Reviewing Rob Vollman’s “Hockey Abstract”

HockeyAbstract

Hockey Abstract is available now.

Like it or not, advanced statistics are here to stay and are only going to continue growing in popularity.

There’s overwhelming evidence that basic metrics for puck possession are far more indicative of long-term team and individual success than the number of goals scored on a yearly basis.

Dave has done a great job of introducing us all to some of these new #fancystats, but if you want to learn more, than I encourage you to check out Rob Vollman’s brilliant new book, Hockey Abstract.

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Nagging injuries to Miller and Kreider cause for concern

J.T. Miller says his wrist injury hasn’t disrupted his offseason, but….

With 12 NHL forwards already under contract and Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello still to re-sign, it’s been difficult to figure out where youngsters like Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast might fit in next season.  Injuries to Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan could loosen the rotation for the first few weeks of the season, but there will still be a glut of forwards fighting for playing time.

Miller and Kreider are presumed to be the two prospects most likely to secure top-12 roles given that both already have some NHL experience and have had at least a little success.  However, recent comments by both players could indicate that this might not really be the case. Read more »

Prospect Sergey Tolchinsky remains on New York’s radar

Undrafted in June, Tolchinsky could become one of the first members of his class to sign with an NHL team

After turning heads at the Rangers’ post-draft Prospect Development Camp, 18-year-old Sergey Tolchinsky attended Carolina’s camp last week and put on another show.

The Soo Greyhound was one of the highest-rated prospects by independent scouting services to go undrafted in June, but since then he’s made a lot of teams look foolish.  Now, it appears that Tolchinsky has both the Rangers and Hurricanes – the only two teams with which he’s eligible to sign – competing for his services.

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Rangers lack cap room now, but are positioned well for next summer

Glen Sather should have plenty of financial flexibility next summer

Whether the Rangers re-sign Mats Zuccarello or not, they’re going to be right up against the salary cap ceiling when the 2013-2014 season opens.  Things are tight financially for New York right now, but 12 months from now the situation will be very different.

According to CapGeek, the Rangers have barely over $27 million in cap payroll committed to 2014-2015, more than $37 million below the current $64.3 million salary cap.  A chunk of that will go toward Derek Stepan’s new contract, potentially one for Zuccarello and likely a contract extension for Henrik Lundqvist over the coming weeks.  But even factoring in those deals, the Blueshirts should have a ton of money to work with heading into next offseason.  Lundqvist’s substantial cap hit will largely be negated by the certain Brad Richards buyout, and there are also whispers that league executives expect the cap ceiling to begin steadily climbing up, perhaps as high as $80 million within the next few years.

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How New York’s division rivals have fared this offseason

Will Ray Emery be the solution to Philadelphia’s goaltending woes?

Pittsburgh Penguins

Faced with precious little cap space and a host of key players to re-sign, the Penguins did a marvelous job of keeping a successful core intact.  Pittsburgh opened the offseason by inking Evgeni Malkin to a long-term deal and also managed to retain key UFAs Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz below market value.  It seemed like Pittsburgh would be unable to meet Kris Letang’s contract extension demands and that he might be dealt over draft weekend as Jordan Staal was last year, but the Penguins managed to keep their high-scoring defender happy with an eight-year, $58 million extension.

Pittsburgh lost trade deadline acquisitions Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Morrow as free agents and also allowed pest Matt Cooke to exit, while trading depth forward Tyler Kennedy to San Jose.  But amidst all that, the Penguins were able to bring back Rob Scuderi, a defender they regretted letting leave in the first place.  Pittsburgh has no room to operate under the salary cap so another trade might be coming and the Penguins are still planning to rely on Marc-Andre Fleury in goal next season, so it’s hard to classify them as a ‘better’ team.  However, the Penguins kept an extremely talented roster together for the most part and should again be a Cup favorite heading into 2013-2014.

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Rangers without much spending money as free agency begins

Ryan McDonagh will likely carry a cap hit between $4 million and $4.5 million

The decision to keep Brad Richards for another season left the New York Rangers without much wiggle room under the salary cap.  Sure, New York is currently $14 million under the $64.3 million cap ceiling, but much of that will go toward retaining restricted free agents: Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Mats Zuccarello and Justin Falk.

According to Dave’s projections, we can expect McDonagh’s new cap hit to come in around $4 million to $4.5 million and Stepan’s to be between $3.5 million and $4 million.  It’s probably a safe guess that Hagelin, Zuccarello and Falk will eat up a minimum of another $4 million.  So even on the low side of things, the Rangers will need at least $11.5 million to keep their team intact. Read more »

Taking stock of what’s coming down the prospect pipeline

Expectations are sky-high for Oscar Lindberg going into 2013-2014

Expectations are sky-high for Oscar Lindberg going into 2013-2014

The 2013 draft is now in the books and the Rangers have added five more youngsters to their prospect system.  Let’s take a look at where all the prospects stand heading into the offseason.

