How will Zuccarello fare this season?
Today it all begins. The Rangers open their season today as the season, tone setting, nine game road trip gets under way tonight in Phoenix. Let’s jump straight into the first Musings of the new season.
It will be interesting to see how Derek Stepan starts tonight. Will he be a step behind? Will the lack of reps, preseason games, training camp, and a new system implementation hurt him? He’s going to be under the microscope and has a lot of responsibility to shoulder.
A player that could thrive under Alain Vigneault’s (apparently) more open system could be Michael Del Zotto. Like so many Rangers, this is a big year for him. Is he finally going to put it all together and be a consistent offensive threat from the blueline? Or does he become expendable after this season? A good year from MDZ likely means an improved Rangers PP.
Most unpredictable player heading into tonight? Mats Zuccarello.
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Could Hrivik be well placed to become a Ranger despite being in the AHL?
With the Rangers facing the reality of opening the year without Ryan Callahan for at least a game and Carl Hagelin for much longer – without even considering the lack of practice time for Derek Stepan – would the Rangers be best prepared leaning on the veterans to begin the year?
With Jesper Fast and JT Miller tentatively penciled in for the Coyotes game, the Rangers intend to employ two important pieces of their future, now. Neither player figures to be in the top six based on practices and the varied reports from the beat writers.
As we saw with Chris Kreider, if a prospect doesn’t deserve to be with the big club, he won’t be. Sometimes even when a prospect deserves to be (as could be argued with all of Oscar Lindberg, Marek Hrivik, Danny Kristo, or Connor Allen) it’s in no ones interest to see those players marginalised for the sake of numbers.
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The Rangers preseason means nothing. Bring on Thursday.
In another one sided preseason game, the Rangers were out of luck in Las Vegas as they lost 5-1 to the LA Kings including conceding the first goal inside 15 seconds. Jon Quick made 22 saves while the Kings scored two goals on the powerplay.
On a night of few bright spots, JT Miller continued to play catch up after missing preseason time as he scored the Rangers lone goal. Given his pro experience and strong play in the preseason Miller is a strong candidate to be one of the kids to stick around to start the season. At the very least Miller has made plays been noticeable and used his body effectively. The two goals in three games are almost a bonus.
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A bounce-back season from Brad Richards would be a huge boost for the Rangers
Best case: Asham continues to provide comedic relief on Twitter and plays in a handful of games with the Blueshirts.
Worst case: New York is unable to find a taker for Asham on waivers and he spends the final year of his contract in Hartford.
Best case: The former fourth-overall pick puts it all together as a Blueshirt and records a 20-goal season.
Worst case: The Rangers learn why Pouliot has already played for four teams in his young career and the big forward is invisible most nights. Read more »
via Blueshirts United
With the first round of cuts made, the attention now turns to trimming the roster down even further from those who will either serve as AHL call ups or rookies who might get their first cuppas this season. With news that Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin might miss the season opener, the Rangers are going to be looking for two extra forwards to break camp. There is a chance that these forwards might be Arron Asham and Darroll Powe, but there is also a chance that the coaching staff will want to take a longer look at some of the kids who impress at camp.
1. Oscar Lindberg
Lindberg is one prospect who we have talked about extensively at this blog since the Rangers acquired him from Phoenix for Ethan Werek. Lindberg was top-ten in the SHL in scoring last season. Upon arrival in the US, he promptly dismantled the competition at the Traverse City Tournament scoring five goals and seven points in the four game tournament. Lindberg has already had a strong camp, which just adds to the intrigue for the young Swede. Throw in his ability to win face offs and his play without the puck (the SHL is a notoriously defensive league), and he is someone who could force his way on to the roster.
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Kreider is likely the only rookie to break camp this season.
As we get deeper into the dog days of August, we see really bad trade rumors and people like me killing time with a theoretical expansion draft. However, with only Derek Stepan left to be signed, many have started penciling in their starting lineup for puck drop in October, something I’m guilty of as well. It ranges from realistic to mildly amusing, as I’ve received some emails that have about five rookies as starting for the Rangers, three of which haven’t even played the North American professional game.
We learned last season what can happen if you hand a spot to a kid, especially if the kid is not ready for the NHL. Chris Kreider’s AHL play from October-January last season did not warrant a call up, but he got one anyway. What we got was inconsistency, lack of ice time, games as a healthy scratch, and eventually a demotion back to the AHL. It was a stain on the season. But the Rangers had their hands tied, as they needed a forward to start the season and they had already handed that spot to Kreider without seeing if his playoff performance –the one where he shot 20%– was a blip on the radar or the real thing. Turned out it was a blip.
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J.T. Miller says his wrist injury hasn’t disrupted his offseason, but….
With 12 NHL forwards already under contract and Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello still to re-sign, it’s been difficult to figure out where youngsters like Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast might fit in next season. Injuries to Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan could loosen the rotation for the first few weeks of the season, but there will still be a glut of forwards fighting for playing time.
Miller and Kreider are presumed to be the two prospects most likely to secure top-12 roles given that both already have some NHL experience and have had at least a little success. However, recent comments by both players could indicate that this might not really be the case. Read more »
JT Miller is one of the prospects who will play a huge role next year.
A lot of credit has to be given to the Rangers franchise for the way they have opened up space at all levels of the franchise for prospects. Room has been made so that prospects can get the maximum amount of ice time to aid their development. The caveat in all of this is that they still need to earn it, and should they not there needs to be alternatives at hand, but no prospect should feel buried on any Ranger depth chart.
The Hartford Wolf Pack have seen key AHL contributors such as Chad Kolarik or Kris Newbury depart in recent times, and players such as Kelsey Tessier or Benn Ferriero – solid AHL players but with no real chance at NHL careers – have also moved on. Even players still considered solid prospects (such as Christian Thomas) have been moved once their development appears to have stalled, replaced by more likely potential such as is assumed with Danny Kristo.
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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 »
Every year as free agency approaches Ranger fans spend most of their time talking about the big fish, the top five or so guys available. We’ve kind of been trained to do that thanks to the free-spending ways of GM Glen Sather, but it’s also only natural to think about the impact that recognizable players might be able to make on New York’s lineup.
Though we’re exercising the same behavior this June, it probably makes more sense –for a couple of reasons– for us to discuss stopgap third and fourth liners that could be inked for just a year or two. First, this just isn’t a great free agent class and there aren’t many players that are worthy of long-term financial commitments. Secondly, the Rangers will need to spend most of their available cash to re-sign their own free agents. Even if New York does buy out Brad Richards, management must still keep an eye on the bevy of significant players up for new deals next summer.
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