Even though Kevin wrote a musings post on Wednesday, there is some stuff in my head that I wanted to get out. So, I’m writing a separate musings post. Bring it, Kevin!
Can the Rangers justify not keeping Eric Staal beyond this season? Does anything other than a Cup winning parade justify moving two second round picks and a legitimate prospect? In my opinion Staal is getting better with each game but how do you measure a move such as Staal’s?
… and if you do keep him, what number ($) makes sense? Is there even a number the Rangers can afford?
Brady Skjei has done reasonably well in his cup of coffee with the Rangers thus far and you have to be happy his solid (albeit not rapid) development. That said, while the young blueliner makes solid, steady progress it would be a disaster if he doesn’t make the Rangers out of camp next season. That’s partly because it will mean his progression has stalled but with Dan Boyle retiring, Keith Yandle’s uncertain future, not to mention the Girardi/Staal ‘situation’ and a sticky cap scenario… the Rangers simply need him to be ready.
Rant alert: often in the past I’ve had to rely on NHL gamecenter. My lord is the new product substandard. Sometimes you need the condensed game highlight packages but the re-make is so inferior and not good enough. Will it get better next season? Would you sign up again based on the current product?
The best case scenario for the Rangers from a defensive (and cap based) scenario is that next season Dylan McIllrath and Skjei force their way into full time positions from October onwards. If the Rangers (allowing for a slight salary increase for McIlrath) could get away with their bottom pairing costing under $2m combined it would have a huge impact on their ability to ice a deep team.
For all the inconsistencies the Rangers have gone through this year, it’s highly likely the team will boast (at least) twelve 10+ goal scorers. They already have ten and Ryan McDonagh and Viktor Stalberg should both pot another pair each to join the group. This team may lack top end production (Zuccarello will likely top the team’s charts with 60(ish) points) but this team has balance. The numbers would also be much stronger if the team’s core were performing up to expectations.
Hands up if you’re happy with the way the Rangers have (for the most part) played this season? I guess not many of you will be happy with the year to date. Yet only four (yes four) teams have more points as of March 10th and three of the teams ahead of the Rangers have played more games.
Rick Nash has barely registered on this regular season radar this season (harsh, but fair) but it would be ironic if this was the year where he was the difference maker in the playoffs.
Derek Stepan has been relatively free of criticism this season, yet despite missing a handful of games, Stepan needs to have been better. Stepan is a good example of the Rangers as a whole; does this team only get measured by its post-season performance now or does the regular season still mean something? Stepan should be putting up better numbers regardless.
JT Miller has obviously kicked on this season and should hit the 40 point barrier but is it a good or a bad thing that he is the team’s fourth highest scorer to date? I think it is a little of both.
Good: of the Rangers top ten scorers, five are 26 or under, seven are 28 or under. For all the concerns about absent draft picks, allowing for current production, there’s no reason the Rangers’ offensive core will change significantly in the next two-three seasons – at a minimum.
The Ducks, Kings, Sharks, Panthers, Bruins, Canadiens (in Montreal) and the Pens twice… The Rangers have a brutal stretch in March still to go. When games against the Wings (and the sad sack Canes) offer respite you know it’s a tough finish to the season. Would you be happy with a .500 finish?
- How would you judge the Staal trade: production, cup or extension and why?
- How would you rate Derek Stepan’s season and why?
- Beyond this year: Staal or Yandle?
- Who is more important to the Rangers beyond this year: Skjei or Buchnevich?
- Playoff opponent: would you rather face in the first round and why?
- Who has the better Rangers future: Kreider, Miller or Hayes.