorrow. While not entirely decisive as far as determining the shape of our team for the next decade, it’s about as decisive as a single day gets. The Rangers have tons of picks, tons of cap space, and tons of ambition, not to mention that this is arguably the most stacked draft in recent memory.

Whether they’re planning on moving up the order, making a big splash for someone like Erik Karlsson, or making a bunch of Gordie Clark classic sleeper picks, there’s going to be something to get excited about. That said, here’s some scattered thoughts.

  • The first is that I am confident the Rangers are going to knock it out of the park with their first pick. There have been various different mock drafts circulating on Twitter and the like, and some of them even have Zadina and Svechnikov (!) falling several spots, so whether we stand pat or move up, we’re getting someone good. Gorton knows we need elite talent, and there’s going to be someone great available, no matter where we pick. My personal faves are Quinn Hughes, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Adam Boqvist in that order, but great gravy if Zadina or somebody like that falls all the way to 9th (or Gorton realizes that exigent circumstances means it’s time to move up), we’re in for a real treat in these coming years. The other nice thing is the golden rule of the NHL Entry Draft: teams always, always do stupid crap.
  • I’ve been thinking a lot about my recent post on whether trading Buchnevich is a bad idea, and while I stand by it I realize that there are certain bases I didn’t cover. Nonetheless I think I’m still against trading him but of course if the right deal is there (say, Montreal moving that 3rd overall pick and something crazy like Svechnikov dropping a spot) then of course I’m all for it. That said if there’s one player we have to move …
  • It’s Brady Skjei. Especially if we’re putting together a package for Erik Karlsson and/or a pick that would net us Quinn Hughes, the loss of Skjei would be mitigated by those acquisitions, Kevin Shattenkirk, and the presence of Libor Hajek and Yegor Rykov waiting in the wings. I’m not pro-Skjei-trade necessarily, but if push comes to shove and we have to give up someone relatively young and promising, and again, this is only in the right deal where we’re making a net gain, then I’m fine with trading him. It’d be a shame to see the second most handsome player on the team go (Hank being number one, of course), because Gord knows we’ve got some ugly mugs, but if it has to happen and it happens there’s worse things in the world.
  • Semi-unrelated to the draft – how much does it suck that the Islanders walked away with the Calder Trophy and the Devils got the Hart last night? It makes killing this draft an absolute must, because if there’s one thing I’d hate to see it’d be for our fortunes to change dramatically and for us to enter into an era of constant tri-state trouble. We’ve already seen some nasty Rangers losses against our rivals (I’m thinking of Barzal’s crazy game at MSG particularly) and I’ve got to say, it doesn’t feel good. More of the same would wear on a fanbase that, knowing they won’t be winning a Stanley Cup anytime soon (although maybe sooner than it seems), would certainly like to see some nice victories, especially at home.
  • Lastly, I’d like to address the Artemi Panarin hype that’s been going on on Twitter. First of all he’s made some particularly racist comments in the past and used his fame and status to brush them under the rug, so I wouldn’t want him on the team because of that. Further, it simply doesn’t make sense. Sure, he’s a top-10 forward in the league arguably, and the constant rap on the Rangers is we haven’t had a superstar forward since Jagr and before that Messier. He won’t be a top-10 winger anymore by the time the Rangers are ready to contend though, and the amount of assets we’d have to give up to get him and the contract he’d wind up demanding and likely getting makes this the four horsemen of the apocalypse in terms of reasons not to do it. Problematic in the locker room, wrong development curve for the team’s needs, a crippling trade and a cumbersome contract? No thanks. Not to mention, as Rob put it to me on Twitter, you just know that he’d come to the Rangers and top out at like 50 points. Such is life.

Anyways, there’s my scattered thoughts as we approach an exciting weekend. It’s not much, but there’s really not much to say – everything that matters is going to be cooked up in the next 48 hours. We’ll be sure to have plenty of coverage of all of the moves the Rangers make (although we might be out of pocket for the draft itself – it seems most of us are busy, although the bossman and the rest of the crew are working on it) and I’m sure you all will have lots of thoughts for us, which I’m excited to hear.

Also, just as an aside, I’m going to be at the Rangers’ silly draft party at MSG tomorrow, so if you want to say hi just shoot me an email or DM me on Twitter and we can chat. It should be a fun day no matter where you are, and I hope you’ll be celebrating a bright future ahead accordingly.

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116 comments

  1. amy herman says:

    I am looking forward to the draft we could improve this team and add more pieces

  2. Hatrick Swayze says:

    “It’d be a shame to see the second most handsome player on the team go (Hank being number one, of course), because Gord knows we’ve got some ugly mugs, but if it has to happen and it happens there’s worse things in the world.”

    Absolutely made my day!

  3. Joe Cafaro says:

    Just hold tight. Let the draft unfold and come to Gordon. If opportunity strikes in the form of a falling angel and we can bundle some … not a dump… then get the guy. I’d be very happy to keep all picks with any of your three but Wahlstrom tops.

  4. Pas44 says:

    Anytime I feel that “tri-state” pressure, I put on one of my winter classic or outdoor stadium hats and laugh at the islander/devils fans in my vicinity….

    Oh how good it feels to own those wins baby!

    cheers,

    LGR!!!!!

  5. SalMerc says:

    Two weeks of fun, fortune and “should haves”.
    Need to re-stock the minors and build an NHL roster all at the same time! Best of luck and godspeed Mr. Gorton.

