Musings

Thoughts following the Jimmy Vesey signing

jimmy vesey
Photo: American Sports Net

The wait is finally over, #VeseyWatch has concluded, and the 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner is a New York Ranger. While the young college free agent, whose rights were originally owned by the Nashville Predators before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres, was considering teams such as the Devils, Islanders, and Blackhawks, he ultimately decided that New York is the place to begin his NHL career.

It’s worth noting before we get into unpacking things a little bit that Vesey is not the second coming of Alex Ovechkin, and is likely to play in the middle six as Dave has mentioned. He’s not going to score 50 goals, but there is a decent chance he scores between 10 and 20, he has high upside, and plays on a bare-minimum entry-level contract. There’s a lot to like about this signing however, even when acknowledging that he’s not the panacea to the Rangers’ problems.

I’ve already mentioned it but it bears repeating: having talent on an entry-level contact is crucial for the Rangers who are in something of a cap crunch, although they currently have some wiggle room. Every cheap contract in effect subsidizes more expensive ones, and looking into the future it’s not hard to see how clutch having Vesey on an entry-level deal is, given the players who are going to be due raises in the next couple of years.

Moving past the dollars and cents of the matter, this signing gives the Rangers lethal forward depth. At the moment they have surplus of forwards, and the likelihood of a Vesey/Hayes/Buchnevich third line (assuming the top two lines remain the same, subbing in Zibanejad for Brassard) means not only will we potentially see the kind of depth scoring we haven’t had since the days of the Benoit Pouliot/Derick Brassard/Mats Zuccarello third line, but also that the fourth line can be even better. Even if the three youngsters don’t make it together the Rangers still have the likes of Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, Josh Jooris, Michael Grabner, and Nathan Gerbe all vying for bottom six spots, meaning that AV has the luxury of only playing his best possible forwards night in, night out. While Vigneault has often eschewed that principle in the past with regards to the Rangers’ depth forwards at this point there’s just too much talent in the bottom six not to play the best possible lineup, making it possible that this is the end of Tanner Glass.

Looking more long term, this move definitely helps prop the window open a little bit longer, with Vesey adding to the Rangers forward corps in a way that may help define the team in years to come. Right now Kreider, Miller, Stepan, Hayes, Vesey, Zibanejad, Fast, Lindberg, and Buchnevich are all 26 or younger, and Mats Zuccarello is 28. That’s more than enough forwards to assemble a competent top six and then some, with the front office proving this offseason that it knows how to plug holes in the bottom six with savvy free agent signings. Suffice to say that the Rangers forward group is looking good for several years to come.

Which brings us to the last and most exciting aspect of this signing to unravel: the potential for trades. Given the way in which the Rangers now have a plethora of forwards, there’s the flexibility to make a trade for some defense. I’m personally of the opinion that the addition of Vesey and the fact that the Rangers have some cap space left over foreshadows a trade, but who knows, that’s just me. Even if there isn’t a trade to be made right now, the added flexibility down the road leaves the Rangers with options as the market for defense changes and develops.

Now through all of this excitement I’ve got one major fear: that the Rangers are putting too much stock in the addition of Vesey to their forward group, and that the front office sincerely believes that Marc Staal and Dan Girardi are going to have bounce back years, or at the very least that the stacked forward corps is going to cover for the defense’s deficiencies. It’s a legitimate worry, given the logic behind the Eric Staal trade, but I think this front office has proven so far that it knows what it’s doing. After all, they did just land the most coveted college free agent since Kevin Hayes.

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119 Comments

      1. Trading Nash should only be considered for a real score on defense. A strategic thing. This guy is the best forward on the team.

        1. agreed you dont trade nash unless A. were out of it on march 1 or B. its a MSL like return

    1. New lines:

      Vesey-Vesey-Vesey
      Vesey-Vesey-Zucc
      Vesey-Z-Vesey
      Kreider-Stepan-Vesey

      haha

  1. best group of forwards since the ronny duguay , dan maloney, hedberg , hickey , murdoch…..and of course NICKY FOTIU !!!
    MY best lineup…..kreider-zibinajab-zucc
    vesey-miller-nash
    buchevich-hayes-grabner
    Stallberg- Hrivik- jooris or fast

    YES____i would move Stepan for Stallberg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Now why would you want to trade Step for Stalberg, that makes zero sense to me????????????????

