The opening night lineup doesn’t matter

It’s a fool’s errand to try to predict the opening night lineup before training camp. Even once camp begins, there are far too many variables to nail it. But though we can’t help anticipating and debating who will make the team during the summer months, the opening night lineup means very little in the grand scheme of things. No one could have…

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Rangers’ offense figures to be much improved, but what about the defense?

Just over a year into Alain Vigneault’s tenure as coach of the Rangers, the team’s roster already looks dramatically different than the one he inherited last June. Granted, roster turnover is nothing new for New York, but the moves made over the last 15 months have Vigneault’s fingerprints all over them. Black and Blueshirts like Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan…

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Rise of Duclair and Buchnevich clouds the future of other forward prospects

Entering training camp last fall, there was an intense battle for the final forward spots between youngsters Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg and Danny Kristo. Fast actually won the job out of camp, but an early injury combined with Kreider’s emergence put an end to the competition. Miller, Fast, Lindberg and Kristo are all clearly on the…

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Which lineup is better: The 2014 Rangers, or the active ex-Rangers?

We’re (finally) just one day away from training camp! There will be a whole lot of real Ranger news coming up, but since we’ve exhausted pretty much every type of camp preview imaginable this summer – allow me just one more random post before the action kicks into high gear. What would happen if you were to pit the 2014…

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Rangers facing several more key personnel decisions again this season

Prior to the start of the 2013-2014 season, few could have imagined that the Rangers would trade their heart and soul captain, Ryan Callahan, at the March 5 trade deadline. But such is life in the salary cap world – GM Glen Sather determined a contract number he wouldn’t exceed for both Callahan and defenseman Dan Girardi. Girardi proved willing…

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Potential Rangers training camp surprises

Immediately after July 1, it looked like the Rangers would have several forward spots open to competition at training camp. However, the eventual signings of Matt Lombardi, Lee Stempniak and Kevin Hayes have made it much more difficult for anyone else to earn a spot in the lineup. The likes of J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg still figure to…

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Checking in on the New York Islanders

Last year: 34-37-11, eighth in the Metro Division. Missed the postseason by 14 points. Key additions: Jaroslav Halak, Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin, Cory Conacher, Chad Johnson, T.J. Brennan Key subtractions: Evgeni Nabokov, Radek Martinek (likely) Franchise direction: The Islanders’ rebuild has been very slow, but it really does look like things are starting to change. The additions of Halak, Grabovski and…

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Reviewing Rob Vollman’s “Hockey Abstract 2014″

If you’ve been paying attention this offseason, you’ve noticed that several NHL teams have hired advanced stats experts. Though #fancystats still have opposition, you don’t need to look further than the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings for proof that they offer valuable insight.  No longer are these metrics exclusive to a small community of mathematicians, they are now mainstream in hockey….

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Checking in on the Carolina Hurricanes

Last year: 36-35-11, seventh in the Metro Division. Missed the postseason by 10 points. Key additions: Tim Gleason, Jay McClement, Brad Malone Key subtractions: Andrei Loktionov, Justin Peters, Manny Malhotra, Drayson Bowman (likely), Radek Dvorak (likely), Mike Komisarek (likely), Joni Pitkanen (likely) Franchise direction: Like the Penguins and Capitals, Carolina elected to oust its coach and general manager rather than overturn its roster. Bill Peters replaces Kirk Muller behind…

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Checking in on the Washington Capitals

Last year: 38-30-14, fifth in the Metro Division. Missed the postseason by three points. Key additions: Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Justin Peters Key subtractions: Mikhail Grabovski, Jaroslav Halak, Michal Neuvirth, Dustin Penner (likely) Franchise direction: Like the rival Penguins, Washington chose to make major changes in the front office over overhauling its roster. In for George McPhee is Brian MacLellan as General Manager while long-time Predators…

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