Yea, he’s on the roster (Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images North America)
Now that the roster is finally taking shape, and the pieces are starting to fall into place, the main questions are about the line combinations and kids making the roster. Signings like Tanner Glass and Lee Stempniak add flexibility to a roster that was almost 100% reliant on kids making the roster, while all of the core pieces are returning for this season.
No matter which way you look at it, the Rangers have significant turnover this season. They lost Brad Richards, Benoit Pouliot, Brian Boyle, Derek Dorsett, and Dan Carcillo up front. They lost Anton Stralman on the blue line. But hey, 100% of their goalies will be back this year, so that’s a plus.
Derick Brassard and John Moore remain unsigned, but that’s not really a big concern. Both will be back and both will fit under the salary cap. Piggybacking off Suit’s line combinations post, here’s what we could be looking at on opening night:
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The Rangers national TV schedule (NBC/NBSCN) has been released for the 2014-2015 season, and the Rangers will play 14 nationally televised games. Of these, at least 10 are expected to be exclusive to NBC and NBCSN:
- 11/5: Red Wing 8PM NBCSN
- 11/19: Flyers 8PM NBCSN
- 11/18: @Flyers 1PM NBC
- 1/7: @Anaheim 10:30PM NBCSN
- 1/18: @Penguins 12:30PM NBC
- 1/29: Montreal 7PM NBCSN
- 2/4: Bruins 8PM NBCSN
- 2/28: Flyers 8PM NBC
- 3/4: @Red Wings 8PM NBCSN
- 3/8: @Chicago 7:30PM NBCSN
- 3/11: @Washington 8PM NBCSN
- 3/18: Chicago 8PM NBCSN
- 3/22: Anaheim 7:30PM NBCSN
- 3/24: LA 7PM NCSN
Source: Getty Images
For the first time since, I don’t know the 90s, the Rangers had pretty stable line combinations at the forward position. While most of us figured there would be more consistency with this new regime, I don’t think anyone expected to see the lines stay together as often as they did for as long as they did.
Even if you look back at AV’s tenure in Vancouver, he rarely kept the lines together as consistently as he did last season. Obviously, this had a lot to do with depth. With the departure of many key players at several different forward positions, you wonder what kind of consistency we’ll see during 2014-15 season.
Today, we take an early look at what the Rangers potential line combinations could be come October.
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St Louis ain’t singin the Blues
Over the next few agonizing, hockey-free weeks, we’ll be going over moves made division by division, mostly highlighting winners and losers thus far in free agency. Though there is still time for many changes to be made (mostly the signing of restricted free agents, cough cough Glen Sather), several moves have happened around the league that we might not be familiar with. Much like my musings, these will be in random order, so let’s open with the Central Division.
Above shows a screenshot of how the division played out last year. Comparatively, the Central was the strongest of the four divisions, with five teams making it to see late April hockey as opposed to the Pacific’s three – despite the Pacific Division eventually hoisting the Cup. The favorites out of the west up until the last week of regular season hockey were the St. Louis Blues, up until their skid and first round exit courtesy of the Chicago Blackhawks. That being said, I believe the Blues are the winners as of July 20 of the 2014 offseason, and here’s why. Read more »
Going to need a big year from this guy.
Part One, Part Two
One of the major concerns for next year is the payroll. The Rangers have a lot of money tied into a few players, and the club lost a lot of key players in free agency. Another major factor was that the cap ceiling, initially projected to be $71 million, was announced to be just $69 million. Five key players departed via free agency, trade, or buyout (Anton Stralman, Benoit Pouliot, Brian Boyle, Derek Dorsett, Brad Richards), and another three appear all but gone (Justin Falk, Raphael Diaz, Dan Carcillo).
To counter that, the Rangers brought in Dan Boyle, Tanner Glass, and Mike Kostka. There were some other depth players brought in to help fill out the AHL roster as well (and yes, I’m counting Matt Lombardi as an AHL guy for now).
