Should the Rangers play Boyle tonight? Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America
Fresh off a dominant victory over the offensive juggernaut that are the Pens, things appear slightly rosier in Rangerland. Tonight, the Rangers have to cope with another offensively skilled team when the Avalanche comes to town. Let’s discuss the goings-on in Rangerland.
What to do with Duclair? I know I’m in the minority but I think I would send Duclair back to juniors. I would rather see him playing 20 minutes a night in Junior and dominating. Once the Rangers are back to full strength I think a guy like Jesper Fast would be better suited to a bottom six role and help the Rangers return to their identity of being a difficult team to play against.
I have Rick Nash in both my fantasy teams. I am very happy about this.
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The New York Rangers have assigned forward Ryan Malone and defenseman Conor Allen to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. The club also recalled forward Jesper Fast, who put up 1-8-9 in 11 games with Hartford since his demotion last month.
Malone was waived earlier this month, cleared, but hung around with the club for a few days before this demotion. Allen didn’t look out of place, but the returning John Moore meant it was between him and Matt Hunwick. That move I don’t necessarily agree with, there was no harm in seeing what else Allen had. He had been better than both Hunwick and Mike Kostka. But hey, I’m a blogger.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
When the Rangers blue line finally gets healthy, the assumption has always been that John Moore will be the LD on the third pairing. It’s tough to argue with that, as the one prospect who appears NHL ready is currently playing at the University of Minnesota (Brady Skjei). Conor Allen, in preseason, was seemingly beat out by Dylan McIlrath as the 7D (both were sent to the AHL for Matt Hunwick, since the kids need playing time). Moore’s spot appeared to be safe.
Allen, recalled due to the Moore suspension and the injury to Ryan McDonagh, looked steady in his two games this year. He’s not flashy by any stretch, but he reminds me of a right-handed Anton Stralman. If you recall, Stralman didn’t show up on the scoreboard, but he always made the smart, short, easy pass to move the puck out of the zone. It’s something that is greatly under appreciated because it is such a subtle play. Allen showed a lot of those qualities when I watched him.
Naturally I’m a bit of a nerd, so I took to the numbers to see if what I saw matches what was produced on the ice.
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In response to the absurd number of injuries and suspensions (ok, suspension, singular) that have hit the New York Rangers blue line, the Rangers have recalled defensemen Conor Allen and Dylan McIlrath from the Hartford Wolf Pack. McIlrath seemingly won the 7D spot in camp, but the Rangers kept Matt Hunwick so that McIlrath could get big minutes with the Pack. Allen has consistently shown he can play a steady game, if unspectacular.
In 8 games this year, McIlrath has not registered a point and has 21 PIMs. In those same 8 games, Allen has a line of 2-3-5 and 2 PIMs.
It is likely that the Rangers will go with Marc Staal and Dan Girardi as their top pairing, with Hunwick and Mike Kostka as the second pairing (yeesh), and Allen/McIlrath as the third pairing. We are in for a rough one tonight.
John Moore is almost guaranteed a suspension. An in-person hearing with the Department of Player Safety doesn’t guarantee a suspension, but it gives them the option of suspending a player more than five games. Since Moore is a repeat offender, receiving two games for a hit on Dale Weise in last year’s playoffs, it’s a guarantee he misses at least three games, likely five or more.
At the moment, Matt Hunwick is playing somewhat steady filling in for the injured Dan Boyle. Mike Kostka played one game, had a few epic turnovers, but one game isn’t indicative of an entire career. Conor Allen is in Hartford, and he’s the guy most fans think is ready for a shot. Dylan McIlrath was the last one cut from camp, and the first round pick has shown significant progress and promise.
So what can the Rangers do?
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The Rangers have sent defenseman Connor Allen to the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack. Allen played three games in his first NHL cuppa, being held off the scoreboard with a -1 rating. Allen played his three games with a 49.1% CF% (+1.4% relative) while starting 54% of his shifts in the offensive zone. Clearly this is a small sample size.
Allen played very well, and this is not the end of his career as a Ranger, although many will believe his demotion is the end of the world. Unless he was perfect, he was always destined to be sent back down. It was good seeing what the kid has. He will work on his game and either be called up again soon, or compete for a roster spot next season.
The Rangers have recalled defenseman Connor Allen in response to the injury to Anton Stralman last night. Allen, who had a very strong preseason, has a line of 5-8-13 in 29 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack this season. The loss of Stralman is a tough on the Rangers, who are short on right handed shots from the blue line.
The club is saying that the injury to Stralman is not serious, but the immediate recall of Allen signals that Stralman will likely be out for at least a game, possibly more. This recall probably kills two birds with one stone: Allen will serve as an injury replacement for a few games, and the Rangers will see what they have in the undrafted free agent that impressed in September.
For those wondering why Dylan McIlrath was not recalled, he reinjured his knee last week.
The Rangers announced their final roster cuts this morning, assigning Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg, Marek Hrivik, Darroll Powe, Brandon Mashinter, Stu Bickel and Conor Allen to the Hartford Wolfpack. Powe, Mashinter and Bickel must all clear waivers.
The following players made the opening night roster:
Forwards: Arron Asham, Brian Boyle, Derick Brassard, Ryan Callahan, Derek Dorsett, Jesper Fast, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller, Dominic Moore, Rick Nash, Benoit Pouliot, Taylor Pyatt, Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello
Defensemen: Michael Del Zotto, Justin Falk, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, John Moore, Marc Staal, Anton Stralman
Goalies: Henrik Lundqvist, Marty Biron
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The 2013 draft is now in the books and the Rangers have added five more youngsters to their prospect system. Let’s take a look at where all the prospects stand heading into the offseason.
On the cusp
After bursting onto the scene during the 2012 playoffs, Kreider struggled out of the gate with the CT Whale to start the 2013 season. He joined the Rangers following the lockout, but never earned major minutes under coach John Tortorella and was frequently sent back and forth from New York to Connecticut. Still the crown jewel of the Rangers’ system, Kreider should be handed a much bigger offensive role next season under Alain Vigneault.
Miller’s quick climb up the ladder to New York was extremely impressive and though his 2012-2013 season was cut short by a wrist injury, he should also have a job to lose in September under Vigneault. Miller’s game is very much a work in progress – he was guilty of some horrible defensive mistakes and didn’t contribute much offensively, but Miller looked like he belonged in the NHL. He’s proven to be a very quick study all along and will be expected to continue his growth as a Ranger next season. Read more »
A few days ago, Steve Zipay noted that the Rangers were showing interest in NCAA free agent defenseman Connor Allen out of UMass. Today, the Rangers signed Allen to an entry-level deal. Terms of the deal are still unknown, although it is highly unlikely that the Rangers signed him for this season, as he would make contract number 50. It is more likely that his deal begins next season, and he can join the Whale this season if he signs an ATO.
As noted in the previous post, Allen is a 6’1, 203 lb defenseman with a scoring line of 14-25-39 in 99 NCAA games. The Rangers were thin on defensive prospects, so the addition of Allen is a nice boost.