Author Archive

The Predators have four D-men with 10+ points, while Pittsburgh has the four leading scorers in the postseason

– As we relearn every year in hockey, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. The final four teams in the 2017 playoffs were drastically different in style. The defending champion Penguins were built around two megastars down the middle, a younger rotating cast of supporting pieces and a patchwork defense. The Senators have one all-world talent on defense but mainly made it so far because of an outstanding commitment to team defense and dogged determination. The Ducks have probably the league’s deepest defense and are a load to handle up front, but were very top heavy. And the Predators have the most offensively active blueline in the league to go with an under-appreciated roster of blossoming young players. There’s no one model to achieve success in today’s NHL.

Read More→

Categories : Musings
Comments (63)
May
31

How good is Igor Shestyorkin?

Posted by: | Comments (29)

Igor Shestyorkin was 27-4-6 with a .937 SV%, 1.64 GAA and 8 shutouts last season

For the first time last season, Ranger fans were confronted with Henrik Lundqvist’s mortality. The King endured his worst statistical season in the NHL and while that certainly doesn’t lie only at his feet, there are signs that Lundqvist is no longer capable of being a magic eraser for New York every single night.

So while the thought of life after Lundqvist is extremely unpleasant, it’s a reality the Blueshirts are beginning to confront, much as the Football Giants began to do this spring with the drafting of Davis Webb in preparation for the eventual retirement of Eli Manning.

Read More→

Categories : Prospects
Comments (29)

Derek Stepan has registered at least 53 points in each of the last four seasons

With the Rangers hamstrung by a tricky cap situation, several cumbersome no-movement clauses and few tradable assets that make sense to part with, there’s been quite a bit of chatter that Derek Stepan might be the most logical piece to dangle in exchange for a right-handed defenseman.

But while there’s some plausibility to the idea, dealing Stepan would also leave a gaping hole at center. So hypothetically speaking, how could the Rangers handle the crucial pivot position if Stepan were shipped out of town?

Read More→

Comments (139)

Navigating the salary cap and expansion draft with a weak prospect pool will be a tall task

The spring cleaning began in earnest for the Rangers yesterday with the firing of Hartford coach Ken Gernander and reassignments of Chris Drury and Jim Schoenfeld. The work will only get harder from here for the team’s front office.

Unlike last season when the Blueshirts considered a wholesale makeover but chose to mainly stand pat, GM Jeff Gorton and coach Alain Vigneault have been candid in the wake of the latest playoff ouster that major roster changes will be made this summer.

But that will be easier said than done.

Read More→

Categories : Offseason
Comments (123)

Ilya Kovalchuk was second in KHL scoring this season with 78 points

– The best player on the ice for the Blueshirts last night was Mika Zibanejad. Everyone expected Big Game Brass to take vengeance on his former club, but it’s Zibanejad that has three points in the series while Brassard has zilch. Zibanejad really has all the tools. In a few years we’ll either look back at the Zibanejad/Brassard trade as the modern day McDonagh/Gomez swap, or we’ll view Zibanejad as Nik Zherdev 2.0. I still think he’s going to blossom into a star.

– Another major positive from Game 3 was the return of Kevin Hayes. Along with Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan, Hayes has been pretty much invisible throughout the postseason. He looked like a different player last night.

– Tapped in Russian reporter Slava Malamud created a bit of a frenzy this week with a series of tweets in which he indicated Ilya Kovalchuk’s desire to return to the NHL after a three-year stay in the KHL. Malamud also noted there’s not much interest in a reunion by either Kovalchuk or the Devils, but Kovalchuk’s preference would be to stay in the NYC area (read: Rangers or Islanders), or move to Florida.

Read More→

Categories : Musings
Comments (35)
Apr
26

Rangers vs. Senators: Defense preview

Posted by: | Comments (45)

Erik Karlsson led the league in scoring by a defensemen three straight seasons from 2013-2016

Erik Karlsson is so good that you could make a case that he alone gives Ottawa the edge on defense over the Blueshirts.

The 26-year-old D-man is in the midst of his greatest season – which we seem to say every year. In addition to being the catalyst for the Senators’ offense, Karlsson has really rounded out his defensive play and is now a shutdown player in his own end, too.

Karlsson is averaging over 30 minutes a game so far during the playoffs and shows no signs of being hampered by two hairline fractures in his left foot. Keeping him in check may be the key to the series.

Read More→

Categories : Playoffs
Comments (45)

Brendan Gallagher and Andrew Shaw will make life miserable for Henrik Lundqvist

New York’s group of forwards is surely better than 12th-best in the playoff field, but you can throw the team’s gaudy offensive stats out the window heading into this series.

The great equalizer, as the Blueshirts well know, is goaltending and Carey Price has been locked in for the last several weeks after an inauspicious start to the season.

So though this matchup is probably where New York should enjoy its biggest edge over Montreal, it would be foolish to expect the Blueshirts to simply outgun the Canadiens. Read More→

Categories : Uncategorized
Comments (29)

Mika Zibanejad has just four fewer points than Derick Brassard despite missing 25 games with a broken fibula

For Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich, the 2016-2017 season did not go according to plan.

Zibanejad missed 25 games with a broken fibula suffered on November 20th and Buchnevich was removed from the lineup to undergo a midseason strengthening plan devised by the Rangers coaching staff.

But despite their lengthy absences, both players exhibited early signs of what they can bring to the table. Zibanejad was New York’s most dominant forward in the preseason other than Chris Kreider and quickly demonstrated the creativity and two-way play that attracted the Rangers to him this summer.

Buchnevich took a bit longer to flash as he adapted to the North American game, but he racked up goals in four straight games before going on the shelf.

Read More→

Categories : Players
Comments (30)

Alain Vigneault and co. would never publicly admit their glee about how their team’s playoff picture is unfolding, but things are progressing quite nicely for the Blueshirts.

Start with the obvious – the rejiggered playoff format will allow New York to open against the Atlantic Division winner (likely either Montreal or Ottawa), then square off with a second Atlantic foe should they advance, while the juggernaut Penguins, Capitals and Blue Jackets beat the heck out of each other. Those Atlantic foes shouldn’t be taken lightly, but advancing through that half of the bracket looks infinitely easier than the Metro murderer’s row.

In their slot as the Eastern Conference’s first wild card, the Blueshirts will be the road team for the duration of their playoff run. Normally that’s cause for concern, but not so much for a club that’s threatening the single-season road wins record and also possesses perhaps the best Game 7 goalie in league history.

Read More→

Comments (25)

Ryan McDonagh has regained his status as one of the league’s elite defensemen

In hindsight, the 7-6 circus loss to the Dallas Stars on January 17 might have been the low-water mark of the 2016-2017 season for the Rangers. That marked the third time in 11 games the club yielded as many as seven goals and the Blueshirts were mired in a stretch of atrocious defensive play that made playoff contention seem comical.

But since that night, New York has given up four goals or more only six times in 27 games, and just twice surrendered as many as five.

In fact, the Rangers have allowed just 64 goals over that timeframe – a stingy 2.37 goals-against per game, which would rank fourth in the league if it were the team’s season-long rate.

Read More→

Categories : Defense
Comments (28)