May
18

Breaking down the Ilya Kovalchuk rumors

May 18, 2017, by · Comments (126)

ilya kovalchuk

Ever since the news broke that Ilya Kovalchuk wants to come back to the NHL, preferring to play in New York or Florida, the Rangers have been linked to them. Elliotte Friedman added fuel to that fire during this week’s 30 Thoughts, mentioning that the Rangers also appear to have interest.

It would be silly for Jeff Gorton to simply ignore Kovalchuk’s return. After all, he’s been a point-per-game player in the KHL. At 34 years old and at that elite talent level, he’s still got gas left in the tank. However the major question isn’t whether he has gas left, it’s how much. Is he going to be another Jaromir Jagr, putting up 40 points until he turns 900 years old? Or will he fizzle out after half a season?

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May
17

The giant offseason jigsaw puzzle for the Rangers

May 17, 2017, by · Comments (123)

Navigating the salary cap and expansion draft with a weak prospect pool will be a tall task

The spring cleaning began in earnest for the Rangers yesterday with the firing of Hartford coach Ken Gernander and reassignments of Chris Drury and Jim Schoenfeld. The work will only get harder from here for the team’s front office.

Unlike last season when the Blueshirts considered a wholesale makeover but chose to mainly stand pat, GM Jeff Gorton and coach Alain Vigneault have been candid in the wake of the latest playoff ouster that major roster changes will be made this summer.

But that will be easier said than done.

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Categories : Offseason
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ken gernander

Some Hartford Wolf Pack news, and some surprising news at that. Ken Gernander, who has been coaching the Hartford Wolf Pack for the past ten seasons, posting a 388-304-84 record with five playoff appearances, has been relieved of his coaching duties. A new coach has not been named yet.

Gernander is also a career Ranger/Binghamton/Hartford player, with 11 seasons as a player before his 10 as a coach. That is 21 seasons with the Rangers organization. He has been here since the 1994-1995 season.

Chris Drury has been named GM of the Pack, replacing Jim Schoenfeld in that role. Schoenfeld was not relieved of his duties, but relinquished them voluntarily to focus on his Assistant GM role with the Rangers.

Categories : AHL
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May
16

Gauging Mika Zibanejad’s next contract

May 16, 2017, by · Comments (128)

mika zibanejad

The offseason focus this year is naturally going to be on the expansion draft, and rightfully so. It’s the first time in the Twitter era that we will be able to watch it unfold on TV and on social media. While that is certainly going to be a focus, one of the key items on the Jeff Gorton’s To Do List is getting his RFA’s signed. The biggest RFA to get locked up is Mika Zibanejad.

Zibanejad was acquired last summer, along with a 2018 second round pick, in exchange for Derick Brassard and a 2018 seventh round pick. Zibanejad lit the world on fire in his first month with the Ranges, almost scoring at will before breaking his leg and missing 25 games. Zibanejad was slow to get his legs under him, and finished the season with a line of 14-23-37 in 56 games.

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Categories : Offseason, Players
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May
16

Blue Seat Blogs-Cast – Playoff Post Mortem :(

May 16, 2017, by · Comments (2)

On this week’s podcast we dissect what went wrong in the Rangers’s ill-fated playoff run, picking out the turning points and missteps in the series against Ottawa. As always you can find us right here, on SoundCloud, and on iTunes. Leave a review too!

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derek stepan

Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire

One of the major talking points to come out of the disappointing playoff exit has been Derek Stepan. Stepan, the team’s top center and will be 27 years old in June, had a rough postseason. He had just two goals and six points in 12 games, and was one of the many key offensive threats that disappeared in the postseason.

It’s worth noting that before this postseason, Stepan put up lines of 5-10-15 in 24 games (2014 postseason), 5-7-12 in 19 games (2015 postseason), and 2-0-2 in 5 games (2016 postseason). I’m using the last three postseasons, as those were the ones where he was the top line center. So he’s producing about 0.5 points per game on average in the postseason. That’s not exactly terrible.

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Categories : Players
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May
14

Retaining Brendan Smith is Key

May 14, 2017, by · Comments (113)
Brendan smith

Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

As we reflect on the 2016-17 Rangers season, and unfortunately short postseason, one thing that ought to be clear is that this team’s defense simply isn’t good enough as currently constructed. The Rangers are obviously going to have to do something about Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, may make a serious push for Kevin Shattenkirk, and will most certainly have to give Brady Skjei the bigger role he deserves on this blueline. One other thing became abundantly clear this postseason, and it goes hand in hand with my last point: the Rangers must re-sign Brendan Smith.

This past playoff run, Smith showed that he is absolutely indispensable on the back end alongside Skjei, with his savvy play allowing the youngster to take more liberties and let his offensive potential shine. Their chemistry was plainly evident, and they would make a solid second pairing together.

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Categories : Players
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May
13

Mailbag: Replacing AV; Expansion; Lindberg

May 13, 2017, by · Comments (87)

oscar lindberg

Three questions for the mailbag this week. One was received during the playoffs, but I decided to hold off on answering that one until after the playoffs.

Anthony asks: If it was my call, I’d be letting AV go if they don’t get past Ottawa. Supposing it does happen, who would be the most sensible/realistic replacement? Do they go with Ruff or Paul MacLean? Or does Arniel get a shot? Anyone in the AHL worth taking a chance on?

Sorry for not answering this when you sent it, Anthony. But it made more sense to cover it after the playoffs. Suit covered a part of this yesterday, so you should definitely read that post. I would personally let AV go. He’s a good coach, but that’s not always what a team needs. A team needs the right coach, as Suit aptly pointed out. I don’t believe AV is the right coach. But I’ve been wrong before.

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Categories : Musings
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May
12

Conference Finals Predictions

May 12, 2017, by · Comments (12)

Battle of the Superstars

Although we’re all still questioning and dealing with the grief of the Stanley Cup being out of reach in New York, the show must go on. It’s moving on without our Rangers, and quite quickly at that. Tonight starts the Western Conference Final, and the battle for the East begins tomorrow night.

Many of the staff here at BSB are dealing with the undeniable sadness of seeing a defeated Henrik Lundqvist, and simply cannot think about the future of this playoffs at present time. Three of us were able to pull together the courage to get our predictions out there. As always, leave yours in the comments.

Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

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May
12

Should the Rangers Fire Vigneault?

May 12, 2017, by · Comments (106)
alain vigneault

Times up?

There are three constants working in the sports business. One, always wear a suit (preferably a well tailored one) to the arena on game day. Two, have thick skin. Three, get results or get out. The latter isn’t something I particularly agree with and those of you familiar with my work here or @thehockeysuit (shameless plug) know that I am process driven and not results driven. Regardless, the fact remains the same. You have to hit your goals in this industry or you go the way of Ned Stark.

All of which brings us to today’s topic – Alain Vigneault.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (106)