No goal breakdown today folks. Unfortunately Dave is traveling and I only caught the second half of the game. Apologies for that.
Anyway, I originally had an x’s and o’s post scheduled for this morning, but I decided to call an audible since the team really hasn’t been playing well of late. I feel like during such a critical part of the season everyone would rather talk about the team than strategy, so I thought a mailbag/twitter bag would be more appropriate.
Before we get started, a big stick tap to those who sent questions in. Much obliged.
Q. If you were the GM what would be your plan for the rest of the season?
A: Even if the Rangers make the playoffs, I don’t think they will get far with this roster as it is currently constructed. The Penguins, Bruins, Capitals, and Red Wings all have superior top end players and superior role players. Matchups for a 7 game series against one of those clubs would be a nightmare for AV. The only thing we have that others don’t is Henrik Lundqvist and he looks far from his normal elite self.
My plan would be to upgrade the bottom six and bottom pair defense. Even though we could stand to use more top end skill, we really don’t have the chips to pull off a major trade. I’d focus on acquiring a solid third line player or two. Let’s have a line that can bring a heavy forecheck, win in the dirty areas of the ice, play good D, and pop 30-40 points. That’s severely lacking right now in our bottom six.
Would a move like this help turn us into the offensive team that AV wants? No, but depth, true depth would help create a little more balance. Boyle is on pace for 2 goals. Pooliot 8 goals. Dorsett 6 goals. Moore 3 goals. Pyatt is goalless. This could be an easy fix on the trade market.
With all that said, I’d probably wait till after the Olympics to make a move. Should any of our stars go down in Sochi, that would put us on a whole other course. Might be better to play wait and see.
Q. Give me a few trade targets!
A: I mentioned this the other day, but I like Zach Smith on the Senators ($1.9M cap hit). He’s a good center who hits, fights, wins face-offs, and can pop a few goals. David Jones ($4M cap hit) in Calgary is also another guy who brings size, grit, and offense. Andrew Ladd ($4.4M) probably wouldn’t be available, but I always liked his game as well. Given the high caps, we’d obviously have to shed some salary to get any of these done. Someone keeps mentioning Cogliano, who I like as well, but I can’t see the Ducks moving him. They’re in first place and probably looking to upgrade, not sell.
Going the other way, I wouldn’t be opposed to moving Derick Brassard if the org believes Oscar Lindberg will be ready for the Show next season, or if they still believe JT Miller is a center and not a wing. McIlrath getting 5 mins a night doesn’t bode well for him, so trading away Girardi or MDZ at this point doesn’t really make a lot of sense unless defense is coming the other way. Though, the latter will not likely be a Ranger beyond next summer, so maybe we could pull the trigger on MDZ if Dylan sticks.
Q. What’s your take on AV saying the Rangers should play more like the Red Wings?
A: For those of you who missed that news story, here’s AV’s full comment.
“I look at the Detroit Red Wings, who I know well because I coached against them the last seven years,” Vigneault continued. “They have no toughness, per se, as far as that type of personnel in their lineup, at no point – other than maybe (Jordin) Tootoo the last couple years, but he’s gone now. But those guys play hard. They have the puck, and they say, ‘Try and get it from me.’ Or they don’t have it and they battle like hell to get it back. They compete.”
Interesting comment from AV. I see what he’s trying to convey as far as puck possession, but their top guys are three zone players. Is Brad Richards a three zone player? Is Stepan? Nash? I don’t think so. Plus, there aren’t many guys in the league tougher than Berto, Franzen and Cleary. Gotta disagree with this. We’re not Detroit.
Q. Convincing win against the Flames. This the start of a turnaround? What about Cally? Do you think he’ll be a Ranger this time next year?
A: Exciting yes. Convincing? No. Need to see a lot more consistency in the D-zone before we start talking turnaround. The team is still giving up way too many transition rushes.
As for Callahan…he better be. We won’t win a Cup without Callahan. He does it all."Monday Mailbag: Trade Winds, AV, Signs of a Turnaround?",