Musing the Rangers: Gerbe, Hank, Vesey & Fast

henrik lundqvist
Everyone loves Henrik Lundqvist

It’s the true dog days of the hockey season (I feel like I have written that a few times already this summer). Let’s jump into a mainly Rangers musings post but sprinkle in a little league wide news.

I really like the Nathan Gerbe signing. He’s ridiculously small but in today’s league that has never been less of a problem. He can skate, he can kill penalties and in the right situation with the right linemates I feel like he’ll help deepen the Rangers line-up offensively. At 600k there is no downside. The best part of the Gerbe (and Grabner) signings is that I finally feel like the Rangers management get it. They need to get back to being a speed orientated, mobile team. Gerbe and Grabner really help in this respect.

Via Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog, yet another example why everyone loves: Henrik Lundqvist

Debate for the day: we all want Jimmy Vesey but do the Rangers need him? And where does he fit?

The Rangers have a bleak future? So the Rangers farm system isn’t stacked. Yes, that’s far from ideal, but the two most critical positions in the sport (in my opinion) are in goal and at center. The Rangers should enjoy another half decade of Henrik Lundqvist while their projected top four centers (Stepan, Zibanejad, Hayes, Lindberg) are 26, 23, 24 and 24. One is locked up long term while the other three are cost controlled. So there is no Stamkos or Crosby but that’s a pretty nice position to be in, no?

Re: above. It is completely realistic & possible that the Rangers have three 50 point centers this season.

The Red Wings continue to scour a weak market for defensive upgrades. If Nyquist or Tatar (as rumoured) are really in play, could the Wings be desperate enough to be low-balled? I for one would love to see Nyquist in Ranger blue (as unrealistic as that is…)

Debate II for your Thursday pleasure: Jesper Fast sneakily scored 30 points last year, primarily in a bottom six role. What’s his upside? Can he be a 40 point player on a contending team?

Circling back to Vesey for a moment: assume the Rangers lose out in the Vesey sweepstakes. Do the team feel the need to add another winger/offensive player and if so will they dip back into Free Agency? I can’t help being intrigued by a year of Jiri Hudler. In the right situation he’s a 50 point winger and a powerplay weapon. He’s going to have to settle for a cheap contract now we’re approaching the pre-season and New York is surely a good option for him. Is there a fit for a year?

James Wisniewski has signed a PTO with Tampa Bay. That’s a great low risk move for Tampa. He should be cheap and is a no risk, high reward roll of the dice. If he makes their line-up, with their depth, he can be sheltered in a bottom pairing position with PP time. I would have liked the Rangers to take a look at Wisniewski to help out the powerplay.

For those of you that haven’t seen the Jets/Oilers Alumni news; check it out. For starters the new Throwback Jets jersey is outrageously good while the Oilers squad (no surprise) is so stacked its untrue. I’m pretty sure everyone wants to see Messier and Gretzky together one more time.

Question Time:

  • How many starts will Henrik Lundqvist get this season?
  • With his injury in mind, what are your reasonable expectations for Oscar Lindberg?
  • What does a successful first season in Ranger blue look like for Michael Grabner?
  • How many games will Dylan McIlrath play this season? Will he finish the year a Ranger?
  • As of today, have the Rangers improved, got weaker or stood still entering next season?
  • Who will produce more next season: Zibanejad or Brassard?


"Musing the Rangers: Gerbe, Hank, Vesey & Fast", 5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.
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  1. Hank should start no more than 58 games, with Raanta playing a bit more, makes too much sense not to!!!!!!!

    Oscar should come in at 12-14 goals, and 30 points at most for the seaso …..

    Grabner can produce some 15-18 goals, and some 25-28 assists, that would be a very good season for me !!!!!!!

    Well he has to play some 45 games, or so unless the Rangers want to loose him as a UFA next year……So with that in mind, I’ll say 50 games ????? But you never know with that guy running the team, behind the bench ????????

    The team got slightly better, younger, and faster with some moves made. The main issue, as everyone knows by now has to be addressed, or we are a borderline team with the twins playing any serious number of games on the D !!!!!

