Third annual New York Rangers top 25 under 25 (Part Two)

Adam Tambellini

Last week, I went through the bottom half of the third annual Top 25 Under 25 for the New York Rangers. The bottom half of the list is fairly interesting, because it had some players fall off the list completely, and players like Ryan Bourque, Cristival “Boo” Nieves, and Steven Fogarty fall significantly. This has a lot to do with the recent influx of talented prospects from the 2015 draft.

Remember though, there are a good number of players under 25 years of age that are on the NHL roster, and naturally that puts them ahead of a lot of players that still qualify as prospects. So let’s round out the top-12 players in the Top 25 Under 25 for the Rangers.

12. Adam Tambellini – Forward, 2013 3rd round (LY: 16)

Tambellini is an interesting case. Part of that pretty solid third round class of 2013 that included Anthony Duclair and Pavel Buchnevich, Tambo has flown under the radar until this year. He’s big, he’s toolsy, he’s smart, and he’s got great skill. He dominated his overage year in the WHL last season, and while the numbers are flashy, remember that Michael St. Croix put up absurd numbers in the WHL as well. More importantly, Tambo’s improved skating and strength has helped him move to the next level. He’s still a prospect, and the AHL will help determine his long-term future. He will need a few (probably two) years in the AHL.

11. Igor Shesterkin – Goalie, 2014 4th round (LY: 19)

Shesterkin jumped eight spots, earning the top goalie in the system ranking. Shesterkin (English spelling, in Russia it’s Shestyorkin) dominated in the World Juniors, VHL, and MHL, before getting a few games at the KHL level. As a 19 year old, he posted a .917 SV% in six games with SKA St. Petersburg, going 3-0-3 in the process. His performance on these difficult platforms are the reason why he’s shot up the rankings. He’s a bit disorderly with his movements, something that would make Justin cringe, but it’s a purposeful chaos. He has two more years in the KHL before he comes to North America, hopefully.

10. Dylan McIlrath – Defense, 2010 1st round (LY: 9)

I initially had McIlrath ahead of Graves, but the more I wrote on Graves, the more I realized I needed to switch them. McIlrath is in his “show me” year. He’s hovering around BUST territory, but he’s improved significantly over the past half season. Jeff Beukeboom specifically singled him out as most improved. He’s huge, but he’s not a great puck mover or skater. He’s been much better in his own zone and positionally, but his foot speed would hold him back at the next level. It’s do or die for McIlrath.

Ryan Graves

9. Ryan Graves – Defense, 2013 4th round (LY: NR)

Graves is by far the biggest mover this year, jumping to a top-ten spot after not being ranked last year. That shows how much this kid has improved. He earned top-pairing minutes in the QMJHL last year, playing on the top PP and PK units as well. He quadrupled his point total and sept-tupled his goal total as a result. Graves is the next wave of big, shutdown defensemen. He can skate, he can move the puck, he can overpower skaters, and he’s solid in his own zone, both positionally and pushing the play up the ice. Everyone talks about Skjei as the big time defense prospect, so Graves flies under the radar. He will need two years in the AHL, most likely, but he should have an NHL impact at some point.

8. Emerson Etem – Forward, trade with Anaheim (LY: NR)

Etem is incredibly difficult to rank. He’s so skilled, but he hasn’t put it all together yet. He’s fast, great hands, a great shot, and has the potential to be a top-six forward. He’s not all that great in his own zone, but proper deployment should help with that. Deploy him properly –in the offensive zone with some good teammates, something he didn’t get in Anaheim– and he should flourish. I think his 2013-2014 (7-4-11 in 29 games) season is a better indicator of his talent than his 2014-2015 season (5-5-10 in 45 games).

7. Jesper Fast – Forward, 2010 6th round (LY: 6)

Fast dropped one spot, but that’s entirely because Skjei moved up to a top-five spot, bouncing Fast down a notch. Fast has solidified himself as a solid defensive forward who can be a temporary fill-in on a scoring line. He’s one of the best defensive forwards on the roster, is rarely out of position, and has the skating ability to make teams pay for turnovers or sloppy play. His offensive tools aren’t that great, but he makes up for it with a tremendous hockey IQ. It was his play on the faceoff that led to the Derek Stepan series winner against Washington, and his forced turnover that led to Ryan McDonagh’s Game Five winner in the same series. For Alain Vigneault, Fast is the perfect transition player.

6. Oscar Lindberg – Forward, trade with Phoenix (LY: 7)

Lindberg is basically a shoe-in to make the Rangers this year. The Wolf Pack’s top center last year, Lindberg is the best two-way player in the system. He’s superb on faceoffs, and comparable to Jesper Fast when it comes to his defensive zone work. He’s seriously great in his own end. Lindberg has a bit more offensive potential than Fast, with softer hands and better instincts in the offensive zone. It’s tough to project his NHL point totals, as usage will play a huge factor. He can play up and down the lineup though.

brady skjei
Skjei (Photo: Blueshirts United)

5. Brady Skjei – Defense, 2012 first round (LY: 8)

Skjei is very clearly the top defense prospect in the system. He will compete for a spot in the top-six this year, but will likely need a bit of time in the AHL at first. Even McDonagh needed 40-ish games in the AHL when coming over from the NCAA. Skjei moves the puck well, is a great skater, solid positionally, and has a great hockey IQ. He wasn’t a big scorer with Minnesota (for comparison’s sake, neither was McDonagh with Wisconsin), but that doesn’t mean he’s a slouch offensively. He just wasn’t the focal point of the Minnesota offense or powerplay, Mike Reilly was. Skjei will be an NHLer.

