With Derek Stepan’s new contract it’s a fair assumption that the Rangers have locked up their top two center positions for the foreseeable future. Stepan and Brassard will cost the Rangers a total of $11.5m, but with finances, age, contract situations and production all considered, are the Rangers in a good spot with their top center duo when compared to the better centers around the league?
This post has its flaws; it only looked at teams who had multiple centers amongst the top thirty scoring centers from last year’s regular season. Obviously there are other factors that need to be considered such as injuries, positional flexibility, form over multiple seasons and the development of prospects moving forward. At present, only the Sharks boasted three centers amongst the top thirty scorers at the position although Joe Pavelski played mostly as a winger on Joe Thornton’s line.
A quick overview of the players (and teams) amongst ‘the top thirty’ and the Rangers don’t necessarily have the star power or elite names that many of the other teams who feature can boast. The Rangers don’t have a Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar or Tyler Seguin. What the Rangers do have though are two players with upside, who are under contract together for the next four years and who have both proven themselves in both the regular season and playoffs.
So who’s who in the top thirty?
Welcome to the 4th Annual Top-30 Goaltenders List. This has been a very interesting year for goaltending analysis. From a research standpoint, this was far and away the toughest edition of the list yet. I had my draft list down to about forty goaltenders before I had to start making the tough decisions. I’m not big into spoiling the list before it even starts, but the fact that I had to leave Mike Smith, Petr Mrazek, Michael Hutchinson and Andrei Vasilevskiy off the list is a testament to the incredible depth of goaltending talent in the NHL right now.
Additionally, I feel the need to qualify criteria for selection. In the past, I have gambled on prospects who have yet to really get their feet wet at the NHL level. This year, the pool was just too large, so I’m limiting the field to goalies who have played at least ten NHL games. The likes of Connor Hellebyuck or Malcolm Subban, who I may have been tempted to include, aren’t going to be eligible. If prospects are your thing, I would recommend heading over to InGoal Magazine and checking out their Top 50 Goaltending Prospects list. Read More→
Per Corey Pronman (please note that while he writes for ESPN, Pronman is one of the best in the business at ranking prospects, and ESPN’s Insider hockey writers are top notch), Pavel Buchnevich is the #14 ranked skater prospect heading into this season. Buchnevich is clearly the Rangers’ top prospect, and he should come to North America next season, after he finishes this season up with the KHL. Here’s what Pronman had to say about Buchnevich:
Buchnevich’s 18- and 19-year-old seasons have been some of the very best in the history of the KHL, showing he can play versus men at a high level in the world’s second-best league. He’s a winger with great puck skills, impressive hockey sense and above-average speed. He has size to couple with that and while he’s bulked up a fair amount, some more could help before he hits the NHL. Buchy is not a complete prospect, but he’s consistently dangerous offensively. He should be in the NHL in 2016-17, or as a potential late season add after his KHL season ends.
It’s worth noting that Buchnevich is ranked two spots ahead of Anthony Duclair.
The New York Rangers have named Steve Greeley as Assistant Director of Player Personnel and Nickolai Bobrov as Director of European Scouting. Greeley was an Associate Head Coach at Boston University for the last two seasons. Per Sean Hartnett, Bobrov was the North American representative for the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg for the last three seasons.
Bobrov replaces Anders Hedberg, who had disappeared from the Rangers front office page this month. This is a clear indication that new GM Jeff Gorton is replacing Glen Sather’s staff with his guys. Standard practice.
Last year: 30-41-11, eighth in the Metro Division. Missed the playoffs by 27 points.
Key additions: Noah Hanifin, Eddie Lack, James Wisniewski
Key subtractions: Anton Khudobin, Alex Semin, Patrick Dwyer, Brett Bellemore
Offense: The Staal brothers are still serviceable players, but they are no longer stars capable of carrying an offense. The present and future lies with junior Elias Lindholm and 23-year-old Jeff Skinner, whose quick rise has been thwarted by a myriad of injuries. Lindholm, Skinner and Eric Staal are really the only players that should even be sniffing top-six roles on a decent club. There are few players with upside like Victor Rask, but for the most part Carolina’s anemic attack is comprised of recycled parts. Read More→
I am sure nearly every Rangers fan by now knows that the team added versatile, veteran center Jarret Stoll to the organization yesterday on a one year deal for $800K. This deal has created numerous conversations between Rangers fans about the roster and I thought I may as well write out my thoughts here.
