Archive for Players

Being a fan of star-crossed team can be one of the cruelest forms of self-inflicted punishment. Only the most masochistic of us can envision an ending for our favorite team that most likely will lead to heartbreak, and yet exacerbate it with the hope that “maybe this year will be different”.

The Past

“History is written by the victors” – Winston Churchill (maybe)

For example, by Emmanuel Perry’s WAR metric from corsica.hockey, last year’s Washington Capitals were the 5th best team in terms of total WAR since 2010.  Despite the fact that last year’s Penguins were the top-ranked team in the same time frame, Washington outshot Pittsburgh by nearly 60 shots over the course of the seven-game series.

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Nov
15

Kevin Hayes is actually good

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One of the more polarizing players on the Rangers is Kevin Hayes. Hayes is viewed as an inconsistent center who “is not good defensively” and “lazy” by some. Others see Hayes as a talented middle-six center who plays a balanced game. The reality is the latter, not the former.

After an impressive rookie campaign, Hayes had what was perceived as a down year in 2015-2016. He followed that up with a strong third year in New York, recording career highs in assists (32) and points (49) while tying his career high in goals (17). The team rewarded his season and improvement with the 2C role following the Derek Stepan trade.

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Nov
14

There’s always room for improvement

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brendan smith

In case you missed it, the Rangers have won six in a row and have stormed back into relevancy for this year’s NHL season. They’ve done it on the backs of the KZB line, balanced secondary/tertiary scoring, and a Henrik Lundqvist that is giving the middle finger to his doubters. What they haven’t done, though, is optimize the lineup and improve where there are clear improvements to be made.

It’s no coincidence that the winning streak started when Alain Vigneault stopped with the silliness of dressing eleven forwards and seven defensemen. That was one improvement that helped turn the team around (a regression to the mean for SH% is also a primary catalyst for this as well). But one thing to note, something that applies to life as well as sports, is that bad decisions may net good results sometimes in the short term, but in the long run will lead to bad results.

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Kevin Hayes will never be a Selke winner. We also know that chances are he’ll never be a top line franchise center. He’s somewhere in between. Hayes has however, proven to be a reliable middle six center who has a strong offensive skill set.

What we are starting to see from Hayes however is that he can be trusted to be used in a defensive role, even if it doesn’t play to his full strengths – at worst he’s not a liability in such a role. The key has to be usage, and not just for Hayes. The Rangers cannot use Hayes as a pure match-up center and the intention should surely be to have three centers who can be trusted at both ends of the ice.

Hayes is probably never going to be a 60+ point guy given the way he is being utilised however, providing Alain Vigneault can utilise his big center properly, Hayes can cause a re-think in the Rangers mid to long term strategy at center. (asterisk attached to this entire piece: can we trust AV to use him properly?).

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Every few years, a prospect comes along that makes a fan base salivate.  Of course, the expectations of fans are often unrealistic, and the success of supposed “top prospects” is never guaranteed (unless they’re in the category of say, Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid).

A few years ago, Pavel Buchnevich became that prospect for Rangers fans.  Though he was just a third round pick, word spread quickly (along with plenty of impressive video highlights) that Buchnevich was the real deal.  Sporting great hands, a smooth stride and a high offensive IQ, the young Russian posted impressive point totals as a kid in the KHL, widely acknowledged as the second best league in the world.  When Buchnevich arrived in New York last year, everyone was anxious to see what he could do at the NHL level.

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Nov
07

Kevin Shattenkirk has been as advertised

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kevin shattenkirk

The major signing of the summer was Kevin Shattenkirk. The Rangers moved one popular player and bought out another to make room for the 28 year old defenseman. Shattenkirk was brought in to bring life to the power play and to stabilize the top-four defensemen, especially on the right side.

Through the first 15 games this season, Shattenkirk has done exactly what has been expected of him. Despite not finding a permanent defense partner yet, Shattenkirk has put up 5-10-15 in those 15 games, a 22-49-71 pace for 82 games. That puts him in the Norris conversation. It’s still early, but that’s as impressive a start as you can get.

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brendan smith

Note: Big welcome to Chris (@yolo_pinyato), the newest writer at BSB. Chris has put together some phenomenal work at HockeyGraphs, and has present at the RIT Hockey Analytics Conference. We are all stoked to have him on board. Give him a follow on Twitter and check out his work, it’s great stuff.

With the Rangers season already perilously close to teetering off the edge of contention, I wanted to take a quick look at the Ranger’s big offseason acquisition, Kevin Shattenkirk.

First a quick breakdown of the data:

When looking at Shattenkirk’s shot impacts last year at 5v5, we can see that relative to competition, he was by far the best player of the Rangers’ current set of defensemen. The shot impacts are weighted meaning that if two players had the same Corsi For% but different levels of competition, the player with the stronger competition would be higher on the y-axis.

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Oct
31

Chris Kreider is pretty good

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chris kreider

Over the past few seasons, there has been a very vocal –albeit small– group of folks that is adamant about getting rid of Chris Kreider. I see the logic, even if I don’t necessarily agree with it. Kreider is an animal, his combination of speed, strength, and skill is rare, and folks expect an elite level of output. There is also a level of inconsistency to his scoring, and he’s prone to the offensive zone penalty every now and then.

I don’t really know what expectations people have regarding Kreider’s output. He’s increased his scoring in every season since his rookie year, is a consistent 20-goal guy, put up 28 goals last year, and should hit 30 a few times over his career. He’s just 26 years old and is on a solid deal for a guy with his production and skill set. He’s also a matchup nightmare for teams, as there are few defensemen who can out skate and/or out muscle Kreider. He’s a beast.

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kevin shattenkirk

Most of the time when you come to Blue Seat Blogs, you can expect to read smart analysis and commentary from our staff of knowledgeable writers. This post is a little different.

Three years ago I put together the first edition of this series and it has since become an annual tradition to scour the internet for the funniest, most ridiculous photos, videos, GIFs and so on of the men that will proudly wear the Rangers uniform that season.

I think it’s a good way to provide a little human connection with each player before we scrutinize their every move on the ice when the games start. I hope you enjoy scrolling through this as much as I did compiling it.

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pavel buchnevich

There are so many intriguing aspects to watch out for on the 2017-18 Rangers that makes this a truly fascinating season. One of the most critical for me, is watching how Pavel Buchnevich develops this season. Amid reports of his better conditioning, the impressive pre-season play and the positive soundbites hailing from Alain Vigneault, it appears Buchnevich is primed for a breakout campaign. If he does indeed take his game to the next level it couldn’t be better timed. He’d make Jeff Gorton look like a genius for starters (centers? Who needs centers! Pah! Enjoy the desert Derek!)

While Buchnevich is obviously no center (and as such not a replacement for Derek Stepan – who will be missed, even if he can be replaced) if the Rangers can get more consistency and development from Buchnevich, as well as Jimmy Vesey and a solid rookie campaign from Filip Chytil, then the Rangers are all of a sudden legitimately three lines deep.

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Categories : Players
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