Archive for Henrik Lundqvist

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For the first time since Lockout II, we as Rangers’ fans embark on a season in which we have no realistic expectation of contention.  Last year, many of us could see leaks in the ship, but there was still talent in the lineup and a generational goaltender to keep our delusions intact.  Twelve months, an open letter to fans and a massive roster shake up later, we know that our beloved Blueshirts are rebuilding.

This is a transitional year in more ways than one.  While the team did a nice job in turning veterans into young assets and re-loading through the Draft, many of the organizations’ tippy top prospects aren’t ready for the bigs, just yet.  A couple are over in Russia and a few are in the NCAA/Junior ranks for the 2018-2019 season. As we wade into this unfamiliar territory where we know the team isn’t going to contend, but we aren’t really watching the full potential of the future either, I’ve been thinking about what are productive takeaways to be watching for next season. Read More→

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Jul
27

The Rangers should sign Steve Mason

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Mason

Overall, goaltending is an organizational strength for the Rangers.  Obviously, they have Henrik Lundqvist at the NHL level, and Igor Shestyorkin waiting to make his North American debut as the presumed heir apparent. Alexandar Georgiev made significant strides last season in his NHL debut, plus high ceiling prospects Adam Huska and Tyler Wall in the system.  Chris Nell, Brandon Halverson and Olof Klefbom have become something of after thoughts, besides all being decent prospects in their own right.  Don’t forget Marek Mazanec as AHL depth. Read More→

Jun
22

It’s Draft day!

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Happy Draft Day, BSB faithful! After a long and arduous run since the announcement of the re-build/tool/et al, all eyes are on the NHL Draft.  This is the first year in a long, long time that the decisions made by the organization will have such a profound effect on the future of the team.  Sure, we have all cared about the selections made in the past, but most of the focus was on trades and improving the team to contend for the Cup.  There are several layers that make this particular Draft one of the most intriguing events in recent years.  Let’s take a look at what is at stake this evening…

First, one of the deepest Drafts we have seen in a while happens to coincide with a surprisingly public declaration of rebuilding by the organization.  A frustrated fan base watched with baited breath as rental players and franchise cornerstones alike were sold off for futures in anticipation of this event.  The Rangers own three first round picks this year and five in the top 48.  They have fresh new assets from which to deal and a ton of cap space, to boot.  There are endless options and while the organization has made it clear a change was necessary, we don’t have a great idea of how that will manifest itself. Read More→

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Photo Credit: Lasik MD

Goaltending is a unique position within the hockey world.  It is wildly misunderstood and poorly analyzed. The industry as a whole seems to pass the buck to “goalie people” when seeking information or guidance about pretty much anything regarding the position.  This correlates to the way fans view the position, as well.  Coming from the perspective of someone who plays, studies and analyzes the nuances of the discipline, this can be quite frustrating.

One of the most egregiously misunderstood aspects is the psychology associated with manning the crease. It is a complicated relationship you have with just about everyone on the ice; from the head coach to your teammates, referees and fans.  From reading commentary -not only from this site, but from the larger media, in general- how a person feels about a goaltender’s role, value or behavior can vary greatly.  Read More→

Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
Comments (51)
Apr
27

Should the Rangers sign a UFA backup?

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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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Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
Comments (30)
Apr
20

First thoughts of the off-season

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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→

Categories : Musings, Offseason
Comments (60)
Mar
09

Scattered Friday Thoughts

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Rangers were absolutely dismantled by Rangers-South the Tampa Bay Lightning in predictable fashion.  This was an ugly one to watch, as the Blueshirts were helpless to defend wave after wave of offensive attack.  No one said rebuilds were easy.  As we start to move towards the twilight of a lost season, I have some thoughts…

1. There has been a lot of talk about the most beneficial way to play the remainder of the season.  Logic would dictate that the Rangers should lose as many of the remaining games as possible and improve their odds of a higher draft pick.  Makes perfect sense.  The problem is the players on the ice will and should try to win.  You can’t throw games in professional sports.  The team on the ice is going to be outclassed most of the time, given the way the roster was gutted, and we can all root for losses.  Expecting professionals to go out there and throw in the towel isn’t something that should be on our radar.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (35)

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Quite a bit has happened since I penned this piece back at the end of December about Henrik Lundqvist’s workload.  At the time, the Rangers were sitting in fourth place in the Metro division, with a semi-comfortable grasp on a playoff spot and only four points out of first place in the division.  They were sitting in the first wild card position, with a healthy Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Kreider.  Lundqvist was on pace for 68 starts.

Since then, Shattenkirk has been knocked out of the lineup with a knee injury that required surgery (and basically every other defenseman, for that matter), Chris Kreider was diagnosed with a blood clot disorder that also required rib surgery.  The Rangers have plummeted in the standings and now sit in last place in the Metro.  Management has even come around, essentially preparing the fan base for a rebuild and writing a memo and holding a press conference signally that the team would be selling at the deadline.  Lundqvist is still on pace for 68 starts. Read More→

Categories : Goaltending
Comments (24)

(JUSTIN TASCH/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

In case you missed it, yesterday saw some significant happenings in Rangerland.  First, the Rangers placed Brendan Smith on waivers and called up Neal Pionk.  Soon after, Jeff Gorton and Glen Sather showed up at practice and issued a joint statement about the future of the franchise.  There was a tepid (re: non-existent) endorsement about AV’s future and much Twitter ink spilled about what it all means.  As you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. If you read the memo that the Rangers organization released, a couple of things jump out. First, it seems the organization is trying to gauge fan reaction to the notion of a rebuild.  There is enough qualifying language and vague platitudes in the memo to reverse course if the reaction to the release was pure outrage at abandoning a season where they aren’t completely out of it.  Read More→

Comments (113)
Feb
02

Trading Lundqvist is a fool’s errand

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Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

With the possibility of the Rangers selling for the first time in forever coming more acutely possible, the focus from the fan base has understandably turned to hypothetical returns for the teams’ more attractive trade chips.  Naturally, the logical discussions (many of which have been examined in this space) involve Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Mats Zuccarello.  One target that a fairly vocal minority of the fan base has consistently brough up has been, oddly enough, Henrik Lundqvist.

Now, the reasons why Hank’s detractors (or trade advocates) feel moving the King would be a prudent move aren’t all that far-fetched.  He takes up a significant amount of cap space.  His overall performance has delayed a (probably necessary) rebuild longer than it should have taken.  The organization clearly wants to win as long as they have a generational talent on the roster, etc., etc.  These are valid opinions.

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