The Rangers’ 2016-2017 season is still in its infancy, but already positive signs abound for the vaunted rookie class. All of Jimmy Vesey, Pavel Buchnevich and Brady Skjei have looked very strong in the early going and they’ve quickly emerged as key contributors to a team in transition.
Perhaps that shouldn’t come as a tremendous shock. These aren’t your typical rookies, who are often lanky teenagers from Canadian junior hockey that wow in camp but are still a ways away from growing into their bodies and recognizing their potential.
Each of the Rangers’ rookies reached New York under unique circumstances, but prior to this season one thing they all had in common is that they’d established themselves against adult-level competition.
This week on the Blue Seat Blogs-cast we talk about the Rangers fast start, the play of Chris Kreider, Dylan McIlrath, Nick Holden, and trade speculation with Anaheim. As always you can find us right here, on SoundCloud, and on iTunes.
Update: I turned off comments on the game recap.
Original Post: Over the past few weeks, specifically with the news that the Rangers are shopping Dylan McIlrath, there has been an increased number of passionate discussions regarding McIlrath and Alain Vigneault. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and the main rule here has always been to do so respectfully.
However the conversations lately have been out of control. Every post is being hijacked by this discussion to the detriment of the blog posts we work hard to write, and the blog readers that come here to engage in discussion that doesn’t involve one player and/or coach. Dissenting opinions are met with extreme hostility.
Here is the link to the commenting guidelines. Review them, and keep them in mind before commenting or replying to someone else. Consider this a not-so-subtle warning.
While we are all enjoying the new version of the Rangers, I am also keeping tabs on the Rangers prospects not playing in the AHL at the moment. Since I’m sure many of you have heard how dominant Igor Shesterkin has been in Russia in the KHL, it might be prudent to remember there are other prospects in the system
Tyler Nanne – Nanne is a series of unfortunate events. While he was a good risk to take as a dynamic right handed defenseman, Nanne had a dangerous heart condition that kept him out of playing in the NCAA last year. With this, he decided to transfer from Ohio State to the University of Minnesota. NCAA rules stipulate he must sit out this season as well, though. Sitting out two years is not good news for any player. I think this is it for him and he won’t be signed by Rangers.
The Rangers put up a touchdown on the San Jose Sharks last night, barely holding on for a 7-4 win. It sounds weird to say they held on for a win by three, but they did allow the Sharks to get to within a goal –after being up by three– before scoring two empty netters. Chris Kreider led the Rangers with another multi-point game as seven different Rangers scored in the win.
The one troubling aspect here is that the defense again gave up a ton of goals, including three in the third period. This was a much closer game than it needed to be. There weren’t any weak goals by Antti Raanta, it was just allowing too much room for the Sharks to maneuver. As an elite NHL team, San Jose makes you pay. But the Rangers made them pay more.
On to the goals:
That awkward time Chris Kreider celebrated a goal by hugging the ref.
The Rangers lost in St. Louis over the weekend, but completely dominated the game. If the Rangers continue to play like that, they will be very difficult to beat on any given night. Tonight it’s the defending Western Conference Champion San Jose Sharks coming to town.
The Rangers are without Dan Girardi and Pavel Buchnevich tonight, to go along with Oscar Lindberg and Kevin Klein on the injury list. In response, Alain Vigneault has juggled his lines and pairings. Antti Raanta also makes his season debut tonight.
Here’s food for thought: why can’t the Rangers have Jacob Trouba AND Kevin Shattenkirk? I think it is a legitimate option that the Rangers should explore. I am not normally an advocate of blowing your remaining assets to trade for any one player, particularly one (Trouba) who isn’t the finished article and particularly as the franchise is still in replenish the mode. However there is one circumstance where I’m willing to change my thinking and that is for a young, hard to find player that the team can build around. That player could be Jacob Trouba.
To cut to the chase, the Rangers should try their hardest to get both Trouba and Shattenkirk. There are so many benefits to this. Forget about the likelihood or practicalities of making this happen for a second, and just think about the benefits. A top four containing Ryan McDonagh, Trouba and Shattenkirk would immediately make the Rangers owners of a truly elite, modern blueline. Possession numbers would be better, special teams would be better, better breakouts almost a given and you can argue, having a stronger blueline should extend not just the Rangers’ window of contention but by default, Henrik Lundqvist’s career.
Update: Lines for tonight are Chris Kreider-Mika ZIbanejad-Rick Nash; Jimmy Vesey-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello; Jesper Fast-Kevin Hayes-J.T.MIller; Michael Grabner-Josh Jooris-Brandon Pirri. Defense pairs are Ryan McDonagh-Nick Holden; Marc Staal-Adam Clendening; Brady Skjei-Dylan McIlrath.
Josh Jooris will likely dress tonight in Buchnevich’s place. My guess is that Pirri gets Buchnevich’s spot with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, while Jooris slides in to the 4C role.
If Kevin Klein still can’t go, then expect Dylan McIlrath to get into tonight’s game.
Hot off the presses last night, Arthur Staple noted that both Chris Drury and Gordie Clark were in attendance at the Islanders/Ducks game last night. They certainly weren’t scouting the Islanders, and the Rangers and Ducks have been linked together as a possible match for some time. The Rangers need an upgrade on defense and have the cap space, while the Ducks need to dump a defenseman and some cap space.
Usually I write off scouts attending games, but Drury is the Assistant GM and Clark is the Director of Player Personnel. This isn’t just a scout doing his/her job. These are the big whigs who make decisions in attendance. It seems like something is brewing. But who they are targeting is where things get interesting.