Rangers Approach the Season Opener: the Musings

What to expect from Jesper Fast? (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
What to expect from Jesper Fast? (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The Rangers are entering the home straight and the regular season is almost upon us. It’s a Thursday so let’s throw together some thoughts about the past few days in Rangerland.

Anthony Duclair. Everyone’s favourite Rangers’ prospect appears to be forcing the organisation’s hand into finding him a roster spot. 5 points, 3 goals in 3 games. Blazing speed, a wicked shot and respectable defense for a 19 year old rookie who, two weeks ago, wasn’t on anyone’s radar (for this season).

The thing is this: if he makes it, if he plays, he has to be on a scoring line to be effective. Is there an appropriate spot up for grabs and who suffers as a result? The most realistic scenario would be Mats Zuccarello slipping to the third line (also a productive line under coach Vigneault) but can the team justify pushing their top scoring forward of last year down to the third line for a 19 year old? It’s a great dilemma to have but also a major headache, potentially.

October 9th, at St Louis and then at the Blue Jackets two days later. Do the Rangers have the hardest opening two game set? A road trip to the big, physical Blues and Jackets? It gets physical quickly for the Rangers.


I really hope Ryan Malone is healthy and makes an impact over the final two preseason games. The Rangers do not have anyone with his combined size, skill set, net presence and ability to fight. You don’t want Kreider fighting nor do you want him in close too much as it robs him of some of his shooting ability. Malone is a great low risk option if he stays fit.

Just my opinion: Even at 39, when you have one of the best right wingers of a generation you do not move him to center, even as a stop-gap measure. I admire Marty St Louis’ team first attitude and his being open minded to helping out wherever he’s needed. Many, many star players should follow is example but you don’t move a strength to fill a weakness. It’s counter productive.

With Derek Stepan out to begin the year and everyone assuming the Rangers offense will struggle (to some degree) as a result will the Rangers completely rely on Lundqvist, to begin the year? I can’t imagine Cam Talbot seeing much game time early on. How should they divide starts to start the year?

The 7th defenseman open competition is a concern. No one has grabbed the spot and made it their own. Prospects such as Conor Allen and Matt Bodie didn’t impress. The Rangers need to hope the top six stay healthy and no one such as John Moore regresses.
Assuming he starts the year in the AHL, I am intrigued to see how Ryan Haggerty starts his pro-career. I’m also intrigued to see how Jesper Fast starts the year, wherever that may be. Such a solid player. Fast seems to be a low ceiling, high floor kid of kid.  Haggerty is still a relative unknown quantity.

I have been pleasantly surprised by Tanner Glass thus far although it’s very early for any kind of judgement whatsoever.

Question Time:

• Duclair: assuming he makes opening night, what are reasonable season projections and expectations?
• With injuries and line shuffling considered what record would you be happy with after ten games?
• How many points will presumptive captain Ryan McDonagh reach this year?
• How many Rangers forwards will break the twenty goal barrier?
• If any, which core Ranger is most likely to be moved before the season ends?

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  • 1. Duclair’s projections depend on if and where they ultimately put him: assuming he’s top 6, 20 goals; top 9, 15 goals. He’s got special skills.

    2. Given the memory of last year, the number of new faces shuffling in, the difficulty of the early schedule, I’d be happy w .500.

    3. McDonagh will score bet 45-50 points this year and again be considered in the Norris discussion.

    4. Six Rangers will score 20 goals (and Stepan will fall just short). Biggest surprise will be Hagelin.

    5. I see Staal or Giarardi going in a package (including another player and multiple prospects) to try and get a chip in the McDavid sweepstakes.

    • The Rangers are in a win now mode. They’re not rebuilding. If they can’t come to an agreement with Marc Staal on a new contract by or near the trade deadline. Then you consider moving him. Otherwise trading away core players and the few prospects the Rangers have would not help. Girardi is a righty which is valuable on this left hand heavy team. He’s also on a rather long term expensive contract that’ll be hard to trade and get back value. Like a top pick.
      If Staal can’t agree to an extension and Talbot doesn’t wish to remain as Lundqvist backup. Then I’d include those two as trade bait to fill a weakness going into the playoffs. Like a proven Centerman with some size.
      I sure hope Malone is ready to go come the 8th in St Louis. As you stated the Jackets will be a tough matchup for a few reasons. We are East Champs, NASH left them, and we won the season series last season. We will need a couple big guys.

      Is it possible the 4th line is a revolving door to begin the season? Maybe parts of the 3rd as well. I think if Duclair does stick with the team, he should start on the 3rd line with Miler & Hayes. If hes the real deal then switch him to the top 6

  • I don’t see how Duclair’s presence on the roster pushes Zuccarello down a line; one plays left-wing, the other right-wing.

