Archive for Musings

brendan smith

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.

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Feb
28

Musings: Trade deadline eve

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Michael Grabner could bring in a haul, but that’s irrelevant to the Rangers

– 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.

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Feb
23

Trade deadline thoughts

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kevin shattenkirk

Photo credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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jeff gorton

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.

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Feb
17

Friday afternoon thoughts

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Newsday

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.

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kevin hayes

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

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.

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skjei

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

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.

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Jan
27

Thoughts heading into All-Star Weekend

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As the NHL heads into All-Star weekend, regular season games have been suspended until Tuesday. With the loss to the Flyers on Wednesday, the Rangers go into the break in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division, nine points back of the Caps for the top spot. With sixty percent of the season behind us and just a month to go before the trade deadline, I have some thoughts…

1. Even though it was a small sampling of games over the past week or so, it was nice to see a real bounce back in performance from Henrik Lundqvist. He has looked much sharper since the barnburner against Dallas. Much more poised on his feet, more precision in his angles and movement and more in sync with the team in front of him.

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kevin shattenkirk

Photo credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

On the podcast last night, Becky and Pat brought up an interesting discussion about who their dream Ranger would be. It’s an interesting topic, as there are many different opinions of what player will solve all the problems that ail the Rangers. It’s also a fun discussion too, as it’s a battle to try to get your favorite player on the Rangers.

For Pat, his dream Ranger is one of Erik Karlsson, PK Subban, or Steven Stamkos. At the deadline though, he’s significantly more realistic, preferring Cody Franson or Kevin Shattenkirk in the summer. Ryan Graves actually made his list too. Talking about a reboot of the defense.

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Jan
19

When should the Rangers fix the defense?

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Photo: Andrew Theodorakis/NY Daily News

Unless you’re blind, you’ve noticed that the Rangers have a huge issue on defense. It doesn’t matter what you think about Henrik Lundqvist’s future, it’s painfully obvious that for the Rangers to be a better team and have a legitimate shot at a Stanley Cup, they need to make drastic changes on the blue line. This is beyond deployment, it’s personnel based, and the need is dire.

There are some quick fixes that can be done to make the Rangers into more of a contending team. This would mean giving up a young top-nine forward for a young top-four defenseman and then making a separate deal for a solid bottom pairing defenseman. That, at the very least, is what is needed to turn the current version of the Rangers into a true Cup contender this season. They need not one, but two defensemen.

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