Jun
28

If not Joe Thornton, then who?

June 28, 2017, by · Comments (85)

Sam Gagner posted 50 points last season, including 18 on the power play

At the draft GM Jeff Gorton expressed his comfort with having Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes as his one-two punch down the middle – and whether you take that at face value or not, the Rangers have a gaping hole to fill at center in the wake of the Derek Stepan trade.

The most attractive solution is to sign Joe Thornton, the surefire Hall of Famer that has anchored San Jose’s top line for over a decade. Thornton has demonstrated terrific chemistry with Rick Nash in the past and is the one free agent that’s capable of matching, if not exceeding Stepan’s annual production.

But signing Thornton is not without its drawbacks. For one thing, Thornton and the Sharks have a mutual love affair that seems likely to continue. The only thing precluding a new pact between the two parties thus far is Thornton’s desire for a three-year deal, which is a tough ask for a near-38-year-old coming off major knee surgery.

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Categories : Offseason
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Jun
27

Scouting Anthony DeAngelo

June 27, 2017, by · Comments (139)

anthony deangelo

Last week the Rangers made arguably the biggest splash of the offseason thus far, sending Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to Arizona for the 7th overall pick (Lias Andersson) and defense prospect Anthony DeAngelo. As a former first round pick, DeAngelo is definitely a talented player. Taken in the first round by Tampa in 2014, DeAngelo followed up his draft year with two more years of more than a point per game in the OHL.

His first year in the AHL was no different, putting up 43 points (6-37-43) in 69 games. However Tampa sent him to Arizona that offseason for a second round pick. The former first rounder was traded for a second round pick. Clearly, there were some issues.

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Categories : Players
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Jun
26

Replacing Derek Stepan

June 26, 2017, by · Comments (150)
joe thornton

Probably not coming to New York.

In case you missed it, and if you did, I’d like to know how you managed to isolate yourself from the world for this long, the Rangers traded Derek Stepan with Antti Raanta to Arizona for the 7th overall pick (Lias Andersson) and defense prospect Anthony DeAngelo. The Rangers freed up around $6.8 million in the trade and acquired a potential stud RHD, but opened up a huge hole in their top-two centers.

The prevailing logic is that Mika Zibanejad will be able to take Stepan’s minutes, and it’s a reasonable expectation. Zibanejad certainly has the skill, but Stepan handled some very difficult minutes against top competition. Zibanejad wasn’t exactly given cupcake minutes, but they weren’t at the level of Stepan. Regardless, penciling Zibanejad in as the 1C is a solid bet, and there’s good reason to believe he can handle it.

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Categories : Offseason
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mackenzie skapski

Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers have submitted qualifying offers to forwards Mika ZIbanejad, Jesper Fast, and Nicklas Jensen. They were the only three RFAs to receive qualifying offers. As expected, Brandon Pirri, Adam Clendening, and Marek Hrivik did not receive qualifying offers.

The surprise is that Mackenzie Skapski also did not receive a qualifying offer. Skapski dominated Buffalo in a pair of games in the 2014-2015 season, but never recovered from offseason dual hip surgery. He struggled mightily this year, and with the goalie pipeline strong, retaining Skapski wasn’t on the radar.

Categories : Offseason
Comments (5)
Jun
25

New York Rangers 2017 Draft Recap

June 25, 2017, by · Comments (41)

lias andersson

The 2017 NHL Draft has come and gone, with the Rangers making seven picks. They picked just one North American player, with the rest coming from the various European leagues. That’s a bit of a deviation from prior drafts, and likely has to do with the lack of North American talent in this draft. The Rangers also went heavy with the over-agers (20+ year olds), another deviation from the norm. But if there’s one person who has earned the trust of the fans, it’s Gordie Clark. So let’s recap.

