Musings: Consistency, Consistency, Consistency


The one thing we’ve come to expect of our hockey clubs in New York is consistency. With the New York Rangers, that consistency, at least in the opening few months of the season, is defined as consistently inconsistent. It’s a bit of a running joke, but it’s alarmingly true. Last night’s game was a prime example of how this club can play when they don’t play down to their competition. They did just that when they lose to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, and Colorado Avalanche, all pretty bad teams.

Sure, you can blame the injuries to the blue line, and no team has really suffered injuries to the extent the Rangers have, but all teams do deal with injuries. You can point to the Derek Stepan injury, which led to an even more massive hole at center than initially predicted —by us— at the beginning of the season. But the Rangers have an opportunity now to put that inconsistency behind them with a relatively easy schedule to close out the month. Of course, being consistently inconsistent, you never know.

On to the musings:

  • I harp on that center depth a lot, but the issue has really worked itself out for the most part. Stepan is clearly the team’s 1C, and while he’s not Joe Thornton, he’s David Krejci. I’ll take it. He’s been a huge stabilizer for a team that needed help. Derick Brassard has met expectations and performed very well as the 2C, which was a huge question mark heading into the season. So far, he’s justified his $5 million contract. Dominic Moore is one of the best 4C’s in the game. 3C is still a concern, but only because Kevin Hayes is still learning the pro game. He has a solid future there.
  • Cam Talbot was phenomenal last night, and the Rangers will need him to be a .915 SV% goalie this year. He’s not a .940 SV% goalie like he was last season, but he’s not the .880 SV% goalie he was to start this season. He will be fine.
  • Speaking of Talbot, enough with the “what can we get for Talbot?” stuff. He’s a 27-year-old backup goalie with 26 games of experience who was pretty bad in his first four games this year. His trade value is minimal, and he’s not replacing Henrik Lundqvist. Seriously, enough with that stuff, you just make yourself look silly.
  • Another guy who has minimal trade value – John Moore. He just turned 24, so he’s not a kid anymore. He’s a middle-of-the-road bottom-pairing guy with potential to contribute on the powerplay. He also has the potential to be a top-four guy, but that window of opportunity is closing as he approaches his prime. Most of what you see now is what you will get from him.
  • You do have to wonder what will happen with Moore next season. Brady Skjei, if he turns pro, is going to get a very, very long look at camp. He could replace Moore in the lineup. But a lot of it has to do with the future of Marc Staal.
  • Personally, I think the Rangers will be making a mistake if they give Staal a contract like Dan Girardi’s. It will be tough to manage the depth of the roster with another $5.5 million taken up by a net-negative possession defender. I don’t know what the trade value for Staal would be, or if there is even a market for him at the moment, but I would assume the asking price would be the same as Girardi’s last year.
  • Duclair-Hayes-Stempniak; Hagelin-Moore-Fast, just for one game. Please? Pretty please? Just once.
  • Matt Hunwick sure has been a pleasant surprise. He’s not a savior, but he’s been very serviceable as a fill-in. Reminds me of the way Steve Eminger filled in whenever the club needed him.
  • Obligatory Tanner Glass comment.
  • Questions:
    • What is your ideal fourth line?
    • Do you think Hayes sticks as a 3C?
    • Staal: Re-sign or trade?

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  • It time to go on run. Philly is dreadful. They will battle the Canes for last. Is there a worse pair than Coburn and Grossman. Those guys would be behind Kostka on the depth chart. Lets get to Buffalo and win and beat the Habs on the back end of their back-to-back with Boston.

  • Duclair-Hayes-Stempniak; Hagelin-Moore-Fast works very nicely for me.

    3C should give both Hayes and Miller a look. Healthy competition will benefit the progression of both those guys.

    On the Staal conundrum -> I can’t realistically weigh in without having any real feel for Allen, McIlrath or Skjei. If those guys are good for bottom pairing pro level duties then our top 4 *should* be servicable. McD / Girardi, Boyle / Klein. If that wouldn’t be a detriment, sure, we could trade Staal for assets and avoid his multi year cap hit on the books.

    That said, he is still our 2nd or 3rd best defender (depending on the day) and his absence will have it’s repercussions and won’t go unnoticed.

  • I’d rather see Kreider-Hayes-Duclair & put Stemp on the fourth line. Actually I’d bring up Miller and have a fourth of Miller-Moore-Stempniak.