4. Pavel Buchnevich – Forward, 2013 3rd round (LY: 5)

There’s not much to say about Buchnevich that hasn’t already been said. This kid is so gifted that he’s turning heads all over the place. As a 19-year-old in the KHL, he put up 13-17-30 on a mediocre Severstal team. The kid has it all: skating, hands, hockey IQ, shooting, size, speed. Literally everything. The only reason why he is #4 on this list and not higher is because he’s not at the NHL level, while the three ahead of him are all top-six players.

3. J.T. Miller – Forward, 2011 1st round (LY: 3)

People seem to forget that Miller is just 22 years old. He made his NHL debut at 19, and finally stuck on the roster, solidifying his spot as a top-six forward this past season. Miller put up 10-13-23 this past season, but it wasn’t until the second half of the year when he really started clicking with Stepan and Kreider. If Miller gets more powerplay time, he could potentially double that output. He’s not great in his own zone, but his responsibilities have lessened since the move to wing, making him more effective. At 22, he’s got room to grow as well.

2. Chris Kreider – Forward, 2009 1st round (LY: 2)

Expected Kreider to be #1? Sorry to disappoint. Kreider is a superb player and one of the fastest players in the league. He plays a hard-nosed game, gets to the net, and does things few others on this team are willing to do. His hands aren’t perfect, and he’s a bit of a one-trick pony, but it works for him. He’s constantly improving, and might sniff 30 goals this season with increased PP time. Aside from Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik, the Rangers haven’t had a 30-goal scorer since Jaromir Jagr, back in 2006-2007. At 24, Kreider is right in his peak (peak for NHL skaters is roughly 23-26), so this is the time we will see his best hockey.

1. Kevin Hayes – Forward, signed as free agent (LY: NR)

Boy did Hayes impress last season. He started the season “slow,” or at least slow from an offensive perspective. He was always solid in his own end, showing he could easily adjust to the rigors of playing center in AV’s hybrid system. The points started coming in bunches in the second half of the season, giving the Rangers a true two-way 3C. He’s not great on faceoffs, which is why people think he’s destined to play wing, which may eventually happen, but there’s more to the center position than faceoffs. His hockey IQ could be tops on the team. He just knows where to be. He gets the #1 ranking because he’s the better all around player than Kreider.

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78 thoughts on “Third annual New York Rangers top 25 under 25 (Part Two)

  • Aug 24, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Great stuff Dave! For a team that’s supposedly traded away its future, the immediate future (next 5 years) looks very promising. Of course, no one ever knows with prospects, but it will be fun to follow some of these guys in camp. Not counting the current NHL guys, Skjei and Graves are the guys that have my attention at the moment. You can never have enough quality defenseman.

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 10:08 am

      If, and this is a big if, Buch can get to Nash’s level, then the transition away from Nash will be seamless. That’s going to be the biggest issue for this club.

      • Aug 24, 2015 at 6:37 pm

        Time is still on Nash’s side to win a Cup. That time is dwindling however.

  • Aug 24, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Excellent article Dave! You really had your work cut out on this one bro. I actually read it three times and with each pass it became more and more evident of just how challenging it is to sort these guys out. Some players have more extensive resumes, and others have greater potential. You did a great job taking both into consideration and slotting them appropriately. I’m happy you made the Graves/McIlrath switch also. Nice job man

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Thank you, much appreciated.

      I want McIlrath to make it. I really do. That’s why I had him ranked higher initially. I just can’t put him ahead of Graves anymore.

      I also had Kreider and Hayes swapped at first, but Hayes’ ceiling is higher than Kreider’s, IMO.

      • Aug 24, 2015 at 11:47 am

        Sorry to disagree but Graves ahead of McIlrath AT THIS PT. makes no sense. Mac was the best D in Hartford. Graves was in JR. so there is no comparison. Potential is not equivalent to actual performance

        • Aug 24, 2015 at 12:55 pm

          Don’t think of Graves ahead of McIlrath as a slight to McIlrath. It’s due to Graves’ incredible season and progression last year. He’s McIlrath without the skating/puck control concerns.

          • Aug 24, 2015 at 3:59 pm

            Don’t get me wrong Dave because I’ve seen Graves play several times on TV and he’s good but like McIlrath he will need about 3 years in the AHL before we really see what he’s got. He’ll find the going rough this year and he might even have to start in Greenville. It’s possible.

            • Aug 25, 2015 at 9:57 am

              McIlrath is like Liam Neeson in “Taken”, “I have a very particular set of skills, I will hunt you down and I will kill you” Unfortunately those particular set of skills alone are no longer enough to make it to the current NHL

              A big concern with McIlrath is that he has spent 3 yrs. and running in the AHL with little to no expectation of being promoted. Very concerning and very rare for a defenseman who was a top ten draft pick (I have some research on that if anyone is interested)

              My first UH-OH moment with McIlrath is when Marc Staal missed 97 games between 2011-2013 with the eye injury. He was our intimidating physical presence on the blueline. The opportunity to supply the physical presence lost on the blueline due to injury was there for the taking and right in his wheel house. He was nowhere ready. Since then he has appeared in 2 games in 2013 and 1 game in 2014.

