More fallout from the firing of John Tortorella

Mike Sullivan won’t be behind the bench next year either

As the feeling of shock lifts from the Ranger fan community, we’ve begun to examine some possible replacements for coach John Tortorella.  The new man behind the bench will be the story of the offseason, but the departure of Tortorella could also have an impact on many other important decisions the franchise will make.

Henrik Lundqvist will sign a contract extension

I still believe that The King’s comments on Monday were harmless, but many Rangers fans panicked over Lundqvist’s hesitation to commit to New York long term.  To me, Lundqvist was only being smart before negotiating what should be his final NHL contract, one that will put a massive dent in New York’s payroll going forward.  Nevertheless, there have been some clues that Lundqvist was less than thrilled with Tortorella.  With the ornery general out of the way, no amount of money or years should be an obstacle in locking up Hank for the next eight years.  Firing Tortorella was a strong message to Lundqvist and others that New York recognizes its window won’t be open indefinitely and that there’s a sense of urgency every year to bring home the Cup.  Expect Lundqvist to ink a new pact this summer.

Brad Richards will be bought out

GM Glen Sather’s admission that scratching Richards in the postseason was “an organizational decision,” not just Tortorella’s, might indicate that the Rangers brass was in agreement that Richards’ time in New York was done, while Tortorella dug his heels.  Tortorella and Richards have a long-standing friendship and there’s no doubt that Torts gave Richards a longer leash than many other Blueshirts that have struggled in recent years.  Disagreement over a potential Richards buyout probably wasn’t what fractured Tortorella’s relationship with the team for good, but it stands to reason that Tortorella wanted to give Richards another shot next year, while Slats and company were in favor of a buyout.  With Tortorella out of the picture, it’s more likely than ever that Richards will soon follow him out the door.

Assistant coach Mike Sullivan’s will also be let go

Sullivan hasn’t officially been handed his walking papers yet, but that’s inevitable.  Whoever the new Rangers coach is will surely want to bring in his own staff and Sullivan won’t be a part of it.  It’s also a pretty good bet that the new coach will either have proven success in coaching power plays, or be advised to bring on an assistant that does.

Dan Girardi and other Torts soldiers may now be less valuable

Before we knew Torts’ fate, Chris suggested that the Rangers consider trading Dan Girardi this summer.  That sounded like blasphemy to me at the time, but without Tortorella it makes a whole lot more sense.  A black and blue shot blocker like Girardi could not have been more valuable to Torts, but the next Rangers coach might place much more importance on puck movers like Ryan McDonagh, John Moore and Michael Del Zotto.  That’s not a strength of Girardi’s game, so perhaps it makes sense to see if Girardi can be converted into an asset or assets that better suit the new coach.  Some of Tortorella’s other favorite soldiers – Brian Boyle? – might be in the same boat.

Glen Sather’s last hire

Sather has done a much better job over the last several years, but it’s still mind boggling that he has kept his job while five coaches have exited Broadway.  Sather has never been held accountable for New York’s struggles, but as he said on Wednesday: “every coach has a shelf life.”  You would think the same goes for general managers, too.  Sather’s age and health issues probably mean the end of his career is in sight regardless of how the new coach performs, but even if Sather was a spry 40-year-old this might finally be his final chance to start over with a new bench boss.

The training wheels should come off for Chris Kreider

Tortorella refused to play the prized prospect more than a handful of minutes in most games because the 22-year-old has yet to become effective defensively.  That fact infuriated many Rangers fans, but in Tortorella’s eyes it was a no-brainer.  To management, Kreider is the most tantalizing youngster to come through the door in years and the brass won’t want to risk damaging his confidence anymore.  The next coach will be instructed that Kreider is to play with skilled players and given major responsibility moving forward.

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  • Boyle would survive if they hire Vigneault. He was masterful in using Malthora to the maximum, I’m sure he could get the same out of Boyle.

  • Kev, Agree on almost all points. +1 for the predictions.

    One thing in the back of my mind is a bit of anxiety surrounding Dorsett, as I’m not sure our next bench boss will be able to keep him in line as effectively as Torts would have been able to. A much smaller scale issue, though, than all of the above major storylines.

  • Agree that Boyle will survive any new coach. He is a good PK, fourth line type of guy, and his contract isn’t too inflated. He makes some $1.5 mil, not that big, and maybe they will let him be somewhat more offensive. Look, he can chip in maybe 10-12 goals a year, not that bad.

