Apr
30

No Need to Panic About Picking Ninth

April 30, 2018, by · Comments (63)

gordie clark

The draft lottery took place yesterday, and the results have some Rangers fans frazzled. The Blueshirts unfortunately didn’t land in the top three this draft, and will therefore be missing out on any of Rasmus Dahlin, Andrei Svechnikov, or Filip Zadina. The three of them are generally understood to be among the best prospects in recent memory, in particular Dahlin, and the fact that they won’t be Rangers any time soon is definitely a bummer. Still, this is an exceptionally deep draft, and I don’t think there’s any reason to panic about the Rangers picking 9th overall this upcoming draft. Allow me to explain.

1. We can still trade up – it’s likely not a great idea because of what we’d have to give to move into the 4-7 range (or even 3rd, as the Habs are allegedly open to trading the pick) and there will still be great players left at 9 (more on that in a moment), but if Jeff Gorton really really wanted to he could. There’s always a deal to be made, and this draft could be one of the silliest in recent memory, so I wouldn’t sweat it that the Rangers got the 9th pick because there’s a non-zero chance that they don’t actually wind up picking 9th. Still, GMJG may decide to stand pat, and then what? We’re left with some scrub? Quite to the contrary, we’ll be alright because…

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Categories : Draft
Comments (63)
mats zuccarello

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

This one hurts to write, because I love Zucc. But the reality of the situation is that Mats Zuccarello may wind up being traded at the draft this year. He’s a first line player making second line money. He’s good for 50-60 points per year –possibly more on a team with an actual system in place– at just $4.5 million for one more year.

Zuccarello is a great add for any team looking to add scoring. His cap hit makes him even more attractive. But for everything Zuccarello brings, he is 30 and only has one year left on his deal, limiting his return. Even so, if he does get traded, he should –at least in theory– bring in a solid return.

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Categories : Players
Comments (72)
Apr
27

Should the Rangers sign a UFA backup?

April 27, 2018, by · Comments (30)

Codie McLachlan/Getty Images North America

Last July, the Rangers reversed course with their backup goalie plan when they signed Ondrej Pavelec to a one-year deal.  Typically, Benoit Allaire has taken youngish goaltenders with upside remaining and helped them reach their potential.  That upside has brought serious production to the backup goaltender position.  With Pavelec, he was banking a guy who had NHL success being able to resurrect his career.  A little bit of a different plan.

The results were mixed. Overall, Pavelec was fine and had some downright fantastic games in blue.  However, injuries and long stretches where Alain Vigneault was not willing to play Pavelec somewhat derailed the original intention.  Late in the season, a youngster named Alexandar Georgiev had a short cameo, indicating he was ready to get a longer look in the NHL.

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Apr
26

Stress-Free Playoffs: Round 2 Predictions

April 26, 2018, by · Comments (6)

It me, Round Two

After a wild Boston-Toronto Game 7 last night (words that will no doubt trigger Toronto fans for the rest of eternity), we’re ready for Round 2 of the 2018 NHL Playoffs to begin tonight. Once again, we’ve made some predictions that are blissfully stress-free.

Please share in the comments what you think will happen this round.

Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Dave: Caps in 7. These two meeting in the playoffs is getting old. We all know what both teams have and don’t have. In the end, I think the Caps finally break through though. Read More→

Categories : Playoffs, Uncategorized
Comments (6)
Apr
26

Mailbag: Coaching style, free agents

April 26, 2018, by · Comments (33)

rocco grimaldi

Two questions for the mailbag this week. As always, you can use the widget on the right to send us questions.

Steve asks:  What type of coaching do we need? What offensive strategy do we employ to best suit the skills? Defensive strategy?

This was sort of answered a bit in a few posts, but it’s good to have one central answer here. In regards to the type of coaching we need, the best answer is the simplest one. The Rangers need a coach who will develop the youth. That is first and foremost.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (33)
Apr
25

Dissecting the Jim Dolan interview

April 25, 2018, by · Comments (76)

henrik lundqvist

In case you missed it, Larry Brooks got a few good quotes from Rangers owner Jim Dolan last week. It took a little while to digest, or at least to not react and jump to uninformed conclusions. It’s certainly worth the read if you have the time.

First things first, Henrik Lundqvist was given the chance to leave and not see the rebuild through. He did not, want to leave, and Dolan had glowing praise for his franchise goaltender. There’s not much to dissect here, except that Dolan said Hank helps them contend for the playoffs next year. So….in a rebuild year, that’s something to keep an eye on.

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Comments (76)
Apr
24

Thoughts on the Slava Voynov noise from yesterday

April 24, 2018, by · Comments (58)

Yesterday, a rumor floated that the Rangers were one of five teams that contacted Slava Voynov in regards to a potential return to the NHL. If you recall, Voynov was banned by the NHL for beating his wife near death a few years ago. As usual, I have some thoughts.

1. First things first, Larry Brooks shot this down almost immediately. Arthur Staple shot it down for the Isles after that. Let’s call this what it is: Not a rumor. Not real.

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Comments (58)

Erik Karlsson isn’t going to be with the Ottawa Senators for long. He was rumored to be on his way out at the deadline, but that never happened. Now all eyes are on the draft, when teams have significantly more cap room to work with. As always, the Rangers are always mentioned with big ticket names, and with a newly stocked system they have the tools to pull it off.

But is that the right move for this team right now? It could be if they are looking for a fast turnaround on this rebuild. Karlsson is a one of a kind player, an elite defenseman who can put up 80 points in a league where 50 is considered fantastic for a blue liner. That said, Karlsson might not be the route the Rangers want to go. Let’s go into three reasons why.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (84)
Apr
21

The fear of a “quick turnaround”

April 21, 2018, by · Comments (94)

john tavares

When it comes to a rebuild, there seem to be two approaches. The first is the complete tear down and build through the draft and trades. The second is leveraging current assets and bringing in new faces to help be the complement to what already exists. The latter, at least from what I’ve seen, rarely works. The former does work, but not all the time. Indeed, there is an element of luck involved with every rebuild.

The Rangers, though, appear to be merging the two strategies. After selling off many assets at the deadline, they acquired a bunch of picks and prospects that will help them in the long haul of a rebuild. Three first round picks, several high floor prospects, and promotion of existing prospects are the building blocks of a competitor.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (94)
Apr
20

First thoughts of the off-season

April 20, 2018, by · Comments (60)

www.themorningskate.com

Well, the off-season is officially upon us.  For the first time in years, we can watch playoff hockey stress free.  Kinda stinks.  There has been quite a bit of noise so far in Rangerland, between coaching rumors, exit interviews and an uncharacteristically vocal James Dolan.  As you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. First, I want to talk out the coaching rumors.  Dolan has seemingly cast a wide net of potential candidates, ranging from NCAA to NHL experience.  He has indicated they are keeping an open mind with regard to experience, prioritizing a certain skill set over a set resume.  This is a good thing.  If there is a clear direction within the organization about what type of mindset they are looking for behind the bench, the more likely they actually get it as they move through the interview process.  I know I felt a little baited and switched with AV.  I understand the hire based on where the team was at the time, but he was advertised as progressive coach who was going to use data to try and gain a competitive edge.  We all now know he turned out to be just another hockey man.  Hopefully, with a clear mandate, we actually get what the team is telling us they want. Read More→