(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
When the music stopped on the NHL’s annual game of July 1 musical chairs, the Rangers were clearly left standing. Not only had they lost Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot, Anton Stralman and Brad Richards, but they were also left with minimal cap space and a much smaller group of incoming players. The kicker to all this is that none of the new players were centers.
All throughout the Finals, the narrative was the Kings’ depth down the middle and how the Rangers could match it. It was an area targeted for improvement this off-season, and it was the one area the Rangers seemingly couldn’t find a way to upgrade.
I don’t hate the Dan Boyle deal. I do hate the Tanner Glass deal, but we are talking about a 4W here, so it’s far from the end of the world. Sather added some nice depth the minor league club and created a pool of reinforcements should injury strike, but when we are potentially counting on one of just two possibly ready prospects to play significant minutes without any veteran competition, it becomes a little concerning. Read more »
Dom Moore was brought back on a sensible deal – careful planning? (Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI)
A successful franchise is well built from the bottom to the top. In the cap era a club needs to develop their own, they need to have a solid pipeline and a competitive minor league affiliate. Prospects need to get into the habit of success and the Rangers’ minor league affiliate hasn’t helped in this regard the past two years as the Wolf Pack have failed to get to the post season for two straight seasons.
To many Ranger fans, the Rangers had a disastrous July 1st. They lost popular players in Anton Stralman and Brian Boyle. They added a whole bunch of ‘minor leaguers’, an aging defenseman (Dan Boyle) with a recent injury history as well as a fist swinging bottom line player to an excessive deal. This is all true. However, let’s look at two key issues here; the loss of core players - Boyle and Stralman – and the ‘minor league’ bunch.
Stralman and Boyle are replaceable
Everyone laments the loss of Stralman and Boyle. Rightly so. They have developed into solid NHL players and became core members of the Rangers. However do you remember where they came from? Stralman couldn’t stick with a team and couldn’t do better than a try-out with the Devils; Boyle was a Kings cast-off destined for the AHL, he was a project. There is no reason why the Rangers cannot develop this kind of player again.
With Dan Boyle signed, the next person inserted into the line-up will have sheltered minutes on the 3rd pairing. In a cap world you have to make sacrifices and Stralman is getting far too much money and term from Tampa. At the end of the day, Stralman doesn’t offer anything that is irreplaceable. He offers no reason to panic.
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Good news and bad news: The Rangers have re-signed center Dominic Moore to a two-year deal at $1.5 million per year. Moore was a solid addition last season, and was 1/3 of one of the best fourth lines in the game. Moore can also chip in offensively, as he showed when Derick Brassard was hurt in the playoffs this year.
Unfortunately, the Rangers also signed possession anchor Tanner Glass to a three year deal at $1.45 million per year. Seriously, he’s horrible. But hey, he’s physical?
Free agency is upon us, and teams that were not allowed to talk specific contract details will find a way to work out extremely complicated contracts within minutes of free agency opening. The Rangers have four key guys headed to free agency, with three likely on their way out. We summarized those here. We will be live-blogging the free agency signings, with moves made by the Rangers in bold. Discuss anything you want, keep it civil.
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Apologies for the tardiness on this one, it was a gorgeous weekend and we spent it outside after the draft. But, in case you haven’t heard, Larry Brooks is reporting that the Rangers would like to keep Dominic Moore, but don’t want to pay him at his current demands. Moore is currently looking for a three-year deal at somewhere between $1.6 and $1.85 million, per Brooks. That’s Brian Boyle money, and since Boyle will be departing the Rangers for sure, there seems to be no reason why the Rangers wouldn’t keep Moore. He would be the only returning member of one of the best fourth lines in hockey, he is their prime penalty killer, and he can chip in offensively as well.
If this is a cap issue, and there may be a slight one for the Rangers at a $69 million cap, then so be it. It may also be a “kids” issue, as Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg appear ready to make the jump. Perhaps J.T. Miller is ready as well (less likely). Whatever the reason, the Rangers are looking at replacing their entire fourth line this offseason.
In what should be no surprise, forward Dominic Moore was the winner of the Bill Masterton trophy. The Masterton is awarded to “the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” Moore took a year off from the game following the death of his wife, and returned to help the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final this season.
Dom Moore: Hugely deserving of a new deal this summer (Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI)
The Rangers are within two wins of the fan base going crazy with excitement. With the danger of looking too far ahead, let’s keep it sane and throw up a musings a day early shall we?
So much in sport depends on timing. Success is so often about peaking at the right time. In Henrik Lundqvist the Rangers have the best goalie in the world playing at the very top of his game. A (the?) leading Conn Smythe candidate, the Rangers have a huge advantage when he’s on his game. Right now it’s on fluke deflections that seem to be his undoing.
We’ve discussed it before, but the way he’s elevated his game (even further) in recent weeks it needs saying again; the Rangers have to keep Dominic Moore beyond this season, don’t they? Moore has beyond a strong penalty killer, a great defensive presence and has chipped in with leadership, some offense and filled in admirably for Derick Brassard. He’s a keeper.
Prediction: Ryan McDonagh will win a Norris trophy within the next four years. Not a wild prediction.
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Dominic Moore, who was the Rangers nominee for the Masterton trophy at the end of March, was announced as a finalist for the award. The Masterton is awarded each year to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.” The nominees are selected by members of the PHWA.
Moore returned to the Rangers this year, his second stint with the team, after sitting out all of last season following the passing of his wife from a rare form of liver cancer. She was 32.
When I sat down to write last night, I was set on a post about Rick Nash. He’s the center of attention lately, and I was going to dive into his traditional and #fancystats to see the impact he was having on the team. But then this E:60 segment was brought to my attention.
For those unfamiliar, E:60 is a show that has short stories on athletes around the world. This time around, Jeremy Schaap focused on the story of Rangers forward and Masterton nominee Dominic Moore. Moore took 18 months off from hockey to be with his wife, who passed away last year. This is his story, and it’s a tear jerker. I posted a preview below, but the full story is 12 minutes long and can be found here.
Long term contention? Photo: Brad Penner, USA Today
The Rangers entertain the hapless Sabres tonight. A team with hopes of a deep playoff run should be winning tonight with ease so with that jinx behind us, let’s throw up a few Ranger based thoughts.
Let’s briefly address the ‘win now’ theory. Henrik Lundqvist is 32 and has a shiny new seven year deal. He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down and with several examples of goalies playing to an elite level deep into their 30’s, there’s no reason to think Lundqvist can’t do the same.
The defense has a strong under-contract core (Staal, Girardi, McDonagh and Klein) of which none are the wrong side of thirty. The forward corps (Nash and St Louis not considered) could feature six players in the top nine who have contributed to the Rangers this year (as presently constructed) that are all 26 or under and of which none have maxed out their potential – think Kreider, Hagelin, Stepan, Zuccarello, Brassard and JT Miller.
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