              The fact that Brady Skjei (a 2012 draft pick), and Ryan Graves (a 2013 4th round draft pick) are even in the same conversation with McIlrath about who’s the better “prospect” speaks volumes.

              • Aug 25, 2015 at 5:20 pm

                Hilarious analogy Chris!

              • Aug 26, 2015 at 11:34 am

                CHRIS, it is a known fact that TAKEN is Mcillraths favorite movie, how is that for karma!! 🙂

        • Aug 24, 2015 at 1:03 pm

          paulronty, I’d say it depends on what you base your rankings on. I think Dave is looking long range here. Buchnevich, for example, is ranked 4, ahead of Lindbergh, Fast and Etem, all of which are expected to play in the NHL this year. Which says that Dave (and others who rank prospects), expect Buch, Skjei and Graves to be more significant contributors down the road than McIlrath will be. And most scouts seem to agree.

          A list like this is about long range potential, not who’s closest to making the NHL. On that list, McIlrath would obviously be higher.

          Indeed, it should be pointed that based on the rankings listed on, McIlrath is listed as the third ranked defensive prospect in the organization behind Skjei and Graves. However, those two are considered to have more legit NHL upside. McIlrath is clumped just barely ahead of the likes of Mat Bodie, Sergey Zborovskiy, Tommy Hughes, Ryan Mantha and Tyler Nanne–all marginal at best NHL prospects. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

          Now, I will say that hockeysfuture has softened their criticism of McIlrath. Last Spring, prior to his playoff surge, they listed him as the biggest dispointment in the system and didn’t give much of a positive review. Since then, they now are saying–

          “nasty, in your face defenseman who won’t back down and can clear the crease for his netminder. He’s not afraid to fight or just intimidate. McIlrath has a good shot and his puck distribution has been improving but he needs to improve his skating and defensive positioning.”

          Certainly better than what it was a few months ago, but the last part of the analysis remains a big red flag in order to play in AVs system. Will his skills translate from the AHL, which he has seemingly mastered, to the NHL, especially on a Cup contender and with the coach? Huge question in my mind.

          We will know in about 6 weeks!

          • Aug 25, 2015 at 9:54 am

            Eddie, U know I am with Pauly on the McIllrath page, lets say SKJEI ,GRAVES, MCILLRATH are all on the cusp of making the big club, with the first 2 having a slight edge. When you throw in nastiness , bone rattling checks, and the ability to fight any legit heavyweight and protect his teammates, well that pushes Mcillrath to front and center. Their is no one ( save for Tanner Glass ) on this current NYR roster who brings that intangible to the table.. Enough said!!

            • Aug 25, 2015 at 10:49 am

              Bobby, before you start dismissing the idea of a reply with “enough said”, bone rattling checks are completely useless if they eventually force you out of position and you can’t skate well enough to recover. This is no longer the 90’s NHL. Fighting Majors do one thing for a defenseman……. they shorten the bench for an extensive portion of the game causing fatigue and potential matchup problems for the remaining d-men. Especially when you only dress 6 defenseman. That’s why enforcers are usually forwards. Again……. Fighting and checking alone is not enough to warrant a spot on an NHL roster. Try looking at it from the point of view of the coach who is getting paid to win games, and not a fan who wants to high five when McIlrath delivers a “bone rattling check”. It has absolutely nothing to do with winning games.

              • Aug 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm

                With all respect to Bobby, I totally agree with Chris. The first thing you generally hear about Skjei is–could be another Ryan McDonagh. (Graves I’m not going to include because he’s not going to be ready yet). The first thing you hear about McIlrath? Bone rattling checks and can fight. If that’s the lead story with him, that’s not going to work in the modern NHL. Given the choice, and especially in the example you just gave, that Skjei proves he’s better, than it’s a no brainier, of course you go with Skjei. Talent trumps size any day in the modern NHL.

                Now in fairness to McIlrath, as I said, the latest report on him about “good shot” and “improved passing” has me more encouraged. That’s far, far more important in the modern NHL than “bone rattling checks”.

                However, he still, apparently, may be substandard in terms of skating and positioning. If that isn’t corrected he won’t be playing on an AV coached team no matter how big and tough he is.

                I hope he makes it and proves he can play in this league, on a contender, and in this system. That would be great. I’m just not holding my breath.

              • Aug 25, 2015 at 3:24 pm

                Chris/Eddie, your comments are respected and noted. but mark my words, this blog will light up like a Christmas tree if we are getting pushed around with no one retaliating . McIIRATH can be another Darien Hatcher, who could play on my team in any ERA!

              • Aug 25, 2015 at 4:04 pm

                The Rangers advanced to the SCF and the President’s Trophy two years in a row without such a player.

                I always worry about guys who the lead story is–big, tough, bone rattling checks. I want to hear, great passer, great hands, smart, disciplined player, good shot from the point. Reminds me of McDonagh, what have you. That’s an NHL defender. And if they happen to say, and oh by the way, he can throw bone rattling checks and stand up for his teammates when necessary, well, then that’s an added bonus.

                I hope he has he qualities necessary to play in this system. No way AV keeps him just because he’s big and tough. There has to be more.

