Ryan McDonagh is a bargain. Relatively speaking. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Now the dust has settled after the draft, week of pre-free agency negotiation and free agency itself, a few days of quiet are upon us before arbitration hearings, contract negotiation rumors and the scraps are picked at in free agency. With that all in mind, let’s take a little look around the league and reflect on the Rangers this summer so far.
Patrick Kane and Jon Toews got identical contracts but that’s where the similarities end – in my opinion. Toews is a natural leader and figurehead. He’s not worth the money he’s just got but if either player is worth it, it’s certainly Toews and not Kane as Toews brings so much more to the table than ‘just’ offense.
Patrick Kane is a Star. He’s a point/game playoff player and is incredibly talented but he just got $10.5 million per year yet has only once scored more than 73 points in a year and has one 30 goal season in his seven years in the league. Sure, it’s not just about numbers and sure, the Hawks are paying to keep the faces of the franchise in town but the money getting thrown about is out of hand. Nothing we didn’t know already, right?
Every additional, major contract signing that gets announced makes me love the Ryan McDonagh deal that much more. Five more years of 25 minutes a game, elite defense and 40-50 points per season for $4.7m a season seems like a bargain.
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Happy Almost-Three-Day-Weekend folks. A lot has gone on in Rangerland over the past few days, so let’s get to the musings.
Their best and most complicated trade chip. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
- The Rangers have $14.6 million in cap space to fill six forward spots and one defense spot. If you allocate about $12 million to Derick Brassard ($4 million), Mats Zuccarello ($4.5 million) , Chris Kreider ($2 million), and John Moore ($1.5 million), that leaves $2.6 million for three forward spots. That’s not much room to work with, even if you do use kids to fill the remaining roles.
- The Rangers said that they want to add one more forward, but don’t know if they will sign someone or trade for someone. If they sign a forward, it’s going to have to be another experimental forward, like Benoit Pouliot last summer.
- Mike Ribeiro is the name that will probably be thrown around a lot, as he was just bought out by Phoenix and could come cheap. I’d venture a guess that he would settle for a Brad Richards deal (one-year, $2 million). That’s as cheap as they come, but Ribiero hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire lately.
- Aside from Ribeiro, the other UFAs are either too expensive or not intriguing: David Legwand, Derek Roy, Steve Ott, Saku Koivu, Michal Handzus. None of these guys fit (from a cap perspective or from a talent perspective).
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The 2013-2014 postseason was such an emotional ride, I needed to take a little step back after the Rangers were tragically eliminated in Los Angeles two weeks ago. Sure, I did a report card and may have twittered once or twice, but I needed a break to collect myself. Big props to the crew here for putting together fantastic content, from end of season grades to draft/free agent previews.
Once I felt alright to reengage the hockey world, I wanted to put the past season into some context. We all know the roller coaster narrative of a struggling team at the beginning, some transformative trades and an emotional ride to the Final. Unfortunately, those stories had already been told and I emerged from hibernation a little late. There is way too much going on now to reflect. Off to 2014-2015 we go! Here are some scattered thoughts of the various goings on surrounding the Rangers as we head into tonight’s Draft…
- I obviously agree whole-heartedly with the Richards buy-out for both business and performance reasons. However, the move does put a decent sized hole in the lineup during an offseason without a whole lot of options. Considering the timing of internal free agents, I doubt the Rangers can make a meaningful run at Paul Stastny, considering how overpaid he will be.
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Bye Broadway Brad
With the announcement of the schedule coming later today, those of us who were stuck in a catatonic state of denial are slapped awake to notice that, hey, when your team loses in the Cup Finals, there isn’t really that much time til next season. The Rangers open up in St. Louis on October 9, followed by their home opener against Toronto on October 12. That’s really not that far away, so rejoice! On to some random musings that have crossed this mind for the past few days…
- The Brad Richards buyout made me feel a lot of feelings. I fully believe that it had to be done, and I fully believe that he should have been kept on for this past season. The thing to remember is this: without Richards, the Rangers win nothing in the beginning of the season and perhaps don’t come back at all. Maybe without Richards, the Rangers don’t trade for Martin St. Louis who was undeniably a huge factor during the postseason. It’s a little disheartening. Read more »
We received two questions this week to answer in the mailbag. Be sure to email us and ask us any questions, and we will be sure to include them in these posts.
Vic asks: Can the Coaches not ask for a review in the NHL? In particular, Dwight Kings goal. I get the call, or no call, but isn’t that reviewable. Can’t AV just jump on the ice and ask to review it?
