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Category: Players

So how bad is Tanner Glass going to be?

Well, he can do this.

Well, he can do this.

If you’ve been coming here for a while, then you know we very rarely call out management decisions. It’s not our style. We question, we find positives, we find reasons, and while we may not agree with a transaction, we discuss and move on. This is one of those rare occurrences where I tried, but could not. But don’t take that the wrong way, there’s still plenty of discussion to be had over Tanner Glass.

Look, I understand why Alain Vigneault wanted him. I understand why Glen Sather wanted him. He’s a good skater, he’s fairly fast, he’s familiar with AV’s style, he kills penalties, and he wins fights (which doesn’t really mean anything in relation to wins). The Rangers had a big, big hole on the fourth line when they lost both Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett, and they wanted Glass for the aforementioned reasons. I get it.

But as we did with Lee Stempniak (a signing we love here), it’s time to take a look into the deeper numbers for Glass.

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How Lee Stempniak will affect his teammates

Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images

When the Rangers signed Lee Stempniak to a one-year deal worth $900,000, many applauded Glen Sather. He found another low-risk, high-reward player that could potentially replace Benoit Pouliot on the third line. In all honesty, they are pretty identical players from a #fancystats point of view. But of course, numbers don’t tell the whole story.

One of the best parts about Stempniak’s signing is that he’s a right-handed shot. Based on that alone he helps the left-handed heavy Rangers be a bit more balanced on the wings, and potentially on the powerplay. He’s a strong possession forward who plays a solid, if unspectacular, two-way game. He also saw some significant time on the penalty kill with the Flames/Penguins last season. so he presents even more flexibility on special teams.

But one of the bigger questions is about how he will affect his teammates on the ice.

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Quick notes: Skjei returning to NCAA; No “real” offer made to Stralman

Some quick notes (before I head off to Aruba…yea, be jealous) about the prospects, free agency, and those who left the Rangers.

Alex Kovalev retires

Ex-Ranger Alex Kovalev has officially retired from hockey after 24 years. Kovy last played for the Panthers in the 2012-2013 season, putting up a line of 2-3-5 in 14 games. Kovalev played four full seasons and parts of two more seasons in New York (303 total games), scoring 86 goals and 208 points. Kovalev was the last active member of the 1994 Stanley Cup team.

Projecting Mats Zuccarello’s next contract

Due a hefty raise.

Due a hefty raise.

Mats Zuccarello is the second of two must-sign RFAs for the Rangers this summer. Zuccarello, who was probably the best non-ELC bargain in the entire league last summer, is coming off his one-year, $1.15 million deal signed last summer. This will be Zuccarello’s fourth contract, and he is arbitration eligible.

Before this year, Zuccarello and John Tortorella never seemed to click, even though Zucc was about a 40 point per season kind of player. But Zucc found his spot with Alain Vigneault, to the tune of 59 points (19-40-59) in 77 games. But with Zucc it was more than point production, it was his ability to maintain puck possession and his strength on the puck. His vision on the ice has become his greatest weapon as well.

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Projecting Chris Kreider’s next contract

Frank Franklin II, AP Photo

Frank Franklin II, AP Photo

Chris Kreider is one of five RFAs for the Rangers this year, but he is one of the two most important RFAs that the Rangers need to get signed. It was very apparent in the playoffs that the Rangers missed Kreider’s rare combination of size, speed, and hands until his return in the Pittsburgh series. Kreider is coming off his entry-level deal that paid him $900,000 in base salary. However, this season was just his first full year at the NHL level.

Kreider’s success isn’t something new, he excelled during his first year in the 2011-2012 playoff run. His defensive shortcomings were overshadowed by his production, but they could not be overshadowed throughout the lockout shortened 2013 season. His style of play (note: defensive issues) were not a fit for John Tortorella, and he was even cut by Alain Vigneault to start the 2013-2014 season. However, he found his place and his game and finished the season with a 17-20-37 line in 66 games. He was nearly a point-per-game in this year’s playoff run, putting up 5-8-13 in 15 games.

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Anton Stralman: Market value versus perceived value

Photo: NHLI via Getty Images

Photo: NHLI via Getty Images

Yesterday Anton Stralman gave an interesting quote, stating he is “looking for security for his family,” basically stating he is looking for a contract. Many of us took that to believe that Stralman will price himself out of New York, as the Rangers may not have the cap space to sign their second pairing defenseman. But that also brought up an interesting question, one that no one has been able to agree on a consistent answer: What is Anton Stralman’s value?

Stralman is a #fancystats darling. He drives puck possession with the best of them, as his 56.5% Corsi puts him in the top-30 (#28) in the entire league. He was tops on the Rangers as well. His solid defensive play makes him a very good defenseman to have on your team. He is someone who quietly does his job, while also finding ways to tilt the ice in his team’s favor.

The problem is that Stralman doesn’t put up offensive numbers. In three seasons with the Rangers, he has just seven goals and 38 points. He doesn’t play on the powerplay, he’s not a fighter, he’s not a bruiser, he’s not a burner. He’s just very steady and very heady. He never panics with the puck, and he always makes the smart first pass. But the smart first pass doesn’t show up on the score sheet.

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How Rick Nash can become a Ranger legend

Win a Cup, be a Legend. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Win a Cup, be a Legend. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It’s funny how some things turn out. Rick Nash has often been derided for his play in the postseason as a Ranger, and he certainly deserves his fair share of criticism for his lack of production. All of a sudden however, Nash has a modest two-game goal scoring streak to back up his excellent work off the puck and his play on the penalty kill. The Rangers also find themselves within two games of the Stanley Cup Finals with two elite wingers (including Martin St. Louis) slowly heating up. Things could be worse in Ranger town.

Much like Marian Gaborik once was, Nash has been accused of letting his teams down when it mattered most (the postseason). His lack of goals has often overshadowed the fact that Nash has been a solid contributor in so many areas of the game this year for a Rangers team that has spread the wealth offensively. The Rangers are where they are because they can ice four lines that can hurt the opposition. Luckily, Nash hasn’t needed to be brilliant offensively.

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Henrik Lundqvist – Swedish for Clutch

Photo: Willens/AP

Photo: Willens/AP

His record in Game Seven’s is borderline outrageous: 5-1 in game sevens, 1.00 GAA, .965%. Numbers that only get better when looking at the last four Game Sevens. He’s 10-2 when facing elimination. All eye popping numbers and the list goes on and on. Imagine if he had received better offensive support in recent years?

When you remove Lundqvist’s difficult start to the season, you can begin to make a legitimate argument that not only is Lundqvist the best goaltender in hockey but he’s the most clutch performer in the entire sport. Name another goaltender that has received as little offensive support as Lundqvist and has done more with it than the former Vezina winner? Lundqvist always steps up in big games and that’s all you can ask from your best player.

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The Chris Kreider effect

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

When Chris Kreider went down with his hand injury in March, the immediate effect wasn’t apparent. The Rangers kept winning, and the hole in the lineup, specifically on the second line, wasn’t exposed. That’s to be expected when you consider the relatively easy March/April schedule for the Rangers, but with the playoffs looming, the club had a real problem on their hands. They didn’t have the depth to replace a top-six forward.

The hole was something that New York struggled to fix. Jesper Fast proved to be effective in a defensive role, but lacked the offensive punch (for now) to be a mainstay in the lineup. J.T. Miller had the exact opposite problem, as his play without the puck was too erratic to counter his aggressive play. Dan Carcillo was certainly effective, but he has always been more of a wild card than a reliable offensive force. Call him the new Sean Avery, circa 2011. None of these three had the ability to fill the hole Kreider left, and it showed.

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