    Mika vs Brass, I believe Mika only because Brass had a career year, and Mika is due to explode, and have himself a banner season. I still wish Brass has a very good season just the same, except against us, he is a quality human being, and nice guy !!!!!!! Also, we want to keep Amy happy, don’t we ??????

  2. Hank should be around 60 but will be higher if the team is chasing a higher seed.

    I would be elated if Oscar is around 30 points on the 4th line after missing the first month or so.

    Grabner could be interesting. With the right linemates, the 3rd line could do what Brass, Zucc and Pouilot did a couple of years ago. Also depends on PP usage but I’m guessing 40-45.

    Dylan will start the season on a pace to get the minimum number of games to prevent UFA but if he fails to excel he will be gone at the trade deadline.

    The offense is improved and deeper. The defense is neutral (hopefully not further deteriorated). Maybe we can win all the games 9-8……………

    Mika. Younger, faster and stronger in addition to going to a better team. Head-to-head they may be about even but linemates will make the difference.

  3. -If history is our guide AV will play Hank far more than he should thereby sentencing us to a tried, ordinary Hank in the playoffs. Just like last season.
    -Oscar 10 goal, 25 points
    -A help on the PK, chip in with some timely goals. Maybe keep Nash off the PK enabling him to be a bit fresher …….
    -Not an AV favorite, so if AV stays DMc is gone before or at trade deadline in a package deal.
    -I think the rangers improved on O, improved on D with the subtraction of Boyle, so a slight overall improvement
    -Hard one to call. I will say about even.

    1. I agree. Hank should play less to keep him fresher for the playoffs. I think Raanta did a pretty good job last year

  4. I don’t know why I see some people talk about our coach like he’s a total fool. Since he has been our coach he has taken us deep every year except last year. And if everyone thinks our D is so bad than how much is his fault. I’m sure there’s plenty of fans that wish their team did what ours does. I don’t agree with some of his moves but I hate seeing people talk about him like he’s a jerk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The guy has won a ton of games in this league so he’s gotta be doing something right. We as fans are always gonna find something we disagree with as far as who he plays and TOI , I think he’s been OK. The Rangers are not loaded with super star players. So I think he’s done what he can with what he has. Remember, I didn’t say he’s great, but he’s not a bozo or some of the other names he gets called……………..

    1. Sammy. Nowhere do I refer to him a “bozo” or a “fool”. It’s my opinion he is not the right coach for THIS team.
      -When he was canned from Vancouver and rumored coming here I read as much as I could from the Vancouver beat writers. All had a common theme that now kids would get a chance to play.
      -He has been outcoached more than he should with line matchups and deployments
      -He is focused on points and therefore plays vets over younger players. Examples are his overplaying of Hank last season. His refusal to play Hvirck (or how ever you spell his name) in a ineffective 4th line. His insistence of playing Boyle when he was truly horrible last year. His refusal to alter his system even when it was evident we didn’t have the players to play that system effectively. And what I think is his worst flaw is that he has openly proclaimed that he is a “hands off coach” “allowing the players to run the locker room”. That might work with some teams but not this team. The uninspired hockey we saw against the Pittsburg in last years playoffs was inexcusable. Not that we lost, we lost to a better team, but the WAY we lost.
      Sammy, this is just my opinion, for whatever it’s worth. Points only matter to qualify for the playoffs, and then IF you are a dominant home team, which we weren’t.
      AV is a good head coach for the right team, not THIS team.

    2. Sammy

      I’m the one who gave AV the name Bozo, which is well earned for all the reason expressed by Jerry. My biggest issue with the coach is he went to the same old, same old players, some of which were injured, but he insisted playing them over a healthy one. Now that is a clown, and hence the name. Please give me the usual thumbs down for my reasoning of the name, I could give a damn !!!!!!!!!

  5. i see Hank getting some time off after the world cup of hockey so I see him starting 65 games I see Oscar getting 20 goals Grabner’s speed will help the penalty kill it will make people forget about Hags hopefully Dylan will get some playing time and he will stay a ranger and I see Mika producing a lot of points and goals and making Nasher and Zucc better but Brass will also have a good season up in Ottawa in front of his family and friends and by the way brass saw your cousin

    1. 65 is a lot Amy. If Hank starts more than 60 games something went very wrong for the Rangers.

