Archive for Neal Pionk

Jul
06

Checking in on the defense

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www.newyorkpost.com

Happy Friday, BSB people. While the Draft and the madness of free agency have come and gone, for the most part, the Rangers appear to have more or less the same team that ended last season.  There are still certainly trades to be made and changes are still very possible, but the Rangers look to be heading into next season with an objective of getting younger players more ice time and committing to player development as a path forward.  This will be new coach David Quinn’s biggest challenge. Read More→

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(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→

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Feb
08

Rangers recall Neal Pionk

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neal pionk

The Rangers have recalled defenseman Neal Pionk from the Hartford Wolf Pack. Pionk, signed as an undrafted free agent, has a line of 1-16-17 in 48 games with the Pack this year.

Many, including myself, were hoping to see the 22 year old recalled long before today, but better late than never. Assuming Alain Vigneault plays him, he should be a nice change of pace from what we’ve seen. He will have some hiccups, but it’s good to see what they have in him over some other known quantities.

Categories : Transactions
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anthony deangelo

The New York Rangers are not a good hockey team. Aside from their run in November, which was largely due to a regression in SH%, the Blueshirts aren’t even a .500 team. They’ve hemorrhaged shots like they’re getting paid to do so, and they are basically playing uninspired hockey. The last time we saw this happen, one that didn’t result in the firing of a coach, the Rangers recalled Carl Hagelin. That team went on a run to the Eastern Conference Final.

In theory, a shot of youth could get the team going. I say in theory because we’d still need to see the coach actually willing to play a rookie in a key role. Heck, he won’t even play the team’s third highest scorer in the top-six on a consistent basis. But let’s say this is Bizarro World, and Alain Vigneault will allow any kid that is recalled to play to their strengths, which kids could actually make an impact?

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Categories : Prospects
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filip chytil

Chytil is one of the few players generating a positive buzz in HFD thus far. Photo: NYDN

So while the Rangers themselves are on a somewhat upward trajectory, elsewhere in Rangerland things are not looking so promising. Purely statistically, several Rangers prospects at the AHL level are off to tough starts. Let’s take a look at a few names that the Rangers could really do with developing to NHL level.

Ryan Gropp

The biggest cause for concern thus far has to be Gropp. It’s perhaps slightly harsh to judge Gropp so early in his rookie campaign, but the former second round pick is off to a bad start in Hartford. One goal in nine games, barely registering a single shot/game; it’s fair to expect better from a guy drafted 41st overall. Concerns were there straight away, that the Rangers reached for him at the draft and his first foray into the pro game doesn’t suggest otherwise. The 2015 draft is looking like a huge disaster for the Rangers (think Robin Kovacs, Daniel Bernhardt, trading Aleksi Saarela for two months of Eric Staal) so the Rangers really do need goalie Adam Huska to save that draft year.

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Categories : Prospects
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Sep
22

Making sense of the defensive options

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SNY.com

So far in this young training camp, Rangers fans a have been treated to a new-look defense.  Youth and mobility have been the themes of these new additions, but there are still a few hold over veterans who aren’t an obvious fit for the roster and some question marks about some of the younger guys the organization has brought in.

Just to qualify this discussion, it has been two pre-season games.  At least for the young guys, the sample size is far too small to draw any reliable conclusions about their effectiveness or ability to thrive against full-time NHL competition.  We haven’t even seen Alexei Bereglazov yet.

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Categories : Defense
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lias andersson

Time for the final addition of my prospect rankings this year. If you missed it, here are rankings 35-29rankings 28-21, and rankings 20-11. Without further ado:

10. Ryan Gropp, W – Ryan Gropp is a polarizing character on the Rangers prospect list. Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of prospects more than I like Gropp, but given his physical traits and his quick release he may have a better chance at carving out an NHL career. It is hard for me to get excited about Gropp knowing the Rangers willingly passed on Daniel Sprong, Jeremy Bracco and Oliver Kylington and it is even worse when he hasn’t exactly made them look brilliant. While he is known to be a wonderful scorer with an NHL release, you would expect him to produce more as an overage guy in the WHL.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, he didn’t really get the offense going until halfway through the year when Islanders top prospect Matt Barzal returned to his pivot. His lack of offense was a major red flag, and coincidentally as it was becoming more profound we started getting prospect reports discussing Gropp’s drastically improved defensive play.

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Categories : Prospects
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mika zibanejad

The other day, I went through the bottom half of the 2016 New York Rangers 2016 Top 25 Under 25. There wasn’t much turnover, with just three new faces. However there were some big movers up the list, as big years from a few kids led to some shakeup in the bottom half.

Now it’s time to go through the top half of the list. Let’s remember that there are a good number of players on the NHL roster that are under 25 years old, so the top half of this list is mostly populated with them. There was a shift in the rankings for some of these kids though, as we’ve learned what each one is capable of in the lineup. Plus, the Rangers added some first round picks for the first time in ages.

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Categories : Prospects
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lias andersson

With the Rangers retooling at defense and making blockbuster trades at forward, much of the attention has been spent on figuring out how the club will round out the roster via trade. One area that seems to be lacking in conversation is the kids that might fill out the roster. From first round picks to trade acquisitions to kids on the cusp, the Rangers have a bunch of options at all positions to try to fill out a potential Cup winning roster.

Lias Andersson

Starting with the obvious, it appears that Andersson will be given every chance to succeed in New York next year. He’s already succeeded in Sweden’s top league, and by all accounts he might actually be NHL ready as an 18-year-old. He projects to be a middle-six forward, which is exactly where the Rangers need help. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

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Categories : Prospects
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neal pionk

Photo: Getty

Per Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers have made a big splash in the undrafted free agent market. They have signed defenseman Neal Pionk of Minnesota-Duluth to en entry level deal, a much sought after UDFA. Josh profiled him last month, and that’s definitely worth the read. For the cliff notes version: Pionk is a right handed puck moving defenseman that put up 34 (7-27-34) points in 42 games as one of the NCAA’s top scoring defensemen. He was also a second team All Star.

Pionk, at 6’0 and 190 lbs, plays with a bit of a mean streak as well. While his joy for laying people out with open ice hits can cause him to be out of position from time to time, Pionk is a three-zone defenseman who piqued the interest of most of the league. He will need some seasoning, having just completed his sophomore season, but this is a big time win for the Rangers in landing him.

I’m going to open up a can of worms here, but between Alexei Bereglazov, Radim Simek, and now Pionk, there’s some change coming to the Rangers’ blue line.

Categories : Transactions
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