Musings; Rangers need to deal with Hurricanes

Rick Nash needs to be better tonight.
Rick Nash needs to be better tonight.

Well, it’s another ‘biggest game of the season’. The Rangers need to win today in my humble opinion because the Devils would like nothing more than to play the role of spoiler on the weekend, so the Rangers don’t want to go into that game having to win. Anyway, on to the musings

I absolutely loved Kevin’s article about Chris Kreider the other day.  It’s the wart on the face of the Rangers this year, for sure. I think Kreider absolutely has the ability to turn it around but at the same time I don’t think he’s untouchable any more – there’s just too much disappointment and doubt around his long term future. If the Rangers could add a major piece in a trade and Kreider had to be included I think they’d consider it now, whereas as recently as pre-season he was untouchable.

John Moore I: I’ve liked him as a prospect, was pleased he was grabbed from Columbus and he’s justified my excitement since being a Ranger. There’s so much to like about his game. While it’s early I think a full training camp and a lot of teaching and he could play up to his draft status. Columbus will regret this one.

Moore II: I think Moore’s play will also have had a huge influence on the Rangers draft day thinking. I think they may have looked to a defenseman first (and still might) but his play may allow the Rangers to go for a skilled forward or a physically imposing player instead of a blueliner.

Just a thought: If the Rangers win out to get in, has Brian Boyle played his last game as a Ranger?

Dealing from a position of strength; could the Rangers move Zuccarello, Boyle and Stralman this summer to make significant upgrades? None of them have key roles locked up and yet all of them have value, particularly Zuke and Stralman who have been impressive as role players this year.

What’s the thing that’s holding back Carl Hagelin from being a bonafide top six winger? Consistency. He had a five goal in four game stretch earlier in the year, and has really scored his points in bunches. While he contributes in other areas – speed and forecheck force teams to respect his presence on the ice – he really needs to develop some level of offensive consistency.

If the Rangers get into the playoffs I’ll be intrigued whether Derek Dorsett goes straight into the line-up when healthy or whether the Rangers will go for players with the right conditioning who are familiar with the team.

Everyone seems to like the Rangers depth right now, but when Dorsett and Marc Staal return, whether this season or next, the Rangers looked stacked. Maybe not with elite skill throughout the line-up but players that can make a difference and be difficult to play against on every line or pair. You have to like the Rangers’ composition long term.

Question Time:

  • Has Brad Richards’ recent play been enough to stave off buy out talk?
  • Zuccarello; trade while value is high or keep (and if so at what cost)?
  • How worried are you about the impact of Chris Kreider’s season?
  • If it was a straight choice, who would you keep long term; Girardi or Staal?
  • What is the Rangers’ biggest need heading into the off season?

Tonight is a pivotal game yet we can’t trust this Rangers team. Just win form and confidence are high they throw out a clunker at Florida. It’s hard to gauge what Rangers team are going to show up. Here’s hoping it’s the version that took the ice against the Devils.  

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  1. -Nope, team is finally coming together, don’t trade big pieces right now…
    -Zukes is a constant thread, at least of what I saw. So keep him.
    -A bit, but he can still learn as long the team is settled down.
    -Girardi, silent backbone of the team.
    -Cap space, so people can stay on the team.

  2. Its Kreider first year in the pros. He will need some seasoning just like Cally and Dubinski did. I wouldn’t throw him under the bus just yet.

      1. What!?! We can’t call him Manny Malhotra yet? I thought 20 games was enough to label any player for the rest of his career.

      2. He’s clearly not a bust, my point being that he’s approaching an important stage in his NHL career and that he’s no longer untouchable. He hasn’t been good enough this year – even though he’s been completely misused – and needs more seasoning, more than many expected. That said, he’s clearly still a great talent.

  3. NO-he is still slow, and streaky. We have until the end of next year to decide, so lets see!

    Keep Zucc for a reasonable amount, $1.5 mil, and see what he can do for an entire seson. If nothing else, his value is the shoot out.

    If the kid has the make up, he will bounce back, after a training camp, and studying of film, he will be OK!

    Rough choice, but it would be Girardi, he logs many minutes, and Stall is having his share of injuries. Also, will he want to play with his family in Carolina?

