Aug
27

Thoughts following the Brandon Pirri signing

August 27, 2016, by · Comments (31)
Brandon-Pirri

Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images

In case you missed it, the Rangers signed another forward this week, inking Brandon Pirri to a one-year deal.  The signing is a nice pickup, and another indication that this front office knows what it’s doing. Still, this now leads to a glut of forwards all fighting for roster spots, and it’s hard to say exactly where he might fit in. So let’s get to some thoughts heading into this season with this logjam at forward.

-Ideally Vesey and Buchnevich would be getting sheltered starts on the third line, which would then bump Pirri down to the fourth line. That’s all fine and good except that Pirri’s strength is shot generation and not much else – his shot suppression numbers are pretty bad, and for comparison I’ve included Kevin Hayes’ HERO chart as well (i.e. if you think Hayes is defensively irresponsible, get a load of Pirri). This leads to the question of where to put Pirri, and on that question I really have no idea.

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Categories : Offseason
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Welcome to our second installment of the 5th Annual Top 30 goaltenders. Today, we will be discussing the 20-11 ranked tenders in the NHL. If you missed last week’s rankings, be sure to check them out here. That post covers rankings 30-21 and all the introductory/housekeeping considerations, so make sure you get up to speed.

Without further adieu, goaltenders 20-11… Read More→

Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
Comments (17)
Aug
25

Rangers ink Brandon Pirri to one-year deal

August 25, 2016, by · Comments (61)
AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

The Rangers have made another shrewd signing, inking free agent forward Brandon Pirri to a one-year deal worth $1.1 million, per Elliotte Friedman. Pirri is another low-key forward who has solid rate metrics, which suggest he could see an increase in production if given more time.

Pirri scored a whopping 22 goals in 49 games with Florida in 2014-2015 (with just two assists), and had that balance out a bit last year with a line of 14-15-29 with the Panthers and Ducks. The 25-year-old forward will likely be a bottom-six player with the Rangers, possibly insurance in case Pavel Buchnevich isn’t ready.

The Rangers have a lot of flexibility on the bottom six right now, something they didn’t have last year. In that regard, it’s been a solid offseason for Jeff Gorton. The depth the Rangers have is incredible.

Categories : Signings
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Aug
24

Wolf Pack sign forward Philip McRae

August 24, 2016, by · Comments (44)

The Wolf Pack have added some depth to their lineup, signing forward Philip McRae to a contract. McRae’s name may sound familiar, as he’s the son of Minnesota North Stars and “The Mighty Ducks” star Basil McRae. Oh how Basil must have loved lining up next to Mike Modano for that movie.

McRae is on an AHL deal, so he won’t be at Rangers camp or be a Ranger at all, nor does he count against the 50 contract limit. He’s veteran depth for a very young Hartford team.

Categories : AHL
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Pavel Buchnevich

Photo: Andreas Hillergren/AFP/Getty Images

Hockey season is right around the corner. But before pre-season, we will get to see prospects duke it out in the Traverse City Tournament. While the tournament is always fun, the Rangers haven’t been overly competitive the past few years. The issue has been the lack of prospects, and while there is some sweet talent coming in –Kovacs, Stromwall, Buchnevich, Gilmour, to name a few– I am certainly more excited this time around than last year.

While certainly not a big deal, I love when the club invites players non-roster players. You don’t need all of them to succeed, but if you’re scouting staff is good maybe you find someone that can become an NHL player. Last season, the Rangers had 11 invites, a major step up from 2014 (5) and 2013 (7).

One thing that remained constant with these invites is that the team did not have a single NCAA invite. I assume that is because technically, NCAA players cannot participate with any pro type game outside of a prospect camp (without paying their own way), so this list will not include any players who will be returning to the NCAA this upcoming season.

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Categories : Prospects
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It might be much easier to find a trade partner for Mats Zuccarello than Rick Nash this late in the summer

It might be much easier to find a trade partner for Mats Zuccarello than Rick Nash this late in the summer

Now that the Blueshirts have pulled off another late-summer coup and added coveted prospect Jimmy Vesey to their lineup for the coming season, the club is loaded with forwards and many are wondering if the next domino to fall is a deal for help on defense.

But though the Rangers are well equipped to trade from their excess depth, finding a trade partner will be no easy task. This late in the summer teams have basically assembled the rosters they intend to bring to training camp. Adding free agent scraps is one thing, but making a blockbuster move at this point is extremely rare.

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Photo Credit: Steven Ryan

Photo Credit: Steven Ryan

The Rangers landed Jimmy Vesey on Friday, which bolsters their forward depth at a bare minimum cost. Vesey isn’t a savior and likely isn’t even going to crack 40 points this season, but he certainly opens up some options for the Rangers. Vesey likely slides into a third line role with Kevin Hayes and possibly Pavel Buchnevich. That pushes Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast to permanent spots on the fourth line.

This, of course, is if no other moves are made. The blue line has gone suspiciously unaddressed this offseason, and a change there is needed. Moving Dan Girardi and/or Marc Staal likely isn’t happening, but there are still other ways to upgrade the blue line if Jeff Gorton goes that route. The forward position is a major strength for the Rangers. They have arguably ten forwards that could feasibly play a top-nine role on this team, plus another three that slot in well on the fourth line.

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Aug
20

Thoughts following the Jimmy Vesey signing

August 20, 2016, by · Comments (119)
jimmy vesey

Photo: American Sports Net


The wait is finally over, #VeseyWatch has concluded, and the 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner is a New York Ranger. While the young college free agent, whose rights were originally owned by the Nashville Predators before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres, was considering teams such as the Devils, Islanders, and Blackhawks, he ultimately decided that New York is the place to begin his NHL career.

It’s worth noting before we get into unpacking things a little bit that Vesey is not the second coming of Alex Ovechkin, and is likely to play in the middle six as Dave has mentioned. He’s not going to score 50 goals, but there is a decent chance he scores between 10 and 20, he has high upside, and plays on a bare-minimum entry-level contract. There’s a lot to like about this signing however, even when acknowledging that he’s not the panacea to the Rangers’ problems.

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Categories : Musings
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Aug
19

Rangers sign Jimmy Vesey

August 19, 2016, by · Comments (58)
Vesey

Vesey

The Rangers have landed their guy. Jimmy Vesey is now a Ranger, signing a two-year entry-level deal to be in New York.

Vesey was the most sought after NCAA player that became a  free agent on August 15. In landing him, the Rangers get a middle-six forward for the bare minimum, a huge need for a team that needs bargain scoring.

Vesey, originally a third round pick of the Nashville Predators, was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, where he did not sign. It’s expected Vesey will make the roster out of training camp.

Categories : Signings
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My all-time favorite

Welcome to the 5th Annual Pre-season Top 30 Goaltenders List. It’s that time of year again, and after five years of putting this list together, the one thing I have learned is the value of consistency. Many a goaltender has now passed through this list with worlds of talent and bright futures’ ahead. The NHL, however, often has other ideas. The mainstays at the top are some of the most talented and hard working athletes on the planet, and it is truly a pleasure to watch them work.

This year’s list felt a little bit thinner than in seasons’ past, as performance attrition reared its ugly head on more than a few tenders this season, both vets and rookies, alike. There are a few bounce back performances and some steady steps forward, but I feel like this list has been scrambled quite a bit over last season. Read More→

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