Rangers Musings: talking off-ice matters

"Hmmm... I hear Edmonton is a lovely summer destination"...
“Hmmm… I hear Edmonton is a lovely summer destination”…

We’ll know a lot more about the Rangers by the end of this week. This week they are playing three of the hottest teams in the league and some of the best puck possession teams out there. You’d think that all wouldn’t bode well, but defensively against the Ducks it was a much improved performance.

The Rangers are a team of contradictions. They struggle on the puck possession side of things yet have a great recent record against the Western conference.
The win against the Ducks was another example of how you just cannot predict which Rangers team will turn up. The Rangers haven’t been this inconsistent for a generation.

A lot of fans immediately heard alarm bells when hearing Jeff Gorton speaking almost in past tense about Keith Yandle while championing Brady Skjei. The alarm bells were because he didn’t speak openly about Girardi and Staal. But remember this: the management can surely see the regression that Girardi and Staal are showing.

You don’t just throw big names, big tickets under the bus. It damages their trade value, it doesn’t help the team either.  It wouldn’t at all surprise me if one of the two were shipped out in the summer. You just don’t publicly bash guys of that stature and expect to get any kind of positive return for them in the summer. It’s a process.

Under what circumstances do the Rangers move any of their big contracts in the summer? (as in, the ones that fans want to keep).

For all the positives last night, Dan Girardi continues to struggle. I just do not see how the Rangers can continue to plan with Girardi long term.

Jaromir Jagr registered his 1,111 assist this week. That is ridiculous. I still think it was a mistake the Rangers never brought him back. His work ethic has allowed him to stay relevant in a league that is increasingly young.

Of all the younger players the Rangers currently could move on from, it would surprise me the least if Kevin Hayes gets moved ahead of the draft. Cap space, draft picks, an roster upgrade or even to help facilitate moving a bad contract; the way Hayes has almost stagnated this year has been disappointing, does that make him most vulnerable?

He’s a great talent and could definitely still have a future with the Rangers but he could bring a solid return and help the Rangers in areas of greater need. If the Rangers consider retaining Eric Staal then there is even less room for Hayes in an offensive role.

Thought for the day: was Emerson Etem that bad that the team settled for a guy (Nicklas Jensen) that appears absolutely buried on the organisation’s depth chart? Given the (likely) top nine beyond this season, does Jensen have a chance to stick with the Rangers?

Thinking beyond this season, it will be interesting to see how brave the Rangers will get in terms of restructuring their defense. When will they turn the unit over to the kids, such as Skjei and Graves, and can they compete with a young(er) blueline? Would you feel confident with a top three of McDonagh, Yandle and Klein with three ‘kids’ beyond following?

It still amazes that the Rangers can be competing at the top of the conference and Rick Nash has 12 goals.

Thinking out aloud; if the Rangers get any assurances from Pavel Buchnevich’s camp that he’s definitely coming to New York next season does that make the team more willing to be aggressive in trading a guy such as Chris Kreider or Hayes?

If you assume for a moment that when Buchnevich arrives he starts in the NHL (lets face it, he isn’t coming over to go to the AHL) then the team would need to make space for him. Do you move a younger player for help elsewhere or do you retain all the forwards and stack the team up front?

Jeff Gorton really has a fascinating summer ahead. The team is approaching a genuine crossroads and he has so many difficult decisions to make, even if the core is still very promising. I expect the Rangers to be very active (and creative this summer) whether they win this year or not.

Question Time:

• If you can only keep one: Jesper Fast or Oscar Lindberg?
• Under what (realistic) circumstances would you trade Pavel Buchnevich?
• Who is the Rangers MVP thus far and why?
• Despite his career high goals are you satisfied with Derick Brassard?
• Do you think the Rangers can beat the Caps in 7 games and why?


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  • 1) Fast
    2) Heavy restoration of farm (#1’s, top prospects)
    3) McDonagh
    4) Yes
    5) Can they? Yes. Will they? I’d lean ‘no’. Rangers have had success against the better teams in the league (witness last nite). They’re capable of beating anyone. Unfortunately, they’re also capable of losing to anyone.