    Biggest need, a d-man with a cannon for a shot, to play the point, and QB the PP. A scoring power forward, ala Neal of the Pens, who is quick, stong, and has softhands.

  4. I would hope the Rangers draft best player, not for need. If they end up with an abundance of defensemen, that will either allow them to let someone go to save on cap-space, or deal from a position of strength to trade for a need. If they draft a player to fill a need, they may pass on a better player.

    For questions:

    -Unless they can find a clear use for the cap-space this year, keep Richards. If he rebounds next year he may have trade value, or if not they can buy him out then.
    -Depends on costs and what they could be getting back.
    -Not very. MDZ is an example of how a rough, up-and-down year can be a good learnign experience.
    -Tough one, but I’d keep Staal. Younger, more talented, still has upside. Girardi is great but in 3 years Staal will be in his prime, Girardi may be a 2nd pair defenseman.
    -To not overreact to this season.

    1. Mike
      Great point about best player vs need. If you remember the Tom Landry years with the Cowboys, that was their policy, and they always had great teams on the field!

  5. Any team could use a sniper, a strong defenseman or a great goalie. Difficult to draft towards current needs. We need to add players that will enable us to win now. Nash, Cally and Henrik are in their prime. Let’s surround them with the talent that puts us over the top.

  6. -Boyle is done
    -Keep Stralman & Zucc, trade Staal
    Q Time
    -Richards is staying
    -Keep Zucc somewhere between $710-$750k
    -Many players go to minors before the pros. He just needs to work harder and keep practicing
    -Keep Grardi long term
    -Biggest need(s) is to replace Staal (if traded), Clowe (if not resignd), replace Hamrilik (Gilroy permanent 7th dman?), replace Boyle (if not resigned), replace Pyatt (if not resigned). Replace all the depth in the minors.

  7. The comments about Kreider are ridiculous. He has “the ability to turn it around?” Turn around what? He gets no respect from the coach, gets buried on a strictly checking 4th line, doesn’t score; gets sent down for some vague reason by the coach, goes down to the minors, plays well; gets called up, barely plays, gets sent down again and is recalled due to injury; and gets buried on the 4th line again!! Has there been another prospect that has been so mishandled by this coach? I guess he just forgot how to play since last years playoff run. To even consider trading an asset like Kreider is absurd, at this stage of his career.

      1. And what would you expect him to say: ‘The coach is an idiot?’ Really good career move! This is on Tortorella. He doesn’t know how to coach talent: Lacavalier, St. Louis, Gaborik, even Prucha and Zuccarello, all had problems with this guy. Just a matter of time before he starts picking on Nash–then we can punch his ticket out of here! Until then, we can waste 2 mins our time watching Nash set up that noted goal scorer Dan Girardi on our PP for one of his lightning shots from the point; only to watch it get blocked in front!

          1. My bad!! I’m at work. I thought you were referring to something Kris Kreider said. I’m a lousy multi-tasker! I stand by everything else I wrote, though.

    1. A trade would be a great career move for Chris to an organization that wants to develop players. It is obvious that his present coach is not interested anything more than right now.

      1. Yeah, I mean Step, Cally, Hags, MDZ have all totally floundered under Torts. BTW, AHL is about development too.

  8. 1) Richards may have bought himself another year. He’s not getting bought out this offseason.
    2) I’d like to keep Zucc, but let’s see where he fits in the lineup, and how kids look in training camp.
    4) Off last year – Girardi. Off this year – Staal. Girardi regressed from his otherworldly defensive prowess, while Staal improved offensively, without giving defensively.
    5) Scoring wing (Gaborik with an edge). Either improvement from within – Hagelin, Kreider, Miller or trade.

  9. – Richards is safe for this summer, but i think you still use the compliance buyout on him in the summer of 2014

    – Keep Zuccarello; 2 year/$1.8 mill

    – Not too worried, he really should have spent a full season in Hfd and not gotten jerked around. His confidence is rattled but he isn’t damaged goods now.

    – Girardi, but only because of health concerns

    – Biggest need is a stay at home defenseman, who can clear the crease

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