    I think the recent awards by Isles and Devs should not be discounted. WE want the backpage. Gorton still has Slats on the hotline if the ability to make the big splash is possible. I just hope the thinking going in doesn’t change midstream because something shiny and new is being waved in front of us.

  6. Richter1994 says:

    Pat, trade Skjei? There better be a dam good player coming back in that trade, lol.

    • Mintgecko says:

      Add him with Zib in the package to go to Edmonton for Draisaitl. I would take back Nurse and Lucic contract in a heartbeat for that. Rumors are pointing out that Kassian could be targeted… There might be some real flames to all of this.

      • Richter1994 says:

        I don’t know why Draisaitl’s name keeps coming up in the rumor mills.

        • Ray says:

          While we are at it, maybe if we added out #9 pick, they’d throw in Klepfbom and McDavid.

          • Richter1994 says:

            lol, well done Raymond.

            I know Chiarelli is not the sharpest tool in the shed but trading Draisaitl would put that fan base over the edge.

            Now Kerflom could be gettable.

    • Ray says:

      Read some commentary in the Edmonton paper about the Draisatl- Skjei silliness. The writer could not understand why anyone was talking about swapping an elite player for a second pair left defensemen who was trending down.

      Yes, the Oilers foolishly dealt a future Hart winner for a first pair right dman, but there is a world of difference between right and left side dmen in value and a big difference between a first pair guy and someone who will be first pair in a perfect world.

      With Staal and Smith in the short run and Day, Lindgren, Hasek, Rykov, Crawley in the longer run, the Rangers have a wealth of left sided defensemen. They do not need Skjei to staff the bottom two pairs. But unless Skjei or Day emerges, they do not have a first pair guy that is credible.

      Ranger brass needs to look long and hard at the likelihood of Skjei climbing that final rung and if they don’t really see it happening without rose-colored glasses, a deal might be a good idea – even though such a deal would almost certainly be descried by those wearing rose-colored glasses.

      Many here will argue that it was hard to win a Cup with Ryan McDonagh as the best defenseman. Well, more often than not, your best dman is the first pair left dman. Do you really envision Skjei attaining McDonagh’s level?

      More realistically, if he rebounds to where he seemed headed a rookie, Brady Skjei is the kind of guy who can play second pair left D on a Cup winner. Worth keeping? Certainly. But not someone who you won’t deal for a good price.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Raymond, and this is strictly my opinion, Skjei is by far and away the best LH D man in the Ranger org.

        Anyone that is using last year as the measuring point for how good or bad he is needs to stop doing that.

        • Egelstein says:

          I concur fully. That’s not to say I wouldn’t ship him out in the right deal, of course, but nobody on the blue line should be judged so heavily IMO based on last year, and especially not Skjei who probably never envisioned being looked to as “The Guy” like that in their own end, after McD was injured then traded and with Shatty injured most of the season. I don’t expect many players below the true superstar level, at Brady’s experience level, would have looked excellent in that system.

          • Richter1994 says:

            You can say this about Skjei, Hayes, Zuc, and even Kreider: Gorton will trade them for the right trade for that particular Ranger. No ifs, ands, or buts.

            So if Skjei is going for Trouba then I will drive Brady to the airport.

        • Ray says:

          “Skjei is by far and away the best LH D man in the Ranger org.”

          I don’t care. Every system has a best LH dman. But every system does not have a guy who belongs on the first pair. And so far at least, Skjei has not shown he is a first pair guy, much less a first pair guy on a team that can win the Cup. So Skjei is really a depth player and since the Rangers are deep at left defense, he becomes an attractive player to trade.

          Would I trade him? Depends on how much the other team was offering and where I projected him to end up. Honestly though, if I could get a low cost quality third pair RH dman, I’d likely go for it. Or if he were needed as a throw-in to get an elite player.

          One can’t base too much on a single season, but it is half his career to this point. And no, no matter how you slice it he was not as good as Marc Staal during 2017-2018. Given salary and age, I would rather have Skjei on my team than Staal, but without any moves, I start next year with Marc as first pair guy.

          One final thought: Honestly, neither of us knows very much I think. As a rookie, Skjei was sheltered by AV and put up meaningless great numbers. As a sophomore, he got thrown into the deep water and cratered. Guys like Lindy Ruff and Gorton and Sather, who’ve watched him and know hockey, hopefully can plot out a reasonable trajectory.

          • Richter1994 says:

            Brady in the 2017 playoffs, that’s the player I think that he can be on a consistent basis. And if he is that player, then he a “tweener” between a first a second pair LH D man.

            Brady would look nice next to Erik Karlsson. Then sign De Haan to play next to Shatty. And the winner of the Staal-Smith slugfest plays next to Pionk on the 3rd pair.

            You’re welcome.

            • Peter says:

              My thoughts exactly Tony. Brady was pretty good in the 2017 playoffs. Last year he was not very good but the team was horrible defensively, especially the forwards who no longer seemed to care.

              If he is needed in a trade for a guy like Trouba, then yes, do it. But I would not include him in a trade that doesn’t bring back a player with elite skills.

  7. Andy says:

    I am getting very excited for this weekend. We will have a better idea of how the team will look.

    You bring up an interesting point about Skjei. In the bigger picture we seem to have too many Defense man and centers. Good problem to have but we are going to need to move out some bodies. I think we have players like Skjei, Hayes, Zib, Kreids and Buch who have a lot of value on their own. Then there’s folks like Namestnikov, Vesey, Gilmour, even Pionk who are add on’s to a bigger deal. I am not too crazy about trading for Karlsson. If Ottawa wants to give him away great. Love the guy, but just not sure we are where we need to be to go after that asset and also we have been out of cap hell for 5 minutes. Let’s not go right back there. Also, did we hire David Quinn to develop young talent or trade it away for veterans? I think we need to make an honest push for a rebuild and really try it the way management framed it in their February letter. I’m all for making the team better by whatever means, but that needs to be done smartly.

