Archive for Around the League

Folks, it’s the first time ever here at Blue Seat Blogs that we’re doing a playoff preview without our beloved Rangers. Sure, we can be sad and lament a lost season, but instead, let’s look at the bright side. For starters, no home bias! Woo!

Let’s take a look at the bracket:

And now, for our (non-)expert takes on the series….

New Jersey Devils vs. Tampa Bay Lightning — the blowout

Rob: TBL in 4. Sweeps are extremely rare in the NHL playoffs, but I’m going to be bold here.  Tampa Bay is firmly a contender, while the Devils are more of a “nice story” on their way back to relevance.  In many ways, they’re similar to the 05-06 Rangers, who we all remember fondly but were crushed by a more talented and experienced Devils team in that year’s playoffs.   Read More→

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For the first time in eight years, the Rangers are not going to be in the playoffs. It’s just the second time in the Henrik Lundqvist era. It’s unfamiliar territory for us. But have no fear. We are here to help you through these troubling times. Here is a guide to get you through these 2018 playoffs – specifically who to root for, in reverse order.

16. New Jersey Devils

Let’s be real, if you’re rooting for the Devils in any capacity, then you’ve lost your way. The Rangers also hold their second round pick, so losing quickly helps the Rangers as well. Rooting for the Devils is like hitting yourself in the face. Repeatedly. With a brick.

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rangers coyotes

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Welcome back all to this week’s edition of How Not to Rebuild. After two riveting examinations of the laughably bad Edmonton Oilers and the actually-just-kind-of-OK Carolina Hurricanes, I figured we’d go back to another team that is really, truly, not very good. For this week I figured it’d be appropriate to take a look at the Arizona Coyotes, our favorite desert hockey team (as opposed to the LA Kings, who are no friends of ours here, or the Vegas Golden Knights, who are just sort of bizarre).

The boundaries we’re going to place on this analysis is the 2012-13 season to present, given that in 2011-12 they made it all the way to the Conference Finals, having lost the previous two post-seasons in the first round. So really, not as if they had a ton of sustained success in the first place (their 2009-10 playoff berth was their first since 2001-02) but whatever, playoffs are playoffs (or so I’m told). It’s worth pointing out that things don’t break down as easily in terms of the rebuild lining up with coaching/management changes either, as Dave Tippett was coach from 2009-2017 and Don Maloney was GM from 2007-2016, with the former being replaced by Rick Tocchet and the latter by the infamous Computer Boy, John Chayka. In any event, let’s take a look at their draft history first.

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AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Continuing on in the series about how not to rebuild a team, I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at the Carolina Hurricanes in the wake of their firing of their general manager, Ron Francis. What makes the Canes especially interesting is that they’re not in an Edmonton or Buffalo situation – they’re a decent team with decent players, it’s just that every year they seem to be on the cusp and can never quite get over the hump. Why is that?

Let’s start with the good – Ron Francis has done a fine job of managing his salary cap, the details of which can be found here, on CapFriendly, with the real big doozy here being Jordan Staal’s long-term contract, signed before Francis became GM. After that their next highest paid forward is Victor Rask, who, although he isn’t exactly star talent, is hardly what’s ailing the Hurricanes, at least in terms of dollars and cents. Justin Faulk’s contract is reasonable for the kind of player he is, and the Pesce and Slavin contracts are (at least in my opinion) veritable steals as far as locking down two excellent young d-men go for many years at reasonable cost. Really, aside from that Staal contract, the next big issue is the risk Francis took on Scott Darling, who although he’s had a rough year, could conceivably bounce back (or not) depending on a coaching change, the personnel in front of him, etc.

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See you soon, old pal

On the eve of Game 13 of the season, the Rangers find themselves firmly in panic mode, needing to right the sinking ship. If the Titanic has taught us anything, it’s that a) Jack could have fit on that door, and b) you need to make sure you have enough life boats to save the ship. It seems the life boats, as the “gimme” games against Montreal and Arizona, have sailed far away.