      Also your 4th line, what are you thinking, no Grabner ( he should play 4th line with our current forwards ), or Oscar, certainly you jest !!!!!

      Hrivik is our 18th forward on our depth chart !!!!!!!!!!!! Is it April fools day ???????????

  2. I think its less than 50/50 they make a significant move going into the season. Nash is not substantially overpaid considering how he plays in three zones, the PK and has movement flexibility through the end of his contract in 2018. I suspect that they are willing to be just playoff (not Cup) competitive this year while some of the new guys get NHL acclimated. Also, reducing the future cap hits of buying out G while taking the chance that he can turn it around a bit is a wager Gorton is willing to make. On the otherhand, if they could trade Staal w/out collateral damage then that is a different story and then I would go out and try to get a solid #3 D-man. All in you have to give Gorton credit for having a very productive summer.

    1. I agree with your view of things, gorton has not been conservitive, which alot of gms are but measured. He seems to have a plan beyond just this year

    2. I think they could compete for the Cup this year. It is not unreasonable to believe Girardi can play better than last year, and Staal as well.

      1. The mood is so stacked against these two that I have to agree with you Joe. They need to back down in minutes and competition, but it can work if they can manage to fill out the top 4. Need someone to emerge as a surprise and Sjkei to really step up.

      2. It pains me to disagree fellas. Unfortunately, I think the Girardi and Staal deals will prove to be cogs for years to come on the back end. Unless Gorton figures out a way to remove at least one of those deals from the equation, we may be stuck in a holding pattern. That’s why I still stand by my very unpopular suggestion of trading Hank now (while his value is still what it is) and forcing Girardi as part of any deal that involves him. I think Dallas is the perfect landing spot for him:

        Dallas gets Hank (5 yrs remain @8.5M per), Girardi (4 yrs @ 5.5M per) and Fast (1 yr remains at 950K)
        Rangers get Klingberg (6 yrs remaining @ 4.25M per), Hemsky (1 yr remaining on his deal @4M) and Lehtonen (2 yrs @ 5.9M per remaining)

        Dallas has 6.5 mil in cap space to begin with so the numbers work

        Rangers are sending $15 million over in salaries
        Dallas is sending $14 million over in salaries

        This all depends on whether Dallas would move Klingberg. If they are serious about winning a Cup, Lundqvist would be a tremendous upgrade between the pipes. May be wishful thinking on my part but the idea of Klingberg in a Rangers sweater, quarterbacking our power play for the next 6 years is something I could get used to

        1. Chris! Good to see you buddy. Been way too long. Hope all is well.

          You and I are usually in agreement but on this one I’m much more on board with JoeS and Gary. It’s amazing to me how much abuse Staal and Girardi have taken. 15 months ago, those two were part of what was widely considered the best defense in the league. They have one awful season (which I believe was due to lingering injury issues from the ’15 playoffs) and suddenly, that’s if, it’s over? I just don’t buy it. Of all the “IFs” that are needed to happen if the Rangers are to have a bounce back year, I’d bet serious money on a bounce back year for both of the “twins” ahead of just about any other ascension from a Rangers player (other than Stepan and McDonagh, who I expect will have big seasons).

          Where I DO agree with you is that these deals will become onerous down the road. No doubt. But I’m taking it one year at a time, and I think this coming year, we will be pleased with their performances. They have something to prove and I’ll always gamble on guys who’ve had success in the past and have an indominable work ethic as they both do.

          Where I vehemently disagree with you is on Hank. There is no way, no chance, none, zero, nada, zippo that either a) the Rangers would be willing to trade him or, b) that Hank would agree to go anywhere, let alone Dallas. Sorry my friend, that’s dreamland stuff.

          1. Great to talk with you guys once again Eddie and Bobby. I knew the whole Dallas wonderland idea was a stretch but one can dream. lol. I do have to say……. the idea of the Rangers as a legitimate contender this season might be a stretch as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love the direction they are going in and it’s not the Girardi and Staal money that bothers me, as they could possibly have a bounce back year (although I have to be honest and believe their best hockey is behind them) it’s the length of their deals that concerns me. With Buchnevich essentially strong arming the Rangers into a top 9 role, the addition of Vesey and the arrival of Zibanejad, the Rangers are positioning themselves for future success. I do believe however that 2-3 years down the line, the defense is gonna be held hostage by those contracts and the kids who will be ready to jump to the next level are gonna pay for those contracts. It’s definitely gonna be interesting to say the least to see how they phase Girardi and Staal out in a year or two.

