Archive for State of the Rangers

Feb
02

Trading Lundqvist is a fool’s errand

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Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

With the possibility of the Rangers selling for the first time in forever coming more acutely possible, the focus from the fan base has understandably turned to hypothetical returns for the teams’ more attractive trade chips.  Naturally, the logical discussions (many of which have been examined in this space) involve Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Mats Zuccarello.  One target that a fairly vocal minority of the fan base has consistently brough up has been, oddly enough, Henrik Lundqvist.

Now, the reasons why Hank’s detractors (or trade advocates) feel moving the King would be a prudent move aren’t all that far-fetched.  He takes up a significant amount of cap space.  His overall performance has delayed a (probably necessary) rebuild longer than it should have taken.  The organization clearly wants to win as long as they have a generational talent on the roster, etc., etc.  These are valid opinions.

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alain vigneault

Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

For years now, the Rangers have tailored their system around quality over quantity. It was a little maddening watching the Rangers get out-shot on a game by game basis, but it worked. The Rangers had the skill to back it up, and their high SH% was no fluke. This drove regular season success, and helped them to a Stanley Cup Final and Conference Final.

Fast forward to this season, and it all seems to be coming apart. While most of this was expected on the defensive end, it’s the lack of goals that does come as a little bit of a surprise. The Rangers are still talented up front, but it seems to come in spurts. Lately, those spurts have been Rick Nash or bust. And there is a very clear reason for that as well. The system is not designed to handle a combination of injuries and lack of depth.

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Categories : Coaching
Comments (10)
Jan
14

Mid-Season Report Card: The Defense

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Welcome to this special place, Kevin

We’ve saved our best (worst) report card for last: the stellar defensive corps of the New York Rangers. I’ve been searching for the best string of analogies to explain how bad this defense has been. It’s similar to the DirecTV ad campaign… some people really just enjoy being in pain. And that’s us, wishing the Rangers would play well.

We’ll take a look at the seven gentlemen who defend our goaltenders through the 43 games played. Oh yes, 43, including the disaster that took place at the Garden yesterday. Keep in mind that this season started with the promise of a new day in the form of Kevin Shattenkirk supposedly playing with Ryan McDonagh. Lol.

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Categories : Defense
Comments (41)
Jan
13

Mid-season Report Card: Jeff Gorton

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msg networks.com

When I was in school I took a course pass fail. This turned out to be a good idea, because it was an incredibly demanding Latin American history course, and I was totally out of my depth, having just transferred from a fairly big state university where everything was large lectures to a small liberal arts school where classes were much more intimate, but I digress.

At the end of the semester I needed an extension on the final paper, and because of that I didn’t get the final word on whether I passed or failed when I was supposed to – I got an incomplete. If you can’t see where I’m going with this one already, just pretend that Jeff Gorton was me in Latin American History, and that his final evaluation is pending the completion of his work. That’s right, he’s getting an incomplete this semester.

There’s two ways you could really tackle this I think, and both lend themselves to this conclusion pretty well.

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Comments (21)
Jan
12

Mid-season report card: the goalies

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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers went into this season with question marks surrounding both of their goaltenders.  Henrik Lundqvist was shaking off questions about an uncharacteristically poor season last year, and Ondrej Pavelec, Benoit Allaire’s latest pet project, had one foot out of the NHL.  There were good reasons for fans and pundits alike to be skeptical of the stability in the Ranger crease, especially with Lundqvist turning 36 this season and the ridiculously high-quality backup goaltenders the Rangers have had the past four years.

At the halfway mark of the season, it seems that many of those fears have been unfounded (mine included), as both goaltenders have been strong through the team’s first 42 games. Let’s a dig a little deeper at each of their respective performances, shall we?

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Comments (9)

ryan mcdonagh

The Rangers have a problem on the blue line. We can spend years debating what the issue(s) is (are), but the fact remains that there is a problem. Be it personnel, coaching, or system, the problem exists. It is an undeniable fact, and has been for a few years now.

We’ve gone through many iterations of defense combos on the blue line in the first half of the season. The only fact we have come across in those 42 games is that the Blueshirts are going to stick with their current crop, and not call up any prospects to potentially be an upgrade (barring injury). So we are left with one option: Find the most effective pairs, and stick with them.

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Categories : Defense
Comments (13)

pavel buchnevich

The Rangers have hit the midseason point of the year, and have a perfectly timed bye week to celebrate. I say it is perfectly times because it gives us a chance to do all the report cards before the Rangers play another game. Rob did the top-six forwards on Saturday, I covered coaching earlier in the week, and now it’s time for the bottom-six forwards.

The Rangers have had a whole lot of players in the bottom six. But given who Rob covered in his post, let’s limit the bottom-six to the guys that he didn’t cover. I think that makes sense, right?

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Categories : Forwards
Comments (36)
Jan
08

Midseason Report Card: The coaches

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alain vigneault

Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

Note: West coast games stink. I was asleep long before the game ended. I figure this post will suffice, given the bizarre roster choices made last night.

The Rangers have hit the midseason point of the year, and have a perfectly timed bye week to celebrate. I say it is perfectly times because it gives us a chance to do all the report cards before the Rangers play another game. Rob did the top-six forwards on Saturday, and it’s my turn to cover coaching.

The Rangers have four key coaches: Scott Arniel (powerplay/forwards), Lindy Ruff (PK/defense), Benoit Allaire (goalies), and Alain Vigneault (head honcho and decision maker). I promise to be as impartial as possible.

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Categories : Coaching
Comments (72)

Paul J. Bereswill

At the end of tonight’s game in Arizona, the Rangers will reach the midway point of their 2017-18 regular season.  That means it’s time for some midseason report cards!  To kick things off, we’ll be focusing on the top six forwards.

Complicating matters slightly is the fact that the Rangers don’t have a strict delineation between their top six and bottom six.  There’s definitely a fourth line.  There’s Kevin Hayes handling tough match-ups on a nightly basis, but his wingers have rotated regularly.  So for the purposes of this exercise, let’s call the following players “the top six”: Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash, JT Miller and David Desharnais.  Yes, that’s actually seven forwards.  Just roll with it.

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Comments (16)
Jan
05

Poll: the Rangers’ deadline approach

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(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

As the Rangers approach the half-way mark the season, they find themselves in an interesting spot.  They currently sit in the first wild-card spot, three points from dropping out of the playoff picture entirely, yet only four points from home ice advantage in the first round.  They have a soon-to-be 36 year-old franchise goaltender with more three seasons remaining on his contract at $8.5m per year.  They have several attractive soon-to-be UFA forwards on the roster in the form of Rick Nash and Michael Grabner.  They also have a surprising amount of young talent at the NHL level for a team that has been in full stop “go for it” mode for over a decade.

The team plays a counter-punching style, focusing on creating high-danger scoring chances, and relying on quality over quantity in the shots department.  This has created a difficult analysis in determining whether they actually have a sustainable profile as a contender.  There have been ups and downs in performance so, far, creating a “will the real New York Rangers please stand up” scenario over the season’s first half.  There are deployment issues and a fan base looking at a coach with a razor thin margin.  There is no question there are depth issues, personnel issues and coaching issues when determining whether this team is capable of making a run.

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Comments (60)