    I completely agree we will get elite talent at #9. My first choice is Walhstrom. I think he’s exactly what we need, unless Zadina drops to 9. Which I have a very hard time seeing happen. 26 and 28 are going to offer good options too.

  8. Resident Genius says:

    Everybody wants to get rid of our good players like Butch or Hays Or Zucc. Lets just put Tanner Fasth on the list. He should get something back in return or is it that no one wants him just the Rangers fans.

    • Egelstein says:

      Yeah, I don’t think Fast commands much in a trade. He doesn’t really create offense very often, and he’s benefited in his counting stats from from AV bumping him up the lineup too often. Other GMs can probably see these things as well. There were times his presence in the top six were defensible due to injury, but many other times that was not the case. I don’t hate Fast by any means; he does a lot of the little things well and is a perfect fourth-line skill set in my book. His teammates seem to like him quite a bit, and obviously AV loved his attitude and work ethic. However, those guys don’t usually command much – more likely to be a secondary component of a larger deal centered around more important pieces if he does go anywhere, IMO. In a cap crunch, you see guys like Fast go for mid round picks sometimes, and sometimes players like that are involved with change of scenery deals…but neither of those scenarios would apply for NY right now.

  9. Agentsmith says:

    I was reading up on Noah Dobson yesterday. Even he wouldn’t be a bad “consolation prize” at 9. 6-3 RHD rangy d man who is a shooter. (Pronman actually has us taking him)

  10. Mark says:

    Am I missing something on Karlsson? Why would you trade for him when he is going to be a free agent after this season???

    • Walt says:

      correct!

      And he’s hurt, soft, can’t defend, but is pretty, so maybe Pat would be happy with him on our roster!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Laugh Pat, it’s a joke……..

  11. 1994 ever says:

    I am really getting confused. Let’s trade a young/proven/upcoming D-man (Skiej) for a young D man. Huh? Let’s trade a young/proven/upcoming center (Hayes) for a young D man. These are two of our elite talents so why move them for (hopefully) marginally better talent?

    We have excess centers and draft picks (late 1st and 2-3 rounds). Why not package some of those assets for talent versus getting rid of our few young talent?

    I just do not get the mindset unless we are talking about true elite talent. Doug Hamilton is not that. I like him but he is no Eric K.

    • Agentsmith says:

      Since when are Hayes and skjei elite? Cmon now .

    • Carlos says:

      Agree 1994 ever. Who says that the ones in this draft will pan? At least you know what you’ve got – hold the young studs you have and unless you’re overwhelmed don’t pull a trade. If you do, it’s a Garth Snow mentality.

  12. EugeneP says:

    I hope they don’t push for Karlsson, really hope, and just do their pick and continue to develop the team

  13. InvalidBeard says:

    Want nothing to do with Karlsson. Questionable ankle, huge package to acquire, similar contention timing concerns as with the Breadman. Moving Skjei is interesting (if we have to move a young guy in a big move). I was so disappointed with his defensive play last year, but ditto for just about the entire squad. So I’m leery about that being AV induced. He’s also one of the few legit big bodies on the backend and isn’t afraid to use it.

    Agree on Panarin timing wise. The racism stuff seems way overblown (but that’s what this site does with such issues).

    Question: is dumping Marc Staal a priority of Gorton? For me it would be, but almost everywhere I read, people seem to think he brings some presence worth keeping given the hit it would take to move/dump. I disagree; he’s a traffic cone and that time should go to kids.

    • Ray says:

      Re: Marc Staal

      See Lundqvist, Henrik. There are two players on the team with NMCs. When you are rearranging the assets, those two don’t move.

      • MjrMisconduct says:

        Ray,Marc Staal’s contract goes from a NMC to a modified NTC this year.

        • Ray says:

          Interesting. What you say is likely correct (I’ve seen other references), but capfriendly has it as a full NMC for all six years.

          • MjrMisconduct says:

            Going from memory,when he signed this contract I was fairly certain that this change would occur at some point,but check Spotrac I believe they have it listed correctly,I did notice that Capfriendly is still showing him with a full NMC for the duration.

            • MjrMisconduct says:

              I just did a quick check & the first 2 sites that came up Yahoo sports & the Sporting news also have it changing to a modified NTC this season.

          • MjrMisconduct says:

            Its funny Spotrac uses the symbol of an anchor for the NMC & a padlock in the open position for the MNTC indicating potential freedom from this awful contract,couldn’t be more appropriate.

          • Chris A says:

            Then Cap Friendly changed it. The past two years they were citing his Full NTC changes to a Modified NTC this year. I know this because I referenced that change on many posts here the past two years.

            I have no idea what the truth regarding Staal’s NTC is because the NHL actually hates it’s paying customers (fans) and feels we don’t deserve to know important details, like NTCs.

            • MjrMisconduct says:

              I think Capfriendly in this case is just plain wrong,multiple other sources including the ones I have listed above I believe to be 100% correct.

        • Egelstein says:

          Not sure who exactly would be keen on trading for him, but I do believe this is correct. No clue how modified it is in terms of how many teams he can block….I’d imagine it is at least 8-10, if not more.

