"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?



Mentioned in this article:

More About: