Archive for Players

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The Rangers are in a transition period. The rebuild is in full swing. There are questions about regarding who stays and who goes. One of those questions is on Marc Staal, who has three more years left on his deal with a $5.7 million cap hit. Suffice it to say, it’s not a good contract.

The calls to trade or buyout Staal prior to this year were warranted. His contract was bad, and he was taking up cap space that could have been spent elsewhere. Without that contract, the Rangers probably don’t need to trade Derek Stepan to sign Kevin Shattenkirk, and perhaps this season is different. There’s no guarantee, but it’s something worth calling out. But times have changed in less than a year.

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jimmy vesey

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Jimmy Vesey is an interesting player for the Rangers. A highly sought after college free agent, the former third round pick chose to come to New York after refusing to sign with Nashville. Vesey broke out in his junior year in Harvard, and used that leverage to select his destination.

I mention this only because that hype plays into how he is perceived across the league, especially by fans. That hype, coupled with a pair of seasons where he put up over 15 goals, has only fueled the discussion. Is Jimmy Vesey worth it? Or is he going to become overvalued?

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Apr
03

Projecting Brady Skjei’s next contract

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brady skjei

As we enter the home stretch of this lost season, we are left with hopes of a bright future. The Blueshirts have depth. They have two potential budding stars. But they also have a blue line that is part awful and part horrible. Yes, some of the horribad is due to the system, but some of it is still on the players. That’s why we are seeing a bunch of kids get their shot.

One of the bright spots on the blue line is Brady Skjei. Skjei had a fantastic rookie year, putting up 39 points in 80 games. He took a step back in production this year with just 24 points in 79 games though. There’s more to Skjei’s game than just points, as he’s probably the only left handed defenseman on the team the past two years that can actually move the puck consistently.

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Mar
31

Diamonds in the Rough

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lias andersson filip chytil

The future is now, folks – Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil are both on-ice members of the New York Rangers and for the most part, the fanbase is pleased as punch. After a pretty disappointing year (nonsensical coaching, injuries to star players, general malaise) we finally have something genuine to be excited about, something not couched in caveats or qualifiers. I too, am excited, but unfortunately I have to be the bearer of bad news: although Andersson and Chytil have certainly shown great promise, they’re still diamonds in the rough.

Let’s start with the bad news: last night both Chytil and Andersson got caved in as far as shots go, with Chytil being on ice for 11 shots for and 16 shots against, while Andersson was on ice for 11 shots for and a whopping 21 shots against. Expected goals is a little bit better, with Chytil being on ice for 0.94 xGF and 1.00 xGA, with Andersson being on ice for 0.52 xGF and 1.80 xGA. Not exactly a great night, but Chytil did have his first NHL goal, and made some nice plays with Mats Zuccarello, and the Rangers broadly got hammered in terms of shots and expected goals, so there’s that.

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Mar
28

Projecting Kevin Hayes’ next contract

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kevin hayes

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

The Blueshirts have a ton of questions to address this offseason. From the blue line to the coach to the forwards, not one stone will be left unturned in this process. It’s the first time in a long time that we will be glued to social media for most of the offseason.

One item of particular is the decision process around Ryan Spooner, Vlad Namestnikov, and Kevin Hayes. All three are comparable players, and all three are pending RFAs. While a trade is certainly possible, there is also room for all three next year. So let’s look at what Hayes, the longest tenured of the trio, might cost next season.

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pavel buchnevich chris kreider

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/AP

The Rangers are done for the year. The remaining games are meaningless, serving only to #fuelthetank and get a look at some of the kids who may be on the bubble for next season. All attention is going to be on the April through June months, as the Rangers are poised to make more moves to help rebuild the roster. The biggest move is going to be behind the bench, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the roster is safe.

One player that many people have focused on is Chris Kreider. He’s the second highest paid forward on the roster, with another two seasons remaining at $4.625 millions. His rare combination of speed and skill make him a match up nightmare, and he would likely fetch a haul at the draft. The argument to trade him makes sense.

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Comments (60)
Mar
08

John Gilmour has earned his keep so far

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AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

In the realm of defense prospects, John Gilmour was overlooked by almost everyone, including myself. He didn’t have a particularly great season as a 23 year old in Hartford last year, so naturally at 24 years old –prospect age-out territory– thoughts had shifted away from him. His solid half season in Hartford (6-20-26 in 44 games) combined with the need for the Blueshirts to sell at the deadline created the opportunity for Gilmour to be called up.

Since his call up, Gilmour has put up a line of 2-1-3 in 12 games. Nothing spectacular, but it’s the rest of his game that has drawn the attention of many. Paired with Brady Skjei, Gilmour has showcased great skating and smart decisions with the puck. His strength has been in the transition game, an area the Blueshirts sorely needed help.

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Comments (42)
kevin hayes

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

The Rangers, who had no depth at center just two weeks ago, are now flush with center depth. After Mika Zibanejad, they have Kevin Hayes, Ryan Spooner, and Vladislav Namestnikov. Consider, for a moment, that Spooner and Namestnikov replace some combination of David Desharnais, Paul Carey, and Peter Holland, and you the realization of steps made during the trade deadline become apparent.

Hayes, Spooner, and Namestnikov are all RFAs at the end of this season. Spooner and Namestnikov are probably due big raises, but Hayes is likely due a modest raise due to his poor output this season. The cap space, at least in the short term, shouldn’t be an issue, but the club will need to make decisions on this trio pretty quickly.

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brady skjei

Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Much of the focus the past week is what the Rangers would be able to get for Ryan McDonagh and other players on the roster. However there is still life after the trade deadline, and while trading McDonagh is not a guarantee, there needs to be a contingency plan. The Rangers will need someone to fill in top pairing duties. And by that I mean an actual top pairing defenseman, not another Nick Holden.

The logical step is that Brady Skjei would take that role. He’s already the clear cut #2 on the left side, well ahead of Marc Staal on the depth chart. There aren’t many in the system who could take his role either, so barring a return of a top-pairing defenseman –unlikely at best– we are looking at Skjei assuming the role of top pairing defenseman on the left side.

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Jan
17

Appreciating Jimmy Vesey’s improvements

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jimmy vesey

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Jimmy Vesey was the prize undrafted free agent before last season, and the Rangers nabbed him. The former third round pick was instantly placed into a middle/bottom six role and put together a nice rookie season. The winger finished with a line of 16-11-27 in 80 games, which is impressive for a rookie given his usage.

That said, his play away from the puck left a lot to be desired. It didn’t go unnoticed that he was sporting a -4.27 rel CF%, a -13.32 rel GF% (!!), and a -5.83 rel xGF%, it just went without much criticism. He was a rookie and playing more than 40 games for the first time in his hockey career. His sophomore season would be looked at with more scrutiny, and he hasn’t disappointed.

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