          I think that he showed them enough last season to hang around this year, but we shall see. To clarify, I mean in the front office’s eyes – I still was not overly-impressed, although will say I think he was overall a little more serviceable than the season prior. Didn’t seem as prone to long stretches of bad play.

          When the front office extended him, he had negative possession metrics…so while Gorton was not in charge then, it seems that back when they extended him, they were not all that into advanced metrics yet. If they still aren’t, then they may see him a lot more favorably still than many of us fans.

          • MjrMisconduct says:

            I believe he has to submit a list of 10 team he’s willing to be traded to at some point this season,I agree he’s not going to be easy to trade but I do think its possible with retention of some of his salary & we wouldn’t get alot in return but that’s okay,he did play pretty decent for about three quarters of the season but not enough in my mind to keep him around if we can possibly help it,but I wouldn’t buy him out at this point.

            • Egelstein says:

              I agree – I would not buy him out right now, either. We just don’t know what to expect next season and if we’re gonna have another bad year anyway, no real harm in keeping him there unless he’s blocking someone super ready to come up. I don’t really think that is the case; most of our D prospects who have not been up already for a look seem at least a year off.

          • Ray says:

            Fans often take very simplistic views of things. I think we are all pretty much in agreement that JG would be insane to sign Staal today to a three year contract at $5.7M per. But I think it is wrong to use the anger at this bad contract as a springboard to discrediting him completely as a player. Certainly last year, he was a solid NHL defenseman. $5.7M solid? certainly not. $1.5M solid? certainly. I am not sure exactly where to draw the line or what the future holds. My own opinion is that if the Rangers offered Staal for a 7th round draft choice and agreed to pay half his salary, there would be a number of takers.

            • MjrMisconduct says:

              I don’t see any anger at least not in this conversation,he may have sought of had a bounce back season this past year,but hasn’t been very good in quite some time & you said it yourself look at what we’re paying him compared to what he’s worth & you can see why many on this site including myself want him gone if we can reasonably accomplish that.
              Eating half of his salary isn’t going to work,if that was the case then we might as well by him out but eating a potion of his salary & taking back a player who has fallen out of favor on his own team like say maybe Matt Martin in Toronto now that might work.

              • Ray says:

                Let’s say hypothetically that Staal is worth $3M a year ( and for my argument the exact number is not important). Then the Staal. contract is an $8.1M liability stretched over three years since he is being overpaid.

                You can’t wish that liability away. Another team will not accept that liability without proper compensation. And simply trading the liability away for a different liability just so you can stop thinking about it is silly.

                Of course, if you find an organization that thinks he is considerably more valuable than you do, a deal can be had. But please bear in mind that an organization that thought stay at home dman girardi was worth $3M per just went to the semi-finals and an organization that gave $6M per to puck-moving Yandle went from first place to non-contender.

              • MjrMisconduct says:

                Nobody is wishing anything away,I just gave you a realistic trade proposal for what we can reasonably expect to get back for him & it could be that the a trade like that could be beneficial to both teams without either overpaying,we’re not discussing Girardi or Yandle,they are no longer our problem.
                Matt Martin is just the first player to come to mind & I would do that trade in a heartbeat,I’m not saying Toronto would,but I don’t think he’s in their plans going forward & he’s one year removed from being on arguably the best fourth line in the NHL.I

              • MjrMisconduct says:

                And on a side note Ray is it really necessary to use words like silly or simplistic in these conversations,I’ve only had a couple with you & have always been respectful even if I disagree with you occasionally.

            • Egelstein says:

              I never blame players for their contracts. No anger here. I don’t care about Hank’s contract in terms of holding against Hank, I didn’t care about Nash’s contract in terms of holding it against Nash, and I don’t care about Staal’s contract in terms of holding it against Staal. I’m saying that there were some clear metrics indications he was not exactly getting it done back when the extension was signed, and clearly, that is not what the front office was focused on at that time in evaluating his future with the Rangers. The same could not be said of the values/terms Hank and Nash got – they were worth every penny statistically at the time those deals were signed.

  14. Leatherneck says:

    This is a very deep draft that doesn’t come around that often. We are getting a very good player even at 26 and 28.

    Wahlstrom is such an interesting guy to watch and see where he slots in. He is perfect for the Rangers, as are Dobson and Bouchard.

    Zadina could drop to #5 is a clear indication how this draft is not just a best available draft, you can actually meet your needs and for sure this draft will net you the depth that is required as a part of a plan to win a Cup….Depth!!!!

    Islanders are going to get better and better and already are better with Lou on board as a GM. Devils too, that’s good news for us to make those rivalry games fun to watch again. I seriously shut off my TV last year watching an Islanders game against us. I used to mark my calendar pre internet days for these rivalry games.

    Rangers should go for pick #10, it seems that it is attainable for a low cost

    Stay away from Karlsson, Seguin is a better option next year and more of a part of the solution, not Karlsson.

    Panarin with racist remarks? Where did that come from?

    Dave:
    Why Bovqist? What do you like about him? No to Bovqist for me….Prefer Dobson/Bouchard. Hughes I am ok with. I would draft Wilde before Bovqist. Bovqist needs players around him to succeed he will be a bust with us.

    The young players need to be identified to start the Core, to be frank I think Gorton is attempting to figure that out.

    A team that could really screw up the draft order is Ottawa by not keeping their pick and looking to draft next year. This can actually happen…where Ottawa might think they’ll be picking higher next year.

    • Walt says:

      Leather, agree with about everything but the point about the Sens. If they trade their pick this year, they will be forced to give the Av’s their #1 next year, due to the Deutsche deal!!!!!!! I don’t think they would want to go thru 2 drafts with no #1 pick????????

