Archive for Musings
Four questions this week as the training camp battles heat up. As always, you can use the widget on the right to send all your questions to me, and I will answer them in a weekly mailbag post.
anon asks: Why do you think Kevin Hayes should stick to center? He can’t win a faceoff to save his life.
I’ve addressed this on Twitter a bunch of times, but I may as well address it here too. While faceoffs on special teams are important, even strength faceoffs don’t do much in terms of controlling the play. It’s what is done after the faceoff that matters. The Derek Stepan winner against Washington showed us that much, as Stepan didn’t win that draw. It was Jesper Fast that came in and poked the puck to Keith Yandle that set the whole play up. But I digress.
The point with Hayes is that of his 45 points last year, I believe 40 of them were either goals or primary assists. That’s 90% primary points for him. That’s what you want your centers to do. You want them to create offense, you don’t want them to be passengers. Hayes is very smart as well, as he consistently drives to the net, and he gets himself open to shoot. He’s a beast with the puck, and he’s pretty solid defensively too. Faceoffs are skill that can be improved upon. You can’t teach hockey IQ, and Hayes has that in droves.
Received one question this week. This is a unique question, since I think the sender was spam, but it asked a question that a few folks have asked in the comments. So, spammer, you get your question answered. Congrats, that’s a first here. As always, submit your questions for the mailbag via the widget on the right side of the page.
Columbus (Spam) asks: Why are forecasters picking the Rangers to finish second or third, behind the Islanders and Blue Jackets?
And now you see why I think this question was spam. Not many are picking the Isles or Blue Jackets to finish ahead of the Rangers. Most predictions I’ve seen have the Penguins and/or Capitals finishing ahead of the Rangers. The Isles still have questions on their blue line and in their forward depth. The Blue Jackets have a great set of forwards, but their defense is suspect.
Finally. September. The ridiculous 90+ degree heat hasn’t seemed to stop, but at least hockey is not only weeks, instead of months, away. There has been a summer full of great off-season analysis, and Traverse City is right around the corner. As we move at break-neck speed back toward hockey season, I have some thoughts…
There have been several slightly off-topic articles written over the past few weeks that I wanted to throw my .02 in, at least just conceptually. Read More→
It truly is the dog days of summer. It’s not just the Rangers that are quiet but the league in general is in its summer slumber but there’s still a few things worth discussing – both Ranger and league wide.
Danny Briere officially retired this week. Another undersized player, like Marty St Louis Briere also had to fight his way up depth charts to forge a good career. Even though he was a first round draft pick he wasn’t an immediate success. Not Hall of Fame worthy but almost 700 points as well as over 100 playoff points makes an impressive resume.
Offseason (slightly biased) prediction: Henrik Lundqvist finally wins his second Vezina. He should be fresh and will have a pretty big workload meaning strong volume stats.
Two questions this week. As always, submit your questions using the form on the right, and we will answer them in our weekly mailbag.
asfjr asks: With the possibility of expansion coming in the next 2 or 3 years, what rules are there for protecting players with NMC/NTC? Say expansion happens after the 15/16 season, would the Rangers be required to protect Marc Staal since he will still have an NMC, but still be able to expose Dan Girardi since he will only have an NTC?
Now this is an interesting question that I simply can’t answer right now. There are no provisions in the current CBA that account for an expansion draft, so this is something that would need to be negotiated by the league and the union. When expansion is approved by the Board of Governors (and yes, it’s a when, not an if), then this will be a hot topic.
No-move clauses are designed to protect against any involuntary movement, meaning trades or demotions. However, there are varying degrees. Take Derek Stepan: He has a full no trade for part of his deal, and a limited no-trade for part of his deal, but he has full no-move throughout. What I am interpreting this to mean is when his NTC goes from full to limited, his NMC will protect him from a demotion. A full NTC and NMC covers everything. A limited NTC and a full NMC covers demotions and limited trades. That’s just my guess though.
In addition to checking on the teams in the Metropolitan we’re going to take a look at general league goings on as we’re in the middle of hockey summer and as we eventually approach the pre-season. So, without further delay…
Unsustainable shooting percentage
Starting with some Rangers stuff (hey, we’re a Ranger blog after all). Having looked at the shooting percentages, Kevin Hayes (15.3%) will be an interesting follow next year as his shooting % is surely unsustainable. Offensively Hayes finished the regular season on fire but can he repeat his numbers, can he kick on offensively or, given a likely shooting percentage regression, will his numbers take a dip?
Bernier lowballed by the Leafs.
Just one question this week, but it’s an important one. As always, you can submit questions for the mailbag by using the form on the right.
Tyler asks: Do you think Kreider’s next contract will be close to Gustav Nyquist deal? I’d say those two are pretty close comparables.
That’s a difficult question to answer at the moment, since this season will play a large role in the contract Chris Kreider receives. This year, Kreider has a cap hit of $2.475 million, but is getting $2.6 million in salary. That means his qualifying offer will be $2.6 million. Nyquist’s new deal is four years at a $4.75 million cap hit.
Nyquist will turn 26 when the season starts, so his new contract buys two RFA years and two UFA years. Kreider will turn 25 in April 2016, so his new contract will also buy two RFA years, with any remaining term buying UFA years. Remember that unrestricted free agency is determined by the age of the player in June of the offseason, so Nyquist’s late birthday actually hurts him here.
Happy Friday, BSB faithful. I hope your summer is treating you well. Personally, I’m happy that summer is the busiest time for me at work, because those dog days between the start of free agency and the beginning of training camp are just brutal from a sports perspective. All the interesting moves have mostly been completed and we count down the days until hockey returns. One cannot live on baseball alone. Here are some thoughts as we slog through the summer…. Read More→
Four questions for this week’s mailbag. As always, use the mailbag feature on the right to send us questions throughout the week.
Q: What do you think Derek Stepan is worth? What will he actually get?
I had to trim this question down a bit, since the email had about five paragraphs. I think Stepan is worth that $7 million number that seems to scare everyone. If you think about this in percent of cap, that’s 10% of the cap. I certainly think Stepan is worth that. As cap inflation, which is a real thing, rises, then the percent of that hit goes down. It may not go down much, but the alternative is to trade him? For what? This team is in win-now mode for good reason, and Stepan-Brassard-Hayes-Moore is a lot better than Brassard-Hayes-Lindberg-Moore.
In the end, I think he gets $6 million for his last two RFA years, matching what Ryan O’Reilly got in his last two RFA years, then an average of $7 million for the last four years. That averages out to $6.67 million per year. Well worth it for a 25 year old center, and the contract expires when he’s 31 years old.
‘Tis the season. It’s that time of year when teams look to lock up their free agents and it’s the time of year when a lot of long term deals get hammered out. The latest of those long term deals came this week as Ryan Kesler signed a 6 year pact with the Ducks for 41.25m. Kesler is a quality two way center and for a while, exactly what the Rangers would have liked at the 2C spot.
While Kesler is clearly at a different point in his career, he does offer some reflection on the Derek Stepan situation. Kesler averages around 50-55 points for his career and plays a very good two way game. He’s had good playoff success and with his reputation even $6.8m per year appears a team friendly deal for the Ducks – at least in the short term. Could the Rangers refer to Kesler in the Stepan negotiations?