The Rangers pipeline shouldn’t concern you; musing the Rangers

The Rangers were unlucky to come out of Detroit with only one point. Then again, how often have we been able to say in the recent past that a Rangers team would be disappointed to come away from Detroit without the points despite out skilling and out skating the Wings? Call it progress.

I saw someone call Wednesday’s game a preview of the Eastern Conference Final. If that becomes fact the Rangers would be delighted with that opportunity. The Wings are a very talented team but over seven games, and with Henrik Lundqvist in net, the Rangers would be confident they would progress.

Yandle watch: You just know a handful of fans are already moaning thathe hasn’t registered ten powerplay points yet… Yandle has adjusted quickly especially when you consider he’s had almost no practice time. It’s hard not to get excited about the upside of this team.

James Sheppard had a solid debut and he looks like he’ll bring a healthy dose of hockey IQ to the Rangers. He keeps it simple, makes smart plays and looks defensively reliable. One game does not a career Ranger make, but it was a promising start for sure.

So the Rangers acquire Keith Yandle and Dan Girardi scores a powerplay goal. Who else is amused?

I’m slightly worried Rick Nash is about to be snake bitten. He’s had a ton of good looks in recent games and was borderline unplayable against Detroit yet he’s run into some really good goaltending recently. This is why you need depth; you cannot expect your top goal scorer to bail you out every game. Can he still hit 50? That’s going to be tough.

Can a four game stretch on the road (this season) possibly be any harder than visiting Detroit, Chicago, the Islanders and the Capitals? That’s brutal and I for one would be happy with a 2-2 record (or 2-1-1…) after that four game swing, particularly having started it with a loss in Detroit.

Derek Stepan is in a funk. He’s playing fine defensively but the scoring has dried up, his line has arguably been the weakest of the top three lines (with Chris Kreider the saving grace for the line) and Stepan has gone six games without a point. If Stepan wants a big payday he needs to be much better and more consistent. Right now, despite the positional importance of Stepan to the Rangers, I think a deal similar to Mats Zuccarello’s would be more than fair for Stepan. That could be one tough negotiation this summer. He hasn’t justified a $6m salary this season.

One comment about the Wings: once again they’ve quietly developed a ton of talent from their pipeline haven’t they? Detroit is still the standard for all other organisations. Patient prospect development through good scouting, building (and drafting) around a well defined concept allows you to consistently produce your Nyquist’s, Tatar’s and Abdelkader’s . They have another batch on the way too with Anthony Mantha, Teemu Pulkkinen and Dylan Larkin among others. Lidstrom who? Yzerman who? (I kid).

Back to the Rangers: the Wings example is why people shouldn’t overreact to the Rangers trading away picks to help a legitimate cup run. It’s not always about first round picks. The Red Wings always find quality in the later rounds and the Rangers have done that (and have needed to) as well. Drafting Duclair in the third round helped bring them Yandle. Pavel Buchnevich looks a keeper and he was a third round pick. The Rangers have three promising goalie prospects none of which were first round picks. Jesper Fast was a 6th round pick who looks like he could be a long term Ranger. The examples are there to be seen. The recent, solid Ranger prospect development has allowed them to risk moving picks for a (real) chance at the Cup.

Question time:

  • Will Rick Nash still score 50 goals this season?
  • 19 games left on tap; how many starts does Lundqvist need to be post-season ready?
  • Who would you rather face in the playoffs first and why?
  • Who would you rather avoid in the playoffs first and why?
  • Which position (from a prospect perspective) excites you the most?
  • (entertaining Dave for a moment) what would be an acceptable haul for Carl Hagelin pre-draft?




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  • 1) Not likely. 45+

    2) 5+ would be ideal. I’d like to see lucky #7 games

    3 / 4)The East will not be a cakewalk this year.
    Prefer to see WAS or BOS first.
    Would not want to face NYI / MTL. Would take our chances with TB / PIT / DET.
    At the end of the day, the conference is wide open. The most competitive top to bottom that I can remember.

    5) Was W with Duclair / Buchnevich in the pipe. At this point though, maybe Skjei… interested to see if he could handle bottom pair next year. Allowing us to try for the old rabbit out of the hat and unload the Boyle contract

    6) IF he gets squeezed out- 2015 2nd round pick (top half). Don’t think he will net a 1st for us, but getting a top 45 pick back this year could prove to be valuable in the coming years. We will need some entry level $ talent to fill out a roster when the Girardi / Staal contracts really begin to become heavy in 3+ yrs

    • I for one would love to at least face the Islanders, and they said we couldn’t beat Montreal last year. I appreciate winning whilst beating the best. Much more satisfaction. I fear no team against the Rangers, team is solid! Even without Hank. Teams must be filling their proverbial boots, thinking about having to face the Rangers this year. Experienced and better!