  15. Rod Seilings' Twilight Zone says:

    There are so many “best case” and “good case” scenarios tomorrow. Gorton has SO many cards to play – a bevy of picks, cap space to take on a contract, more young organizational depth than we’ve had in a while, some solid roster players we can afford to lose, etc.

    There’s really only one “worst case” scenario I see right now — trading for Karlsson, for no other reason than that will be the sign that Gorton is not going to be patient.

    • Reenavipul says:

      The comments about Panarin not being a fit due to timing could be used towards Karlsson as well.

  16. Lon says:

    I’d trade Buch in a heartbeat. At a time when speed is at a premium, he has to be the slowest forward on the team. Can’t go to the net, can’t use his body, He has
    never lived lived up to his promise. Please don’t blame injures . His skating will
    never improve.

    • Egelstein says:

      Buch was #89 last season…sure you are thinking of the right player? Were you thinking he was #8? If that’s the case, and only if that’s the case…then I can see how the confusion led to this scorching-hot take.

    • Richter1994 says:

      As they say in Russia, “NYET!!”

    • Brian says:

      Buchnevich blew past Chara and beat Tuukka Rask for a sweet goal in a game against Boston last November, so I think he storms the net pretty well. Frankly, I think AV crushed his growth last season by moving him from line to line so much. When he was kept with Kreider and Zibanejad for several games they clicked pretty well.

  17. RagsFan says:

    Keep Buch. I think he will be great! For defenseman, trade Tony D. Find players who are strong on both ends of the ice. Rebuild. See where we are after the season. Then release Staal and sign a free agent. Lots of good ones next year.

    • Catch22 says:

      Can’t see DeAngelo having much value in a trade at this point. Spent most of the year in the AHL, then the injury…

    • InvalidBeard says:

      Calling good year from Tony. He has crazy stick handling ability, vision, passing. Will start paying dividends.

  18. Egelstein says:

    Seems to me that the commentary in the piece regarding Panarin is possibly a bit exaggerated.

    I will summarize the racism issue as I understand it: he made a comment in a 2012 video that is insulting to African American women. It eventually surfaced, he was confronted with it, and he sincerely apologized. I will post the link to the story I read back then in a follow up reply, as that may take some time to gain moderator approval.

    Those of you who have been around enough to know me from posting here probably could assume I’m not at all impressed with things like that. You would be correct. For a 22 year old kid making a jackass comment like that and then sincerely apologizing when confronted, I find it hard to hang onto that one forever, though. He didn’t deflect, didn’t try to paint it as taken out of context, didn’t even try to blame Russian culture, etc. Owned it and apologized. While I certainly never said anything remotely like that particular comment when I was 22, I am positive I said some forms of stupid/inappropriate shit that 36 year old me would smack 22 year old me right square in the mouth for. (After that it might get ugly for 36 year old me though, as 22 year old me was in significantly better shape.)

    With all of that said, is there a pattern here? Is there more I didn’t hear/see? Is he known to be saying things like this still when a mic isn’t around, in inside NHL circles? I don’t claim to know everything that goes on behind closed doors in the NHL by any stretch of the imagination, but I have not seen anything said to those effects regarding Panarin and personal aspects, so these are honest questions.

    As for his trajectory, I really don’t understand why everyone thinks this guy is gonna fall off a cliff in terms of production. Will he decline at some point? Obviously. Could it be fast? Same as any player, I suppose it could be. Just not sure there’s any evidence to project with confidence that it is gonna happen soon in his case. Low NHL mileage for his age, his game is not based solely on speed, he’s not overly punishing to himself with physicality, no significant NHL injury history, etc. I just don’t look at him personally and see a player who’s game completely falls apart on his 30th birthday. To me, this is not even close to a Ryan Callahan scenario where it could be seen coming from miles away due to the style of play, for example.

    I get the “not the right time” angle the most; I’m a little 50/50 on that myself. The Rangers may not contend at all for a few years. In my humble opinion however, that is not quite Gorton’s plan. He likely wouldn’t be looking at Kovy if it was. He likely wouldn’t have traded for veterans like Names and Spooner if he was. He likely would have actually conducted a true fire sale if he was. Zucc isn’t still there because Gorton got no offers; Zucc is still there because Gorton decided the player in hand is still worth more than the offers he got. Etc. These are not typical circumstances for a team looking to go headlong into the abyss for a real-deal rebuild. That is not a route Sather has shown major propensity for in the past. I couldn’t imagine Dolan enjoys a slow rebuild. I could be off the mark on all of these things…but I’d be awful surprised if it turns out I am, is all.

    That said, and to echo what Richter said on the other page we were discussing this – I find a Panarin to Rangers scenario slim to none. With that said, I don’t know why anyone contends that Gorton shouldn’t at least be kicking the tires. For #9, Buch, and Chytil, absolutely the hell not. Maybe that is what it would take, in which case, Gorton would be off his rocker. What if it is just 9, Zucc, and a B prospect though, with trade and extend parameters hammered out at reasonable (as reasonable as PPG players salaries and contract lengths ever are) terms? That probably doesn’t get it done, but what if? I think I’d pull that trigger so long as there so long as Panarin’s racist commentary over half a decade ago was an isolated incident.

      • Ray says:

        Wow. Just wow. One of the reasons Donald Trump is president is because there are actually many people (like the writer of this article) who regard such stuff as offensive. Saying one wouldn’t sleep with a black woman IS like you saying you prefer blondes to redheads. It is not racism — and frankly it doesn’t even mean anything. Frankly thirty years ago, I would readily have admitted a preference for taller women – so I married a woman 5’2″.