The Rangers are looking out on Games 13, 14 and 15 this week against two very hot teams and one team playing average hockey. The time to have turned the ship around would have been last week, and it looked like that almost happened against Montreal. Unfortunately, the regulation loss against the Canadiens on Saturday night could prove to be more harmful than it seems.

Let’s take a look at what lies in the week ahead.

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Oct
10

Graced by Vadim Shipachyov

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vadim shipachyov

In the midst of the panic with the Rangers having a poor first two games of the season, one of the things that have been consistently talked about is Coach Alain Vigneault essentially benching 18 year old rookie Filip Chytil throughout the first two games of the season. Chytil has struggled, but when he is your defacto 2C, you can’t be playing him five minutes a night. Perhaps it takes a bit to get used to the tougher competition.

One thing thing the Rangers must do is add a talented center as soon as possible if the Rangers intend on sending Chytil back to Zlin (Czech league), otherwise the offense is in trouble. Adding a top-six center is incredibly difficult, and the Rangers don’t really have the chips to land a guy that fits that mold. It’s going to be easier said than done. So the club is going to have to get creative.

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Sep
09

Metro Division Preview

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Since hockey season is almost upon us (certainly the preseason at least) I figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to write a quick preview of the Metropolitan Division, to refresh all of the things that went down this summer in our hockey backyard. It can be tough to remember every offseason transaction, so why not compile them all in one place and offer a little bit of analysis? Anyways, here’s your 2017-18 Metropolitan Division.

New York Islanders

This team got undeniably better, on the addition of Jordan Eberle alone. His chemistry with John Tavares is going to cause problems for teams around the Metro, and when you factor in Josh Ho-Sang the Isle’s scoring depth just became a force to be reckoned with almost over night. Still, although they’ve improved substantially up front, they’re the Islanders, with such luminaries as Dennis Seidenberg and Casey Cizikas down the depth chart, which is to say they’re not exactly stacked as you move down the lineup. I’d project them to make some noise as the playoff push begins to come together, but ultimately they’re a bubble team at best.

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Still cooler than any of us

Welcome to the second installment of this year’s Top 31 goaltenders.  I covered all of the introductory/methodology/housekeeping issues during the first portion of the list, which you can find here to bring yourself up to speed.  Otherwise, we are going to jump right in.  Here goes, goaltenders 20-11… Read More→

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You will never be this cool

Welcome to the 6th Annual Top 31 Goaltenders List.  Can you believe it’s been six years already?  Wild.  Anyway, this was one of the most difficult years to rank, in that many veteran goaltenders started to reclaim for former glory and a few young guys took aim at some top 10 stalwarts.  However, with the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights as the league’s 31st team, I got to add another spot to the rankings, giving me a little extra breathing room.

So, let’s get the house keeping stuff out of the way before we get to some honorable mentions and our first section of the list.  The criteria for the rankings are as follows:  I am advising a hypothetical “team” on a one-year solution between the pipes.  I am completely ignoring concepts of age, contract status, incumbent goaltender, contention window or any other factors relating to the status of said “team”.  Everything is in a vacuum and all about current talent level that can be projected out for the next twelve months.  It goes without saying this whole exercise is for fun and massively subjective, so feel free to run me through the gautlet in the comments.  Read More→

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Is Brian Elliott the answer in goal for Philadelphia?

Washington Capitals

The Caps experienced the most significant turnover of any Metro team, and not for the better. Washington lost Kevin Shattenkirk, Justin Williams, Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner and Marcus Johansson. They did lock up Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and Dmitry Orlov, but any way you slice it this team took a giant step back. To his credit, GM Brian MacLellan admitted that the salary cap had simply caught up to him and after going for it the last two seasons the writing was on the wall. Washington still has a ton of talent and will absolutely be in the playoff hunt, but the Caps don’t look like the bona fide contender they’ve been for the last decade.

New Jersey Devils

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