Archive for State of the Rangers

Sep
25

Promising signs for the power play

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Kevin Shattenkirk has racked up 25+ power play points in each of the last four seasons

Though we’ve yet to see the fully assembled new-look power play deployed in game action, there are already numerous encouraging signs that this could year could be different on the man advantage.

One of New York’s biggest bugaboos in years past has been the seemingly simple task of bringing the puck safely into the attack zone. But the team seems better equipped to handle that this season thanks largely to the arrival of Kevin Shattenkirk. He has already demonstrated the ability to hit streaking forwards in motion at full speed – which seems like a minor thing but commands attention from the wall of opponents assembled along the opposing blueline.

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Categories : Special Teams
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Sep
22

Making sense of the defensive options

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SNY.com

So far in this young training camp, Rangers fans a have been treated to a new-look defense.  Youth and mobility have been the themes of these new additions, but there are still a few hold over veterans who aren’t an obvious fit for the roster and some question marks about some of the younger guys the organization has brought in.

Just to qualify this discussion, it has been two pre-season games.  At least for the young guys, the sample size is far too small to draw any reliable conclusions about their effectiveness or ability to thrive against full-time NHL competition.  We haven’t even seen Alexei Bereglazov yet.

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Categories : Defense
Comments (46)
Aug
30

How the roster might look in 2019-2020

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Ryan McDonagh is scheduled to be a free agent in the summer of 2019 – but will he be retained?

This summer, The Hockey News has embarked on a noble quest to predict how teams’ rosters will look entering the 2019-2020 season.

To keep things simple no external free agents or trade acquisitions were taken into account, so this is an incomplete picture – but it’s still a fascinating exercise. Here’s what THN came up with for the Blueshirts: Read More→

Comments (61)

You got nothin’ on the Beeze

Well, here we are.  The Top 10.  We have covered my 31-11 ranked goaltenders over the past couple of weeks, but this is the main event.  If you missed either of those entries, including all of our criteria and other housekeeping issues, feel free to check them out here and here.  Now, I know we will all be in unanimous agreement that these rankings are wise and accurate, but in the unlikely event that there is the occasional disagreement, feel free to make your voice heard down in the comments section.

I present to you, the Top 10… Read More→

Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
Comments (35)

Still cooler than any of us

Welcome to the second installment of this year’s Top 31 goaltenders.  I covered all of the introductory/methodology/housekeeping issues during the first portion of the list, which you can find here to bring yourself up to speed.  Otherwise, we are going to jump right in.  Here goes, goaltenders 20-11… Read More→

Comments (37)

You will never be this cool

Welcome to the 6th Annual Top 31 Goaltenders List.  Can you believe it’s been six years already?  Wild.  Anyway, this was one of the most difficult years to rank, in that many veteran goaltenders started to reclaim for former glory and a few young guys took aim at some top 10 stalwarts.  However, with the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights as the league’s 31st team, I got to add another spot to the rankings, giving me a little extra breathing room.

So, let’s get the house keeping stuff out of the way before we get to some honorable mentions and our first section of the list.  The criteria for the rankings are as follows:  I am advising a hypothetical “team” on a one-year solution between the pipes.  I am completely ignoring concepts of age, contract status, incumbent goaltender, contention window or any other factors relating to the status of said “team”.  Everything is in a vacuum and all about current talent level that can be projected out for the next twelve months.  It goes without saying this whole exercise is for fun and massively subjective, so feel free to run me through the gautlet in the comments.  Read More→

Comments (51)
Aug
05

Options at Center

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jt miller

Trading Derek Stepan and losing Oscar Lindberg to Vegas sent a shockwave through the Rangers lineup this offseason, leaving two major holes at center and turning what was one of the Blueshirts’ biggest strengths into what could be their biggest weakness. Although the Rangers did acquire David Desharnais to help fill a bottom six role there remains one slot at center to be filled, and I thought it would be a good idea on this hot summer day to sketch out some of the options the team has for filling that gap.

The first is trading for a top-six center. The most obvious name on the market is Matt Duchene but unfortunately you’ve got to give to get. Still, considering the Rangers’ considerable depth on wing and new found glut of defensive prospects, theres pieces in place to make a deal happen. I still think this one is unlikely to happen, but it’s certainly a possibility.

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Categories : Forwards
Comments (44)

nick holden

Jeff Gorton’s main focus this offseason was retooling the blue line. He did so with what amounted to a major overhaul. Dan Girardi was bought out and essentially replaced with Kevin Shattenkirk. Anthony DeAngelo was brought in as a result of the blockbuster trade involving Derek Stepan. Kevin Klein retired. Brendan Smith was re-signed. And the Rangers inked two solid undrafted free agents in Alexei Bereglazov and Nick Pionk. All in all, the Rangers will have a vastly improved blue line this season.

However there are still many questions on the blue line. As we all pencil in Shattenkirk alongside Ryan McDonagh, some of us are left to wonder if that is truly the top pairing. As Brady Skjei is penciled into the 2LD spot, some wonder if that is still Marc Staal’s spot to lose. Many of these questions are aimed at the coaching staff, as Gorton has certainly done his job.

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Categories : Defense
Comments (65)

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
Comments (32)

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)