        Condemning mixed marriage is racism. Thinking you would never do it personally is not. People who can’t see the difference don’t have stricter values; they lack them entirely.

        • Egelstein says:

          I’m not about to blame anyone for Trump other than the people that voted for him. If that’s why they voted for him…hoo-boy. Not how I decide the people I endorse to shape the policies of our country, and I’ll just leave it at that.

          I’m not giving Panarin a completely free pass on it, personally, to be clear. That’s what he came up with out of nowhere on a question that could have been answered with “Put my hand in a crocodile’s mouth” or “Bungee jump” or “Eat a live insect”, etc.; there was some sort of pre-existing specific humorous focus on that aspect between those two. If taken literally, he said the most pressing thing, of all things, for him to not do – that one thing – is sleep with a black woman. That’s the rub. If you observe the context, it’s a pretty ridiculous thing to come up with in that spot.

          I fully understand what the article writer was illustrating with the red hair vs. blonde hair comparison. We all know hair color is not treated by society the way some people choose to treat skin color. Yes, some redheads get made fun of being called “gingers”, blondes get made fun of being called stupid, brunettes are boring, etc. Same for height; excessively short or tall people have different struggles and get picked on or ribbed a bit, but that’s generally where it ends.They aren’t/weren’t really treated differently as human beings on a very basic, very meaningful scale, however. No slaves were ever slaves because of their hair color or their height as the predominant reason, as I am aware.

          Like I said before, if truly an isolated incident with none since, combined with the fact that he apologized in what I interpret as a very sincere manner, I don’t think this makes him someone to avoid playing for your hockey team. I would as a GM have certain “no tolerance” things in this realm, but a kid saying something really offensive but probably also intended to be a joke even if not funny at all…I think I could forgive that if I had no other reason to believe the player was truly prejudiced/racist.

          • Ray says:

            On the political point, surely you know that a major issue on the right is perceived excessive political correctness. IMO, this is the sort of thing that feeds into that.

            AFAIK, black women do not now or never have had difficulty finding sex partners. I’m not sure women with the wrong hair color have been so lucky. The word discrimination is a very loaded term with many positive and negative aspects. For example, the term “a discriminating man” is or was a compliment. In my world, discrimination is a good thing unless it actually hurts people.

            • Egelstein says:

              Oh, I’m well aware of the perceived issue. I grew up in a county in northern New York that is so deeply red that it would make a Red Delicious apple look pale in comparison. I’m more than familiar with conservative philosophy on a front-line basis; just as much as I am with liberal philosophy as a result of living in Los Angeles for 12 years.

              Again, we shall agree to disagree on the finer details of the writer’s take. You’re focusing on different aspects than I am.

              • Egelstein says:

                LOL…”You have experienced both sides first-hand and have used that to shape your philosophies…THUMBS DOWN!”

        • tanto says:

          Now I don’t consider what Panarin said as some nonredeemable offense, but to suggest that it’s akin to preferring blondes to redheads, or tall women to short women. etc. is to completely neglect the history of race relations — and not just in the US, but in the world.

          Besides, this was stated not as a preference (I prefer pale white women to dark skin women) but as something he would NEVER do — and in this case both the NEVER aspect and the fact he said BLACK (not darker skinned women) leads me to believe he was uttering a racist sentiment.

          I won’t condemn a person for uttering ONE racist sentiment, but if he evidenced a pattern of making these types of sentiments then I would certainly consider the person as being a racist.

          • Ray says:

            There is a concept of tolerance. The key to a successful democratic society is tolerance.

            Tolerance is not about approving of gay sex. Tolerance is about people who think gay sex is wrong taking the position that what other people do is none of their damn business. If I happen to be heterosexual but think gay sex is perfectly naturally and normal, I don’t get tolerance points for that.

            Likewise, tolerance is not about liking blacks, Latinos, Asians, Jews. Tolerance is about treating people you don’t like fairly and insisting that society itself also treats them fairly. It isn’t about who we choose as lovers, but who we will accept as lovers of our friends.

            Often, when we deal fairly with those we are prejudiced against, we find they are better than we thought, a bonus for us. But for society, what matters are my actions, not my feelings.

            I won’t condemn you for your intolerance, but I do point it out.

            Also, NEVER is a youth word. It really means “I don’t foresee the circumstances when X would happen” AND the young don’t foresee a lot of stuff.

    • roadrider says:

      Here, here! I agree completely about Panarin’s unfortunate comments. Who among us has not said or done something stupid in our youth that we regret? The big difference is that we are not celebrities and most of our silly utterances (at least before the advent of social media) remain unknown outside our small circle of relatives and friends. I really don’t get the holier-than-thou attitude of “I don’t want that guy on my team because he thinks this or said that” . I’ll bet many players have said or done things that most of us would find offensive or have opinions or attitudes that would not reflect our own. The only difference is that not all of them make it into the media. Judge the guy on his hockey talent and potential value to the team. Unless is something that would cause gross embarrassment to any organization that would employ him – everything else is irrelevant.

      • Walt says:

        Well said my man. There are people who will get pissed off but here it comes, plenty out there are looking for something to get insulted about, so be it. I, like others above who said the kid was young, said something stupid, who hasn’t, as long as it’s not a habit, let it go!!!!!