  6. we already have Fast who gets knocked around like a pinball..we didn’t nee another little guy in Gerbe… IMO, I’d trade Hank at the deadline for a few 1st rounders…as I don’t think this team in it’s current state is going anywhere.. Yes, I know he has a NMC but if sent to a contender I’m sure he’d go.

    1. I don’t think Gerbe makes the team. I think him and Glass are the most vulnerable veterans come training camp. Personally, I would like to see Fogarty or Lapierre beat out Gerbe and Jensen beat out Glass.

  7. Jesper Fast had 3 goals in the second half of the season. He doesnt shoot the puck. As in, the lowest shot total of any forward. He got top six minutes more than he should have. And he killed penalties on one of the single worst penalty kills it n the league. He’s sneaky alright. Sneaky bad.

    McIlraith will only play if I can’t skate.

    Brass will have more points.

    Hank will play less than last year because of the schedule with more back to backs. But the vacation week helps.

    Why does anyone think Oscar Lindberg will get 20 goals. In 60 games played or less? Does that include games in Hartford?

    1. If you think Jesper is a bad PK’er then I don’t know what to tell you. The PK was bad last year because the D (mainly Girardi and Staal) were incapable of making basic rotations and managed the impressive feat of leaving the crease unattended while simultaneously keeping all the down low passing lanes wide open.

      Basically, most Rangers PKs last year were effectively 5 on 3 or 5 on 2.

      1. Well, don’t let the facts get in your way. Staal had better PK stats than McD or DG.

        Fast had one of the worst GA/60’s in the league for a first choice PK. Dreadful.

        Without Nash, that PK was worthless across all guys on the ice.

        1. Roger, enough with “don’t let the facts…..”

          It’s condescending at best and completely douchy at worst.

          1. So, I’m not allowed to point something out? You are entitled to your own opinion, but you can’t have your own facts.

            The guy stated something that is clearly not true.

            I didn’t know you were in charge here.

            I’ve been reading a lot of total BS in the comments, and it may behoove a few of you to actually LOOK at some of the advanced numbers before stating stuff that just isn’t true.

            Btw, Jesper Fast isn’t very good. And anyone who says otherwise hasn’t looked hard enough.

          2. No, by all means continue to bring what you do to the table. I’m all about it. It’s just the “Again, let’s not let facts get in the way” thing. Kind of picky on my end I guess.

        2. My point was that it’s ludicrous to pin the PK failures on one player. Fast played a lot on the poor PK unit so he happened to be on the ice for a lot of GA. Essentially, you are using a fancy, modified version of +/- to judge a player.

  8. How many starts will Henrik Lundqvist get this season?

    With his injury in mind, what are your reasonable expectations for Oscar Lindberg?
    Healthy scratch, traded by deadline. I think Jooris steals his job.

    What does a successful first season in Ranger blue look like for Michael Grabner?
    Depends on where he plays. If he does get a shot on the 3rd line and clicks with Buch and Hayes, he could have a lot of points. On the fourth, I’d expect good D and roughly 10 goals.

    How many games will Dylan McIlrath play this season? Will he finish the year a Ranger?
    It’s between him and Holden, right? I think they’ll rotate to start the year, then the better player takes the job. If Gorts can get a Shattenkirk deal done, then who knows.

    As of today, have the Rangers improved, got weaker or stood still entering next season?
    I think they’ll be about as good as last year, but with better depth and speed. I expect Nash to be more productive, but the defense will still hamper this team.

    Who will produce more next season: Zibanejad or Brassard?
    Honestly, it’ll probably be the same. I give Brassard the slight edge as he’ll have a larger role on that team. As far as this upcoming season’s concerned, for the Rangers that trade is a lateral move. A lateral move only as far as this season, though.

