Photo: Edmonton Journal
After the Edmonton Oilers fired Dallas Eakins, club GM Craig MacTavish said that no one is untouchable on the Oilers. Immediately, rumors started to fly that Taylor Hall was on the block, as the return he could net would bring in many valuable assets that would fill multiple holes. In Hall, the acquiring team would be getting an All Star winger and a game breaker. Of course, Ranger fans started with their own trade scenarios.
Before we get into what it would cost the Rangers to land Hall, it’s important to know what kind of player the Rangers would be getting. In 272 games thus far, Hall has put up 100-143-243, close to a point per game. Of those 243 points, 143 of them are at even strength, including 55 goals. Hall produces at all strengths, and doesn’t just rely on gaudy powerplay numbers. But for Hall, it goes beyond the numbers.
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A little over a month ago, the Hartford Wolf Pack s signed defenseman Henrik Tallinder to a PTO, as the Rangers were looking to fill holes on the blue line. The Tomas Kaberle experiment failed, and now the organization is moving on from Tallinder as well. The club released Tallinder from his PTO yesterday, and the Rangers will not offer him a contract.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh
The New York Rangers took everything the Calgary Flames gave them, which was odd-man rushes, turnovers, and facepalm moments that turned into goals. The Rangers jumped out to a 4-0 lead, scoring twice at even strength, once on the powerplay, and once shorthanded, en route to a 5-2 win. The Rangers weren’t perfect, surrendering a lot of shots and exchanging a lot of chances with Calgary throughout the game. However, goaltending was the big difference, as Calgary’s goaltending is coming crashing back to reality.
Henrik Lundqvist, fresh off the shutout with almost no work in Edmonton, stopped 29 of 31 shots. Rick Nash scored twice, and Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider –each of whom needed to step up their games– added goals as well. Stepan also added an assist on Nash’s second goal, with other assists coming from Martin St. Louis and Dan Girardi. Carl Hagelin added an empty netter.
On to the goals:
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Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America
The Rangers are in Calgary tonight to take on the Flames and potentially expand their winning streak to four in a row, including a three game sweep against the Western Canadian teams. After a hot start, with equally hot goaltending from Jonas Hiller, the Flames have crashed back down to Earth, losers of six in a row. That said, the Flames possess one of the best top defensive pairings in hockey with Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie, and have solid young talent. They lack depth, and should continue to slide out of the playoff hunt. Of course, this means trap game for the Rangers.
Bob Hartley has the Flames running a 1-2-2 forecheck that can be used aggressively or conservatively depending on the game situation (time left in period, score, puck location, etc.). In the DZ, Calgary uses a low zone collapse, taking out shooting lanes and keeping things in tight. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 and a diamond penalty kill.
Makes you wonder: Considering the Rangers have gotten Dan Bylsma and Dallas Eakins fired, if Calgary loses, does Hartley get fired?
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Here is the info for today’s FanDuel league: Sign up here, the league link is here.
For those unfamiliar, you are given $55,000 to construct a team of 2 LW, 2 RW, 2 C, 2 D, and 1 G. The goal is to find some good bargains (my advice is to save money on defense and spend big on offense) and save money for some stars you know will put up points. High fantasy points per game (FPG) with low cost is a good way to go, but look for streaks as well.
Rotowire has a lineup optimizer, as does DangleFactory. They are good resources if this intrigues you, or you’re new to daily fantasy sports.
As always, if the league fills up before you can get in, let me know in the comments. I leave the league size at 10 people for now to ensure it fills up. If there is more interest, I will expand the size as this continues.
Per the Rangers Twitter, Matt Hunwick will replace John Moore on the third defense pairing tonight in Calgary. It’s a relatively minor lineup change, probably designed to ensure Hunwick’s legs stay fresh.
Stop being Bozak.
Derek Stepan is always a focal point of discussion for Ranger fans. He’s the teams 1C, but he’s not an elite center, so people think he’s better off as a 2C. Since returning from injury, Stepan has put up 14 points in 16 games, and has helped stabilize –prior to Derick Brassard’s mumps diagnosis– the center position. But something is off this year, and it’s fairly alarming.
As Zachary Ellenthal pointed out, he’s not exactly driving possession this season. It’s not like he’s off by a little bit, Stepan is a 43.6% Corsi player this season, so far the worst of his career. The last time he was under 50% was 2011-2012, and his ability to positively drive possession is what makes him more valuable than guys like Tyler Bozak (a 42% Corsi player), who puts up points because he’s playing with Phil Kessel. Stepan makes his teammates better, Bozak does not.
Except for this year. Stepan’s numbers this year are comparable to Bozak’s, and that’s not a good thing.
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Photo: Getty Images
Around these parts, we spend a lot of time using #fancystats to supplement what we see on the ice from players. Generally speaking, we focus on puck possession metrics, using external factors like zone starts and quality of competition/teammates to pad the analysis. For all the merits that Corsi/Fenwick have, they don’t measure shot quality. Shot location isn’t something that is repeatable on offense(lots of analysis done to prove this), so there isn’t much space spent on examining further. It doesn’t correlate to wins.
However shot location can show us trends. We can use it at the team and individual levels to measure offensive styles –going to the net or keeping to the perimeter– and defensive effectiveness. On offense, you want to have more shots come from the better real estate (the slot, closer to the net). On defense, you want more shots from the perimeter. Hockey 101. War-on-ice, an indispensable resource, has given us a nice graph to show this as well.
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AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jason Franson
Last night’s game was an absolute snooze-fest. The Rangers came in knowing they were playing a bad team, and the Oilers came in just like the bad team they are. The teams combined for just 38 shots on goal, which was probably less than the number of icings we saw in this game. Neither team came prepared to play, there were turnovers galore, no forecheck, no sense of urgency, and no real passion from either team.
Henrik Lundqvist made 16 saves, most from the outside, en route to his fifth shutout of the year. Kevin Hayes was extremely noticeable in a good way, showing that his development has come a long way since the beginning of the year. There’s really not much else to say about this game though.
On to the goals:
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So I missed this today, but Derick Brassard has been sent home from the road trip and will not partake in team activities after being diagnosed with the mumps. Tanner Glass replaced him in the lineup tonight.