Stoll is a 33 year old, 2 time cup champion with the LA Kings that brings a few elements to the Rangers. He has decent size at 6’1, 215 lbs and is a right handed shot. Four years ago I would have been ecstatic about this, Stoll is just one of those players that I love, but the truth is he isn’t the same player as he once was. He has been regressing a bit every year and it isn’t right to simply assume he would bounce back to his play as a 28 year old. That said I still believe he can be effective on the 4th line for a few reasons and also think he has a lot of effect on the Rangers’ roster.
The New York Rangers have signed center Jarret Stoll to a one-year, $800,000 deal. Stoll has been a bottom-line center for the LA Kings the past four seasons, with production dropping each year. Last year he put up 6-11-17 with a 51.1% CF in roughly 54% OZ starts. Stoll will likely compete with Tanner Glass, Oscar Lindberg, and Viktor Stalberg for a bottom-six spot on the roster.
I’m all for giving people a second chance, and he’s certainly an upgrade on Glass. He’s also very good in the faceoff circle. I haven’t watched much of Stoll, so I unfortunately have to go primarily based on numbers. This is a low-risk signing. At $800,000, he can be buried in the AHL at no cap cost, he’s an upgrade on Glass, and insurance if Lindberg isn’t ready.
Cheering on the Blackhawks this past Cup Final series was a very strange one for a plethora of reasons. First, as a casual Blues fan and an avid David Backes fan, I practically need to hate every ounce of the Blackhawks as if they killed my family. I even had a small speech ready if ever had the pleasure of meeting Brent Seabrook. Secondly, I blame Patrick Kane for the cluster-eff that was the 2014 Bronze Medal game in Sochi. I mean, to miss two penalty shots? I don’t hate the photo of him crying that may or may not be saved as a favorite in my phone.
Of course, these two notes paled in comparison to the fact that I’m not big enough of a person to cheer for the team that eliminated mine, especially when their coach makes my skin crawl. And when the Hawks did raise the Cup, I was very happy for people like Kimmo Timonen and Dan Carcillo (if you haven’t seen his Player’s Tribune submission, go now. Seriously, put this post on hold and go. Grab some tissues, too), and got choked upon seeing Carcillo’s fiancee in a Steve Montador jersey. But I was never super enthused for Kane, and I shall explain why. Read More→
Over the past two weeks, the Rangers have “been linked” –in quotes for a reason– to a pair of rumors. The first is that they are keen on landing UFA forward Curtis Glencross. Glencross, coming off a four-year deal that paid him $2.55 million per season, is seen as someone who can add forward depth to the Rangers at a discount price. The thing is, the Rangers added their cheap depth forward in Viktor Stalberg, and are content letting Oscar Lindberg take the final spot on the roster. Since Tanner Glass is the 13F, there’s enough depth for 14F and beyond in Hartford that signing Glencross isn’t necessary. He is an upgrade on Glass though.
The other is that the Rangers are inexplicably trying to move Keith Yandle. This made little sense when the Rangers were in cap trouble, and makes even less sense now that the entire team is signed and they still have a shade more than $850,000 cap space. The Rangers didn’t deal a first round pick and their best prospect to keep Yandle for half a season. This one is just silly.
As Josh pointed out, the most likely move for the Rangers is to bring in a guy or two on a PTO. Perhaps Glencross is one of them. Beyond that, the Rangers will go to camp with what they have. The rest of the roster decisions will play out depending on camp performance.
Happy Friday, BSB faithful. As promised, Hatrick Swayze has run the gauntlet and earned the right to contribute his learned thoughts in the form of a guest post. Thanks, Hatrick, for a seriously comprehensive piece of work. I hope you all enjoy. Ladies and gentlemen, Hatrick Swayze…
Enter Emerson Etem. [Alliteration. Capitalization. What more could you want? Oh, Carl Hagelin? Too bad for you.] While many are sour over Hagelin’s departure, and for good reason, what’s done is done. All too often in a league with hard cap restrictions, a player’s hard work, dedication and a growth under a franchise ultimately is what forces management’s hand and prices that player out. We’ve seen it with Callahan. Hagelin is the latest victim. Quite honestly, it is a good problem to have. Consider the alternatives: bad draft pedigree, players underperforming expectations, a team meandering in mediocrity. Personally, I’m very content to avoid all of the above. For better or worse, player turnover is the reality of operating in a league governed by a hard salary cap. Read More→