Archive for Analysis


Alain Vigneault Still Looms

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Being a Rangers fan over the last few weeks has proven to be a strange existence. A lot of what we’re experiencing has the feel of Seinfeld’s Bizarro World: scoreboard-watching for repercussions on the draft lottery (as opposed to the playoffs), knowing that wins – while often fun – are not the best medicine, and still getting strangely upset at the Blueshirts’ glaring deficiencies while knowing that they’re an objectively bad team at present.

One key thing that remains is the presence of Alain Vigneault.  Indeed, there has been a lot more speculation about AV’s future than one would expect given the situation the organization is in.  A lot of people have pointed to Jeff Gorton’s non-committal comments last month as a sure sign that Vigneault would be fired at season’s end, but other than that, there seems to be a somewhat strong possibility that he may stay.  As Bob McKenzie noted on Wednesday night on NBCSN, the coach’s contract runs through the 2019-20 season at an estimated $4 million per year.  The Rangers would likely have to fork over a lot of that cash up front if they were to let him go.

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Now that we’re in a veritable rebuild I thought it would be fun to take a look at some cautionary tales, teams that have attempted to rebuild and failed, in order to determine what went wrong and how the Rangers should avoid making those some mistakes (all this of course, with the idea of Gorton or someone high up in the Rangers’ front office is reading this, because there’s a non-zero chance of that happening). This is going to be something I try and stick to, because I’d like to be able to really give some time and thought to why and how exactly teams have blown it in blowing it up. With all of that said there really is no better candidate for a cautionary tale deep dive than the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers have been rebuilding now for more or less a decade, depending on when you consider the rebuild to have started. A good trail marker along the mountain trek that is the Oilers rebuild is the Ryan Smyth trade: they gave up a heart and soul player, someone who had set records and given his all to the team through some very successful years (including a run to the Stanley Cup Final that ended in heartbreak at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes), all for Ryan O’Marra, Robert Nilsson, and a first round pick that they’d use to select Alex Plante. This break with the previous era came shortly after the Oilers traded another mainstay in Chris Pronger, who brought back Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, and three draft picks (the draft picks ended up going to various other places in exchange for various other pieces, the details of which can be found here).

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Categories : Analysis
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Kicking Things Off Right

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Friends, as we enter into this rebuild it’s important to consider what we lost and what we got in return. While we did sell off Nash, Grabner, Holden, McDonagh, and Miller, we ended up getting a boatload of picks in return (we now have three first rounders, two second rounders, two third rounders, and then one each in rounds four through six, with our own seventh rounder having been traded away as part of the Mika Zibanejad deal – a fair enough swap I’d say) but we also got some roster players, and so far it’s been going alright.

While guys like O’Gara and Lindgren may be underwhelming (I think Lindgren will be alright, but I know others aren’t so crazy about him) with regards to Namestnikov and Spooner, the future is looking bright. Now, both of them will have to be re-signed long term, providing the Rangers intend to keep them and not flip them both at the draft along with every prospect and pick they have for the first overall, but as far as production goes they’ve been pretty solid so far.

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ryan mcdonagh

I have to admit that I was one of the many, many skeptics of the Rangers announced plan to end their quixotic push for playoff appearances and actually begin a full level rebuild. Nevertheless, I’ll have to begrudgingly give a lot of credit to Jeff Gorton, for not only stating his plan but actually executing on it.

Based on my Trade Machine model (highlighted here) the Rangers emerged as the clear winners of the trade deadline (although, TB has a pretty good argument too).

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First impressions of Alexandar Georgiev

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(Photo by David Kirouac/ Getty Images)

Last night, in an otherwise meaningless game, goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made his NHL debut, stopping 38 shots in an impressive performance.  The young Russian was originally an undrafted free agent who attended the Rangers prospect camp this past summer, after an impressive stint in the Finnish Liiga.  Georgiev didn’t come completely out of nowhere; he helped backstop Russia to a silver medal in the 2016 World Junior Championships.  So, what do the Rangers have in this young tender?  Let’s take a look. Read More→

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rick nash kevin hayes

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Let me tell you a tale of two rentals. Player A has 1.45 primary points per 60 minutes played this season at 5 on 5, and Player B has 1.14. Player A’s GF%, relGF%, CF%, relCF%, xGF% and relxGF% this season at even strength are 43.55, -2.35, 49.22, 3.91, 51.85, and 5.01. Player B, in those same categories went 52.78, 5.64, 52.77, 1.25, 53.91, and 1.00.

There’s a lot to unpack here, provided I haven’t already lost you by dumping 14 different stats on you in the span of four sentences. Player A certainly seems to be on a worse team, because all of his raw percentages are lower than Player B’s, although relative to his teammates Player A seems to be the better player in every area except one, relative goals for percentage. Now, that one certainly means something, because in hockey, it’s the goals that count. All things considered though Player A is probably the one you’d take at the deadline right? Still, Player B seems alright, and depending on the ask a GM might opt for the latter player over the former.

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The on-ice issues plaguing the New York Rangers have truly come to a head, with the team playing listless hockey and getting blown out on a regular basis.  Everyone knows why this is happening, and it’s useless to discuss it further.  Once the dust settles on the impending sell-off, we’ll begin to assess what lies ahead.

Perhaps more concerning than the terrible hockey is the culture of the Rangers, which appears to be completely broken.

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The Power of a Promise

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(Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

A pall has descended over Rangerstown, and it’s sucking the fun out of the game. The Rangers are barely winning anymore, they’re doing that thing again where they totally mismanage injuries, Henrik Lundqvist is on pace to play way too many games, Cody McLeod is now a New York Ranger, and AV is still around, up to his old tricks.

The team, seeming lacking in any sense of direction or coherence, is now rumored to be decidedly in the selling camp as we approach the deadline, and likely beyond that to the draft. You’ll have to excuse me for being cynical about whether any of that comes to pass, or whether any of it is well executed, given the state of things. The Rangers have somehow taken a consistently good thing and in one season (but actually over the course of many seasons, which I’ll get to) turned it bad. How did we get here?

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Categories : Analysis
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Hate Week continues here at Blue Seat Blogs, and as Dave mentioned yesterday, the Rangers fully deserve it.  They are 2-5 since the bye week.  They are banged up, in part due to their own mismanagement of injured players.  They are running their 35 year-old generational goaltender into the ground in the name of desperation (“every point matters!”), then benching their third-leading scorer in a must-win game.

When this season began, the Rangers started so poorly that most fans and observers believed that they would bounce back.  The Rangers did, and put together an impressive streak that got them into playoff contention.  So who’s to say that this isn’t just another blip on the radar?  I give you the following (apologies for the shameless self-promotion): Read More→

Categories : Analysis, Rants
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derek stepan

How did we get here? How did the Rangers get this bad?

Don’t let their record fool you, outside of a fun stretch in November, which saw the Rangers’ SH% normalize and a related offensive outburst, the Rangers are not a .500 hockey team. They’ve been allowing a record number of shots, both attempts and on goal, and have looked like a cellar-dweller more than a Stanley Cup hopeful. If not for the Vezina caliber season of Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers would be in the cellar, slightly above Buffalo.

The reason we are here is simple. The Rangers, during their successes of 2013-2015, learned a series of lessons and adjusted accordingly. The problem is that they learned the wrong lessons, and their adjustments made them worse, not better. The warning signs were there as early as 2015, but went either ignored, or worse, unnoticed.

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