  • Devils advocate. If Kreider has a better year next year is it because Torts is gone or just the normal development of a player.

    • I think as someone said (Suit or Dave?…or maybe I saw on twitter)…Torts gave Kreider such a short leash this past season most likely due to the shortened season.

      If he had a full 82 games to play with, he may have had a chance to be more patient for him with more learning time. Instead there wasn’t a lot of time and the magnitude of each win/loss was higher.

  • On the Lundqvist situation — While I truly believe he’ll eventually sign a big deal and stay in NY for a long time, I don’t believe his break up day comments were harmless. I think they were calculated and Torts’ firing doesn’t clear the path to his long-term deal.(See my post earlier in response to Justin’s piece.) The more I think about it, the more I think that Hank was not just sending a message about Torts when he uttered the infamous “we’ll see.” Several reporters said that a number of players knew on break up day that Torts would be fired (and I have to believe, if true, that Hank was one of them). Of course, I believe that his comments were primarily a negotiating tactic, but it’s possible that he knew there was a major upheaval coming and was sending a message that management better pick the right coach and make the right moves in the offseason to position the team to take the last and final step to the Stanley Cup. (In other words, Messier as coach won’t cut it.) This may (stress “may”) lead to him take his time before agreeing to a deal. At the very least, it gives him a bit more leverage if he needs it. Again, end of the day, this is a chess match that I believe will ultimately work out favorably for everybody except Jim Dolan’s wallet, but I don’t think it’s necessarily going to get done on a quick time table. Hope I’m wrong.

    • I agree. Interested to see if Hank takes a little less to stay, so that NYR has more $ available to sign other important pieces, RFAs or otherwise. That to me will be a sign of how much he wants to win….here. Not too much of a hometown discount, but at least a little.

  • Girardi could be moved, but Rangers need a right handed to 4 defenseman. Travis Hamonic (tough, young, defensive defenseman)would complement McDonough so McDonough could play a more offensive game.

    Justin Faulk (young, offensive defenseman) would help out on power play.

    With Rangers signing of Samuel Noreau today, McIlrath, Staal, Del Zotto could all be on the move as Rangers try to get better puck movers on both sides defensively.

    Noreua, big lefty punicher & a right handed shot at 6-5, used to fight a lot, has settled down a lot in the QMJHL could make #1 pick McIlrath expendable. I talked up Noreau a lot 2 years ago on BlogTalkRadio & Blueshirt Banter

    • Can make McIlrath expendable? Wow, I have to take a look at this guy. Although I’ve been dying to see this kid on Broadway. Also, I think they should explore trading Staal and/or MDZ. Staal only because you KNOW he is going to CAR after his contract expires. And MDZ, because you can get a lot for a 22 yr old with so much experience and upside, and because Moore looks good. I really like both players (love Staal), but MDZ and Zuke for Big Buff…do it!

  • Breaking news. Avery will be working out over the summer for try out with rangers in the fall.

  • As a former Girardi detractor, I think he is invaluable to the team in any system so long as the price tag isn’t ridiculous.

    The more meat Hank leaves on the bone for the team the better his surrounding cast will be. I think the talent is there, it is simply direction and cap space that remain in question.

  • Dear god please tell me the Rangers won’t be dumb enough to keep Del Zaster over Girardi. That would be a colossal mistake.

  • I agree completely with queensbee. Move Del Zotto while people still see potential as value. His decision making and positioning are horrible. Bring back a young NHL ready forward who can pot a few. Keep Girardi/McD and develop Staal/Moore and Stralman/Mcilrath-Noreau-etc. McD, Moore, Strals can take care of puck movement while G, Staal, and Stral’s partner play the stay at home style.

    Down on The Pack you’ve got Logan Pyett who probably deserves a shot, at least as an injury call up for a puck mover. In the system is Conor Allen, Brady Skjei and Calle Anderson who is another QB/puckmover type. Keep the veteran Girardi and move Del Zaster.

  • Well everyone complains about coachs like Torts. They are all a bunch of rich whinny babies. Quit blaming the coach and play like they are capable of playing. So they get yelled at by the coach, tell them to get a real job and see how they like making $10 an hour, and being yelled at. How many Cups have they won, none Torts has 1.

  • Ranger fans shocked that they didn’t make it farther? There the only ones that are. The Rangers were never that good to begin with! Lundqvist, Richards, and Nash are the only good players you got. Your not going far with just those guys. Wake up! Compared to the teams that are still in it, the Rangers wouldn’t have a chance in hell of winning!

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