Archive for Irresponsible Rumormongering

May
19

2017 BSB Offseason Plan Contest

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msgnetworks.com

After an unceremonious loss to the Senators, we find ourselves here again.  The offseason.  This one is particularly interesting, not only because of the major changes likely on the horizon for the Blueshirts, but also the Expansion Draft that threatens to throw a wrench in the roster planning for the entire league.

We typically get everyone’s basic perspective and team building philosophy in our lively comments section, but let’s take it up a notch, shall we?  We want to put you in the driver’s seat of the New York Rangers’ offseason. That’s right, the Offseason Plan Contest is back.  For the uninitiated, we have run this contest a few times in the past and gotten some killer submissions.  We want you to become the architect of the New York Rangers organization and outline your plan to bring the team back to glory.

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May
18

Breaking down the Ilya Kovalchuk rumors

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ilya kovalchuk

Ever since the news broke that Ilya Kovalchuk wants to come back to the NHL, preferring to play in New York or Florida, the Rangers have been linked to them. Elliotte Friedman added fuel to that fire during this week’s 30 Thoughts, mentioning that the Rangers also appear to have interest.

It would be silly for Jeff Gorton to simply ignore Kovalchuk’s return. After all, he’s been a point-per-game player in the KHL. At 34 years old and at that elite talent level, he’s still got gas left in the tank. However the major question isn’t whether he has gas left, it’s how much. Is he going to be another Jaromir Jagr, putting up 40 points until he turns 900 years old? Or will he fizzle out after half a season?

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radim simek

The Rangers have decided that they want to make their prospect pool to model the United Nation. After signing three NCAA prospects in the spring, the Rangers followed up by signing the highly coveted Alexei Bereglazov from Russia and are believed to be in contention to potentially sign Swedish defenseman Andreas Borgman. I believe that the Rangers may be adding a Czech defenseman in the coming days to the prospect pool as well.

Radim Simek is one of the top Czech defensemen not in the NHL, and at 24 years old he wants to take a chance in North America. It was originally speculated that the San Jose Sharks will be the team that will be able to sign Simek to a contract, which makes sense. Good team, good weather, they have a history of signing good Euros to deals (Rangers should sign Tim Heed away from them this summer), and they have a Czech on the team. Apparently, that all changed a few days ago as seen in this article. Here is the interesting quote thanks to Google translate:

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alexei bereglazov

Per our very own Josh Khalfin, citing Igor Eronko, the Rangers are likely to sign Russian defenseman Alexei Bereglazov once his KHL deal expires. Bereglazov is a big dude at 6’4″ and 220 lbs, but is a very mobile skater. Josh did a full breakdown of him earlier this month, and you should definitely check it out.

Should he sign with the Rangers, he will likely need a little time in the AHL to get accustomed to the North American rink and game. However he is a solid player and could slide into the lineup almost right away. The added benefit –aside from just landing a solid prospect, even at 22 years old– is that Bereglazov played in the KHL, and is someone that Pavel Buchnevich is familiar with. Buchnevich passed on all bonuses to have a KHL-out clause in his deal. This could be a move to keep Buchnevich comfortable as well.

These are just rumors for now, but very strong rumors. Nothing can be official until his contract in the KHL officially expires.

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mike vecchione

Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers have their sights set on Hobey Baker finalist Mike Vecchione of Union College. Josh wrote briefly on Vecchione, stating that he is one of the more dynamic centers in the NCAA. He put up 29-34-63 in 38 games this year with Union. In 149 NCAA games, he has a line of 71-105-176.

The drawback here is that Vecchione is already 24 years old, and much like prior undrafted NCAA free agents, he has more leverage than Vinni Letteri and Vince Pedrie. The Rangers would likely need to sign him this year –ineligible for the playoffs– which would burn a year of his ELC. It’s certainly a risk.

But with risk comes reward. It is likely the Rangers lost one of Jesper Fast or Oscar Lindberg to Vegas in expansion. If Vecchione can make the jump right away, which is no guarantee, then he might be able to fill that fourth line role.

Comments (15)

Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire

Antti Raanta has been having a stellar season. Forced into more playing time than expected, he has shined brightly and helped stabilize what could have been a disaster in net for the Blueshirts. It’s reminiscent of when Cam Talbot was forced into more playing time when Ryan McDonagh tried to decapitate Henrik Lundqvist.

Talbot was traded that offseason to the Edmonton Oilers for three draft picks that the Rangers desperately needed. Almost immediately after the trade, the Rangers landed Raanta in a deal with Chicago for Ryan Haggerty. Haggerty is already 24 and has not seen a single NHL game. Suffice it to say, Benoit Allaire picked his man wisely.

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Comments (60)

alexei bereglazov

Per Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers are considered the favorites for KHL defenseman Alexei Bereglazov. This is only one of the hopefully many prospect signings the Rangers will be making this offseason and I think Berglazov is a nice start for a project defenseman.

Only 22 years old, the 6’4 Russian defenseman is a very nice prospect to add to the pool as many of these big defensemen take a longer while to develop. The good news is that in his last three seasons in the KHL, Bereglazov has been developing and improving in all facets of his game. When discussing him, we should really talk about his playing style. He is a big, physical, defensive defenseman who uses his size and brains to his advantage in the zone. His positioning is very good as well.

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kevin shattenkirk

There is a growing line of thinking on Twitter that the Rangers should stand pat this deadline, perhaps take advantage of Michael Grabner’s season by trading him now, and then retool the blue line for next season. At the start of the season, I was on this train. It made logical sense, since the Rangers likely wouldn’t be able to compete for a Cup with the blue line as it currently stands.

Fast forward to today, and I have changed my line of thinking. Never in my life did I think the group of forwards the Rangers assembled would be this good. They are a top scoring team and winning despite the blue line. Flags fly forever, and there are are only so many years left to get Henrik Lundqvist (and other career Rangers) a Cup. All eyes are now on Jeff Gorton and how to address the black hole that is the defense to get closer to that Cup.

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rangers canucks

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers are getting a lot of calls as the trade deadline approaches, most of them asking for JT Miller. Luckily, the answer the Rangers have been giving to every team is “no.” When the season started, Miller appeared to be the odd man out in any deal to address the defense. However Miller has played himself into possibly untouchable territory.

Of course no one is truly untouchable, and Miller can likely still be had in the right deal for a stud defenseman. However as of now, those offers have not been made. So have no fear, Miller won’t be gone in the wrong deal. And yes, dealing Miller for Kevin Shattenkirk is the wrong deal.

Brooks noted that the Rangers have been heavily scouting the Kings, and while we concluded that it could have been for Alec Martinez, Brooks thinks it’s for 24-year-old defenseman Paul LaDue. But as Brooks states, do you really think Alain Vigneault will sit Kevin Klein for a kid with little NHL experience?

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kevin shattenkirk

Photo credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It’s trade season, and that means everyone and their mother has an idea of what the Rangers should do in order to improve the team. Whether this means buying, selling, or standing pat, we’ve all entertained various thoughts in our heads as to what could, should, or might happen.

Last week I wrote about how perspective matters and on the most recent podcast we talked with Sean Hartnett about how close this team is to contending (with the always intelligent Hartnett offering his opinion that the Rangers are a “tier 2” contender, just below the level of say, the Penguins). Prior to that I had written about how the Rangers could improve this blue line, floating the idea of acquiring Cody Franson and waiting until the summer for Kevin Shattenkirk. Some recent developments however, have changed my mind.

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Comments (41)