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pavel buchnevich

There are so many intriguing aspects to watch out for on the 2017-18 Rangers that makes this a truly fascinating season. One of the most critical for me, is watching how Pavel Buchnevich develops this season. Amid reports of his better conditioning, the impressive pre-season play and the positive soundbites hailing from Alain Vigneault, it appears Buchnevich is primed for a breakout campaign. If he does indeed take his game to the next level it couldn’t be better timed. He’d make Jeff Gorton look like a genius for starters (centers? Who needs centers! Pah! Enjoy the desert Derek!)

While Buchnevich is obviously no center (and as such not a replacement for Derek Stepan – who will be missed, even if he can be replaced) if the Rangers can get more consistency and development from Buchnevich, as well as Jimmy Vesey and a solid rookie campaign from Filip Chytil, then the Rangers are all of a sudden legitimately three lines deep.

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Categories : Players
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Desjardins, another underwhelming addition by Jeff Gorton

Bobby Farnham and Andrew Desjardins. Read those names back to yourself. Neither of the Rangers recent PTO signings generate excitement, do they?

It’s hard to be anything but underwhelmed at the Rangers attempts to address the center position toward the end of this offseason. Hoping a prospect (such as Andersson or Nieves) wins a spot is fine – after all the team needs to continue with its transition period. Inviting PTO’s to compete for spots and potentially earn a depth spot is also the right thing to do.

However, the Rangers choices are both confusing and disappointing given the calibre of depth free agent candidates that could have been had this offseason. Let’s consider just a handful of names below.

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Categories : Preseason
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chris kreider

Has Chris Kreider even been more important than this coming season?

It’s been quite some time since I last wrote for the blog, but with personal things out of the way (amongst other things, work sucks doesn’t it?!….), the new season just around the corner and significant change in Rangerland behind us, now seems a good a time to get back involved. So, please accept my apologies that you will once again have to endure my ramblings.

Usually I fly over from the UK around mid-season for my annual Rangers fix, but this time I’ll be heading over for my first ever opening night Rangers game and I’m absolutely pumped. Here are three things I’m expecting from the upcoming regular season.

Chris Kreider’s true coming out party

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Categories : Preseason
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kevin hayes

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

As Sunday turned to Monday the Rangers are in a nice place; they’re riding a five game win streak with Henrik Lundqvist being fresh off win number 400. Without further delay, let’s muse all things Rangers with a focus on the impending trade deadline.

Every team has their needs and everyone around the league know what the Rangers’ needs are which beggars the question; when a team’s need is as glaring as the Rangers (hello right handed blueliner) is it at all possible to get value at the deadline? If the Rangers do make a move to improve the one obvious flaw that they have, it will take something very special from Jeff Gorton to not overpay and/or give up a major asset or two.

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Categories : Musings
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pavel buchnevich

Bruce Bennet/Getty Images

The Rangers should have already seen enough from Pavel Buchnevich that it should be the talented Russian (and Chris Kreider) that should be the cornerstone(s) of the offense moving forward. Of course, JT Miller, Kevin Hayes and Mika Zibanejad should be critical components of this team up front but no one has the upside of Kreider and Buchnevich.

The Rangers need to make some bold decisions about the state of the offense over the next half a season or so and any decision should revolve around Kreider and Buchnevich. The Rangers have a ton of young depth but none are more important than Buch.

Can you really focus an offense around a young man that has 17 games in the NHL? Yes you can. Is it too early to do so? Perhaps, but teams need to commit to their young talent earlier than ever in the current NHL and Buchnevich is a good example of a player you hitch your wagon to.

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Categories : Players
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rangers hurricanes

Nash has been good, almost great. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Where do you start with the Rangers top six? If you’re grading the offense as a whole, it’s fair to say you would give the team a strong grade – probably A level.

The Rangers boast an elite (at least statistically) powerplay, they sit second in the league in goals per game (3.4/game) and have scored more goals than every team in the league (144 at time of writing). However, when you break it down, has every player played to his own individual ability?

Rick Nash

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Categories : Players
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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

With the hot start Brandon Pirri got off to as a Ranger it was hard to understand how he bounced around the league so much – he looked like a potential top six shooter, albeit one with defensive deficiencies. He certainly looked like a guy that should be potting 20 goals per year and not bouncing around a league desperate for goal scorers. The past month or so however, and it’s a lot easier to see why Pirri hasn’t stuck with any team for a prolonged period.

Pirri hasn’t just blown hot and cold, he’s just disappeared for stretches. He’s been a passenger far too many times despite having some significant tools at his disposal. Pirri has good offensive instincts and he has a great shot but too often recently he hasn’t brought anything to the table.

Pirri’s last goal was December 11th. He’s gone ten games without scoring. Before that he went twelve games without finding the net. He has just 60 shots (at time of writing) on net despite owning a shot that many players would sell their mothers for. When your best hope of sticking in the NHL is your release you better be releasing it more often.

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Categories : Players
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chris kreider

The Rangers have been incredibly up and down the past few weeks. Which version of the Rangers is the real version we can expect to see down the stretch?

There is no way of predicting the end of the Rangers’ season. I truly believe the blueline will look significantly different come February and we do not yet know how the top nine forward set up will shake out when all are healthy.

How will this influence the team’s ability to match up against the Caps, Pens, Habs and yes, the Blue Jackets?

Reading back that first comment – only the Pens scare me. Even the Pens however have their flaws, their warts. There is no perfect team in the East. That’s why Rangers fans should remain optimistic.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (13)
Jan
03

Has Rick Nash has become untouchable?

Posted by: | Comments (21)

rangers hurricanes

Rick Nash may never again score 40 goals in a season, but his play this season should put any debate about his Rangers’ future to bed. So long as Dan Girardi is on the Rangers blue line, and Jeff Gorton doesn’t significantly address the Rangers defense, the Rangers cannot afford to get rid of a genuinely elite two-way player such as Nash.

Nash’s play without the puck and his defensive conscience are essential to the team, as in his absence we’ve seen inconsistent play from the forwards in their own zone. The Rangers are not a good team defensively and this relative ineptitude in their own zone has only enforced Nash’s importance to the cause.

Even before confirmation that he needs to be protected in the expansion draft, Nash’s own impressive play this season should have made him a player the Rangers would have protected anyway. There is simply no replacing Nash. Whether it’s his ability as a goal scorer, as a leader, or as a two-way example to the younger players on the roster. Cap hit and age be damned.

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Categories : Players
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oscar lindberg

Hopefully the Rangers won’t have considered shopping JT Miller, Kevin Hayes or any of the ‘core’ kids to help address the team’s obvious flaws but one player who has constantly been touted as a trade chip has been Oscar Lindberg. Thanks to the way the Rangers have utilised Lindberg it’s hard to see any kind package involving Lindberg bringing back any meaningful return.

Yes, Alain Vigneault has openly preached patience with Lindberg (and rightly so) as he came back from a significant injury but the fact Vigneault has prioritised Matt Puempel and Josh Jooris is bad roster management. Neither player likely offer the Rangers more upside than Lindberg whether that is as a trade piece or part of the current roster set up. The fact that Vigneault sees Jesper Fast as a top six winger but keeps Lindberg in street clothes is also baffling even though Fast and Lindberg’s respective destinies should not be directly linked. Fast indeed, has certainly deserved to stay in the line-up despite being misused.

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Categories : Players
Comments (35)