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Missing Captains around the League

The Rangers aren't the only team who need a C

The Rangers aren’t the only team who need a C

As discussed last week, there is much speculation to who will follow in Ryan Callahan’s nearly three season footsteps and lead the Blueshirts as their fearless captain this year. The Rangers aren’t the only team to be facing this kind of indecision. Though Tampa was able to name a captain immediately after trading Martin St. Louis, several teams who have lost their captains to free agency or trades during the offseason are currently suffering a hole in their leadership groups.

Of the 30 teams contending in the NHL, seven have no current captain, and 11 have at least one missing alternate captain. Of these teams, some have lost their captains to trades or free agency, however at least one has stripped their leaders of their letters. Let’s take a look at the six clubs besides the Rangers who are missing captains leading up to training camp.

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Hayes added to Traverse City roster

Newly signed prospect Kevin Hayes has been added to the Traverse City roster for this year’s tournament. He will join the 14 other forwards when the tournament begins in September. Hayes, a former first round pick of the Blackhawks, was signed by the Rangers this week after the Hawks failed to sign him before the August 15 deadline.

Guest appearance on TSN 1260 Edmonton

Just a quick note, I will be appearing on TSN 1260 Edmonton tomorrow at 1:40pm local time (3:40pm EST) on Lowdown with Lowetide, hosted by Lowetide, to discuss lots of things Rangers. Kevin Hayes, Glen Sather, and the Rangers prospects are on the docket, so be sure to tune in.

Justin’s 3rd Annual Pre-season Top 30 Goaltenders List (10-1)

 

Well, here we are.  The Top 10.  I hope you enjoyed the ride, I know I sure did.  In case you missed it, here are the previous two entries in this years list (30-21) and (20-11). Without further adieu, your 2014-2015 Top 10…

10. Mike Smith- Arizona Coyotes. Last year’s ranking: 10

  • Smith has become more famous for his goal at this point than his puck stopping abilities, but those should absolutely not be overlooked.  For a big guy, he moves exceedingly well and has cemented his status as a top-notch positional goaltender over the past few seasons.  I mentioned in my first Top 30, that I expected perennial Vezina-caliber campaigns out of Smith, and while he has been slightly off that lofty standard, he has been a rock in the Arizona (Phoenix?) net.  His large frame and third defenseman puck-handling skills make him an integral part of the ‘Yotes franchise and remains one of the league’s top tenders.

Smith

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Tempering expectations for Kevin Hayes

Hayes

Hayes

Kevin Hayes is the most hyped College Free Agent since Justin Schultz and the Rangers signing him to a contract despite fierce competition around the league is indeed a coup for the club; however immediate expectations will need to be kept in check despite his burgeoning reputation. Particularly from our excitable fan base.

Hayes fills a need for the Rangers, but possibly not in the short term. With Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, Marty St Louis and Mats Zuccarello, the Rangers are very well catered for on the wings in their top six. Go a little deeper and you have the likes of Carl Hagelin and Lee Stempniak who are looking for bigger roles. In short, Hayes will not have it easy breaking into the line-up straight away in a position that will aid his development.

This is without considering whether Hayes is even pro-ready, whether his skating (a minor concern, if you believe the media) is good enough to start in the NHL or whether the Rangers feel he would be better served, short term, with bigger minutes in the AHL to begin his pro-career.

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Rangers get their man, sign Kevin Hayes

Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images

Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images

Per Danny Picard, the Rangers got their man, signing BC forward Kevin Hayes to a two-year entry-level contract. Hayes, Chicago’s first round pick  in 2010, chose not to sign with Chicago by the August 15 deadline, making him a free agent. Hayes cited that he wanted a chance to play immediately, and it was something Chicago could not offer due to a stacked roster.

The sweepstakes was rumored to be down to five teams on Monday, with the Rangers are among the five finalists for Kevin Hayes, via Picard of WEEI and Mark Divver of The Providence Journal. The Avs, Bruins, Predators, and Panthers were the other rumored teams. After three long days, Hayes chose New York.

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Reviewing Rob Vollman’s “Hockey Abstract 2014″

HockeyAbstract

Hockey Abstract 2014 is available now.

If you’ve been paying attention this offseason, you’ve noticed that several NHL teams have hired advanced stats experts. Though #fancystats still have opposition, you don’t need to look further than the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings for proof that they offer valuable insight.  No longer are these metrics exclusive to a small community of mathematicians, they are now mainstream in hockey.

Last summer I reviewed Rob Vollman’s Hockey Abstract and began to fall deeper into the rabbit hole of advanced stats. Rob was kind enough to give me a copy of Hockey Abstract 2014 - co-written by Tom Awad and Ian Fyffe – again this year, and it was even better than the first edition.

Vollman’s greatest strength is in putting what appear to be complicated formulas, graphs and figures into words that anyone can understand, whether they’re good at math or not. In fact, I’ll readily admit that I glossed over many of the charts in the book, because the real value is in Vollman’s translation. I’m much more concerned with what the numbers mean than how they’re reached, so I enjoyed Vollman’s thought process and conclusions most of all. Read more »

Pronman: Buchnevich, Duclair atop prospect list

Per Corey Pronman (subs. req’d), Pavel Buchnevich and Anthony Duclair sit atop the Rangers prospect list this year. Although the Rangers are ranked 28th in the league (by Pronman), it’s worth noting this nugget:

Following the graduation of several top prospects, dealing away top picks and the simply fine development of some of their early-round picks, the Rangers’ system is a little light at the moment.

The Rangers are at a point in their system where they’ve seen a lot of talent hit the NHL level, and they have a bit of a gap before the next crop hits. While they don’t have the top-end talent, they certainly have guys that can plug holes:

The Rangers may not have a strong system, but they do have potential plug-in options in case of injury to their veteran roster. Kristo, Lindberg, Fast, Haggerty, Dylan McIlrath and Allen could all reasonably find ways to get into the lineup, although all probably in depth roles.

I didn’t have Danny Kristo in my Top 25 Under 25, but Pronman had him in the top-three prospects. That’s the beauty of prospects.

New York Rangers Top 25 Under 25 – 2014 Edition

Tops this year.

Last year, I made a valiant first attempt at creating a New York Rangers version of the Top 25 Under 25. Basically, the NYR blogging community was called out by Oilers’ bloggers for not having one, and I said, “challenge accepted.” It’s something I had fun writing, so I’m going to write it again, updating it for 2014.

The ground rules for this are simple: To qualify for this list, a player must be under 25 years old. It doesn’t matter if this player is in the NHL, AHL, or in any of the leagues around the world. If they are Ranger property and under 25, they were considered. This is my own personal opinion of these players, so if you disagree, feel free to let me know in the comments.

1. Derek Stepan (Last year: 2)

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Rangers will battle history to win the Stanley Cup

The best trophy in sports

The best trophy in sports

Three hockey clubs in 47 years. The 2009 Penguins. The 1984 Oilers. The 1968 Canadiens. They are the only three hockey clubs in the Post-Original Six expansion era to win the Stanley Cup the year after they challenged for it and lost. Not exactly favorable odds.

Those three clubs weren’t exactly one hit wonders either. The Canadiens of that era helped brand their organization for a long time as the Yankees of the NHL. The Oilers of the 80s were the last of a dying breed in pro sports — a dynasty. Though they never lived up to their potential, the Crosby-led Penguins were at least expected to challenge for the Cup a few more times following their 2009 victory. They didn’t and now Bylsma and Shero are unemployed.

So will the Rangers defy history and do the unthinkable?

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