Archive for Martin St. Louis
The Rangers’ defensive lapses and disappointing individual performances have been discussed again and again, but one surprising issue this season has been the frequency with which the team hits the ice with very little energy. We saw so few of those pure stinker games in recent years under first John Tortorella and then Alain Vigneault, but this impossible-to-measure quality has been missing this season with unacceptable regularity.
Part of the problem has been the exodus of key individuals that served as the main spark plugs for the Blueshirts. Former captain Ryan Callahan could always be counted on to give the team a lift by sacrificing his body, Carl Hagelin had the unique ability to fly on ice and wreak havoc in the opponent’s zone, and Martin St. Louis channeled his veteran status and personal experiences into juice for the club. The Rangers survived the departure of Callahan just fine, but losing the latter two last summer may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Read More→
Remember when the Rangers had depth up front? It seems like a long time ago doesn’t it? The injury to Derek Stepan has, of course, thrown the Rangers line-up into disarray. The team is missing its presumptive top line center, one of its better penalty killers and one of the better defensive players from the roster. However, Stepan’s absence cannot explain the relative stagnation of Chris Kreider, the sophomore troubles of Kevin Hayes and the up and down play of a handful of other forwards on the roster.
Right now, the Rangers are lacking clearly defined lines and an established top six. Any team would miss a player of Stepan’s ability but one of the underlying problems has been the Rangers inability to find a second top six right wing. Which brings us to a potential solution; Martin St Louis anyone?
Happy 4th of July weekend, BSB community! Before we get started, just a quick housekeeping issue: we have our off-season plan contest finalists down to our final three. The finalists have submitted tremendously creative and interesting proposals. The plan is to start unveiling those next week for community voting, however, I didn’t want to bury them at the beginning of a holiday weekend, so you’re stuck with my thoughts.
The answer about where Martin St. Louis will play next year has been answered. When the Rangers announced they will not be bringing the winger back, there were a few teams interested, but ultimately the 40 year old winger decided on retirement instead. St. Louis, a shoo-in Hall of Famer, was noticeably slower in the second half of the season and in the playoffs, as it appeared age caught up with him.
That said, MSL is, again, a HOFer, possibly on the first ballot. In an era where bigger was better, the 5’8″ winger redefined what it meant to be an NHL player, paving the way for smaller, skilled players like Mats Zuccarello and Tyler Johnson. In 1134 games, MSL put up a line of 391-642-1033 (22-38-60 in 93 games with the Rangers) in the regular season. In the playoffs, he had a line of 42-48-90 in 102 games (9-13-22 in 43 games with the Rangers), including a Stanley Cup with the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning.
His best moment as a Ranger, by far, was this goal:
This goal gave the Rangers a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Montreal Canadiens, a series the Rangers would win in six games.
Let’s have a gander at the grades for the Rangers’ top two forward lines shall we?
Rick Nash’s overall season can be argued both as a positive and a negative. Indeed, there are few players that have divided opinion the way Nash has since he became a Ranger. A season that featured notable career highs but that was offset by another underwhelming postseason, things went as far as culminating with Nash being considered prime trade material this offseason. Hardly the appreciation you’d expect for a 42 goal player and early season Hart Trophy candidate. The problem is that Nash, like many Rangers, is now judged primarily on what he does after the regular season and this is where he failed to live up to both his regular season production and significant salary.
Nash needs to be a leader, the go-to guy offensively and in the postseason that didn’t happen nearly enough. Nash lacked postseason consistency, was never close to being his dominant regular season self and as the Rangers went quietly into the offseason, tellingly, so did Nash. Once again, despite solid numbers the microscope will firmly be on Nash come October. Despite the disappointing end, Nash finished in the top ten for the Hart trophy. Grade: B
St. Louis was acquired from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline last year, along with a 2015 2nd round pick, for Ryan Callahan, 2014 and 2014 1st round picks, and a 2015 7th round pick. In his Rangers career, he put up 22-38-60 in 93 games. In the playoffs, St. Louis put up 9-13-22 in 44 games.
The Rangers made playoff runs to the Stanley Cup Final and Eastern Conference Final during his 1+ seasons in New York.