              • Aug 26, 2015 at 11:32 am

                I know we have an excellent team, in my opinion it lacks one main ingredient, an player who will make you pay if you cross that line. Mciirath is that player. I was beside myself when Stamkos of Tampa was leading a charge of a hit parade , mainly because he knew he could get away with it.

  • Aug 24, 2015 at 8:02 am

    With both Brady Skeji, and Oscar Lindberg are shoo ins for the NHL, the players that intrigue me most are Ryan Graves, and Adam Tambellini.

    Graves has size, and this year showed he can score as well as defend. If hen add bulk to his frame, this kid could be outstanding to say the least.

    As for Tambellini, well he can score, and score, but he is very slim, and will need to bulk up in order to play at the NHL level. He could be our third line center in a few years. The future looks pretty good for these kids, and the team !!!!!!!

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Graves has shot through the rankings the past year. He’s made significant improvements. He’s basically a better skating/puck moving, not as physical Dylan McIlrath.

    • Aug 26, 2015 at 8:21 am

      Bobby, I respect your opinion and I wish I shared your optimism regarding McIlrath. Hey, if he turned out to be Derian Hatcher……….. very few would be happier than myself. However, I think we can both agree, he is certainly taking the scenic route to reaching that destination.

      Hatcher was drafted in 1990 with the 8th overall pick at the age of 18. In 2010, exactly 20 years later, McIlrath was drafted with the 10th overall pick at the age of 18. Both players are listed at 6 feet 5 inches. By the time Hatcher reached the age of 19, he had played 43 games for the North Stars already, and his NHL career was officially in gear. McIlrath’s career has been stuck in neutral for the last 2-3 seasons. I honestly hope he does get his game to a point where he is a viable NHL blueliner, even if it’s not with the Rangers. This year is crucial for him and his NHL career.

      • Aug 26, 2015 at 11:08 am

        Ditto Chris!

        Bobby, I totally respect your opinion, and your passion for the Rangers and their history is unmatched. Agree with you on 90% of your posts. On this, we are just on totally different pages. I just don’t believe that you take an untested and unproven rookie who has accomplished absolutely nothing five years after he was drafted, and anoint him the next Hatcher until he PROVES that that is what he is or can be on the NHL (not AHL) level.

        Hope is great, but the proof is in the performance. I think it’s appropriate to see if the kid has what it takes to play in AVs system before we create a mythos about him. He could be the next Darien Hatcher. Anything is possible. But he probably is more likely to be the next Frank “Seldom” Beaton. That’s just the nature of the beast with rookies, and especially rookies who have taken, as Chris brilliantly said, the “scenic route” to the NHL!

        We will know soon.

      • Aug 26, 2015 at 11:37 am

        Excellent post!

  • Aug 24, 2015 at 8:04 am

    should be- can add bulk, computer is driving me nuts !!!!

  • Aug 24, 2015 at 8:49 am

    While many players here are being ranked on potential, I think Etem has some real NHL experience that while minimal, does not (IMO) put him in the top ten. Guys like Buchnevich and Skjel are all about potential, so I agree on them. Etem has had a bit more than a cup of coffee in the NHL, (more than 100 games) with not a lot of value more than a 3rd/4th line forward

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 9:44 am

      I totally understand where you are coming from Sal. I also see why so many people were/are in love with him too. His size (6-1 212lbs.), just turned 23 yrs old in June, crazy speed, and his ability to score massive amounts of points in the WHL are very attractive (even though the WHL isn’t the greatest barometer). You are just hoping a guy like this can figure it out on this level because the entire package is rare.

      I’m not the type of person that likes to use an isolated play when talking about players, but I think very few players have the skill set to score a goal like the one he did against Winnipeg in the playoffs last season. The explosive step and the soft touch to land that puck where he did is extremely impressive.

      • Aug 24, 2015 at 9:49 am

        No doubt about that goal (see Zherdev highlights), but I feel his body of work tells us he is a nice third-liner as best. Hoping he becomes something more may just be a little too positive for me.

        • Aug 24, 2015 at 10:03 am

          The third liner of today is not the third liner of 10 years ago. Third liners today contribute significantly to the offense.

      • Aug 24, 2015 at 6:40 pm

        Best case scenario for Etem is Benoit Pouliot. The profile is nearly identical.

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 9:52 am

      If you go with his 7-4-11 in 29 games as his true value, then over 82 games he puts up 20-11-31. There aren’t many 20-goal scorers behind him at #8. Tambo has the chance, but he’s still to young to gauge. The other high potential guys are ahead of him.

      • Aug 24, 2015 at 10:17 am

        And if you go with his 5-5-10 in 45 games, he projects out to a 9 goal season scorer. That’s a 4th liner in my book. Let’s use all the stats, not just the ones we pick and choose to substantiate your POV

        • Aug 24, 2015 at 10:31 am

          As I said above, he was misused that year. He was on the fourth line with awful teammates. Boudreau did not use him properly.

  • Aug 24, 2015 at 10:52 am

    You think Hayes is better than Kreider?

    That’s dumb.

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 10:59 am

      Well this is some high quality feedback.

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      Rob, the list is based on long range potential. A lot of people think Hayes, long range, will be the better player. I think Kreider has more talent. But he has been very inconsistent. We’re all hoping this year he actually takes that step forward he needs to take and will indeed actually become the Rangers best forward.

      • Aug 24, 2015 at 1:14 pm

        Thanks Eddie.