First Round (#7) Lias Andersson

Lias Andersson is a really interesting pick. At one end of the spectrum it may be upsetting because he likely doesn’t have that really high potential that we may have wanted after trading Derek Stepan, but he is the kind of player that I think everyone who loves hockey will love him on the Rangers. He does everything well and is known as a super intelligent 200 foot player with a quick release on his shot.

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Jun
24

Rangers take Patrik Virta with pick #207

June 24, 2017, by · Comments (23)

Patrik Virta

The Rangers have taken yet another over-ager at pick #207, taking center Patrik Virta. The 5’10”, 175 lb center put up 14-12-26 in the Finnish Elite League (SM-Liga) last season. He put up 5-1-6 in 6 playoff games as well. It’s worth noting that 26 points is a lot in Finland. It’s a notoriously low scoring league, like Sweden.

I don’t know much else about him. Josh tweeted that he drives puck possession. I’ll defer to him in tomorrow’s post. Lots of Euros.

That’s it for the draft. Looks like the scouting staff didn’t like many North Americans.

Categories : Draft
Comments (23)
Jun
24

Rangers select forward Morgan Barron at pick #174

June 24, 2017, by · Comments (3)

morgan barron

The Rangers have selected forward Morgan Barron at pick #174. Baron played five games in the USHL last year (Sioux City Muskateers) as an 18 year old last season, recording no points. He did spend most of his time with St. Andrew’s College this year, though. His line last season was 28-22-50 in 48 games while serving as team captain.

Barron is a big kid and a good skater, but is a project pick. The 6’2, 200 lb forward is a Cornell commit, so he is at least 3-4 years away from turning pro. It’s good to see he’s going to Cornell, means he has a head on his shoulders.

Categories : Draft
Comments (3)
Jun
24

Rangers select Dominik Lakatos at pick #157

June 24, 2017, by · Comments (1)

Dominik Lakatos

The Rangers have taken 20 year old centerĀ Dominik Lakatos with their 157th overall pick. Lakatos plays in the Czech league, so the Rangers went with another Euro player. The 6′, 178 lb center put up 10-12-22 in the Czech league this year, earning rookie of the year honors.

I don’t know much about him, but I am a bit concerned by his age. I’m not a big fan of drafting 20 year olds when the draft age is usually 18 years old. But I trust Gordie Clark. That makes four Euros so far.

For what it’s worth, a lot of scouts/prospect guys like this pick.

Categories : Draft
Comments (1)
Jun
24

Rangers take defenseman Calle Sjalin at #145

June 24, 2017, by · Comments (1)

calle sjalin

The Rangers have taken defenseman Calle Sjalin at pick #145. Sjalin is another 17 year old taken from Europe, playing just a pair of games this year in Sweden’s third tier league. The 6’1, 179 lb defenseman (lefty) was actually one of the top ranked Swedish defensemen a year ago, but missed an entire year made him fall off the radar.

He’s another young guy and a project pick, but he also appears to have a high ceiling. Since he was rated so high just last year, there’s a chance he had top-two round skill and just fell because of his injury.

Other than that, there’s not much on Sjalin. Josh will have a more detailed post tomorrow.

Categories : Draft
Comments (1)
Jun
24

Rangers select defenseman Brandon Crawley at #123

June 24, 2017, by · Comments (5)

brandon crawley

The Rangers have taken defenseman Brandon Crawley at pick #123 in the fourth round. The Rangers originally had pick #102, but traded it to San Jose to move back. Crawley is an American defenseman from New Jersey, so he has the local factor. At 6’2″ and 203 lbs, he’s a big kid as well. He put up 7-20-27 on the London Knights this year as a 20 year old.

Crawley is an over-ager, so there’s a chance he can go right to the AHL this year. He’s more of a defense first guy, so don’t expect huge numbers from him in the AHL. He’s a solid skater and good positionally, so he’s not your prototypical banger/shot blocker.

He played well with London, but as a 20 year old you want to see him dominate kids smaller than him. We will see what the Rangers do with him as an over-ager.

Categories : Draft
Comments (5)