  • But, Chris everyone knows that you have to pick in the top 10 of the draft each year, not trade away the future under any conditions and go deep into the playoffs each year 😉

  • Pick in the top ten means you are not a very good team to begin with . There are reasons why you pick top ten and part of that is you miss the POs each year . Look at Edmonton What have got to show for all the first round picks they have . How many years have they missed the POs now and they will not be making them in the next 3 or 4 years going forward . Think Buffalo and Arizona make them before Edmonton dose again .If we go to the finals again we would pick 29 or 30 in the draft , do we get someone who will play big minutes next year on this team , i don’t think so we got lucky with Hayes this year , he should develop nice in the next few years , don’t know if it will be center or on the wing

    • The only problem with what your saying is that if an organization that knows how to draft, and build a team, gets these draft picks, they can win a cup. Pittsburgh anyone????????

      Orpik, Cindy, Malkin, Fleury, LaTang, all were top picks over a few years. I realize that the Pens tanked it to get Cindy, and Malkin fell into their lap the same draft, but they did it the right way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Walt Walt Walt…there you are!

        How many drafts have you seen where the likes of Crosby and Malkin were available? The rest are nothing without them, this is just fact.

        I’ll take a cup over unproven, unreliable draft picks.

        • Bob

          Orpik was a very good d-man for years, as is Latang. Fleury was also a decent goalie for a while, but who know ‘s what went wrong. The point is drafting is how they built a team that won a cup, was runner up to the Wings the year before, and has been a contender for years since Cindy, and Igor joined them. Your right, there aren’t too many years that the likes of these two come along, but look at this up coming draft, two great kids will go 1 & 2. Sure as hell wouldn’t turn either of these kids away, would you?????

      • I thought they ranked to get Lemeux. I don’t recall them doing the same for Crosby, did they?

        • That low life organization has done it twice at least, and they got two purse swinging wimps in the process!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


          Tailor, and Tyler????????????? Answer to your question as to how many times does a Cindy, and Malkin come out in the same year!!!!!!!!!

          • Cindy… purse swinging… Cry baby Crosby

            I guess call him what you want but I would love to have the best player in the game on our team. I personally think people calling the guy names is more childish than any of his antics. Espeecially when those antics include winning a Cup, some medals, some Hart trophies and what not.

          • the guy constantly cries about calls that he doesn’t get. you can have him, I’d prefer a man on my team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • You’re right about Arizona. They have the potential to be a monster team if they end up with McDavid.

      Another potentially scary team is Philly. I think they have something like 8 of the first 100 picks in this summers draft. Let’s hope they dump Hextall soon and bring back Clarke and Holmgren to burn all that progress to the ground!

  • 1. Yes, though may need ENG’s to get it done.
    2. 8-10 would be awesome
    3. Boston, or any team chasing them for the second wild card. Florida or Philly would be a bye to Round 2. Ottawa would be the toughest out.
    4. TB and the Isles
    5. Probably still the Wing
    6. If forced to deal Hags, would love to regain some of the draft picks we’ve dealt.

  • Chris,

    I love the musings post. However, I could no longer concentrate on what I was reading until I commented on this:

    “He’s had a ton of good looks in recent games and was borderline unplayable against Detroit”

    “He” being #61 Rick Nash, the guy with the second most goals in the NHL!

    He is not even on the same planet as “borderline unplayable”.

    Now I’ll go read the rest of your post.

    • Yeah, have to agree with you on Nash. He was far from unplayable last night. Made lots of plays in the offensive zone, back checked, stole the puck, got robbed a couple of times. It happens. He’s not Gretzky.

      Sure, he had a brain cramp on that stretch pass where he didn’t stay on side but “borderline unplayable”? Because he didn’t score?

      I gave him a star last night. So did Kenny Albert. So did the fan poll on LoHud.

      The OP is right about the Stepan line and Stepan himself.

    • I think you misunderstood what Chris meant. Correct me if I’m wrong, Chris, but I believe you were saying that Nash was essentially unstoppable (as in Detroit could not contain him). “Unplayable” may be the wrong word choice (or something got lost in translation ;))

        • I guess we’ll just need Chris to clarify. Nash was the best player in the game last night, I’m not sure how one could argue otherwise.

          • I don’t want to try and read Chris’ mind, but usually the term unplayable is interchangeable with indefensible, in other words Nash was too much for Detroit to handle Wednesday night. It’s a compliment to Nash.

            I would take it a step further say that the entire top line was too much for Detroit. From midway through the first period through the rest of the game the Brassard line and the Datsuyk line owned the puck whenever they were on the ice. It was pretty impressive.

            All that being said, if the Rangers somehow managed to draw the Red Wings in the conference finals, I would be elated. The Red Wings have some talent but they seem like an amazingly sloppy team to me. I feel like the Rangers forced about 50 turnovers in all three games against the Red Wings this season. Detroit may have won two of the three games against the Rangers but the Rangers dominated all three games.

