Archive for Musings
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?
We’re fast approaching the dog days of the hockey summer or are we already there? Let’s have a quick scan at some of things going on around the league as well as Rangers thoughts from the week just gone.
Power rankings: I place no great stock in power rankings at the best of times but especially ones published in summer. With that said, the hockey ‘experts’ at ESPN have the Rangers ranked at 11. Really? Do recent performances count for nothing? Three conference finals in four years, no truly significant roster losses and yet they’re behind Columbus, Montreal, Calgary, Washington and Minnesota amongst others. Ok then…
In my opinion, the Bruins did a lot of things wrong this summer but Jimmy Hayes was a nice acquisition and the new deal signed by Hayes could be a bargain. If he gets the ice time and develops and has the right linemates, 2.3m per year for three years could be an absolute steal. Especially given the inflated prices of 20 goal scorers in this league…
Happy 4th of July weekend, BSB community! Before we get started, just a quick housekeeping issue: we have our off-season plan contest finalists down to our final three. The finalists have submitted tremendously creative and interesting proposals. The plan is to start unveiling those next week for community voting, however, I didn’t want to bury them at the beginning of a holiday weekend, so you’re stuck with my thoughts.
Got a few questions regarding free agency, which begins tomorrow at noon. Let’s have at it.
BrooklynVic asks: Do you think the Rangers move any other pieces when free agency reopens Wednesday?
There is a serious logjam on defense. Brady Skjei and Dylan McIlrath are going to be fighting for spots, and all six defensemen from last year are returning, or at least it appears that way. Something has to give. I’ve been saying the Rangers are going to trade Kevin Klein, since he is the most easily moved, and I still believe that to be the case. However, with Carl Hagelin in Anaheim, the Rangers don’t need to move him right away. They can wait until camp, see how the kids perform, and go from there.
And no, I don’t think they are moving Tanner Glass.
I find the NHL Draft to be such an interesting concept. Not only do front offices have to be ready to deal with reacting to their punch list of player rankings and how to best utilize those picks, they also must engage in rapid-fire trade discussions and last minute pick movement. Fascinating. The Rangers are in an unusual position (for them, at least) at the Draft this season, having no high picks and several valuable assets. There are numerous ways the next two days can play out, so naturally, I have some thoughts.
- Might as well start with Cam Talbot. Over the last few weeks, we have gotten a little better idea about where his market stands in the context of a potential bidding war between Buffalo, San Jose, Edmonton and potentially teams like Dallas or Florida. The claim is that Sather turned down two second round picks. I trust the big guy’s trading prowess, and that’s a solid return to turn your nose up at in a very deep draft.
When the Rangers’ season ended almost two weeks ago, my plan was to sit down and write a “thoughts” post to give some closure to the season. It ended up taking a little more time than I expected to put the year in perspective, but I’m going to give it a go this morning. Here are my final thoughts on the 2014-2015 New York Rangers.
- I suppose I’ll kind of give this a go in semi-chronological order, so let’s start with the off-season. I agree with Kevin, that this past summer was not Glen Sather’s finest hour. To an extent he used the “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” model. He had to cover the losses of key contributors in Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle and Benoit Pouliot, so bringing in depth was important when little cap space existed.
Got four questions for the mailbag, so let’s have at it.
Q (More of an FYI, from Ray): I questioned the SAT data showing the Lightning dominated the first two periods of Game 6 in a BSB comment. Anyway, I actually didn’t watch the game live – I taped it -and so I could revisit it. I tried to keep track of zone time in the first period (too mindless to do the entire game).
My numbers aren’t perfect, I’m sure, but they are unbiased with presumably small errors which likely mostly balance out.
I believe OZ time itself is a better indicator of possession, but the NHL stopped tracking it in 2001 for some reason. We use SAT because, logically, if you have the puck in the offensive zone, you are getting shot attempts. Yes, this does undervalue the cycle, and wearing down and pinning the opposition, but the goal of the cycle is to get shot attempts. You can cycle all you want, but if you don’t get shot attempts, the puck won’t go in.
Your email was very detailed. I’m posting the full email in the comments so that people can discuss.
Tonight, the Rangers will play Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Obviously, playing in the winner-take-all game in a playoff series is a familiar spot for New York. Their elimination game record the past few years is staggering, and have been battle-hardened to these moments. I’m sure if you went searching for pre-game content around the interwebs, you could find plenty of articles waxing poetic about the purity and excitement of Game 7. I have a confession to make: I’m not a fan.
Sure, those talented authors are correct in their whimsical accounts of pure sport, guys stepping up on the big stage and motivation of “it all comes down to this”. The problem is, Game 7’s are a crapshoot. They come down to bounces, mental mistakes, officiating and other such incidentals that take some of the quantification out. I’m not just talking about from a statistics standpoint, either. Of course, if one team controlled 65% of possession and had a heavy advantage of scoring chances, yet lost 2-1, you’re going to hear that narrative. What I’m talking about is the emotional component. Read More→
Who’s ready for another Game 7? I’m writing this as I watch the Blackhawks and Ducks duel, and it’s another reminder how much more enjoyable elimination games are when it’s not your team that’s playing. Tomorrow night is sure to be pure agony, at least until the final buzzer sounds. Then, hopefully, it will have been a ton of fun.
Since I can’t formulate coherent thoughts before this one, on to the musings:
– Though we can’t help but hope, there’s pretty much no chance Mats Zuccarello will play tomorrow. That said – if he were to practice today and was miraculously deemed game ready, where would he fit in the lineup? Zuccarello is not going to replace J.T. Miller in his old spot alongside Rick Nash and Derick Brassard after that trio produced 13 points in Game Six. Putting Zuccarello on the fourth line would obviously be a waste – but the same goes for Martin St. Louis, so slotting Zuc in on the third line and bumping MSL down doesn’t make sense either. The most likely hypothetical scenario would be to have Zuc replace Jesper Fast on the second line – but it’d be a real shame to banish Fast to fourth line Siberia with the way he’s played. Too bad it doesn’t matter.
– Speaking of Nash/Brassard/Miller, I did some quick addition after Tuesday’s game and noticed that the trio has accounted for 20 points in the series, just two fewer than the terrifying Triplets. Of course, 13 in one game skews that quite a bit, but hey, they did pretty much win that game singlehandedly (with help from Hank). You can show me all the statistics you want that say “clutch” isn’t real, but I refuse to believe it, and Brassard is a perfect counterexample.