    If anything, DuClair may be paired across from Zuccarello, with Brassard the centerman.

    Assuming he replaces Pouliot, I’d say Duclair projects at 21 goals, 30 assists. Probably seems high to most but AV is already having him practice on our 2nd power play unit. Time and space for Duclair translates directly into points.

  • Duclair – 12 goals, 25 points, couple of healthy scratches when the consistency wanes.

    After ten games would be happy with 8 or 9 points, say 4-5-1

    McD – 12 goals, 31 assists – 43 points

    20 goals – Kreider, Nash, St Louis, Zucc (Stepan will miss because of the injury, but will have the pace to break 20)

    None of the core will be traded, I think Staal works out a deal before New Years

  • Kind words for Tanner Glass? Sacrilege!!! People who throw stones can’t live in Glass houses, right?

  • 1) If Duclair plays the full season in a top-6 role, I could see 30-35 points out of him, maybe 10-15 goals.

    2) With the way last season began, as long as we’re at or above .500, I’d be happy. But I think this years team, even with Step out, will be more equipped to start strong.

    3) If McD stays healthy all year, 45 points, Norris conversation, maybe a top-5 finish in voting. (But personally I’m hoping he has an even bigger increase in play this year and forces himself into Norris consideration)

    4) Nash, Kreider, Hagelin, St. Louis will break 20. Zucc, Brass, Step and Miller will all be close too though.

    5) All depends on Staal’s contract talks, mixed with how well he is doing. I think he stays a Ranger though.

    Intrigued that someone else mentioned Girardi, depending on how he fares this season, and depending on the market for him and return, could be very interesting to look into, though I doubt it happens.

  • I see Duclair playing about 15 games with the Rangers, he’ll post 4 goals over that span. Once Stepan is healthy the Rangers will send Duclair to Team Canada for the World Juniors and he will likely finish this season in Juniors.

    I’d be happy with 5-6 wins but not shocked if they managed 7.

    45 pts. for McD this year. If he plays on PP1 you can bump that up by 7.

    I see 7 Rangers breaking 20 goals. Nash, MSL, Kreider, Brassard, Hagelin, Zucc and Stepan.

    I think the core of the roster stays the same through the playoffs. The Rangers are making a push for the cup, if that means letting some assets (Staal) go for little return after the season, so be it.

  • I completely disagree with keeping Staal if he does not sign early, you trade him.
    The longevity of the health of the club far outweighs a speculation that the Rangers will win the cup. Championship trades have made these difficult trades to promote the health and competitiveness of their teams.
    There are 3 playes, Staal, Hagelin and Zuccarello who fall into this category and it will be devastating to lose them all for a bag of pucks. If the Rangers can make a trade that works for the club then they must do it. A key factor is how well Moore plays the first 10 games to assess what they trade for. Allem will go down hungry and angry at himself for not standing out. He was not that bad during the preseason.

    Duclair must go back if he will not be in the top 6

    Rangers will surprise with a 6-3-1(OT loss)

    McDonagh will have a line of 16 Goals and 37 assists(4 G and 19 A on the PP)

    20 G’s for Kreider, Nash, St Louis, Brassard, Zuccarello and Hagelin

    Staal and Hagelin, Kristo and Hrivik and honestly I would not be surprised if Duclair also goes in a blockbuster trade if it happens

    My hope is the Rangers get a 1st round and 2nd round pick in this years draft via a trade. Way too many great prospects in this draft especially at center.

    On my reason for Duclair to be sent back is it will slow him down playing 3rd line and he is in my opinion the replacement for St Louis. As for trade mention his stock has risen to sweeten a deal for a high quality center.

    And lastly, Staal is a player I want to sign first but would rather trade soon if he does not sign quickly. We can not afford to lose him for nothing when he can bring in a haul. We lost a haul for St Louis and luckily we were able to sign Hayes. I am almost willing to bet my house that the Rangers will be involved in a huge trade by the 25 game mark of the season and a couple of minor trade deadline day.

  • Skys the limit. I think he has a chance at Calder




    Anyone over 26 could be gone for the right price.

    I would like to say trade for Crosby,

    Then we would have king, a duke, a jesper, all we need is a queen……

  • Funny to see the Blue Jackets mentioned as a tough game after all of these years. But yes, they are now a tough one…

  • Duclair- hard to say until we know how long he stays on the big team. If he really plays 75 games he will get 11G, 15A

    5-3-1-1 after 10 games, 13 points

    Mac gets 13G 25A

    Nash, Kreider, Zucc, StL and Miller

    I’m a Staal supporter but sometimes it seems like I’m the only one. They will probably move him if they can’t sign him before the end of the season. Too bad; I think he will be missed more than most of you think.

    Regards- orange

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