        But unless there’s a legit discussion, I generally just poke fun at comments like these.

  • Aug 24, 2015 at 10:58 am

    So if BSB were to informally rank the NHL teams’ prospect pool, at which number would you place the NYR organization?

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

      It’s a bit tricky. Hayes/Fast/Kreider/Miller/Etem don’t qualify as prospects. They don’t have top-end guys other than Buch. I’d put them in the bottom-third, but this is a transition year. If some of the skill guys from the 2015 draft pan out, then they can jump to top-15 next year.

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 11:53 am

      Chuck, in all the team prospects rankings I’ve read online, the Rangers consistently ranked in the 24-30 range.

      • Aug 24, 2015 at 4:16 pm

        Thanks, Chris – I’m a regular to Hockey’s Future, but was curious as to what the braintrusts thought!

  • Aug 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    I still think its a little bit of a stretch to say Lindberg is a “shoe-in” to make the team. Granted I think he’ll be given every chance to make it; but Mgmt. would not have gone after Stoll if they thought he was a shoe-in. As far as him being “superb” on faceoffs—–aren’t you the guy who says that faceoffs aren’t all that important—-its what happens after the puck is dropped? And more to the point, for a team that was desperate to win faceoffs last year, its interesting to note that Lindberg was never given that opportunity to fill that role—-even though he was the number one center at Hartford. Hopefully, he’ll step right in and seize the opportunity—–but it is by no means a “shoe-in” that he can. And, IMO, if he can’t—then hes a goner!

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Joe who should have sat last year if they called up Lindbergh to win face offs?

      • Aug 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm

        If AV thought that faceoffs were such a problem, and I think the stats would show that, maybe then he would have finally sat Glass in favor of a player who might have actually filled a need in the lineup. Just an idea.

        • Aug 25, 2015 at 6:09 am

          This team won the Prez trophy. Apart from injury, why would he have made any changes?

        • Aug 25, 2015 at 1:09 pm

          Glass doesn’t take face offs. Your suggestion to the face off issue is to put the kid on the wing on the 4th line? You do realize that in order for him to help on face offs he actually has to take them. So once again, which center should Lindbergh have replaced last season?

          • Aug 25, 2015 at 2:10 pm

            Is it such a stretch for you to imagine a player, especially a young player, playing out of position? I think its been done a few times, especially with this team, no? Who says he can’t play the wing, and still take faceoffs, if hes so good at them. Utilize what he is good at—-something this team could have used at times last year. Stop trying to win the debate, and consider all options.

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      I was about to reply to you, but then I remembered that you don’t really engage in much discussion. You comment and then don’t respond.

      If you are interested in my response, let me know. However, I’m assuming you won’t check this again. Would love to engage the discussion, but it takes two to have a conversation.

      • Aug 24, 2015 at 3:08 pm

        Sorry, working …….I respond when I can. Don’t get the hostility though. Just sharing my opinions….thought that’s what this blog was about. If not, let me know that its only for those of a similar bent; and i’ll leave you to stroke each others egos.

        • Aug 24, 2015 at 4:00 pm

          No hostility, just pointing out something I noticed. You offer different viewpoints that when I try to engage, I get no response usually.

          Regarding Lindberg, we can only speculate why he was not called up. We honestly have no answers there.

          FOs are not all that important, but it’s a skill he’s known for and others seem to value, so I included it in the analysis.

          I think the 2 year, 1 way deal (ensuring he gets an NHL salary in the AHL) means they have him penciled into the lineup.

          Stoll was likely brought in as insurance, or as competition for Glass.

          • Aug 24, 2015 at 4:32 pm

            It seems that most of your responses to me always seem to get back to the Cap and the teams’ financial straits. As I’ve said before, maybe you missed it, I’m not a capologist and will not engage in conversations about the Cap. I’m not comfortable using other peoples numbers and figures to make my points. I will point out, however, when the team overpays or overvalues their talent, causing the very financial restraints that I just mentioned. My only point regarding Lindberg is, the way this team was piss-poor at times on faceoffs, you would think that he and his “superb” talent at winning them would have been called up at some point. The fact that he wasn’t might say something about him—maybe not–we’ll see in camp. As for his contract, if he can’t make the team outright, that won’t save him. I think they would cut bait, and try and move him. As for Stoll, I think he might just be a little too much “competition” for Glass. And from what I’ve read, Stoll has an excellent faceoff %.—more of an “insurance” for the possibility that Lindberg doesn’t measure up to expectations.

            • Aug 24, 2015 at 5:14 pm

              But that makes little sense. This is a cap league, you have to understand that the team cannot just pay everyone to keep them. They have to constantly have rookies come in on cheap contracts, and decide which players get the expensive ones.

              • Aug 24, 2015 at 6:58 pm

                So they sign Stoll? A proficient faceoff man; when they supposedly have the answer in Lindberg? Nobody ever said that they can keep everyone. Im well aware that this is a Cap League. Not to rehash the whole Hagelin thing again, but when you have to sacrifice a valuable player—replace him with something of equal value—not a wing and a prayer type guy. Barring that—–settle for draft choices that may yield that comparable player in the future—and try to deal with the current holes from within. I hope Lindberg makes it. Its important for them that he does. I just don’t think its a foregone conclusion that hes there opening night. And I don’t think mgmt. does either. That’s all I’m saying.

