Per Richard Labbe of La Presse (s/t to Hugo for the tip), head coach Alain Vigneault received a vote of confidence from management, and was told the team wants him back next year. This isn’t much of a surprise, as one bad outing usually doesn’t cost a coach his job.
That said, Vigneault’s leash is almost certainly shorter, as “his guys” got steamrolled throughout the season. Changes are needed on the ice, but these changes begin off the ice. But don’t be expecting any coaching changes this year.
Per Brad Schlossman, the Rangers may be in on undrafted free agent Drake Caggiula out of North Dakota. Josh profiled him here, and is a big-time favorite for him. Caggiula’s scoring has increased every season at UND, culminating with a 25-26-51 senior season. The 5’10”, 185 lb forward is highly sought after.
The Rangers have re-signed backup goalie Antti Raanta on a contract extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But they will be available sooner or later. Raanta had a .919 SV% last season and was solid as the backup, so this is a smart move by the team. A solid first step in the offseason plans.
Update: Raanta’s deal is two years at $1 million per season.
The offseason is in full swing for the Rangers. There is a lot of work to do with this team, and you can bet your life savings that the team will be hard at work to fill holes and make the team better heading into next season. While we can all debate what we believe “making the team better” means, which have countless times, it’s that time of the year where we see these plans coming to action.
Since it’s a rainy, lazy Sunday. Let’s go through some predictions for this offseason.
- Pavel Buchnevich is now officially free from his KHL contract. I think he signs with the Rangers soon, as in this week. It’s a no-brainer that he signs, since he is the most highly touted prospect this organization has seen in recent memory.
This offseason is a critical one for Jeff Gorton and the New York Rangers. A team with significant holes and cap problems, the Rangers will need to get creative and possibly break a few fan’s hearts in order to get back to respectability and a true chance at the Stanley Cup. Because one thing is for certain, the team as constructed cannot win a Cup.
While much of the focus has been on the albatross deals to Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, there has been some focus on whether or not to trade Rick Nash. Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit is second to Henrik Lundqvist, and for some that means he should be the highest scoring forward on the team. We can get into the flawed logic of salary equals production, but that’s a discussion for another time. For now, let’s focus on what Nash brings to the lineup.
Well the Rangers’ season is over, but there’s still plenty of good hockey to be viewed. Most eyes will be on that Washington/Pittsburgh series, as that may produce your eventual Cup winner, but don’t discount either series in the West. There’s a reason why that conference has won the majority of the recent Stanley Cups.
Here on the blog, we’ve previewed each of the four upcoming series, broken down by series and by each writer. Share yours in the comments and let us know how spot on / awful our predictions are.
Just a note: We wrote these after Wednesday night’s games because of the weird schedule. So, don’t think that the predictions are skewed by prior results.
Not like this. Not like this.
That’s the way many felt when the Rangers collapsed in Game Four, losing 5-0 and draining all remaining hope that was left in this fan base. The team was too slow. Too rigid. Too stuck in old fashioned hockey truisms that simply are not true anymore. A glimmer of hope after Rick Nash scored in Game Five, then crushing defeat.
This loss wasn’t as bad as 2014, when a bounce here or there in the Stanley Cup Final means more hardware in New York. That was the worst. The loss in 2015 stung, but deep down, we knew Tampa Bay was better and healthier. But at least those series were competitive.
The Rangers stunk up the joint in their demolition, possibly the last hoorah for some beloved fan favorites. These same fan favorites who, like their coach and their president –but perhaps not the GM, we don’t know yet– are relics of these truisms that have been disproven by a game that now features speed and creativity.
Could this be the final game of the season for the Rangers? Logic and past performance in these situations says no, but recent performance in this series says yes. If this is the final game of the series, then let’s hope it is one we can be proud of, as the Rangers have stunk the past two games. At the very least, make it a nice send off for Dan Boyle.
But then there’s the part of me that remembers what they’ve done the past two years. This is the third straight year they’ve been down 3-1 in a series. The core from both those comebacks is still here. But do they have the mindset required to make another comeback? They can, we know it. Let’s hope they figure it out. No one wants this season to end in April.
Per Brett Cyrgalis, it looks like Eric Staal might be a healthy scratch tomorrow. Staal is not rotating with the top-six, and the bottom-six does not have him in the rotation. This could just be a coy maneuver by Alain Vigneault, however. The top-six are the same, and the bottom-six look like this:
If Eric Staal is sitting for Tanner Glass, I have no idea what to say.
The Penguins destroyed the Rangers last night before the first period was over. It was 1-0 a minute into the game. Then before we blinked it was 3-0. They added another in the second. But the game was over before all this. It was over before the Rangers even took the ice.
The Rangers just didn’t show up. They lost every puck battle. They lost every race for the puck. They gave the Pens room. They didn’t bother to try and generate offense. They just didn’t bother trying.
This game hurts as a fan. The players shrug it off as a job, because that’s what last night looked like. A job. Fans, on the other hand, this isn’t a job. For some, this is an escape. This is hope for joy. And the Rangers let everyone down. There is no excuse for this kind of effort.