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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Checking in on the Pittsburgh Penguins

Last year: 51-24-7, first in the Metro Division. Eliminated by the Rangers in the second round. Key additions: Patric Hornqvist, Christian Ehrhoff, Nick Spaling, Steve Downie, Blake Comeau, Thomas Greiss Key subtractions: James Neal, Matt Niskanen, Jussi Jokinen, Brooks Orpik, Lee Stempniak, Brian Gibbons, Deryk Engelland, Joe Vitale, Tanner Glass (just kidding) Taylor Pyatt (just kidding) Franchise direction: The Penguins roster has been…

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Checking in on the Columbus Blue Jackets

Last year: 43-32-7, fourth in the Metro Division. Eliminated by the Penguins in the first round. Key additions: Scott Hartnell, Brian Gibbons Key subtractions: R.J. Umberger, Jack Skille, Derek MacKenzie, Blake Comeau, Nikita Nikitin Franchise direction: The Jackets are happy as clams with the way things are going after they made a surprise postseason appearance and gave Pittsburgh all it could handle in…

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Checking in on the New Jersey Devils

Last year: 35-29-18, sixth in the Metro Division Key additions: Mike Cammalleri, Martin Havlat, Scott Clemmensen Key subtractions: Martin Brodeur, Mark Fayne, Anton Volchenkov, Ryan Carter (likely) Franchise direction: The Devils have finally turned the page on the Brodeur era, but that doesn’t mean the team is any younger. New Jersey added the 32-year-old Cammalleri and 33-year-old Havlat to a…

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Checking in on the Philadelphia Flyers

Last year: 42-30-10, third in the division. Lost to the Rangers in the first round Key additions:  R.J. Umberger, Nick Schultz Key subtractions: Scott Hartnell, Adam Hall (likely) Franchise direction: I didn’t quite know what to think when Ron Hextall replaced Paul Holmgren, but so far the new general manager has demonstrated restraint uncharacteristic of this organization. Yes, the Hartnell/Umberger…

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