Archive for Michael Grabner

Jan
05

Poll: the Rangers’ deadline approach

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(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

As the Rangers approach the half-way mark the season, they find themselves in an interesting spot.  They currently sit in the first wild-card spot, three points from dropping out of the playoff picture entirely, yet only four points from home ice advantage in the first round.  They have a soon-to-be 36 year-old franchise goaltender with more three seasons remaining on his contract at $8.5m per year.  They have several attractive soon-to-be UFA forwards on the roster in the form of Rick Nash and Michael Grabner.  They also have a surprising amount of young talent at the NHL level for a team that has been in full stop “go for it” mode for over a decade.

The team plays a counter-punching style, focusing on creating high-danger scoring chances, and relying on quality over quantity in the shots department.  This has created a difficult analysis in determining whether they actually have a sustainable profile as a contender.  There have been ups and downs in performance so, far, creating a “will the real New York Rangers please stand up” scenario over the season’s first half.  There are deployment issues and a fan base looking at a coach with a razor thin margin.  There is no question there are depth issues, personnel issues and coaching issues when determining whether this team is capable of making a run.

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michael grabner

The Rangers sure did strike gold with Michael Grabner. Signed to an expansion friendly deal before last season, fans –and probably the front office– thought they were getting 10-15 goals with good penalty killing. Getting that and a body for expansion for $1.6 million was a solid deal.

But then Grabner started scoring. His shooting percentage astronomically high, but the goals were coming. He scored 27 last year, and many thought the Rangers were silly not to capitalize on his value. He likely could have fetched a first round pick at the trade deadline last year. But the Rangers held court.

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Categories : Players
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It’s something many of us know-it-all number crunchers said: Michael Grabner simply wouldn’t be able to score this year the way he did last year. It tied into laments about the state of the forward corps, the fact that the Rangers didn’t offload him to a real contender (or some wannabe) at the deadline for a million first round picks, and came with an air of certainty often attributed to smugness by those less inclined to numbers. Well, it’s safe to say us spreadsheet samurai were wrong, and Michael Grabner is at least so far putting on a repeat performance. So what’s going on there?

First of all let me just say this – I’m happy to be wrong, and I’d imagine I speak for pretty much all of us in that regard. Nonetheless, it is something of a curiosity, because last year he finished the season with an individual shooting percentage (at even strength too, so no shorthanded or empty net situations inflating the numbers here) of 16.28%. To put it a little bit more intuitively, he was getting a goal more than every ten shots, which, even by Alain Vigneault standards, is high.

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Categories : Players
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rick nash rangers sharks

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Rangers are going to have a lot of decisions to make this trade deadline, which although I realize is a ways away, is still worth discussing given how some of their players on expiring contracts are playing. The two players in particular who I’m thinking of are of course Rick Nash and Michael Grabner, who have been excellent secondary scorers for the Blueshirts thus far this season. Both players have similar skillsets and similar output (at least at first glance) thus far, so I thought it would be interesting to delve a little bit deeper into what the Rangers might want to do with one or both of them.

Given this whole “rebuild on the fly business”, and given that the playoffs are anything but a given at this point, the Rangers should at least think about trading an expiring asset in return for something good come the end of winter.

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jt miller jesper fast nick holden oscar lindberg

The most exciting part of this offseason is clearly the expansion draft. We spent a good amount of space going over the rules of the draft and the shenanigans that will lead up to it, but not much space has been spent really analyzing which players Vegas may select. Everyone seems to have a different opinion of who the Rangers will lose, and all are credible.

Before we can dive into who the Rangers might lose, we first need to figure out who they are going to protect. For the sake of the post, we are going to assume one more RFA forward gets extended so the Rangers meet the exposure requirements. We are also going to assume –again, for the sake of the post– that the Rangers stand pat before the draft. I don’t think they are going to, but it’s too tough to predict any move they make. One last assumption: No UFAs are going to be signed before the draft. That’s a safe assumption.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (67)
Mar
27

Regression, thy name is Michael Grabner

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michael grabner

Photo: NHLI/Getty Images

Michael Grabner has been a helluva find for the Rangers this year. His 27 goals and 39 points are about double what any rational mind expected when the Rangers inked him to a two-year deal worth $1.6 million. Expansion draft fodder. Solid bottom-six depth. Decent penalty killer. Those were the expectations.

But then Grabner started scoring, and scoring often. He started scoring so often that he became the leading goal scorer on the team, and has an outside shot at a 30-goal season. With that came something we all saw coming. Grabner was shooting over 20%. The regression was coming. And it was going to come fast.

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Categories : Players
Comments (29)

The buzz around the 31st NHL team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, has only grown over the last couple of weeks. This is a culmination of them officially paying their league fees and signing their first player, Reid Duke. As the expansion draft creeps nears, there have been a lot of discussions of teams trading draft picks or perhaps prospects to Vegas as payment for them to not take an exposed player.

It is a nice business move, especially if you have assets to use and a great team that you don’t want to break up. Some people/bloggers have suggested that maybe the New York Rangers would be one of the teams that pay off Vegas, but I personally believe that it would be a wasteful move by the Rangers.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (25)
michael grabner

Pavel Bur… I mean Michael Grabner… Photo: NHLI/Getty Images

People talk about the Rangers 5-2 come from behind win against the Pens as a statement game.  For me, the biggest statement games were the significant Blues and Lightning victories a couple of weeks back – I feel they were more complete games even if the comeback against the Pens was very impressive. For me, the Rangers gave up far too many high quality chances against the Pens on Monday. It wasn’t a quality defensive performance.

Michael Grabner could go pointless for the rest of the season and he’d already represent good value. His goal against the Blue Jackets last week summed him up best. His speed gives teams fits, he’s up on the play so quickly and once he’s away you cannot catch him. The way he settled the puck and finished his breakaway underlined the confidence he’s playing with right now. It was a goalscorers finish.

Oh, and another thing: Michael Grabner, Cy Young winner?

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Categories : Musings
Comments (18)
Providing excellent value: Chris Kreider Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Successful teams need depth and the Rangers certainly have depth right now. What they also have is value for money and in a cap world when depth goes hand in hand with value for money you have yourself a winning record. Getting bang for your buck is something we’ve discussed ad nauseam on the Blog but it’s worth repeating.

Here’s a number that may surprise you. Only eight(!) teams have a smaller overall cap commitment than the Rangers this season – your deep pocketed Blueshirts check in with an overall $70,246,111 spend. When was the last time the Rangers were near the bottom of the league in overall spending? Leading the league in goals scored while having the 22nd overall cap hit is a great example of value for money in a hard cap league that forces General Managers to trade away talent to be financially compliant.

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Categories : Analysis
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henrik lundqvist

Everyone loves Henrik Lundqvist

It’s the true dog days of the hockey season (I feel like I have written that a few times already this summer). Let’s jump into a mainly Rangers musings post but sprinkle in a little league wide news.

I really like the Nathan Gerbe signing. He’s ridiculously small but in today’s league that has never been less of a problem. He can skate, he can kill penalties and in the right situation with the right linemates I feel like he’ll help deepen the Rangers line-up offensively. At 600k there is no downside. The best part of the Gerbe (and Grabner) signings is that I finally feel like the Rangers management get it. They need to get back to being a speed orientated, mobile team. Gerbe and Grabner really help in this respect.

Via Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog, yet another example why everyone loves: Henrik Lundqvist

Debate for the day: we all want Jimmy Vesey but do the Rangers need him? And where does he fit?

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Categories : Musings
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