Saturday Musings: will Nash net?

My name is Rick Nash. I am very good at hockey.
My name is Rick Nash. I am very good at hockey.

The quiet season is well and truly underway but that doesn’t mean the hockey world is standing still. Let’s have a look around the league and have an impromptu musings shall we?

The Capitals signed Mikhail Grabovski this week and it’s a good move. They needed to add some talent and he’s a solid center. It’s incredible to think the Leafs bought a player out less than 18 months after giving him a long term extension. With losing Mike Ribeiro the Caps were in danger of going backwards, Grabovski helps a lot for $3m.

I keep reading that the Rangers are in danger of losing Derek Stepan? Calm down folks. There is no urgency here. He has no negotiating power and it would take an over-the-top offer sheet for the Rangers not to match. The lack of a new deal is no indicator of the importance Stepan has, merely that it’s not a critical priority.

My first prediction for the new season: With one year as a Ranger under his belt, with a full camp, Rick Nash will top 40 goals. In a new system that should give him more offensive zone starts there’s no reason Nash shouldn’t reach that number again. If Nash is healthy and has support from his line mates he should reach that figure. He was close last year (on pace for 39). With Callahan and Hagelin missing to begin, he’ll be needed more than ever.

Teams I think will be surprises in the East this coming season: Leafs, Blue Jackets and Carolina.

So Brian Leetch has joined the league’s safety department. I can’t say I’m not disappointed that he doesn’t have a role with the Rangers. Don’t know why he hasn’t got involved in coaching – surely he would make an exceptional powerplay/defensive coach.

If Alain Vigneault’s system is less skating intensive I thought the Rangers should have looked at Doug Murray who signed with the Canadiens this week. At ‘just’ 600k more than Aaron Johnson I can’t help but think his nasty streak would have been a welcome short term addition while Dylan McIlrath develops.

How dangerous will the Islanders be this season? I think they should be more dangerous than traditional threats the Devils, Flyers and Capitals.

Did Dan Girardi’s slightly underwhelming 2012-13 season cost him an Olympic try out spot or is it more evidence that the former ECHL alumni and undrafted defenseman still isn’t as respected as he deserves? This is a guy that two seasons ago was 6th in Norris voting yet Marc Methot gets more love by Team Canada. Hmm….

Question Time

  • How many rookies will play for the Rangers this season?
  • How many starts will Vigneault give Lundqvist?
  • Where does Ryan Callahan rank among NHL captains?
  • Marc Staal – over/under 60 games this season?
  • What is your biggest roster concern heading into the season?

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  • Are Kreider, and Miller still considered rookies? If they are then two, possibly three with the Kristo kid.
    Hank get some 63-66 starts.
    Callie is my choice as the best, second is Towes.
    Marc is 100% as per Sather, over 60 games.
    Who plays the #2 center, and will BR perform????

    The people involved in picking players for Team Canada are interested in scoring, and as much as we all love Dan, the guy, he isn’t the scorer that a Keith is, and so is over looked.

    I liked that you don’t see the traditional threats, Devils, Flyers, and Caps being that good this year, I agree…..

    • I agree, they’ll play 3 rookies at different times in the season unless McIlrath has a great start in Hartford.
      AV played Luongo as much as he could for years in Vancouver. He played 70+ games for years. For that reason I think Hank will play in the mid to high 60’s.
      As a Rangers fan I have a ton of respect for Callahan but as a hockey fan I’d have to say Chara. The Bruins are right there each season and that starts with a good leader.

      • Oh and over. 78 games
        Biggest roster decision will be filling Callahan and Hagelins spots and then working them back in with the new coach.

    • Yup, technically by the Calder Trophy qualifications both Kreider and Miller are still rookies, which means conceivably that Kreider could win the Rookie of the Year this year.

  • Kristo will play some games along with Kreider and Miller. Also think Hrivik will see some action this season

    Hank probably gets 65-70 starts

    Callahan as 8-15 captain

    Over for Staal

    Biggest roster concern is the lack of a designated PP QB

    Columbus should be compete for 3rd in the division alongside Washington and NYI. With Pitt and NYR taking the top spots

    Don’t think Nash gets 40 but see a couple guys being 25+

  • 3 or 4 rookies will play this year. miller, kristo, kreider, and potentially Lindberg/mcilarth if either get off to an great start with the pack.

    Hank gets 62-67 starts.

    Cally is the 7th-10th best captain in the NHL. every since he has become capt, the rangers have had one of the best records in the league.

    Staal plays 75+ games

    Biggest concern is lack of a competent power play.

    I think Toronto are going to surprise some people but in the wrong way. All stats have pointed to the leafs being an incredibly lucky team and they have made some head scratching signings this offesason

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