Archive for Offseason
Talking to fans since the Rangers got eliminated, I’ve noticed a few recurring trends showing up in the discussions. The most prevalent is that Rangers fans have an absolute desire for a scoring winger on this team.
No matter what direction the Rangers go; Retool, Rebuild, or go for one more run, there will be a need for a scoring winger. Ideally it would be one who is young and can grow with the team. Pavel Buchnevich will be with the team, but he isn’t the answer to your scoring winger desires. This is by no means a knock on Buch, as he has the tools, but tempering expectations for a teenager is always a good thing. Plus, Alain Vigneault will likely shelter him initially.
An obvious way to begin our search for a scoring winger is to look into free agency. Unfortunately when the current crop of free agent wingers is less than appealing.
The Rangers have a pretty long shopping list this summer with the defensive (let’s call it) overhaul and all the restricted free agents needing signing (amongst other to do’s). Complicating things for Jeff Gorton and co. will almost certainly be Oscar Lindberg’s injury and the fall-out it will cause.
Lindberg’s season came to a very disappointing end. After a truly surprising start (that include Calder whispers in October) where he was a major reason for the Rangers’ own fast start, Lindberg eventually slipped and stayed out of the line-up. In retrospect it’s now fair to assume that his hip issues influenced the disappointing culmination to his season.
In a utopian hockey world, the Rangers’ roster would be full of 6-foot-6 tanks that all skated like the wind, possessed unreal skills, and paid equal attention to both ends of the ice.
But in reality, NHL teams can really only afford to focus on a couple of attributes in building their rosters. The best franchises have identified those characteristics within their existing talent pool and continued to add and improve over the years. The Kings, Ducks and Panthers are teams of physical giants that will grind you into a pulp, while the Lightning, Penguins and Stars have focused on speed and skill.
The 2015-2016 Rangers lost their identity. They maintained the same all-world goalie that was key to the John Tortorella-era Blueshirts who were airtight defensively, and the recent Alain Vigneault edition that became a lightning quick counterattack team. But this year’s group never quite figured out what it was beyond having that super-safety net in goal.
Well, here we are. It’s May 6th and the Rangers are no longer playing hockey games. I’m sure it still stings for many of you (us). Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen frustration and venting in the comments section. Lamenting decisions from both the coaching staff and management are perfectly natural as we process the death of another chance to bring the ultimate prize to Broadway.
Fear not, BSB faithful, we are here to help. The upside to an early exit is we get to implement the BSB Offseason Plan Contest a few weeks earlier this year. It seems like it will be a really fun year to do it, too. For those of you unfamiliar, we have run this little exercise for the past few years (save for 2014-2015, as they were just playing hockey for too damn long to make the timing work). Basically, you get to play GM of the New York Rangers. Read More→
The smoky remains of the 2015-2016 season are beginning to clear and the Rangers front office must begin sifting through the wreckage and addressing the various questions that surround the team’s future.
Given New York’s cap crunch, it’s going to be a monumental task to diagnose what went wrong, develop a go-forward plan and reevaluate and retool the roster.
The process must start with getting rid of not just one, but both Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. Each has a no-movement clause, but recent history shows that those hold very little weight when it’s made clear to a player that he’s no longer wanted. It will be very difficult to show these long-time loyal soldiers the door, but it’s in the best interest of the team to rip the Band-Aid off as quickly as possible.
Tonight is surely the beginning of the end for Dan Girardi as a Ranger. First of all because it is now clear to everyone that Girardi is no longer superhuman and the once-warrior is accumulating injuries like never before. Hey, this is what players past their sell by dates often do. Secondly Dylan McIlrath can surely do no worse even if he doesn’t excel, right? And thirdly, as mentioned yesterday the Rangers are trying to do the unlikely and jump in front of the speeding train that is Pittsburgh and get it to stop. Can the Rangers really continue with Girardi if they exit the playoffs early? Surely not.
If he is sheltered, Girardi can probably add value to a team where he better fits, where they may want a veteran presence, where he can player in a more friendly system and where the media glare is not so intense after every mistake. That’s the qualifier to this post.
Happy Friday, BSB faithful! Welcome to the final installment of the 4th Annual Top 30 Goaltenders List. It’s been a wild ride, but here we are. The first two editions of the rankings can be found here and here, and the first post will outline the format if you are late to the party. A few readers have reached out looking for a write up on the guys who were left off the list from last season, since there was a ton of turnover this time around. If there is interest in that, I can definitely put a post like that together. You can think of it as a spin-off to the original.
Without any further delay, here are your Top 10. Read More→
Welcome to the second installment of the 4th Annual Top 30 Goaltenders List! This time around we will be ranking goaltenders 20-11. In case you missed it, the 30-21 bracket, in addition to all this year’s housekeeping considerations can be found right here. Since that all that good stuff was covered in the first post, let’s jump right in… Read More→
Welcome to the 4th Annual Top-30 Goaltenders List. This has been a very interesting year for goaltending analysis. From a research standpoint, this was far and away the toughest edition of the list yet. I had my draft list down to about forty goaltenders before I had to start making the tough decisions. I’m not big into spoiling the list before it even starts, but the fact that I had to leave Mike Smith, Petr Mrazek, Michael Hutchinson and Andrei Vasilevskiy off the list is a testament to the incredible depth of goaltending talent in the NHL right now.
Additionally, I feel the need to qualify criteria for selection. In the past, I have gambled on prospects who have yet to really get their feet wet at the NHL level. This year, the pool was just too large, so I’m limiting the field to goalies who have played at least ten NHL games. The likes of Connor Hellebyuck or Malcolm Subban, who I may have been tempted to include, aren’t going to be eligible. If prospects are your thing, I would recommend heading over to InGoal Magazine and checking out their Top 50 Goaltending Prospects list. Read More→
Cheering on the Blackhawks this past Cup Final series was a very strange one for a plethora of reasons. First, as a casual Blues fan and an avid David Backes fan, I practically need to hate every ounce of the Blackhawks as if they killed my family. I even had a small speech ready if ever had the pleasure of meeting Brent Seabrook. Secondly, I blame Patrick Kane for the cluster-eff that was the 2014 Bronze Medal game in Sochi. I mean, to miss two penalty shots? I don’t hate the photo of him crying that may or may not be saved as a favorite in my phone.
Of course, these two notes paled in comparison to the fact that I’m not big enough of a person to cheer for the team that eliminated mine, especially when their coach makes my skin crawl. And when the Hawks did raise the Cup, I was very happy for people like Kimmo Timonen and Dan Carcillo (if you haven’t seen his Player’s Tribune submission, go now. Seriously, put this post on hold and go. Grab some tissues, too), and got choked upon seeing Carcillo’s fiancee in a Steve Montador jersey. But I was never super enthused for Kane, and I shall explain why. Read More→