Archive for Musings
All is quiet in Ranger land at the moment. The trade deadline has passed. The Rangers would need to have an epic collapse to miss the playoffs. The only questions now are who they will face and how successful they will be. So with that, I posed a question about what you want to see in this post, and got some replies, so let’s have at it.
Kevin asks: What do you think the final stretch lines/pairings will be? (This came up multiple times, but Kevin was the first to ask)
I don’t think we are going to see much change in the lineup. The top nine will remain the same. We will see some changes on the fourth line though. Expect Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast (when healthy) to be the mainstays. Brandon Pirri and Pavel Buchnevich will rotate in. That’s what I have when fully healthy for the playoffs. While Fast is out, I expect Matt Puempel to join the rotation.
I know, I know, Dave just gave his thoughts on the deadline yesterday, but Dave and I are not the same person. Deal with it. It’s been a couple days since the deadline has passed, and I have had the ability to process the Rangers moves (and non-moves) and as you can imagine, I have some thoughts…
1. Considering Alain Vigneault’s track record with defensive deployment, it’s understandable for fans to be skeptical about the actual impact of the Brendan Smith trade. With someone like Shattenkirk, it would be a no-brainer to put him on the first pair. With Smith, depending on your view of his skill level, he could play anywhere from 1RD to 3RD. It seems like the Wisconsin connection with Ryan McDonagh has him ticketed for the first pair, which is a good thing. I don’t believe that Smith is an actual 1RD by any stretch, but since the Rangers gave up some relatively significant assets to acquire him, I’d much rather he push guys down the line up, than lengthen it from the bottom.
The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Rangers made their big move on Tuesday, not yesterday. That big move was acquiring Brendan Smith for a pair of draft picks. They made three other minor league moves, but nothing that moves the needle or even impacts the Rangers that much. The focus is on Smith, his impact, and how the Rangers fare for the rest of the season. So let’s get into it.
1. The Smith trade is an upgrade on the current defense. Smith, despite being a lefty, is a RD and has history with Ryan McDonagh, as they were paired together at Wisconsin. That leads me to believe that Smith will get the top bidding even when Girardi returns. That is dependent on how well McDonagh and Smith play together, but at this rate anything is better than Girardi on the top pair. So in that regard, the Rangers have a major net positive.
The Rangers made their first major move at the trade deadline yesterday, landing defenseman Brendan Smith of the Detroit Red Wings for a 2018 2nd rounder (Ottawa’s) and a 2017 3rd rounder. The price was steep, but the Rangers got a solid upgrade on defense. There’s a lot bouncing around in my mind, so let’s have at it.
1. Make no mistake. Smith is a major upgrade on both Kevin Klein and Dan Girardi. He’s not flashy. He’s not going to score much. But he’s steady in his own end. He is a good skater. He moves the puck well. He does a lot of little things needed to win the game. He’s basically a left-handed Anton Stralman. If you recall, Stralman didn’t score much for the Rangers, but was loved for the little things he did with the puck to help the transition out of the defensive zone.
– Washington really came out of nowhere to land Kevin Shattenkirk. And good for the Caps – just as the Rangers have been frenetically trying to capitalize on Henrik Lundqvist’s remaining years, Washington has been trying to finish the job with Alex Ovechkin. The Rangers were surely in this, but in the end they may prove to be smart allowing Washington to sacrifice future assets while still ultimately landing Shattenkirk this summer for another run next year. The reported cost of first- and second-round draft picks along with prospect Zach Sanford isn’t absurd, but clearly it was more than Jeff Gorton was comfortable paying. Kudos to him for drawing a line – now we’ll see if it all works out.
– The question is, do the Rangers now change their plans? The prevailing favorite just landed the highest impact player of the deadline. Is anyone in the Eastern Conference other than the Penguins confident enough they can go toe-to-toe with Washington that they want to splurge assets on mediocre talent? It might not be the most sensible arms race.
The trade deadline is one week away, and the rumors are surprisingly quiet. I expect it will pick up over the weekend and as we get closer to Tuesday/Wednesday. The Rangers are not really in many rumors at the moment, but that I also expect to change as the trade winds pick up.
In case you revived the dead horse, the Rangers need defensive help. And if you did revive the dead horse, you now have a zombie horse. It’s your fault when the zombie apocalypse happens. Jerk. Enjoy your final trade deadline musings before packs of zombie horses eat you.
With every passing day the trade deadline draws closer, with teams already likely in the preliminary stages of making whatever deals we’ll eventually see transpire. The Rangers are likely to be active at the deadline one way or another, and while I’m not going to make specific recommendations or prescribe particular remedies to what’s ailing the team (given that I’ve already done that, and given that there’s certainly more than one way to improve this team) I do want to unpack the crucial thought process that a team must undertake in the run up to the deadline.
In short, it all has to do with whether or not this team sees itself as a true contender, and whether or not that’s actually true. We’ve seen in previous years the Rangers’s tendency to go all in, adding pieces at the deadline in order to give the team a shot at the Cup. While I think it’s certainly admirable to try and contend every year possible and give Henrik Lundqvist a shot at his Cup, we’ve also seen in previous years that this hasn’t exactly worked out.
Last night, the Rangers lost a disappointing game to the rival Islanders in Brooklyn. The loss snapped a six game winning streak in which the Blueshirts were able to move into a temporary three-way tie for second place in the Metro. Since it’s Friday and we are all looking to kill some time at work, I have some thoughts…
1. I am not a big believer in picking your preferred playoff matchups. I generally find it to be a fool’s errand, but this season, I really can’t see any upside in trying to vie for position in the stacked Metro division. Nothing good can come from the meat grinder of potentially playing the Penguins, Blue Jackets and/or Capitals in the first two rounds.
As Sunday turned to Monday the Rangers are in a nice place; they’re riding a five game win streak with Henrik Lundqvist being fresh off win number 400. Without further delay, let’s muse all things Rangers with a focus on the impending trade deadline.
Every team has their needs and everyone around the league know what the Rangers’ needs are which beggars the question; when a team’s need is as glaring as the Rangers (hello right handed blueliner) is it at all possible to get value at the deadline? If the Rangers do make a move to improve the one obvious flaw that they have, it will take something very special from Jeff Gorton to not overpay and/or give up a major asset or two.
With the trade deadline approaching, it has been fairly obvious that the Rangers are in the market for a defenseman. That defenseman is likely to be on the right side, as the Rangers are pretty terrible there. That part we know. What we don’t know, though, is what the Rangers plan on doing to address this hole.
There are numerous options, most of which we’ve covered here. The Rangers can make a splash for a Kevin Shattenkirk. They can go for a rental like Cody Franson or Michael Stone. They can make a block buster deal for a young defenseman rumored to be dangled, like Jacob Trouba. But one area that hasn’t been discussed much is standing pat, and doing nothing. There’s a solid argument for this case too.