  • 1. Maybe not but what’s the difference? If he scores 40-45, which he should absent an injury or major slump that’s still a great season.

    2. Don’t know but its a bigger concern than Nash hitting 50.

    3. Buffalo! OK, just kidding. Washington, I guess because then I can go to the games.

    4. Boston.

    5. Tie between F (Buchenevich) and D (Skej)

    6. Not sure he will bring back what he’s really worth to the Rangers. I really, really hope that he isn’t sacrificed so we can try to squeeze a dead-cat bounce out of MSL.

  • Think he ends up around 45, 2nd to Ovi

    Probably 5-10 games for him to get fully up to speed

    Most likely to beat: Pitt, Washington
    Most fun / entertaining series: Islanders then TBL in ECF

    For a full position, would say goalie due to the number of seemingly qualified candidates for 1 slot. Individually, Skjei and then Graves. Buchnevich / Lindberg are the only likely NHLers up front. Tambellini is interesting but want to see him vs. people his own age first

    NHL ready player on an ELC. Hags is a must re-sign at this point, has really won me over this year. Would rather have him that MSL for same cap hit

    Stepan’s still done enough to earn a big paycheck in my eyes. He’s getting at least $5 on any deal that buys UFA years

  • 1) Nash will get to 50, yes!

    2) The start of April should be fine, since he’s doing work on the ice, but let’s hope it’s in a week to 10 days

    3) The Penguins because Fleury is terrible

    4) Rangers are going to win The Cup, so bring on anyone

    5) Adam Tambellini is going to be good

    6) Not enough to trade him

  • 1. I think it will be tough for Nash to get 50, but not impossible. I’ll go with 47.

    2. I think Lundquist would be ready with 3-5 starts, but I expect he’ll get at least 10 which should be more then enough.

    3. I think the Rangers would match up best against Florida (if they make it) or Detroit, but Pittsburgh otherwise. The Rangers have whipped up on Pittsburgh enough times in the past few seasons and still believe they would have gone to finals in 2012-13 if they faced them rather then Boston. Physical teams seem to give the Rangers the most problems.

    4. Boston or Tampa. Tampa’s had the Rangers number this year and would have extra motivation with Cally, Anton and Boyle on the team. Boston because they are more physical.

    5. I don’t know enough about the prospects to give a fair answer. AV said the Buchenevich may be over here before the end of the year. That’s exciting.

    6. I agree with Roadrider. I don’t think the Rangers could get a return on Hags that would be equal to what he brings to this team. Obviously there are better players, but it’s doubtful another team would think as highly of him as the Rangers do. The guy is tailor made of AV system.

  • I do the Yandle deal every day of the week. The Rangers always make up for the lack of draftees by signing college players (Hayes, cough) and making trades. People crying over the loss of AD, while nothing to sneeze at because you have to give to get, is not paying attention to what we have now and what’s coming soon. The Rangers will be just fine.

    As for the Wings’ game, there are 3 reasons why the Rangers lost when they should have won:

    The refs
    The refs
    The refs

    The lack of calls on holding, clutching, grabbing, hooking, interference, etc. in the Wings’ game AND the Preds’ game was disgraceful. 2 opponents that could not keep up with the Rangers’ speed so they had to resort to those uncalled tactics.

    The fact that Nyquist was not called as well on the Stepan penalty was a joke and basically gave Bettman’s 2nd favorite team the win. 4 on 3? Please.

  • More concerns about the Steppan line than whether Nash gets 50. I really think Steppan needs a kick in the ass sometimes. He, Kreids and MSL play like lost souls sometime. Maybe sit MSL. Maybe add Hags to the line a few times. Maybe move Step down to replace with Hayes.

    These guys need a wake-up call or forget a playoff run.

  • First you are correct about Stepan…he is not worth $5 to 6 Mill/yr. I said as much in previous replies to various articles that have appeared here and on other sites \ over the last 2 months.

    When fans were voicing their worry over possibly losing Zucc, I said Zucc will not be the problem, but Stepan will.

    Stepan has this ritual he goes through of demanding more bucks than he is worth, going through a lengthy negotiation (or lack thereof) process and then coming down to earth.

    Ranger history is such that management does not look kindly upon players who take this approach to contracts.
    And again you are correct about the position he plays. He wouldn’t be a concern if it weren.t for the fact he plays center.

    Which brings me to a question I have for my Ranger bretheren Would you ever consider trading Stepan for Kadri.

    More to come later on a Ranger player in the pipeline, currently flying under the radar, so to speak.

    • I was thinking about Step for Kadri since both are UFAs. I don’t see the logic in it though since Kadri isn’t a true #1 center any more then Step is. He’s a fine player though and if Step throws another hissy fit and holds out, I wouldn’t mind seeing Kadri come to the Rangers.

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