Who else wants to bask in the glory of the Rangers ripping off a bunch of wins against the league’s best? For once, the Rangers aren’t playing and as it’s Thursday let’s muse.
Kevin Hayes – rookie beast extraordinaire. Hayes has literally grown up right in front of our eyes. His patience on the puck is remarkable for a rookie; his strength on the puck undeniable and his decision making has improved immeasurably.
What’s not discussed much is the impact of the college ‘rookie wall’. Hayes has surely (barring a sudden, out of nowhere loss of form) put to bed this theory for the time being. He is literally playing his best hockey as a pro right now and is seemingly getting better every game.
At times, Hayes’ line with Hagelin and Miller has actually carried the Rangers in recent weeks and given that this is a Cup contending roster that’s one hell of a compliment. With a bit of luck Hayes could reach 40 points in his rookie year and given that he’s played out of his natural position, on a depth line, that’s very impressive.
Carl Hagelin Love fest. I love everything that Carl Hagelin brings to the Rangers. He’s almost the perfect depth player. He chips in offensively, has speed to burn, is a great team guy who always works hard and is a strong penalty killer. He has been on fire for several weeks now and his performances have been at a very high level for the most part. He must be kept. IF it comes down to a straight choice of either one more year of Marty St Louis or several more years of Hagelin there should only be one choice: Hagelin.
Things that don’t bode well: The long spells when Marty St Louis goes MIA, the top line struggling to score (even though they are playing well) and that Alain Vigneault thinks James Sheppard isn’t an obvious upgrade on Tanner Glass.
While we’re gushing about the third line (or is it the second line?) let’s give some love to JT Miller. Miller is clearly getting the message. He’s still got a way to go but he’s playing good, hard hockey and has come on considerably in recent weeks. Does that mean AV’s ‘tough love’ was justified?
Derek Stepan – your offense is needed, please return the real Derek Stepan to Madison Square Garden ASAP.
The most impressive part of the Rangers recent shutdown defense? The Rangers have generally been keeping shooters to the outside and have let Talbot see most of the shots he’s faced. More often than not the defense in front of him has given Talbot a chance to make the first save and when there’s a rebound they’ve dealt with most of them. While Islanders rookie Anders Lee was able to get to the net for his goal far too easily that’s been the exception rather than the norm.
With Kevin Klein getting hurt against the Capitals and Matt Hunwick likely having to play this weekend it made me think; will the Rangers bring Hunwick back as the seventh defenseman next year? Hunwick has been serviceable and earlier in the season, at times he was a pleasant surprise. In spurts, he’s a solid seventh blueliner.
- Whose slump scares you most: Derek Stepan or Marty St Louis?
- Considering his up and down year, what are your revised expectations for a new Stepan deal?
- Will Henrik Lundqvist continue his streak of 30 win seasons? (full seasons only)
- If there was one thing missing from this roster, what is it?
- What would you want in return, to trade Cam Talbot this summer?