  • Lindberg can play C or W and he did play PK in Hartford
    Only for a Taylor Hall or Drisital from Edm
    No one stands out to me
    Brass is good but not that good terrible in the D zone and lazy at times and disappears for too many games
    Think they can beat any team in a 7 game series if and a big if is if they stay healthy threw out the POs , and Henrik steals a game or 2 each series asking a lot but they can do it if they play their game and don’t take nights off
    By the way am not a big fan of TG but last night he might have been the best he has played in the time he has been here

  • Contradictions … hmmmm … last five games Nash plays in … 2 points (both assists) … last five games Glass plays in … 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) … shouldn’t some one be ragging on Nash? or is he immune due to being on the first line and being a “superstar” or just cause??? Oh did I forget to mention besides the assist last night TG got ten (10) NHL hits, which by definition are not easy to come by, and Nash had .. opps …. he didn’t have … any … ok, granted he is not paid to hit people cause he is small and fragile .. no he is big, but he is a goal scorer .. but if you are not scoring … ok I am a jerk at times, I like Nash, Rick and Steve my apologies, this was but a segway to what TG did last night that went unnoticed … when a player can generate 10 turnovers due to 10 hits, which is the NHL definition of a hit, and get an assist off a shot, can he not get a little love from someone??? Don’t smash the Glass, cherish it like fine “Crystal” (How I refer to his sister BTW)

    • Glass had a solid game, but these are few and far between. How long have you been waiting to talk about five games in which Glass and Nash had the same points total as a comparison point? LOL. In 488 career games, Alain Jr. has 66 points. In 910 career games, Rick Nash has 730 points. This may be why people give Nash a bit more room. Just a hunch.

      • Nash, makes huge amounts of $$$$$ to light up the score board, Glass makes a good living , throwing his weight around, protecting his teammates ( fighting when necessary), the occasional goal or assist is a bonus. Tanner Glass is one of the true grit, take no prisoners players we have on this current roster, come playoff time, I want him in our lineup.

      • Like I said at the end, I just wanted to give a guy who makes a lot less, does the dirty work in the corners and in front of the net, plays half the minutes, and can get 10 hits in a game a little love on here due to all the haters. BOBBY B puts it well below too. He is grit and hit and it is players like TG who can lift a team when they are coasting because they will see the TG coming on and they will try to keep up. That is all, Yes I had to wait till Nash came back to do the stats comparison for sure … LOL

  • I keep Lindberg over Fast. I think both are the type of player you want to keep until they start getting expensive and then they are both expendable. I try to keep both this year and probably move both one to three years from now.

    The only realistic circumstance I trade Buchnevich is if he is more likely to sign with ___ than the Rangers. If he is ready, willing, and able to play in the NHL, then I believe he will be a better player than the Rangers could get for his rights.

    Lundqvist because he has been the best Ranger on the ice more often than every other player. Klein and Zuc are the only other two I think has been consistent enough all season to gain consideration.

    No, I have a love-hate going with Brassard. I love watching him in the offensive zone and hate watching him in the defensive zone where he makes a lot of unforced errors. He’s the polar opposite of Stepan. Combine the best attributes of both in one (and the worst in the other) and the Rangers have a true #1 Center and an AHL journeyman.

    Can? Sure. The Caps make Glass look like a bonafide NHL player. Eric Staal’s game fits nicely in what the Rangers have to do to beat them. If Lundqvist plays like we know we can and the Rangers have a great shot to win. Also, it appears the Caps are coming back down to Earth. They have lost 4 of their last 7 games that were settled in regulation (6-4-1 in that stretch with 5 ROW). Regulation is important because playoff OT is 5-on-5 instead of 3-on-3. Will I bet the house the Rangers win? Not a chance.

  • I’m not sure why we have to choose between two young, inexpensive forwards, but I think I would keep Lindberg. Bigger, more skilled, natural center. It’s close though, Fast has impeccable instincts. The number of plays he breaks up all over the ice is staggering.

    Trade Buch? I’d need something like Drouin and a first.

    The goalies are the MVP. When they play lights out, the Rangers win. None of the skaters have been good enough for the bulk of the season. The team is basically being carried by a couple skaters at a time.

    Brassard has been great, he’s having a career year at 28. Dude is beating the odds. His late development probably has a lot to do with all those lost seasons in Columbus when Brassard was having chronic shoulder issues.

    Caps aren’t battle tested. Let’s see how that team does when they are expected to win. Also, I don’t think their blueline is deep enough to deal with the Rangers top 9. If E. Staal plays like he did last night, the Rangers are going to present a real problem to their opponents.