  • I like a fourth line of Hagelin-Moore-Fast
    Hayes will be an excellent 3C, IF he can get better at faceoffs.
    I think that salary cap considerations dictate trading Staal. Too bad we can’t wait to see how Skjei works out first, though.

  • My whole issue with Staal is that if they trade him who plays his 25 minutes a night? I’m not in love with the guy I just don’t want to see a trade which would weaken this team for this season. This team is built to win right now. And they are a better team with Staal in the lineup than with Allen or Hunwick assuming his role.

    I view this as the same situation as the Callahan trade last year. I was against trading callahan because I Thought it would weaken the team that season. Sather ended up turning Cally in to MSL (while losing a couple 1st rounders) which made this team better. Let’s be honest, if he traded Cally for prospects and draft picks, there no way they get past the 2nd round last year let alone a Stanley Cup final berth.

    So I view the Staal situation the same way. I don’t buy in to this “lose him for nothing talk” if that involves getting some assets for him but weakening this team this season. That’s not “losing him for nothing” that’s “getting something for him but sacrificing this season by weakening the team”.

    Now I get it if you think this team isn’t capable of going on another run this year, but I don’t agree with that. Let’s get McDonagh back and see what this team looks like by January, then make that assessment.

    But if this team looks good around that time I don’t want to see Sather make a trade that would weaken this team and potentially sacrifice a long playoff run. Also I would be against adding picks to spice up the trade and actually get a better player than Staal (Cally plus 2 1st rounders). But then again, Sather has proven to be pretty good when it comes to trades. Scott Gomez anyone?

    • Fair points. I think the Staal situation is wholly dependent on how the team is playing. I’m not sure Sather can justify trading him if the team is playing well at the deadline.

      You can make a case that if the team is swimming in mediocrity, a trade may make the most sense.

  • Fast Moore Stempiak
    But be aware of Lindberg coming up soon
    Yes- has to get better on face-offs but so does the entire team.
    Staal-? Was always a favorite- still can be- Wait and give him more time- as value to the team go up or down so goes his trade value. Still can justify Girardi’s contract or Glass’ presence.

  • Staal isn’t as great as people make him out to be. Yes he eats minutes, but he isn’t worth $5 million a year, or more. Hell, last night that mental midget Mc Guire said he is worth $6 million, what the hell is he smoking?? Trade him while there is a market for him, Carolina anyone??

    The best 4th line would be Moore-Hags-Stempniak. It won’t be long before Lindberg will vie for the 4C position.

    Someone posted that Kreider skate with Hayes, the more I think about it, the more I like it. They seem to jell very well with each other!

  • Kreider has been invisible for the last 5 games, and for that matter, so has DuClair. 2 goals against a pitiful Philly team tells me that something isn’t gelling on offense. I know – we put Tanner Glass on the first line with Nash and Stepan.

    While it is a bad idea, with AV behind the bench there is a better chance at Glass on the first line than sitting in the stands.

    • The Steve Mason was the only reason they scored two goals last night, rather than any lack of “gelling”.

  • -I like the forth line with Hagelin on it. I don’t like Stempniak on the 4th line.
    -Hayes should stay at the 3rd Center position. He seems to get better every game. By the time McDonagh gets back. He could begin to help the Rangers in a big way. He (Hayes) just has to learn to use his size in the pro game.
    -As far as Staal goes, it depends on where the Rangers are at that point. He might play better as a 2nd pair defenseman than as the top guy on the left side.

  • I’d trade Staal, even if it hurts the team’s chances this year. His value, based on past performance and pedigree, is still high.

    If he could fetch a roster D-man, and maybe a decent prospect or first rounder (to make up for what was lost in the Cally trade), I’d make that deal.

    Sell high, Glen!

  • 1) Moore, Fast & Hags (or Stemp)

    2) Yes, play him into the ground and get him the learning he needs on the fly. Love the kid. He’s got a ‘feel’.

    3) I’d have loved to keep him, but I didn’t think Girardi would turn into a pumpkin. Would have in hindsight let Girardi go and do what ever needed to keep Staal. Now, that’s not realistic. Depends on how Moore goes. While he’s running out of time there’s plenty of time left this year to show the strong incremental improvement he needs to show.

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