Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Brassard needs to show more, if he's to remain a Ranger
Brassard needs to show more, if he’s to remain a Ranger

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you all have a great day and weekend. In the mean time, a couple thoughts on the Rangers as they head in to the weekend and toward a big double header.

Offensive Alternative?

If Taylor Pyatt continues to struggle once he’s back up to speed and Benoit Pouliot continues to be consistently inconsistent when does Alain Vigneault look for alternatives to help his frustrating offense? Wednesday night saw Danny Kristo add another goal to his tally in the AHL.

With 10 goals in 19 games for the WolfPack Kristo is on pace to flirt with 40 goals in his rookie year as a pro. While showing patience with Kristo is possibly the right course of action, if the Rangers continue to underwhelm offensively he’s surely worth taking a look at sooner rather than later.


Alain Vigneault has said that Pouliot is at a career crossroads. Well, could Derick Brassard also be at a crossroad? While Pouliot may have his entire NHL career under scrutiny, Brassard has been far too inconsistent thus far to warrant being retained at his current salary beyond this year (and certainly isn’t in line for a raise).

Brassard’s status as a promising talent is under threat. While Brassard would definitely find a home somewhere should the Rangers cut the cord, Brassard needs to find some consistency to justify the Rangers retaining him beyond this season. Very talented, very frustrating.

Big changes coming?

With several Rangers players not (yet) playing to their ability – or contract – a quick glance at the WolfPack’s young roster and the Rangers cap commitments beyond this season suggest the Rangers could be heading toward a summer of significant change. Brassard, Brian Boyle, Dom Moore, Pyatt, Pouliot and Anton Stralman all face uncertain futures either because of their performances or their cap value (or both). Throw in Brad Richards’ likely departure and it’s entirely possible the Rangers could lose seven or more roster players in the summer.

Reason for optimism

Despite a lack of goals the Rangers have a very bright future on the flanks. Complementing Nash, Hagelin and Callahan we’ve seen Chris Kreider finally show his NHL ability. Throw in the arrival of Mats Zuccarello as a consistent NHL offensive forward and the Rangers have a strong core on the wings. Zuccarello and Kreider still have flaws and they both need to score more goals but both players are projecting close to fifty points for the season and each has shown enough to suggest they can be trusted offensive producers.

Did I say Happy Thanksgiving yet? Go eat Turkey. 

Show More
  • I thought Brassard had great chemistry going with Cally last night. The problem with Brassards’ game, he been stuck with boat anchor Pouliet all season as his line mate. The fact that Pouliet remains in the line up, is a reflection of AVs poor judgement. I guess he is too busy flogging MDZ to notice the poor play of his other players.

    As this season unfolds, AV is demonstrating what a crappy coach he really is. The performance by the Rangers in Florida has been very discouraging. They are a much better team then that. The youth of the Ranger organization gives me optimism, but the fact that their coach choses to play a player who absolutely sucks over a younger better who has bigger upside takes away that optimism.

    • Unfortunately I do not trust the development of our youth with AV. None of the Rangers beat writers will call him out on this, but the fact he continues to favor Pyatt and Pouliot over Miller is very disappointing for this organization. Both would be waived and not claims by another NHL club right now, yet AV has lavished them both with substantial minutes this season.

      • You guys are nuts. Who is going to play for POULIOT (Not Pouliet) and Pyatt are NHL players. Miller has 1 goal this year. He doesn’t know how to finish his chances in the NHL. You can’t say he doesn’t play kids because Kreider is in the lineup and is still a rookie. You don’t develop kids in the NHL. They play top 6 mins in Hartford like he is. Not here on the 4th line. Torts got fired for a lack of offense but the Rangers scored more last year. It’s the players. Not the coach. AV developed the Sedins, Kessler, Edler, and brought BC within a game of the Cup. If a young player is better for the team than a roster guy. They’ll be here.

        • POULIOT has only 2 goals and had played many more minutes and games then Miller. Benoit is the last man back on the backcheck, loses every puck battle and is a turnover machine. There is a reason why he signed in New York as a free agent, nobody else wanted his fat ass on their team. AV didn’t develop any of the above players they were all on the roster before he came along.