        2. Chris if that trade could happen it would be the highway to heaven for the Rangers. Problem # 1 , Dallas GM Jim Nill is not the second coming of Glen Sather. Problem # 2, I can never picture Hank in cowboy boots and a 10 gallon cowboy hat. Great idea though.

  3. Agree with the article. We need to realize this is a collage kid coming from the weakest college hockey league (ECAC) which doesn’t produce many good NHL stars. What I like about him is he’s a tough player who doesn’t shy away from physical play. If he gets 10-15 goals and plays a tough physical style of hockey I’m happy. The hype was from him being a free agent and he did nothing to contribute to it.

    Now if only MSG would have a show in August recapping the draft and all the signings that would be GREAT. Gorton has done a very good job this off season so far. Lets hope the defense can be upgraded somehow.

    1. Don’t sleep on the ECAC. Count the number of frozen appearances over the past few years.

  4. AV has the luxury of only playing his best possible forwards night in, night out. There is the problem, let’s hope he finally plays the best on the team, and stops his silly mind games with the kids !!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’ve said it before, this signing gives us sooooooo many options, and flexibality to make trades, and improve some more going forward. As mentioned above, the need to improve the defense, and getting rid of one of the twins is so improtant. I suspect that maybe Staal can be salvaged, but Danny is a lost cause. He gave us all he had, but like time, we have to move on, and make a trade if possible.

    One last thought, Glass should never be mentioned again this coming season, that in itself is worth the signing of Jimmy !!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Fast, Lindberg, Jooris, Grabner, Gerbe, Jensen, Hrivik and Glass are all going to battle to play the 4th line. #Depth

    I don’t see how AV can play TG this year

  6. I will not copy and past form an other site.

    Glass is still on the team and Leopold is still the coach. Add that together and Glass plays. Sorry to disappoint you with reality.

      1. Comment Rules: Keep it civil when you disagree and do so politely. Thank you for adding to the conversation.
        Thanks for being polite with your disagreement. Thank you for your usual contribution which equals nothing .

  7. Very smart under the radar move by Gorton was signing on Chris Drury, who helped “immensely” in recruiting VZ.

      1. Because Vesey commented on how impressed he was with Drury & Gorton said his presence was vital to getting Vesey to sign with Rangers.

        1. Isn’t it amazing? How does someone even rate a question? I guess they were thinking you should have known why Drury was a good move or that he played a part in getting Vesey. That’s the only thing I can come up with. But I gotta give ya credit. That was funny you saying “love it 4 thumbs down for asking a question”.

          1. … Isn’t that what Dale Rolfe was heard to have said, Walt, after being rag-dolled by “Hammer” Shultz?

            Or was it, “The horror. The horror”?…

    1. 100% agree. While Drury the Ranger player turned out to be a disappointment, forming that relationship from years ago appears to be greatly benefitting us now.

      1. Welcome back, Unabomber.

        Insofar as Chris Drury’s play as a Blueshirt was certainly disappointing, Eddie, what was even more so was the fact that no Ranger retaliated for Curtis Glencross’s elbow to the head of our then-Captain.

        The hit and subsequent concussion only fast tracked Drury’s demise. Beyond the injury was the symbolic insult to our culture: No one stood up, Eddie. No one made Glencross accountable.

  8. Forwards are set, but Gorton still has work to do in order to improve the PP. Will Zuc and Stepan play on the point or will he bring in another Dman to replace Yandle?

    Without an effective PP and a dismal PK (hopefully shored up with the addition of Grabner and Jooris) the Rangers will struggle to make the playoffs.

    In the new NHL its all about the specially teams and shootout performers.

    1. I only partially agree. You clearly can’t win without a strong PK. But recent history suggests that a strong PP is NOT a requirement to have a great season and a deep run.

      In theory, the PK should be substantially better. PP? I’m not holding my breath. It’s been terrible since Jagr left.

  9. Does Vesey play wing or center in the NHL? That’s my biggest question. The popular narrative this summer was that Vesey wanted top 6 minutes. He won’t get that on the Rangers unless he plays wing. If he plays center, Hayes would be the one to shift to the wing since Stepan and Z are locked in to the 1 and 2 C roles. Hayes was completely useless as a winger last season so I’m not a fan of that move. Hayes centering Vesey and Buch in my opinion is the ideal scenario to start the season. They will get sheltered minutes and line up against weaker defensive pairings.