              • Aug 24, 2015 at 8:00 pm

                “….when you have to sacrifice a valuable player–replace him with something of equal value”

                Think about the sheer illogic of that statement in a hard cap world. How would the Rangers or any team trade a guy because of cap constraints who is due to make $4 mil for a player of EQUAL value? How could that be done? Presumably, wouldn’t a player of equal value also cost $4 mil and therefore be unaffordable under the cap? if the Rangers could pull off such a mathematical impossibility, than obviously I think we’d all agree we’d rather have kept Hags, not acquire a player of “equal value”.

                Once they decided to keep Zuc and sign Staal long term, Hags had to be sacrificed in order to afford Stepan, and have flexibility to lock up Kreider long term. The harsh realities of a hard cap league.

                On the Stoll vs Lindberg point, I defintely agree with your point that no rookie (other than the McDavids and Eichels of the world) are or should be guaranteed a spot on the opening night roster. He has to prove he is ready just like any other rookie. The indications are that he will be, but I agree, he has to prove it.

                Where I disagree with you is on the assumption that Stoll was brought in because of management’s uncertainty with Lindberg. I think that’s a false choice. First of all, Stoll is a depth signing. Injuries happen. Stoll is a low cost, low risk option. Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t Stoll AND Lindberg make the team? Maybe Stoll replaces Glass? I just think you are drawing the wrong conclusion here.

            • Aug 24, 2015 at 8:20 pm

              it takes a “capoligist” to get a calculater, looks up some contracts on the Internet. Add them all together and figure out if it is below 71.4 million?

              • Aug 25, 2015 at 12:11 am

                No that takes someone with way too much time on his hands and a need to show everyone how smart he is, using other peoples facts and figures as their own. Hint, Hint…nudge, nudge.

              • Aug 25, 2015 at 3:04 am

                So next time you have a discussion that involves the cap can you please add the disclaimer “this is my opinion but I’m too lazy to do any research on the subject therefore there is absolutely no backbone to my argument”.

              • Aug 25, 2015 at 8:54 am

                Joe, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I really don’t feel that smart when I click “Top Sites” on my mac and HockeyBuzz Cap Central shows up, and then I proceed to click on that. Wow……….All these NHL facts and figures before my very eyes in just a matter of seconds, and I didn’t have to clear my schedule to do it. Someone generously did all the research and calculations and all I have to do is read it if the mood strikes me.

                You have to help me out here, how do you suggest we all have an intelligent discussion without facts?

  • Aug 24, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Some insight as to Buchnevich’s possible arrival on the NY scene:

  • Aug 24, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    I understand why Hayes would be ranked ahead of Kreids, but I still disagree.

    • Aug 24, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      It’s a tough one 43. Kreider to me has the most talent of any player on the list. If he puts it altogether this season, as many hope and expect he will, then I agree, he’s number one. But his inconsistencies and lengthy disappearing acts can be maddening at times. And what I’m seeing is an exceptionally talented player who, after parts of four seasons, is still feeling his way through. Also, not sure about his hockey smarts.

      On the other hand, I was incredibly impressed with Hayes’ debut. For a rookie, he played with amazing discipline and intelligence. I can’t think of too many moments where I felt he made “rookie mistakes”. I think he has a very high hockey IQ, and that, combined with his obvious talent, makes him a legit contender to be number one.

      Will be fascinating to see the two “compete” for the coveted title of number one! 🙂

      • Aug 25, 2015 at 10:33 am

        I don’t know. Kreider, right now, is far ahead of Hayes. Kreider’s playoff performance was thrilling at times, while Hayes seemed to under perform based on how he had played coming into the season. I mean Kreider scored as many goals in the playoff has Hayes and points. Yes, Kreider has the experience, while Hayes did not, but if we’re truly measuring who is better, then conclusions have to be based upon reality rather than expectation.

        I find it troubling to rate guys like Skjei and Buchnevich higher than Etem and Fast solely because they have not played in the NHL. Yeah, Skjei was a superb college player, but so was Matt Gilroy. Yeah Buch is tearing up the KHL, but so did Nigel Dawes–remember him?

        From what we’ve seen, Kreider is 1, Hayes 2, Fast 3, Etem 4, then you can go from there because the rest is pure speculation as nobody else on this list has even proven their game is even at the NHL level.

        • Aug 25, 2015 at 2:15 pm

          As I said earlier, depends on the criteria. If you are ranking the current roster as is not taking into account the future, I agree. I think Dave was projecting down the road.

  • Aug 25, 2015 at 12:38 am

    Eddie….it wont let me reply to you up top, so I’ll do it here. I’m not talking about equal monetary vale.Obviously, That would not relieve the Cap situation. I’m talking about equality in terms of being a useful asset to the team to help replace what you are giving up. Granted not a very easy thing to accomplish…but that’s why the GMs get the big bucks. If you can only fill that hole with an iffy proposition at best—–IMO—get some decent draft choices back instead—and try and fill that hole from within. Maybe you can pick up that replacement with a decent round draft choice down the road. As for your comments about replacing that 4mil player with another 4mil player—-assuming once again you’re referring to Hagelin——I refer you to the following:

    There’s always 2 sides to every story.