  • 1. Lindberg-better upside potential offensively and equal to the task defensively. Center of wing and can win face offs. Hard choice though.
    2. for Anthony Duclair or a proven talent, but really needs to be attractive.
    3. Henrick-he’s been the best game in and game out and without him in Oct and Nov(when we were out played and still winning) we would not be in the play off hunt period.
    4. Brassard has been solid in the regular season, but more importantly he has had 3 good play offs in a row. He has also improved on face offs.(The other Derek may want to make note of that)
    5. I am going to reluctantly say yes, but Justin Williams is a Ranger killer and he was brought in for game 7’s. This task will become harder if it’s 3rd round game 7 vs second round game 7.

  • Using Corsi, the two best 5 on 5 teams in relative goal-scoring (Caps and Rangers) don’t make the playoffs and Toronto does. Forget puck possession metrics.

    As for Etem, it wasn’t that he is not better than Jensen. The Rangers simply decided that they no longer wanted him om the active roster and knew that he would be lost on waivers if they tried to send him to Hartford. At that point, Jensen was the best they could get (in their opinion) in return.

    * Lindberg – He can play the PK; Fast obviously can’t.
    * I’d keep an open mind. The Rangers don’t need anyone, just enough good players.
    * Lundqvist — like the other stars, he’s been up and down, but at least when he’s up, the Rangers win.
    * Yes
    * Were they to survive the first round (they won’t), they would beat the Caps.

  • • I echo Chris A above. Nice, well rounded answer.
    • If it seems unlikely he will come across the pond, flip the asset. If not, make room in your top 9 for him next yr.
    • Everyone’s been up and down this season. I’ll go with Zuc,
    • Yes. Rangers are offense by committee and he certainly has been doing his part. Integral on our PP.
    • Sure they can. Can they? I’m reserving my prediction until playoff brackets are set.

    • For the record, after sleeping on this I’d like to edit

      1) Fast

      3) Lundqvist

      5) uhhh, uhhhhhhh, uuuuuunhhhhhnnnlikey

  • LIndberg: Very similar but Fast probably brings back more value, but the Rangers need RH shots too. Tough call.
    Need a young top 4 cost controlled d-man plus another near ready prospect.
    Hank–almost always their best player and difference maker. Miller is close too.
    Brass has had a very good year despite ups and downs. Top playoff contributor.
    Yes. Caps have a lot of pressure on them. Their coach has never gotten out of second round with really good teams. Rangers know how to win close ones.

  • 1. Fast
    2. Same circumstances under which I would trade any one else – for something better (BTW: I watched a couple of the KHL playoff games Buchnevich was involved in – looked like he wasn’t getting that much ice time and he kind of looked like he would need some AHL time when he was out there)
    3. Lundqvist (not his best season but he hasn’t had the support this year either).
    4. Yes but he really, really needs to be more defensively responsible. Getting him away from match ups with other teams’ top lines would help).
    5. Yes. First, they’ve beat them twice in regulation this year and were 5 seconds away from a third regulation win. Second, Lundqvist is better than Holtby – always has been always will be.

  • 1) Lindberg by a hair
    2) Reasonably priced top 4D and even that’s a stretch
    3) Hank, same as every year
    4) Yes. He’s a terrific offensive player and has started using his shot more frequently
    5) Yes. Hank’s on the Rangers

    On the other musings
    Nash’s contract is most likely to be moved (ex. Wonder Twins) – I’d consider that if something like Shattenkirk was coming the other way, but it would take that type of a “hockey trade”
    I’d consider moving Hayes to get rid of Staal’s contract
    I’d be good with McD, Yandle, Klein plus Skjei and McIlrath but I’d want a UFA (Hunwick / J. Moore type) as I think Graves needs another year

  • Lindberg, he’s our 4th line center next year. None, well unless McDavid,Eichel,Draisaitl or Tarasenko are avaliable. The Man with the biggest pair the most heart and skill MZA bar none. Brassard is trending up and he comes up big at playoff time. By far the toughest to answer for me. At this point I would say no but let’s see how they are playing after this West Coast trip. If Staal fits in I would sign Staal for three year at a fair price and trade Stepan at the draft. Brassard,Staal,Hayes and Lindberg down the middle next year. Would love to get Drouin for Stepan and play him with Buch.

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