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filip chytil

Chytil: Please. Don’t. Rush.

Following the weekend just gone, there will no doubt be plenty of calls to bring Filip Chytil back to New York at the earliest opportunity. Healthy again, the need at center still obvious (moving JT Miller again is not the answer) and fresh off a two goal outburst on the weekend, Chytil’s play is demanding attention.

Chytil is off to a tremendous start in the AHL with 11 points in 9 games but he is exactly where he should be. He’s the focal point of the Wolfpack’s offense, playing important minutes and is now starting to get comfortable with the system and the pro game in North America. The Rangers should be able to make the playoffs without him and should allow him to grow in Hartford at least for the short term. With the team’s logjam on the blueline at all levels of the organisation the team should also be able to upgrade the center position without losing anything significant in return.

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Categories : Prospects
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Kevin Hayes will never be a Selke winner. We also know that chances are he’ll never be a top line franchise center. He’s somewhere in between. Hayes has however, proven to be a reliable middle six center who has a strong offensive skill set.

What we are starting to see from Hayes however is that he can be trusted to be used in a defensive role, even if it doesn’t play to his full strengths – at worst he’s not a liability in such a role. The key has to be usage, and not just for Hayes. The Rangers cannot use Hayes as a pure match-up center and the intention should surely be to have three centers who can be trusted at both ends of the ice.

Hayes is probably never going to be a 60+ point guy given the way he is being utilised however, providing Alain Vigneault can utilise his big center properly, Hayes can cause a re-think in the Rangers mid to long term strategy at center. (asterisk attached to this entire piece: can we trust AV to use him properly?).

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Categories : Players
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filip chytil

Chytil is one of the few players generating a positive buzz in HFD thus far. Photo: NYDN

So while the Rangers themselves are on a somewhat upward trajectory, elsewhere in Rangerland things are not looking so promising. Purely statistically, several Rangers prospects at the AHL level are off to tough starts. Let’s take a look at a few names that the Rangers could really do with developing to NHL level.

Ryan Gropp

The biggest cause for concern thus far has to be Gropp. It’s perhaps slightly harsh to judge Gropp so early in his rookie campaign, but the former second round pick is off to a bad start in Hartford. One goal in nine games, barely registering a single shot/game; it’s fair to expect better from a guy drafted 41st overall. Concerns were there straight away, that the Rangers reached for him at the draft and his first foray into the pro game doesn’t suggest otherwise. The 2015 draft is looking like a huge disaster for the Rangers (think Robin Kovacs, Daniel Bernhardt, trading Aleksi Saarela for two months of Eric Staal) so the Rangers really do need goalie Adam Huska to save that draft year.

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Categories : Prospects
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Can Detroit and the Rangers help each other?

This post was written a few days ago. Since then, the beat writers have bemoaned the lack of center depth, AV has gone crazy with his line combinations and the Rangers threw up a stinker to the Devils (I fear for the Rangers against the Pens as I schedule this post…). So without further ado, back to one potential external center solution?

The Rangers inability (or stubbornness?) to properly address the center position prior to the new season has definitely had an impact on their uneven start to the season, even if more of the blame can/should be rested squarely at the feet of Alain Vigneault and his now borderline inexplicable coaching decisions (please, no more Steven Kampfer).

What makes the Rangers struggles at center even more frustrating is that there are very legitimate, indeed enticing, options outside of the organisation. Are ten days into a season too early to make a external move? Well clearly not, as the club deemed it appropriate to pick up journeyman depth player Adam Cracknell. Yay.

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Categories : Forwards
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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
Comments (55)
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
Comments (68)
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
Comments (37)
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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