In short, no. Currently, the only plays that can be reviewed via instant replay are questionable goals (high sticks, kicking, crossing the goal line, etc). Hockey is really lagging behind in the instant replay category, and considering how fast the game moves, they need to be on the forefront of utilizing this technology. I understand the sentiment that there should be some human error, but there are certain plays that absolutely need to be reviewed. Goalie interference is definitely one of those plays, as there is way too much inconsistency here. King’s goal aside,g goes both ways. There were countless instances of phantom goalie interference calls that led to disallowed goals.
Following the King incident, the NHL announced that they will be looking into goalie interference consistency and ensuring they get the calls right. Whether that means we get instant replay, we won’t know until the change is announced.
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Bruce Bennet/AP Photo
Good morning, BSB’ers. You’ll have to forgive something of a sleepy “Thoughts” post. I haven’t even had a full cup of Earl Grey yet. The Rangers are back in Los Angeles tonight trying to hold off the fates and send the series back to New York, if only to give the Blueshirt faithful further coronary/anxiety/substance abuse issues. Here are some scattered thoughts on a rainy morning…
- With all the debate and enthusiasm leading up to this series, it’s kind of a strange limbo we find ourselves in. Obviously, it was nice not to be swept, but I think most realistic fans are disappointed in what seems to be an inevitable result. Yet here we are, still fighting.
- I feel like this series has just thrown all of our #fancystats and analysis out the window. The first two games, Rangers executed their game plan the best we could have hoped against a strong LA side, yet blew two goals leads and surrendered the games in OT. Yet in Game 4, they mustered a measly 19 shots on goal, got some help from everyone’s go-to guy, Mr. Crease Snow, and managed to win. Go figure.
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The face of an OT winner
Let’s face it, last night’s loss felt like a kick to the stomach. I don’t think any of us were able to wake up without feeling sad, disgruntled, nauseous, confused, personally victimized, etc… I personally can’t formulate a logical post, so instead, some post-game thoughts.
- The Rangers dominated last night. This is infuriating right now, but I’ll take great play and a tough loss over getting run over for two games.
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And the waiting is over…until it began again
Well, I certainly never thought I’d be writing this post. The Rangers return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994 when Richter, Leetch, Messier, Graves and company became legends for slaying dragons, making guarantees, but most importantly — getting the job done. It still amazes me to think that it has been 20 years.
I first started following the Rangers in 1988, the same season Brian Leetch was a rookie. My old man worked for a construction company, which had seats by the old Bud Light sign near the away team tunnel. I still have tickets to my first game that season. It was against the Devils and they were $67.
After watching games on TV with my dad, I remember walking down the stairs to our seats and being blown away at how vivid all the Rangers jerseys were and how gold the Garden ceiling was. Standard TV in those days just did not do the hockey experience justice.
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Scott Levy/Getty Images
Of course that game ended 1-0. Why wouldn’t it? For better or worse, this organization never makes things easy. Of course, the score should have been more like 4-0, if not for the heroics of young Dustin Tokarski. He kept a tired and outpaced Canadiens team in it until the end.
Now, you’ll forgive me for being a little disjointed in the aftermath of this victory, so if you wouldn’t mind I’m just going to meander a little bit through the jumbled mess that is my brain following the Rangers’ first Stanley Cup Finals berth in 20 years…
I became a Rangers fan back in 1992-1993. I started playing street hockey with some neighborhood kids and was hooked immediately. It was the very end of the regular season and the Blueshirts had failed to qualify for the playoffs. But hey, I was a huge Yankees fan, so why wouldn’t I support the Rangers?
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Photo: Gerry Images
The Rangers are in Montreal tonight with the chance to win the series and play for the Stanley Cup. There are a lot of thoughts running around the brain of mine, and I like bulleted lists.
- There is a big need to close this series out as fast as possible. The Rangers are banged up, and could use as much rest as possible. Derek Stepan needs time to adjust to a full cage and playing with a broken jaw as well.
- While there is a big need to win immediately, I won’t panic if they lose Game Five. Yea, it’s not the ideal scenario, but the panic won’t start then. Now, if they lose Games Five and Six, then there will be serious concern.
- I will say this, if they lose tonight, they must win on Thursday. If they lose both, there is no way they win Game Seven. I know that Hank is unreal in Game Sevens, but they need to win before it gets to that point.
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