        • tanto says:

          Yes, he said something stupid … it was also racist. That doesn’t make him as an individual per se a racist … and I would expect people from more homogeneous countries to generally harbor more racist tendencies. Again though, this one statement doesn’t make him a racist, but we can still all acknowledge that it was a racist statement nonetheless. Let’s call a spade a spade, eh? 😉

        • Mintgecko says:

          Lol that’s some bs you got going on here… You talk stupid at the age of 15 years old then the real world will let you know after you your block knocked off. Opportunity rarely presents itself because people like Panarin are in their safe zones miles away talking their smack.

          Because he was young that makes it alright? I know girls who gave out tounge kisses at a younger age and have been labeled ‘sluts’ until after high school. Your point of view is very flawed. Imo you reap what you sow or else the backlash goes to the their parent’s and from then on always question that “kids” motives. That’s how I grew up and it always ended up with the guy still growing up to be that same D bag or racist. Nobody looks for fights unless it’s outside a bar or club. When you run into someone who is about it than trust me you won’t be using the line of someone “looking to get insulted”. Did you grow up sheltered?

          • Walt says:

            No effing way was I ever sheltered, growing up in Brooklyn as a kid, until I went into the service. To be candid with you, in my lifetime, until I went overseas, we didn’t see interracial couples. It came about in the mid 60’s, and for the better, but I never condemned anyone for their choice in partner then, or now. I can give a shit who you want to be with, it means nothing to me. I served with some great people of many races, and worked with as well, who are very dear friends, so at least you know where I’m coming from.

            The guy came from Russia, they have a monolithic population there, and made a dumb assed statement, so be it. He was young, didn’t think it thru, and blurred out an answer he apologized about afterwards. It’s not a big effing deal!!!!!!

  19. tanto says:

    The only way I’m disappointed is if Gorton makes some stupid trade where we give up good young players (or draft picks) for anyone in their late 20’s. If there’s any evidence that they’re making a trade for NOW (next year) and not for in a couple of years I’ll be pissed.

  20. Ray says:

    ” The other nice thing is the golden rule of the NHL Entry Draft: teams always, always do stupid crap.”

    Is this necessarily a good thing? One of the teams known to do stupid crap from time to time is the Rangers.

    Query: Gordie Clark has a great reputation here. Is it really deserved? Has anyone really looked at his picks. I know he got a lot of credit for the brilliant drafting of Ryan Gropp for example, but that and a number of other picks haven’t panned out so well. I am not intending to be critical; this is really a question. If one were to compare the success of his draftees to the average success of similar level draftees, is it good or bad? [Certainly a tricky subject as the main cause of recent Ranger draft failures has been the almost total absence of high picks.]

    • Egelstein says:

      I’m not as high on Clark as some fans. He’s alright. I wouldn’t call for his head, or be upset if they moved on. He’s knocked some out of the park, and whiffed extremely hard on others. 2014 (outside of Shesty, who to note went in the 4th so not quite a diamond in the rough like Hank in the 7th) and 2015 seem to have been especially brutal drafts. Sather definitely didn’t exactly make Clark’s job any easier at times, as you noted, trading the high picks.

    • tanto says:

      He’s done fine … of course bear in mind he hasn’t had a lot of draft picks to work with, especially quality picks. Bottom line is that about 20% of all picks made in the draft end up playing in the NHL — and much fewer actually make a difference.

      • Ray says:

        In 2008, the Rangers drafted Dale Weise in Round 4. In 2010, they drafted Jesper Fast in Round 6. Of the 37 players drafted in rounds 4-7 in the last decade, those are the only two who have played a single game for the Rangers. Now there is excitement swirling about some recent ones – Shesterkin, Gettinger, Ronning, Fontaine I suppose, but there was also excitement surrounding Graves, Kovacs, Gropp when they were more recent picks.

        I compared to Tampa Bay (slightly unfair to pick a successful team) and they got Palat (7th round) and Paquette. The Rangers did grab Buch and Duclair in the third, but TB grabbed Brayden Point.

        I guess my feeling is he gets a lot of credit for grabbing guys that excite us and keeps the credit when they fade.

        He deserves a lot of points if Shesterkin is as good as he looks and if Chityl is as good as I expect, but there are IFs.

        I don’t want to suggest he is not holding up his end, only that he isn’t necessarily the savior.

    • wwpd says:

      Re: “total absence of high picks”

      I’m curious, of the high picks the rangers have traded in recent years, which ones were used by the teams eventually picking with them to select players that make people think we really blew it? We’re mostly talking picks late in the round, im not aware of any future franchise guys drafted with those exact picks. I could be wrong but my impressions is maybe one or two solid but not spectacular players came out of those selections?

      • Egelstein says:

        I’m not sure how the picks were used, but we also can’t count on whomever they picked also being who the Rangers would have picked. I look more at the times they’ve reached when a much more highly-touted prospect was still on the board.

        The one that sticks out to me is McIlrath, which may be fairly obvious. That just was a purely rotten decision. I bet had we traded that one, the other team would not have picked McIlrath there. Fowler was always ranked significantly higher by nearly everyone outside the Rangers draft table, far as I can recall. Even if McIlrath never had knee issues and hit his ceiling, it was already evident at that time that the game was passing the slower-footed defenders by. So even if they were drafting a D for need, regardless of if I agree with doing that or not, they still went off the board a little on top of that.

        • wwpd says:

          Sure, rangers may have made better picks, but also may made worse ones. Just thinking out of like 8 first and second round picks combined that were traded, if we can’t name two guys we really missed out on that were taken, are we overblowing how important it was? Guarantee if those picks were in the low teens position instead of 27+, we would have a list of names ready.