  9. I have no idea why you would be that positive about Gerbe. I think he will be hard pressed to make the team. As for the debate on Fast, he’s a terrible PKer & a lot of those sneak in goals from pointmen were on him. He’s an OK player but way overused by AV who seems to think he’s a genius out there & like Glass as an AV fave, who in hell knows how AV’s brain works(or does it?)
    1) Hank should play about 60 games & he likely will be way overplayed by AV, esp. if we are struggling to make the POs.
    2) As for Lindberg it will depend on what kind of physical shape he’s in & how many games he plays–I’ll say 10-12 goals, 25-30 pts.
    3) Depends where Grabner plays. If Rangers land Vesey, then he’s on the fourth line & I see him with 10 goals,15 assists. I would be satisfied with that.
    4) DMAC should play all the games but I’ll guess maybe 60. He’s not going to develop on the bench.
    5) The Rangers are improved for two reasons. They have addressed the PK, which should be much improved & they hired a new D coach, which should improve D-zone coverage if Beuke has input. I’m not convinced the D will be as bad as 99% of people on here think. The major factor in the season outcome will be determined by whether AV can make the needed adjustments. To be determined.
    6) Brassard will have an easier adjustment & right at this point is a better player than Z. If Brass plays with Ryan or Stone he can get 25 goals easily. I think they will be close in goals but Brass will get more assists.

    1. The PK is a unit. If the D are slow to make their slides, then the forwards are forced to cheat down low to cover the open space the slow reacting Ds create. The forwards cheating to the more dangerous opposition players (closer to the net = more dangerous) opens up the points.

      And Glass barely played on the PK last year. His 26 seconds a game was a distant 10th among Rangers forwards in PK ice time per game.

      1. Sure blame everything on the D, it’s all their fault. Didn’t you just say above PKs a unit, so don’t blame one or two in particular?

        1. Yes, they are in a unit in that one breakdown causes a chain reaction of failure throughout the unit. I know that the D was constantly leaving the crease and all the down low passing lanes wide open. In my opinion, that was the weakpoint of the unit, and poor Jesper happened to be on the ice for a crapton of PP goals against.

          1. Guys sneaking in from the point are the responsibility of the forwards, & Fast was guilty of watching the puck all the time & not being aware of what was going on behind him.

    2. Dr. Paul:
      Smart money has Jimmy Vesey playing alongside Toews and Kane. Or, under Jim Fitzgerald’s tutelage in ‘Jersey. We’re simply being used to better his bargaining.

      It’s as if Chris A. and all the rest here have turned into Stan Getz with Vesey playing the “Girl from Ipanema.”

      Good lord, move on.

      1. There really is no leverage in these negotiations though, Nicky. All 30 NHL teams can offer the same modest financial package.

        If the Rangers have made it this far, it’s because Vesey is genuinely interested in being a Ranger.

        1. Okay, Mr Christian: Let’s put some skin in this to ‘n fro.

          Should Vesey don a blue shirt I’ll send you a criterion bottle of tequila: top shelf blue agave; the kind that our man Original Rob pours, not Swarty’s Tijuana backstreet, rip-snorting hootch.

          Should Vesey sign with Bowman’s Blackhawks you owe me a bottle of single malt, something originating from The Isle of Man. Or Skye… definitely Highlands whisky. And north of $50.

          Are we on?

          1. Lol, being a good Christian, I can’t wager 😉

            Anyway, I never said he was coming here, I simply said that it only is up to Vesey and who he wants to play for.

            If he comes here and is a positive factor, great, then the Rangers have more flexibility when it comes to the expansion draft and can try to ship off a more veteran forward with one of the Ds.

  10. Hank should not play more than 60 games. I’d be even happier if he played 55. I think Raanta given the chance to play will open some eyes and be able to keep Hank fresh. I know that Hank loves to work, but if the club gets to the playoffs they will need Hank to be sharp and rested.

  11. 62 games started for the King.

    15 goals for Oscar on the 3rd line once he gets back.

    10 goals for Grabner who plays on the 4th line when Lindberg comes back, finally killing Voldemort for good.

    McIlrath traded by the end of the year, though bringing in Beuke as asst coach should help Dylan big time.

    Rangers weaker simply due to the back end getting weaker after losing Yandle. No replacement for his offense. Per Travis Yost, Rangers’ back end was one of the best in generating offensive chances, mainly due to Yandle. Not any more.

    Zib will have a huge year as his progression is in perfect line for it this year. A possible true #1 center in the making. Huge trade for Gorton.

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