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Yesterday, a rumor floated that the Rangers were one of five teams that contacted Slava Voynov in regards to a potential return to the NHL. If you recall, Voynov was banned by the NHL for beating his wife near death a few years ago. As usual, I have some thoughts.

1. First things first, Larry Brooks shot this down almost immediately. Arthur Staple shot it down for the Isles after that. Let’s call this what it is: Not a rumor. Not real.

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Erik Karlsson isn’t going to be with the Ottawa Senators for long. He was rumored to be on his way out at the deadline, but that never happened. Now all eyes are on the draft, when teams have significantly more cap room to work with. As always, the Rangers are always mentioned with big ticket names, and with a newly stocked system they have the tools to pull it off.

But is that the right move for this team right now? It could be if they are looking for a fast turnaround on this rebuild. Karlsson is a one of a kind player, an elite defenseman who can put up 80 points in a league where 50 is considered fantastic for a blue liner. That said, Karlsson might not be the route the Rangers want to go. Let’s go into three reasons why.

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Categories : Offseason
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The fear of a “quick turnaround”

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john tavares

When it comes to a rebuild, there seem to be two approaches. The first is the complete tear down and build through the draft and trades. The second is leveraging current assets and bringing in new faces to help be the complement to what already exists. The latter, at least from what I’ve seen, rarely works. The former does work, but not all the time. Indeed, there is an element of luck involved with every rebuild.

The Rangers, though, appear to be merging the two strategies. After selling off many assets at the deadline, they acquired a bunch of picks and prospects that will help them in the long haul of a rebuild. Three first round picks, several high floor prospects, and promotion of existing prospects are the building blocks of a competitor.

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Categories : Offseason
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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.

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Categories : Offseason
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John Amirante has died at 83

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john amirante

Today is a sad day. John Amirante has died at the age of 83. Until recently, Amirante was the only person who sang the National Anthem at Rangers games. It was an absolute joy to watch him. The anthem hasn’t been the same since, and will never be the same.

Game Seven in 1994 will always be the lasting memory I have.

Categories : Uncategorized
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Using cap space as a trade asset

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jeff gorton

The Rangers are in a situation that we’ve never seen before. Always strapped for cash, the Rangers have never had the luxury of breathing room and flexibility to make trades. However heading into the offseason, the Rangers have oodles of cap space, with plenty to spare once they sign their key RFAs.

Cap space is an interesting thing. The Rangers have never had any, so it’s been a scarce commodity. However for teams with plenty of it, it’s been an asset. The Isles landed Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy for basically nothing. The Coyotes acquired Chris Pronger and Pavel Datsyuk –both retired and with big cap hits– with prospects to help teams free up space. Vegas did the same in the expansion draft. Now, it might be the Rangers’ turn.

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Categories : Offseason
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scott stevens

One of the major storylines surrounding the Rangers under Alain Vigneault was that the club was soft, vanilla, and easy to play against. It led to creating a false need for guys like Tanner Glass, Cody McLeod, and other face punchers that couldn’t do much else. The false need was created by the incorrect assessment that being tough to play against means fighting.

Let’s unpack this a bit. Yes, there is a need for physical play. It’s hockey, after all. However the term “tough to play against” has evolved. It goes beyond traditional fighting and hitting. This makes logical sense, since the game itself has evolved.

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Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers are in a transition period. The rebuild is in full swing. There are questions about regarding who stays and who goes. One of those questions is on Marc Staal, who has three more years left on his deal with a $5.7 million cap hit. Suffice it to say, it’s not a good contract.

The calls to trade or buyout Staal prior to this year were warranted. His contract was bad, and he was taking up cap space that could have been spent elsewhere. Without that contract, the Rangers probably don’t need to trade Derek Stepan to sign Kevin Shattenkirk, and perhaps this season is different. There’s no guarantee, but it’s something worth calling out. But times have changed in less than a year.

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Categories : Players
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lindy ruff

The playoffs are officially underway. Seems weird because the Rangers not only aren’t in them, but missed them by a wide margin. It wasn’t even close. They swan dived off a cliff. But that doesn’t mean the week has been slow. Alain Vigneault, Daryl Williams, and Scott Arniel were all shown the door. Ilya Kovalchuk appears to be on his way to New York. Alexei Bereglazov is having his contract terminated. As usual, I have some thoughts.

1. First the new news, as Bereglazov was placed on unconditional waivers to have his contract terminated. I’m not surprised by this, and neither should you. When he didn’t make the team out of camp, he eventually went back to Russia. This was the logical next step, as it’s clear he’s nowhere near the top of the depth chart, even with a new coach.

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Categories : Uncategorized
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For the first time in eight years, the Rangers are not going to be in the playoffs. It’s just the second time in the Henrik Lundqvist era. It’s unfamiliar territory for us. But have no fear. We are here to help you through these troubling times. Here is a guide to get you through these 2018 playoffs – specifically who to root for, in reverse order.

16. New Jersey Devils

Let’s be real, if you’re rooting for the Devils in any capacity, then you’ve lost your way. The Rangers also hold their second round pick, so losing quickly helps the Rangers as well. Rooting for the Devils is like hitting yourself in the face. Repeatedly. With a brick.

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Categories : Around the League
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