Photo by Avi Gerver, ©Madison Square Garden, L.P.
The Rangers took three of four points from the apparently almighty Penguins this week. Both games, off the back of roster re-shaping trade deadline deals, showed us a lot about how the Rangers should look for the remainder of the season.
The 2-1 shootout defeat Friday night in Pittsburgh might see some fans be disheartened about a club that scored just one goal (again), but what is a somewhat valid concern is outweighed by several positives. Let’s take a look at why the Rangers still have a chance this season;
The new guys: the new additions – led by Ryane Clowe – have brought depth, skill, but above all have made the Rangers harder to play against. Perhaps most importantly where players such as Marian Gaborik weren’t entirely trusted by Tortorella anymore, you saw the likes of Derick Brassard on the ice toward the end of the game as the Rangers chased hard. Brassard came close from a bad angle that needed a review. The fact Tortorella is rolling lines more evenly – evidence of the additional depth –suggests the Rangers have depth to make a push.
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Tough as nails, pretty solid defensively too.
When the Rangers sent draft picks to San Jose and Marian Gaborik to Columbus for Ryane Clowe, Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore, it was very clear what the Rangers were doing. They were addressing their black holes of lineup depth and lineup toughness. But, one thing that was floating under the radar was play without the puck, and these new guys were also brought in to help in a defensive role as well. John Tortorella will not play someone if they are a defensive liability (see: Kreider, Chris; Miller, J.T.).
Clowe and Brassard likely to slot into second or third line roles. Dorsett will be a fourth line player, and Moore a bottom pairing defenseman (for now, his potential is through the roof). Players in these roles are not expected to carry the offensive load. They are expected to play physical, two way hockey. Some offensive burden will fall on Clowe and Brassard, and last night showcased how effective they can be in that role. But it’s their defense (and physicality) that will keep them in the lineup long-term.
Looking first at GVT/PVT (please be sure to check the Metrics We Use page for details):
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Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Wednesday was a big day in Rangerland. As we all know by now, the Blueshirts acquired Ryane Clowe for three draft picks and traded oft-maligned sniper Marian Gaborik to the Blue Jackets for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore (with misc. non-prospects and a late draft pick thrown in). Yesterday, Chris did a fantastic job adding some perspective in the musings. Suit broke it down on Twitter. I don’t think it’s fair they get to have all the fun with the new acquisitions, so I’m going to throw my two cents in. Think of it as a supplemental trade musings.
I’m going to do my best not to retread on already discussed ground…
- Obviously, having some time to digest the trade scenario for a day or two in addition to the beat down the Rangers threw Pittsburgh on the eve of the trade makes it look pretty good. I’ll be interested to see how the team looks tonight.
- It’s my feeling that this trade was all about flexibility. After the Nash trade and the departures of Brandon Prust, John Mitchell and Ruslan Fedetenko, the Rangers constructed a roster with a very defined top and bottom six. At the time, I thought this was a good thing. No more mid-level players masquerading as goal scorers and grinders on the power play. However, what ended up happening was a complete loss of versatility when purported top-six players underperformed. Ryane Clowe and Derek Brassard can play in multiple situations, sliding pretty seamlessly from top to bottom six duty depending on performance, situation, etc. Read more »
Ryan Clowe had THE perfect impact.
It’s hard to call the Rangers 6-1 demolition of the Penguins last night anything other than an incredible first impact from the new guys. Wherever you looked, players were making a difference and it’s intriguing the momentum and impetus incoming players give the current roster. On to the musings; dedicated to the trade deadline
You just know the TSN crew were nervous given the lack of activity (to put it politely) going into the final few hours.
Ryane Clowe: I liked Brandon Prust; he overachieved, always gave his all and was perhaps the ultimate team player. There’s a reason however that everyone acknowledged the Canadiens overpaid to get him. He has a ceiling. Then there’s Clowe. Yes he had a poor start to the year but he’s potentially so much more for the Rangers than Prust could ever be. It’s foolish to compare them. Prust was the perfect bottom six player. Clowe can be a legitimate scorer, fighter, physical presence and thinly veiled threat. Whether he does it consistently, only time will tell but if he plays to his old level in SJ the draft picks were well worth it.
The Rangers got a lot younger this week. Wasn’t sure that was entirely possible.
I’m not embarrassed I said – just yesterday – that the Rangers would be better off holding onto Gaborik until the summer. I didn’t think Sather could get an elite (still young) defensive prospect that the Rangers were desperate for, a young 50-70 point potential skill center and another gritty forward at the deadline. He outdid himself. Ridding cap space was the cherry on top. Gaborik will be missed, and may come back to score against the Rangers but the Rangers added a huge dollop of depth, potential and grit in their deals this past few days.
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And here he comes.
The Rangers have added Ryane Clowe. The now former San Jose Shark comes to the Rangers after he agreed to waive his no trade clause, per several media sources on twitter. Clowe will cost the Rangers a 2013 second round pick, a 2013 third round pick (original Florida’s pick, traded to the Rangers for Wojtek Wolski) and also a conditional 2014 second that is dependent on him agreeing an extension with the Rangers or the team winning two playoff series this season. That pick becomes a 2014 5th round pick if the conditions are not met.
There’s a couple ways to look at this; first of all there’s the fact Clowe hasn’t scored a goal this season and has health issues. On top of this he’s had periods where he has taken lazy penalties and if he gives the puck away as he did in San Jose this season he could be in Tortorella’s dog house quickly. On the other hand Clowe address numerous Rangers needs. He hits, he plays an all round physical game, brings size and snarl and is willing to dirty work as well as drive to the net; all things the Rangers lacked this season.
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