There are three types of players the Rangers are dealing with now: Those that are signed, those that have filed for arbitration, and those that are non-arbitration RFAs. Let’s break them down.
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Arbitration begins in a week in Toronto, with the Rangers visiting our neighbors up North for three key forwards. So how important will it be to sign each of Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, and Chris Kreider? To put it mildly, the 2014-15 season depends on it.
The importance of the third line last year has been talked about ad nauseum, but for good reason. The most productive line last year is in jeopardy of becoming complete history, with Benoit Pouliot signing an enormous deal in Edmonton two weeks ago. Both Zuccarello and Brassard are restricted free agents, going unrestricted next year, so the likelihood of arbitration going well is high; however, what happens if they follow in Derek Stepan’s footsteps from last year? How important is it that these players don’t miss camp?
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Even Margot Robbie is worried
I was going to post a picture of your average Rangers fan, but I figured Margot Robbie would yield more pageviews. Yes, you’re all suckers.
Other than the fact that she’s hot, I think her reaction is probably synonymous with how most of this fan base reacted to the org’s first week of free agency. Mass panic!
It’s amazing how everyone always derides the Rangers organization for throwing Jim Dolan’s money around this time of the year, yet another summer of keeping his wallet in their pockets and everyone acts like it’s the end of the world. Life of a sports fan I suppose.
Me? I am not worried. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that I actually like the moves our organization made this past week. There’s still work to be done for sure. I mean we are three months away from opening night. But so far, we’re heading down the right path.
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Alert: the world is NOT ending
In the aftermath of the free agent frenzy of last Tuesday, it appears that a lot of you (and us, actually) have some pretty strong feelings, mostly negative. Given that Glen Sather is working with a $69M cap hit and roughly every single Ranger succumbing to free agency, I won’t sit here and make a case or assign a grade to one day of a lengthy offseason. We lost a lot, sure, but I’m a huge proponent of the old idea of addition by subtraction. But who was subtracted that’ll hurt the most?
This week has been chock full of articles about how badly we’ll miss Brian Boyle and what a dope Sather was to let him walk. In a perfect world, we keep Boyle and Dominic Moore together on the penalty kill to continue their magic (and their magical bromance when the situation arose). There’s no denying that Boyle played well throughout the playoffs, and for once, the playoffs were a long, joyous time of winning. But we have to think before that, and we have to think about terms, which is something we often don’t do when we have a predisposed feeling about a player.
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(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
When the music stopped on the NHL’s annual game of July 1 musical chairs, the Rangers were clearly left standing. Not only had they lost Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot, Anton Stralman and Brad Richards, but they were also left with minimal cap space and a much smaller group of incoming players. The kicker to all this is that none of the new players were centers.
All throughout the Finals, the narrative was the Kings’ depth down the middle and how the Rangers could match it. It was an area targeted for improvement this off-season, and it was the one area the Rangers seemingly couldn’t find a way to upgrade.
I don’t hate the Dan Boyle deal. I do hate the Tanner Glass deal, but we are talking about a 4W here, so it’s far from the end of the world. Sather added some nice depth the minor league club and created a pool of reinforcements should injury strike, but when we are potentially counting on one of just two possibly ready prospects to play significant minutes without any veteran competition, it becomes a little concerning. Read more »
In just a few short hours, the 2013-2014 New York Rangers were blown apart.
Usually it’s GM Glen Sather that flashes the power of the dollar as he plucks key contributors away from other top teams on July 1, but yesterday it was the Blueshirts that were victimized by the league’s annual spending spree. The unfortunate part of the carnage was that much of it could have been avoided.
That Sather wasn’t prepared to come near the five years, $20 million that Benoit Pouliot received from Edmonton is completely understandable. But that he wasn’t willing to match the five years, $22.5 million that Anton Stralman got from Tampa Bay is a little less so.
The real kicker came towards the end of the day, when the same Lightning that had already re-signed Ryan Callahan and poached Stralman then inked Brian Boyle to the perfectly reasonable contract of three years, $6 million. Read more »