Archive for State of the Rangers

Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Rangers dealt Antti Raanta to Arizona in the Derek Stepan deal, a quick survey of the market revealed plenty of useful options to serve as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup.  There was a decent mix of higher upside projects and relatively safe veteran choices.  When it came out that Benoit Allaire had zeroed in on Ondrej Pavelec for the role, many were surprised, myself included.

The 29 year-old Czech native (30 when the season starts) was a 2nd round pick of the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2005.  He had shown tremendous promise in the notoriously offensive environment of the QMJHL before getting his first cup of coffee the year after he was drafted.

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Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
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lindy ruff

It’s been a bit of a wild offseason for the Rangers, but one of the less talked about moves was a change behind the bench. Jeff Beukeboom fell on the sword for the poor defensive play, and was replaced by Lindy Ruff. Ruff has been a head coach in the NHL since 1997, mostly with the Sabres before a stint with the Stars.

Ruff is an interesting hire. When he was in Dallas, he ran very similar systems to Alain Vigneault. Specifically, his Stars teams were big on a 1-2-2 forecheck with a hybrid zone/man defensive zone coverage. Special teams play isn’t all that unique anymore, but it’s worth noting that his penalty killing style was also aggressive, like AV.

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Categories : Coaching
Comments (85)

Photo Credit: New York Rangers

Happy Friday, BSB faithful.  Sorry to double down on the “Thoughts” and “Musings” posts this week, but it’s been a very active week in Rangerland.  The last time I wrote, it was the day before the Expansion Draft.  Obviously, quite a lot has happened since then.  So, as you can imagine, I have some thoughts.

1. Since there is a lot to analyze, let’s take this in semi-chronological order. Let’s start with the Girardi buy-out.  It had to be done.  I know it sucks carrying his cap hit for the next few years, but the Rangers really had no choice.  They needed to get younger and more mobile on the blue line and starting to clear the log-jam of overpriced veterans was the first domino.  I wish Dan all the best in Tampa, even if I gagged a little when I saw the contract.  Nice try, Yzerman.

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Comments (60)
Jul
06

Are the Rangers Better Today?

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The dust of free agency is beginning to settle, and the 2017-2018 edition of the New York Rangers is beginning to take shape.  The Blueshirts did what they historically do and landed the biggest fish in the free agency pond, though this time they didn’t overpay.  The prize was Kevin Shattenkirk, who joins his favorite boyhood team at the perfect moment for both parties.

The upgrade from a top pairing of Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi to Ryan McDonagh-Kevin Shattenkirk is almost laughable in nature.  Shattenkirk is one of the most complete defensemen in the NHL, capable of playing big minutes in all situations, and a lock to deliver consistent power play production.  He’s a fluid skater, a right-handed shot, and if his July 1st interviews are any indication, he couldn’t be more excited to be joining the Rangers.  This was the perfect signing in practically every way.

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kevin shattenkirk

Last summer Jeff Gorton made the Rangers into one of the most dynamic scoring machines in the league. The forwards were vastly improved and they could seemingly score at will. But that dried up against the good teams in the playofs because the defense simply couldn’t keep up. That made Gorton’s for this summer goal clear: Fix the defense.

By buying out Dan Girardi, essentially replacing him with Kevin Shattenkirk, and re-signing Brendan Smith, the Rangers have what could potentially be the best top-four in the Metro Division. A potential pairing of Shattenkirk with Ryan McDonagh also gives the Rangers what could be a top pairing that is top-five in the league. No hyperbole.

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Categories : Defense
Comments (83)
Jun
30

Replacing Antti Raanta

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(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Since last week when I talked about trading Antti Raanta, he has since, in fact, been traded.  The crew here has covered the return in-depth, so now we need to talk about replacing him.  I’ve spoken at length about Benoit Allaire’s seemingly superhuman ability to help young goaltenders develop into capable NHL starters, but given the current goaltending market, we don’t need Allaire to work miracles.  After perusing the readily available goaltenders who will be looking for jobs on July 1, I thought we could breakdown some of my preferred candidates…

Obviously, the Rangers could swing a trade, a la Antti Raanta, but for our purposes we are just going to look at pending UFA’s that will be available on July 1.

Steve Mason- Philadelphia Flyers

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Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
Comments (27)

lindy ruff

Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers will be replacing Jeff Beukeboom on the bench with Lindy Ruff. It looks like Beuk may be taking the fall for the defensive woes of the Rangers last year. It’s tough to say if that’s fair or not, given the personnel, but there was a major problem on the blue line that needed to be addressed.

Ruff is another old school guy that has a connection with Alain Vigneault and Chris Drury. He was rumored to be connected to the Rangers in the offseason, and this confirms it.

There’s no telling how Ruff will manage the defense as an assistant coach. I don’t believe this is a move to threaten AV, though.

Categories : Coaching
Comments (6)
Jun
23

Trading Antti Raanta

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New York Post

After months of speculation, debate and general hand-wringing, we now know that it was Oscar Lindberg who ended up being poached off the Rangers’ roster by the Vegas Golden Knights.  Various options had been “sure things” since the off-season began.  Michael Grabner, Jesper Fast and of course Antti Raanta have been speculated to be joining a newest team in the desert.

It’s Raanta I want to discuss this morning.  The 28-year old Finn had a tremendous year as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup and many feel that he is an interesting trade chip, given the low cost options on the market and Benoit Allaire’s seeming ability to turn your average midtown commuter into a quality NHL backup.  Let’s dive a little deeper into market and trade comparables and see if Raanta is worth moving.

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May
20

Lindberg? Hayes? Why not both?

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oscar lindberg kevin hayes henrik lundqvist

With the expansion draft looming, there’s naturally going to be a lot of talk and speculation about who the Rangers are going to lose to Las Vegas. It’s certainly not fun envisioning one of our beloved Blueshirts in Vegas Gold/Black/Whatever, but it’s just the reality of the situation. Among the most likely candidates to be chosen are Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast, and Michael Grabner.

Now, I’m going to focus primarily on Lindberg in this post, because there’s been some buzz lately about the season he’s had compared to Kevin Hayes. Their respective numbers are pretty comparable this past season, with Hayes actually posting slightly worse numbers than Lindberg in G/60, P1/60, relCF%, relGF%, and relxGF%. This is certainly concerning, and isn’t the kind of thing we want to see, but I think it’s fair to throw some cold water on all the talk about Lindberg and Hayes.

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Categories : Forwards
Comments (64)
May
19

2017 BSB Offseason Plan Contest

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msgnetworks.com

After an unceremonious loss to the Senators, we find ourselves here again.  The offseason.  This one is particularly interesting, not only because of the major changes likely on the horizon for the Blueshirts, but also the Expansion Draft that threatens to throw a wrench in the roster planning for the entire league.

We typically get everyone’s basic perspective and team building philosophy in our lively comments section, but let’s take it up a notch, shall we?  We want to put you in the driver’s seat of the New York Rangers’ offseason. That’s right, the Offseason Plan Contest is back.  For the uninitiated, we have run this contest a few times in the past and gotten some killer submissions.  We want you to become the architect of the New York Rangers organization and outline your plan to bring the team back to glory.

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