Larry Brooks had a bit of a “brain” dump today in his daily NY Post article. After a page and a half rant on the
Phoenix Glendale Arizona TBD Coyotes, and how they are just a money-suck for the NHL, Bettman got into a few tidbits about the Rangers. To summarize (and perhaps save you some reading time):
- It’s all but a certainty that the Rangers trade Cam Talbot at the draft. They are going to try and get draft picks, which makes sense. It’s been rumored that the Oilers are willing to part with the #16 pick for Talbot. Personally, I think that’s an overpayment, but Cory Schneider got the #9 overall pick. So what do I know?
- The Rangers also targeted Shane Doan at the trade deadline last year, after landing Keith Yandle. Talks didn’t get far, but this was the second time Slats tried to get Doan, after trying to get him as a free agent in 2012. Doan is 39, on the last year of his deal at $5.25 million, and has declining production each of the last four seasons. Please stay away.
- Dan Boyle will be back next year. He isn’t retiring and he isn’t requesting a trade. He was far from the biggest problem on the blue line anyway, and while his production decreased, he was still effective at moving the play up the ice. In the proper setting (sheltered OZ starts), he should be fine. Deployment is key.
- Martin St. Louis won’t be back in New York. The final tally from that trade: Ryan Callahan, two 1st round picks (2014, 2015) and a 7th round pick (2015) for MSL and a 2nd round pick (2015). The Rangers went to the Stanley Cup Final and Eastern Conference Final in his 1+ years on Broadway.
Carl Hagelin, playoff hero. Carl Hagelin’s legend grew a little bit more Friday night as the Rangers speed skating Swede scored the overtime, series winner against the Pens. It’s probably not the time to look too far ahead (but instead, revel in the Penguins season ending early) however particularly Hagelin’s form will mean a series of difficult decisions are looming for Glen Sather this summer.
Luckily for Sather, these difficult decisions are the kind of problems a general manager wants. Hagelin’s strong, consistent regular season and yet more postseason success means Hagelin’s in line for a nice pay rise this summer. Hagelin has 24 points as a Ranger and 21 in his last 42 games – thus averaging a point every other game since his first playoff run in ’11/12 when he had 3 points in 17 games in a depth role.
Hagelin has grown tremendously as a player since breaking into the Rangers line-up and is a player that embodies this team’s speed orientated game. Although some people speculated Hagelin could have been the odd one out this summer – given the cap issues that the Rangers could face – barring obscene salary demands there is no way Hagelin goes anywhere. He’s quickly making himself indispensible to the line-up.
Playoff hockey begins (for real) today. Forget about Wednesday, we’re all waiting for today and the Pens vs. Rangers series opener. Let’s have a muse to kick the playoffs off shall we?
Is it me or have an unusually high amount of teams got serious injury headaches this spring? The Rangers can consider themselves relatively lucky that they will enter the Pens series ‘only’ missing Kevin Klein. You look at an offensively shallow Montreal Canadiens squad missing their top scorer (Pacioretty) or the Penguins who are practically missing an entire D. The Rangers enter the playoffs healthy and that’s a huge bonus.
Player I’m rooting for: Martin St Louis. Has had a lot of criticism this year (some of it deservedly). He could be a huge difference maker for the Rangers.
Good morning, BSB faithful. I scrapped my whole intro because it was terrible and I haven’t had enough caffeine, yet. So, here are some Ranger-related thoughts to kick off your Friday…
- The whole “goalie controversy” thing is already getting old. Dave touched on it already, so I don’t have much too much to add. Basically, no one is saying that Cam Talbot is not a good goalie. I’m also not even saying conclusively that he won’t bring as much value over the next 6+ year as Hank will, considering their difference in age. While Talbot has played great, he has still played in less than 100 NHL games, and less than 30 as a “starter”. Passing over a Hall of Fame goaltender right in the middle of a competitive window for Talbot is not the move here, no matter how well he is playing.
- Martin St. Louis’ injury really wrecks the flow of the roster. With the Nash/Brassard/Zuccarello line and the Hagelin/Hayes/Miller line developing solid chemistry and a consistent scoring threat, it’s a shame to have to break one of those up. Get well soon, Marty. You haven’t played up to your usual standards, but your bring depth and balance.
- I would obviously prefer that the Rangers call up Oscar Lindberg to play on the fourth line and move either Dominic Moore or James Sheppard up to the third line, but I know it’s a pipe dream with Tanner Glass on the roster.