On the cusp

Chris Kreider

After bursting onto the scene during the 2012 playoffs, Kreider struggled out of the gate with the CT Whale to start the 2013 season.  He joined the Rangers following the lockout, but never earned major minutes under coach John Tortorella and was frequently sent back and forth from New York to Connecticut.  Still the crown jewel of the Rangers’ system, Kreider should be handed a much bigger offensive role next season under Alain Vigneault.

J.T. Miller

Miller’s quick climb up the ladder to New York was extremely impressive and though his 2012-2013 season was cut short by a wrist injury, he should also have a job to lose in September under Vigneault.  Miller’s game is very much a work in progress – he was guilty of some horrible defensive mistakes and didn’t contribute much offensively, but Miller looked like he belonged in the NHL.  He’s proven to be a very quick study all along and will be expected to continue his growth as a Ranger next season. Read more »

2013 NHL Draft Live Blog

It’s shaping up to be a crazy day around the NHL. The Rangers don’t have first- or second-round picks thanks to trades for Rick Nash and Ryane Clowe, but they do hold three picks in the third round (#65, #75 and #80 overall). It’s quite possible that New York will attempt to package a couple of those picks to move up into the second round, but don’t hold your breath on the Blueshirts getting into the first.

The rumor mill is really churning today, too.  Already New York has dealt Benn Ferriero and a 2014 sixth-round pick to Minnesota for D Justin Falk, but there could be more moves ahead.  Given New York’s cap issues, don’t expect them to be in on the big fish.  But there sure are a lot of big names being discussed, including: Tyler Seguin, Cory Schneider, Evander Kane, Alex Edler, Tyler Myers, Kris Letang, Tomas Fleischmann, David Perron, Dave Bolland, Braydon Coburn, Cal Clutterbuck and seemingly dozens of others.

Teams have three minutes to make each selection and also have five, five-minute timeouts throughout the day.  Unless the Rangers move up, they probably won’t be picking until late this evening, but we’ll be with you every step of the way.

Join us after the jump for updates.

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Rangers announce 2013 Prospect Development Camp roster

Just prior to the start of the draft, the Rangers announced their roster for the 2013 Prospect Development Camp, which will begin tomorrow and run through Friday at the MSG Training Center.

Draft picks today will likely participate in the camp, as well as:

Forwards:

J.T. Barnett, Patrick Brown, Luke Esposito, Steven Fogarty, Alex Gogolev, Marek Hrivik, Kyle Jean, Michael Kantor, J.T. Miller, Matt Neal, Josh Nicholls, Boo Nieves, Eric Robinson, Carter Rowney, Adam Schmidt, Steven Shipley, Michael St. Croix, Thomas Spelling, Kyle Stephan, Christian Thomas, Jason Wilson and Andrew Yogan

Defensemen:

Conor Allen, Brock Beukeboom, Luke Curadi, Charlie Dodero, Troy Donnay, Ben Fanelli, Tommy Hughes, Dylan McIlrath, Vojtech Mozik, Samuel Noreau and Brady Skjei

Goalies:

Ryan Faragher, Eric Levine and Jeff Malcolm

2013 draft preview: Keaton Thompson, Marc-Olivier Roy, Eric Roy

Keaton Thompson

With a new coach on board, the next order of business this offseason will be the NHL Draft, coming up on June 30th.  The Rangers don’t have first or second round choices thanks to trades for Rick Nash and Ryane Clowe, but they do have three third round picks.  The good news is that the 2013 draft is considered extremely deep, but by the third round there won’t be any sure things.  Here’s a look at three guys that could interest the Rangers, but are definitely high-risk, high reward players.

Keaton Thompson

Position: Height: 6-0 Weight: 187

Thompson is one of the youngest players in this year’s draft – in fact, he’s only two days away from being ineligible and having to wait another year.  He doesn’t excel in any one area, but he’s a solid all-around player and plays a pretty smart game for his age.  Thompson’s greatest strength is his skating; a must-have for Rangers defensive prospects over the last few years.  Thompson is adept at moving the puck out of his own end and shows poise with it, but he’s also demonstrated some greater offensive potential.  Thompson is good positionally in his own end and uses his quick stick effectively.  He is not a very aggressive player and has drawn criticism for his hesitancy to clear the front of the net. Read more »