    As for Stoll….all I said was that I found it funny that a team that had problems winning faceoffs would not have called up a guy who is supposed to be very good at it……and then sign a vet like Stoll who has a good % at winning them. Just seems to me they are hedging their bets….not treating Lindberg as the “shoe-in” Dave thinks he is to make the team. As for both of them being on the team……how does that help a young kid like Lindberg develop. You know AV will defer to the vet over the rookie every time. Now if having them both on the team means sacrificing Glass—–hey I’m there!!! But I just don’t see it.

    • Aug 25, 2015 at 8:51 am

      Joe, have you gone to

      • Aug 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm

        Sorry Dave…again, at work. And what am I looking for at your cap sight? The point?

        • Aug 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm

          Everything is calculated for you. No extra work required.

    • Aug 25, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Joe, what you are saying here makes a lot of sense, even though I don’t fully agree with it. The problem with your premise is that you are saying you prefer one risky proposition (draft picks) for another (Etem, a former first rounder). That’s fine that you prefer it that way, and I see the merit of that. But what’s wrong with acquiring a number one pick in Etem and see, if in a new system, he can fulfill his potential?. I’d rather gamble on a player who might be able to help us now, as opposed to a draft pick that at best is 3-5 years away, if he makes it at all.

      Also, Hags is a 35 point player. Talented but still, he is what he is. Probably only a contender with lots of cap space would want him, which is why Anaheim was a fit. So if I’m them, why would I want to trade draft picks for a guy I may or may not be able to sign, when I can trade Etem, who’s a similar player anyway? Trades are about each team filling it’s needs, both in terms of talent and cap space.

      The thing I find curious in many of your posts is that you are simply looking at what is–it doesn’t seem as if you buy into the notion that players can and do improve. What they were last year is what they will be this year. Why is it so improbable that Etem discovers his game and becomes a solid contributor? That’s hardly an unusual scenario for a young player. It’s when you get to Hags age–Mid range NHL prime, where you say, this is what he likley is. 35 point forward. Not likley to improve.

      With Etem, McDonagh, Kreider, Stepan, Hayes, Miller, Fast–these are young talented players that in theory should get better. That’s the nature of the league. You grow your young talent. You decide who to invest in long term. The others, you might have to let go in order to stay under the cap and make room for younger cheaper options.

      As for the article you forwarded, that doesn’t really tell me much. It’s just player-speak in the aftermath. The bargaining table conversations in the are often a very different conversation. I’d defer to Dave on this, but what would Hags have cost on a one year deal? Even if it were $3mil, how do you fit him under the cap? Probably could be done ONLY if you were prepared to have no depth options at all. In which case of you get injured, your screwed.

      The Rangers want to win the Cup. Hags was a good player that everyone liked. I think personally you are overvaluing him, but so be it. He clearly was a contributor. If the Rangers felt there was any way at all to keep him, or if they felt they did not have ways of filling what he brought to the table, do you really think they would have let him go?

      • Aug 25, 2015 at 3:19 pm

        All I’m saying, I don’t think, for a team that feels it is right there, to trade a top 9 forward and get back somebody who really, right now, is a partime NHLer—-IMO, AGAIN, IMO, I don’t feel that is a big enough return to help fill the hole you just created. Granted, Etem might turn out to be everything I think he isn’t, and I’ll be the first to praise him for it—but right now, he is nothing more than a Cap-Friendly question mark. As to acquiring draft choices, if you couldn’t get back something to help fill that hole you created today, instead of throwing a hail-mary, at the problem—-draft a specific type of player who maybe, could turn into the type of player you’re giving up. As for Hags and his 35 pts—-you saw him in the playoffs—-the numbers don’t tell the whole story. The top penalty killer, the first guy in on the forecheck, speed enough to burn—-don’t diminish him by just talking about his points. Apparently Anaheim didn’t just consider his point totals when giving him his $4mil., even with their Cap space They decided to give it to him and his 35 pts. That must stand for something. In essence, they traded for a guy who can play in a game 7—and gave up a guy who can sit in the press box as Etem did in game 7 vs. Chicago. They are not similar players. I’m not gonna get into the whole Cap business, I have no interest in it—thats for the GM and the bean counters at the Garden to concern themselves with. I will say that I think Mgmt seriously undervalued the importance of Hagelin to this roster—and targeted him from the beginning as the sacrificial lamb to the Cap.—-and overated other guys on the roster, namely Girardi, Staal and even a Boyle.(not to mention Glass). We differ on his importance—fine—that’s what makes a horse race. The point of the article was to reinforce the idea that Hagelin, like others who were up for contracts, was willing to take less now. He wasn’t set in stone on any one figure—if we are to believe him, admittedly after the facts. But Mgmt, had put themselves in a bind with the previous summers’ contract—to the point that he had to be sacrificed. Again, I disagree with the trade—but understand that they were trying to clean up their mess. The problem is, IMO, they created a hole, that they now have to find a way to fill. And for a team thats been thisclose to getting to the promised land, shooting yourself in the foot is not the way to go. I can’t make myself any clearer than that—and I’m not going to try. We just disagree.

        • Aug 25, 2015 at 5:18 pm

          Fair enough. And valid points.

          What we’ve been trying to do, for the last seven weeks, is get you to explain what you would have done instead, and now you have. Not signing one of Girardi/Staal/Boyle is a fair point.

