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Potential trade targets: Keith Yandle/Zbynek Michalek

Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix NHL Arizona Coyotes are not making the playoffs this year. That much is all but guaranteed. What waits to be seen is when they start shipping off players that are not in their future plans, and who they ship out. Rob Klinkhammer was already sent to Pittsburgh for prospect Philip Samuelsson. With seven players headed towards unrestricted free agency, GM Don Maloney will probably be busy.

There are a few players that may interest the Rangers, specifically defenseman Keith Yandle, if Arizona decides to trade him. Yandle isn’t a pending UFA, but the ‘Yotes have Samuelsson and Brandon Gormley vying for NHL spots in the near future. There is a need to open up spots on the blue line for these kids, and Yandle, a 28-year-old on a $5.25 million cap hit, would probably bring back the biggest return.

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Thoughts before the home and home with Carolina

Wrong side of the net, Khudobin.

This past week kind of embodies what it’s been like to be a Rangers fan the past few years. They had a stellar showing against some weak competition after calls for the team to go on a run through a soft portion of the schedule. So far, so good, right? We always have that little seed of doubt, due mostly to runs of maddening inconsistency and lingering concerns about the results matching the #fancystats or the eye test.

As I was kicking around ideas for a post for today, I realized there are some interesting concepts floating around the team, but no prevailing narrative since we are all kind of holding out breathe to see if this team has really turned the corner after injuries and inconsistency. So, you get a thoughts post… Read more »

BSB FanDuel: 12/18

Here is the info for today’s FanDuel league: Sign up here, the league link is here.

For those unfamiliar, you are given $55,000 to construct a team of 2 LW, 2 RW, 2 C, 2 D, and 1 G. The goal is to find some good bargains (my advice is to save money on defense and spend big on offense) and save money for some stars you know will put up points. High fantasy points per game (FPG) with low cost is a good way to go, but look for streaks as well.

Rotowire has a lineup optimizer, as does DangleFactory. They are good resources if this intrigues you, or you’re new to daily fantasy sports.

As always, if the league fills up before you can get in, let me know in the comments. I leave the league size at 10 people for now to ensure it fills up. If there is more interest, I will expand the size as this continues.

Stempniak isolated for team, tested for mumps

Per the Rangers Twitter, winger Lee Stempniak is being isolated from the team and being tested for the mumps. Stempniak would be the third Rangers player to contract the mumps, following Tanner Glass and Derick Brassard. Glass has been healthy for a few weeks, and Brassard was cleared to practice with the team tomorrow.

Also, Joey Crabb in Hartford is being isolated from the Wolf Pack and being tested for the mumps. Ken Gernander, head coach of the Pack, is being isolated as well.

Musings: Lots of Rangers Rolling

50 goal season?

50 goal season?

What a difference a week makes. The Rangers went to Western Canada unsure of themselves and came back on a roll, with a double header against a weak opponent on tap. It’s the festive season and the Rangers can really make some ground up to close out the year. A week to go before Christmas, let’s muse.

The cliché was always that power forwards take several years to maximise their potential. Could it really be that Rick Nash has only just begun to fulfil his potential? Yes he has been an elite power forward for several years and a consistent goal scorer but it’s a fair argument that he’s never maxed his undoubted skill set and upside. Until now.

Nash is definitely having the best patch of his career. Consistent, a beast at both ends all the while he’s finishing at an unprecedented rate. He’s a game changing force every single game. It’s early, but people have started to whisper the words Hart Trophy candidate with regard to Nash. Absolutely deserves to be in the mix.

Should we be worried about Dan Boyle? Or glad that he’s a sort of afterthought because of the improved play of the Rangers ‘big three’ on the blueline?

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The obligatory Taylor Hall post

Photo: Edmonton Journal

Photo: Edmonton Journal

After the Edmonton Oilers fired Dallas Eakins, club GM Craig MacTavish said that no one is untouchable on the Oilers. Immediately, rumors started to fly that Taylor Hall was on the block, as the return he could net would bring in many valuable assets that would fill multiple holes. In Hall, the acquiring team would be getting an All Star winger and a game breaker. Of course, Ranger fans started with their own trade scenarios.

Before we get into what it would cost the Rangers to land Hall, it’s important to know what kind of player the Rangers would be getting. In 272 games thus far, Hall has put up 100-143-243, close to a point per game. Of those 243 points, 143 of them are at even strength, including 55 goals. Hall produces at all strengths, and doesn’t just rely on gaudy powerplay numbers. But for Hall, it goes beyond the numbers.

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What is Kevin Hayes’ ceiling?

Kevin Hayes gets better and better with every game

There haven’t been too many 6-5 22-year-old rookie centers in NHL history, so it’s a little difficult to project the player Kevin Hayes might turn into. He seems to be getting better and better with each game and has turned into a solid third-line center in no time.

Hayes wasn’t all that impressive in the preseason. Prospect pundits had been gushing over Hayes all summer, but he was totally overshadowed by the performances of J.T. Miller and Anthony Duclair in camp. Then, Hayes suffered a shoulder injury and missed the final exhibition game, as well as the first three regular season games.

At the time, Miller seemed like a lock to stick in New York for the duration, and coach Alain Vigneault seemed enthusiastic about the Marty St. Louis center experiment. Hayes was an afterthought, or so it briefly seemed. Read more »

Henrik Tallinder released from PTO in Hartford

A little over a month ago, the Hartford Wolf Pack s signed defenseman Henrik Tallinder to a PTO, as the Rangers were looking to fill holes on the blue line. The Tomas Kaberle experiment failed, and now the organization is moving on from Tallinder as well. The club released Tallinder from his PTO yesterday, and the Rangers will not offer him a contract.

Rangers steamroll Flames, extend winning streak to four

AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh

AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh

The New York Rangers took everything the Calgary Flames gave them, which was odd-man rushes, turnovers, and facepalm moments that turned into goals. The Rangers jumped out to a 4-0 lead, scoring twice at even strength, once on the powerplay, and once shorthanded, en route to a 5-2 win. The Rangers weren’t perfect, surrendering a lot of shots and exchanging a lot of chances with Calgary throughout the game. However, goaltending was the big difference, as Calgary’s goaltending is coming crashing back to reality.

Henrik Lundqvist, fresh off the shutout with almost no work in Edmonton, stopped 29 of 31 shots. Rick Nash scored twice, and Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider –each of whom needed to step up their games– added goals as well. Stepan also added an assist on Nash’s second goal, with other assists coming from Martin St. Louis and Dan Girardi. Carl Hagelin added an empty netter.

On to the goals:

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Game 29: Build on the winning streak in Calgary

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

The Rangers are in Calgary tonight to take on the Flames and potentially expand their winning streak to four in a row, including a three game sweep against the Western Canadian teams. After a hot start, with equally hot goaltending from Jonas Hiller, the Flames have crashed back down to Earth, losers of six in a row. That said, the Flames possess one of the best top defensive pairings in hockey with Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie, and have solid young talent. They lack depth, and should continue to slide out of the playoff hunt. Of course, this means trap game for the Rangers.

Bob Hartley has the Flames running a 1-2-2 forecheck that can be used aggressively or conservatively depending on the game situation (time left in period, score, puck location, etc.).  In the DZ, Calgary uses a low zone collapse, taking out shooting lanes and keeping things in tight. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 and a diamond penalty kill.

Makes you wonder: Considering the Rangers have gotten Dan Bylsma and Dallas Eakins fired, if Calgary loses, does Hartley get fired?

Rangers lineup:

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