          AV ran young prospect Cody Hodgson off the team and in the end the Vancouver players got tired of his head games and he was promptly released from duties. If I read any my more blogs about AV’s puck possession style of hockey, I think I am going to puke. He was an ordinary coach who was at the right place and the right time and inherited a very talented Vancouver Canuck team.

          • Just to be sure, every coach who ever won the cup……right place , right time! That goes the same for Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA. However, they do Need to get them there! That is their job. However, the players win. These guys can win under AV.

          • Pouliot signed for beans. What did you think you were gonna get? It was a good signing. In the right situation he could be a big contributor. He is not the last guy back on D. He is in because of his speed and offensive ability. He hasn’t panned out. That’s not AV’s fault. As time goes on, AV will mold the team around his system. Right now this team is built the way Torts wanted.
            Say what you like but Vineault got the Canucks to the Finals. Any coach you bring in is going to have a shelf life. After a while his words don’t get through to the players. You aren’t a hockey exec and neither am I. Leave the decision making to the pros. You aren’t going to agree with all the things the coach does. I personally thought Torts should be given this year since so many contracts were due to expire in the summer but we have AV now. Like him or not!

          • Bloomer

            Your post is pretty much spot on!

            As for Brass, why hasn’t he gotten a chance to skate with Nash, and Hags, instead of BR? I believe that would be a great line, and BR could skate with Callie, and Boyle. AV is still trying to figure out his players, which is somewhat disappointing at this stage of the season.

            Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and we will see you all at MSG Saturday VS Torts, and Vancouver!

      • Wow really you guys? This team is so much more interesting and fun to watch then what we have seen in a long time. Let the kids do their time in the ahl, maybe we’ll see them at the end. For now, I like what I see, would like to see more finishing, but overall I like. All hail AV!

        • I’m in complete disagreement, this team is extremely soft, mentally and physically, and plays with no heart or urgency. If they don’t score the first goal they can’t buy a win. Forget about grit and intimidation, I appreciate Dorsett but the poor guy can’t win a fight. He’s a cross between Aaron Voros and Ryan Hollweg as far as I’m concerned. I love the Rangers with all my heart and I’m forever an optimistic, but I don’t think this team as presently constructed can garner any success in the playoffs.

  • Nice stuff once again!

    Just one question, how is the shooting percentage of the ranger players different than last year? e.g. What was Zucarello’s shooting percentage last year and this year (and than for all players?!?) Because there was some talk about regressing to the mean, but that only matters if the players have exceptionally lower ratings than in other years I believe. Because you need teams above the mean and some below it I guess…

  • i dont think not qualifying brassard is an option if you buyout richards. that would leave us paper thin in the middle.

    miller had trouble in the d zone. AV clearly didnt trust him there. athough offensively he was one of our better players some games.

  • say what you want about AV. he has us in second place in div after a a brutal start/opening schedule

  • Who has any thoughts on Devin Setoguchi? He’s still young at 26 and has some offensive ability. In 20+ games he has 13 points (6G 7A) in (15:36 ATOI) 3rd line mins. Most importantly he is a righty and has an affordable cap hit at $3 mil per. I’d assume the Jets would part with him but who knows. I’m sure AV is screaming to Sather for some righties on the roster. The top 6 has 1 righty on it. There’s just not a good enough balance.

  • What did you really expect from Brassard and J. Moore this year? When they first got here, and for the remainder of the post-season last year, they were outstanding. Did you really think that was how they were going to play regularly? No. Both players overperformed, and it is only natural that both these guys went a bit back to normal this season. There’s a reason why CBJ gave them away that easily. Dorsett, the third man in the Gaborik-trade, struggled heavily last year when he came back after the injury, and has raised his game up to his normal standard this year.

    Although it was quite easy to understand that Brassard would struggle more this season, he shouldn’t be struggling this much. He needs to raise his game again. J. Moore has been decent, but I expect more from him.

  • Some thoughts: Why do the Rangers have to be physically manhandled like against the Bruins in order for Sather to act? Why does it take so long? If your 3rd and 4th lines cannot score then they must be extreme checkers or add a physical presence. Pouliot and Pyatt provide neither. There is ZERO physical presence on the Rangers and they may win a game here and there against tough team but cannot last a series. Last thought; DZ might be struggling but the love affair with Staal continues. He has become a statue.

  • Back to top button