          But here the thing, I don’t think you can really say any of those three directly cost them Hags. All three deals were costly, lengthy (other than Boyle’s) and controversial. A case could be made to have passed on either one. But don’t you think if they had passed on anyone of those three, Sather would have been compelled to pay (and maybe overpay?) for a quality defenseman to replace one of those three? Would you have felt comfortable going with a Diaz or a Hunwick instead in order to keep Hags? Maybe. And maybe that would have worked. I don’t. And one injury and we are toast on the backline.

          To me, the Boyle deal was largely irrelevant to the Hags signing. His deal expires next summer. I’m not convinced that Hags really would have agreed to a one year deal. Most players want security, especially with where he is at in his career. But it’s a valid point. Still, I can’t really blame Sather on the Boyle deal. The Rangers PP was abysmal. He took a chance on a veteran with a strong track record. He was injured and ill most of the year, so we didn’t see him at his best. Some deals work out, some don’t. In hindsight, especially given the Yandle deal that came later, that money could have been used to keep Hags for one more season, assuming he would have agreed to that, which I doubt.

          Girardi and Staal are the bigger factors. Many feel those are bad contracts and I get that. I swallowed hard on both of those deals too. But just as you have correctly pointed out that Hags brings more to the table than his stats suggest, I think many (and count me as one) feel the same about Staal and Girardi.

          The Girardi deal was done at a time when we weren’t really sure about Staal in terms of his health, and I think even Stralman we still weren’t clear how good he was. Maybe a different decision would have been made about Girardi if the timing was different. And once Staal showed he was healthy, they decided to keep him too.

          We may regret these deals down the road, but right now, these guys are warriors who help us win playoff series. And if we didn’t have one of them, I suspect Slats would have spent his money on defensive depth over what Hags brings to the table. That depth is the hallmark of what has made the Rangers so successful these last four years.

          To me, the only legit analysis is–Hags vs Zuc vs Stepan. You can make a case that either could have been sacrificed. Given that choice, I think the right one was made, tough as that is to accept.

          Lastly, on Hags value. I really think a player like Hags is considered a luxury item. Anaheim had the cap space to overpay. In my opinion, if Hags was a UFA, I doubt many teams would have cleared cap space (which is what the Rangers would have had to do) to sign him, regardless of the intangibles he brings. I like him as a player, but we have too many forwards who don’t put the puck in the net enough, and he’s one of the poster children for that.

          Anyway, good discussion!

  • Aug 25, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Im getting tired of people saying kreider is so inconsistent and has a low motor. Need I remind everyone that last year was his 2nd full year really and he is still learning. Despite that his numbers are good. He scored over 20 goals even with decreased PP time than the year before. Im not saying he was/is perfect but he clearly will be a 30 goal scorer(porobably this year). I don’t have a problem puttingyes if I had to pick one guy I would pick kreider over hayes because kreider will be a more dangerous scorer

    • Aug 25, 2015 at 8:53 am

      I don’t think anyone said he was inconsistent. I certainly didn’t. I put Hayes over Kreider because in the long run, I think Hayes becomes the better player.

      • Aug 25, 2015 at 9:03 am

        I did. Kreider is extremely inconsistent IMO. Some players are limited in their skill set. Kreider is not. When his head is in the game and he’s motivated, he is unstoppable. We’ve all seen it. The problem is he doesn’t approach every shift that way. The definition of inconsistent. Again, In My Opinion.

        • Aug 25, 2015 at 9:19 am

          Gotcha, missed that. You’re not the only one to say he’s inconsistent. I just think his skillset is limited a bit. His hands prevent him from being a force.

        • Aug 25, 2015 at 2:57 pm

          I agree that he’s inconsistent, but when he’s on, he’s the best player in the NHL.

          I’m serious.

          • Aug 25, 2015 at 5:57 pm

            Well, I’m not prepared to go quite that far, but I agree to your premise that Kreider’s upside is enormous. I’m just hoping he doesn’t become the modern day version of Alexei Kovalev….so much talent, but erratic and mostly just a tease.

            I don’t think that will be the case though. Expecting a big breakout year as he approaches his RFA summer!

      • Aug 25, 2015 at 9:23 am

        I plead guilty on this one Dave. I did say Kreider is inconsistent and I stand by that. Maybe my expectations were unrealistic, but I expected him to be further along at this point.

        And, if you read between the lines of what Kreider himself said on breakup day, I think he feels the same way. He knows he needs to do more–that he needs to take that next step. When an athlete is honest with himself and the fans like that and vows to improve, well, that gets my attention. So I’m very encouraged.

        And I do agree with Jake, in that he is in fact entering just his third full season. So my criticism may have been a bit harsh.

        I’m just looking forward to what will hopefully be a breakout, and yes, a more consistently dominant season from Kreider.

  • Aug 25, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Im getting tired of people saying kreider is so inconsistent and has a low motor. Need I remind everyone that last year was his 2nd full year really and he is still learning. Despite that his numbers are good. He scored over 20 goals even with decreased PP time than the year before. Im not saying he was/is perfect but he clearly will be a 30 goal scorer(porobably this year). I don’t have a problem putting hayes ahead because i love hayes but if I had to pick one guy I would pick kreider over hayes because kreider will be a more dangerous scorer

  • Aug 25, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Spozo——-just read your comment—–I refer you to my earlier response—-read it again—-maybe again at 3:04 am—–seems you have a lot of time to waste on this.

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