          Beyond that, yes. And the rangers record of whiffing on early picks does not fill me with confidence that they would have picked much better than whoever ended up using the ones we traded away.

          • wwpd says:

            Incidentally I looked this up once and then completely forgot. I want to say the Islanders actually ended up with two of our picks, which they used on Beauvillier and Ho-sang?

  21. SalMerc says:

    Make your reach pick in the 3rd round. Get me some studs with your first round picks.

  22. Emile the Cat says:

    I’m not nervous or worried about the talent that will be available at #9. What worries me is Gorton or Clarke getting cute and going off the board some and taking a Farabee or a Ryan McLeod. While those are good players, choosing someone like them would cause considerable angst aroud here.

    • Agentsmith says:

      They did that with lias. Ugh. Although consensus seems like that was a really poor draft year.

    • Richter1994 says:

      Funny, but I like Farabee a lot, just not at 9.

      But you’re right, this is the type of “reach” the Rangers are famous for and what makes Ranger fans so scared picking in the top 10.

      • tanto says:

        Hopefully if it’s “a” off the board Farabee type pick they want then they make a smart trade down gaining multiple picks … but I want them to keep that #9 pick.

        • Richter1994 says:

          If they trade to move in the draft, then they may use the late picks to move up a few spots to draft in the high teens.

          IMO, the only way the 9th pick is dealt is to move up or to get Karlsson.

          • tanto says:

            Yep, more than likely … was just suggesting that if they are going to “reach” at #9 then I prefer they smartly move back a few spots and grab an additional asset or two. I don’t favor that policy though.

          • Ray says:

            I don’t why what you said is wrong as it just seems to be harmless speculation, but obviously it is because you already have three thumbs down.

            It is amazing how much it costs to move up. Going from 15th to 13th tends to cost at least a 3rd rounder, maybe even a 2nd. Do you think both 26 and 28 will get you into the teens? [no idea here – honest query]

            • tanto says:

              It might have been because of the Karlsson comment. I know personally I would never trade the 9th pick for Karlsson because whatever we do this summer should be with two years down the line in mind — and he may very well end up being a UFA then, just like Panarin and Seguin.

              In my mind next summer is the time to round the team out, not this summer.

              • gene gambuzza says:

                Tyler Seguin was traded from Boston because he slept with a teammates wife and the player was one of the core players on the Bruins. Not joking or making this up..ask Tony-Richter94..my buddy was working for the NHL as a conditioning coach..all I will say…sometimes players are traded because off the ice issues that are not published. Another player is Chris Stewart when in Colorado. My friend was the conditioning coach that season and Stewart was going to get the “C” after the trade deadline than something happened that Sakic and the GM could not get past and moved him to St. Louis. All fact…not making this up

              • Walt says:

                Same with Lindros sleeping with Brid-Amour’s wife, hence the trade to Carolina!!!!!!

            • Richter1994 says:

              I don’t know, ask the people who game me the thumbs down, lol.

            • Reenavipul says:

              26 & 28 gets you to 10 at the most according to stats nerds, but a team that bad to move out would need a premium like a 3rd rd pick.

              • Richter1994 says:

                I think that’s too high, because I figure more closer to 15, but if that’s the case, I would do that.

  23. SalMerc says:

    No real surprise here, but Barry Trotz named coach of Islanders. Another backpage for the Isles

    • Jerry says:

      Now Barry convince Lou to PLEASE sign JT so to remove that temptation.

    • tanto says:

      I won’t lie, this will make the Islanders more competitive in the short term (although they still need a goaltender) … for what that’s worth. Then again, what are the odds that Trotz will win another SC in the next 4-5 years (before he’s tossed aside).

      • Richter1994 says:

        Not really, in Washington, the players were bigger and Trotz couldn’t see the ice from behind the bench during play, making him do the opposite of what he usually did as a coach.

        That “strategy” will not carry over to the Isles.

        • tanto says:

          Really Richter, is there any “professional” team where he could see the ice from behind the bench? lol

          • Richter1994 says:

            LOL, no comment…

            He is a good coach though, I liked his work in Nashville.

      • Mintgecko says:

        AV would have been better fit for them on the short term of things. Trotz will be in over his head if they don’t shore up the D, goalie issue and depth problems.

        • Richter1994 says:

          AV better for a team with no defense and no goalie?

          Did I dream the last 3 seasons? lol

  24. Carlos says:

    The Islanders can have all the back pages they want…they had a lot of that with JT, too. That’s not what concerns me. What concerns me is they have Lou, and he is a winner everywhere he went. The hiring of Trotz will make them good but it does not guarantee them the cup. They’ve had it very tough with Snow and co., so good for them. The draft and LGR! That’s my shofar blast! 🙂

    • Richter1994 says:

      The Cup? I think they would be grateful just to make the playoffs at this point.

  25. Reenavipul says:

    My late round flier?

    Montana Onyebuchi. RD that has a man’s body, can skate, can defend and puts the fear of god into opponents. Upside is 3rd pair but with another round of expansion coming teams will need guys like this.

  26. RagsFan says:

    If you look historically on draft picks every year, you will find that there are steals and a few gems in the 2nd and 3rd round. However, many many players after the #15 overall pick year after year – they never make it to the NHL. Toughest to draft than any other sport. This is why we should keep our #9 and trade up where there could be an opportunity at #10 with all of the Edmonton needs for supporting cast for McDavid

  27. chrisqct says:

    I like the article, but sad to see you weaving social and political views into player evaluation. Leave that crap to the NFL, and let them continue to ruin their sport.