    I’m also not on the side of the fence where I think a trade needs to be made now. The current lineup keeps the 4th line players on the 4th line. Fast and Grabner will be a matchup nightmare for most other 4th lines in the league. That kind of depth is what got this team to the finals a few years ago.

    1. Not sure if I be comfortable with Kevin Hayes playing between the 2 rookies Vessey and Buch. Hayes is still learning the defensive part of the game, yet he has exceptional playmaking skills. With Brassard gone, I would have Kevin centering a line with Miller and Nash. I would have the 2 speedsters Z and Krieder playing with Buch and Jimmy V learning his craft with Steps and Zuc.

      I agree the 4th line looks solid and hopefully that transcends into a improved pk.

    2. Agree with everything you wrote Spozo (as usual), but you gotta give Hayes another year man.

      I’d bet my bottom dollar Hayes has a much better year this year then last.

  10. I like the forward depth at the moment, and agree with Spozo that such depth is one of the reasons the Rangers made it to the finals recently.

    I also don’t see a big reason to trade Nash right now unless you can either pry a top defenseman from someone or sure fire talent of any kind. With all these talented young forwards, I see Nash having a fine year if he stays healthy. That said, his trade value might be quite high at the trading deadline and the Rangers will have to decide at that time whether they part with their best sharpshooter to fill in the defenders or to assure the future.

  11. Aren’t there any very exceptionally good defensive prospects stuck anywhere in the American Hockey league we can pry loose with a trade?

    1. I think Bengtsson was the only one we really could’ve signed to play in the NHL. I think Josh(writer on this site) has mentioned some defensive signings that I cant recall.

  12. Nash Zibanejad Zuccarello
    Kreider Stepan Buchnevich
    Vesey Hayes Miller
    Grabner Jooris Fast

    Lindberg as the 4th line center when healthy

    McDonagh Klein
    Skjei Girardi
    Staal McIlrath
    Holden

    I can see that being a fine opening lineup. The trades don’t have to come right now. Staal and Girardi could bounce back…. Whether they do or not, they are moveable. Ryan Graves is also waiting to make the jump

    As for Vesey… what’s not being said yet is, as nice of a prospect he is…. Buchnevich has the higher ceiling. Vesey may have the higher profile right now, but Buchnevich is going to come in and turn some heads

    1. Boosh & Kreider are both left wingers so I doubt they will both be on the same line. I’d rather see VZ or Miller at centre than Hayes, as Hayes is not defensively responsible enough to play centre, not to mention the fact that he is poor on faceoffs.

    2. Robert, I like your pairing, especially on defense, Staal & Mcllrath could blend well. Although the Girardi & Skjei pairing has me concerned, do you really want to do the to a rookie? ? Look at how much McDonagh’s game suffered last year, sure he battled some injuries, but you can not tell me that having to cover constantly for Girardi’s poor play did not take its toll on his game..

      1. Having Girardi on the 3rd pair would mean he’d play against lesser talent. Skjei has the speed to cover up Girardi’s mistakes, too. Do I WANT to do that to Skjei… no… I’don’t like Shattenkirk and pair Klein with Skjei, trading Girardi, but I don’t think that’Lloyd happen

  13. Had my doubts he’d sign with the Rangers, glad he did. What I find amusing is reading all the other blogs for Chicago Boston Toronto… Basically bashing the kid for picking the Rangers and now saying he’s overrated etc. had their team signed him, they’d be ecstatic.

    1. That is pretty funny isn’t it. The same teams that were all in for signing the guy are now saying he’s no big deal. I seen that with some isles fans too. They’ve been saying Vesey ain’t that good also, yet last week they were all excited they had a chance to sign him. At the price it cost it is a big deal to get him. What team wouldn’t want a kid with his stats n potential at that price. If he turns out to be a flop then we say goodbye n move on. Can’t lose on deals like this really.

    2. Vesey was a “done deal” a long time ago (about a month ago) but they had to “go through the process” to make it look legit, for tampering purposes.

      Hawks and the Isles pushed hard at the end but I heard it was the Rangers all along thanks to Hayes and Drury who helped make this happen. All the hockey writers had the Rangers out of it which shows you what they really know. Not much.

  14. Glut of forwards might lead to a trade, and unfortunately the guy (who I like a lot) that may be packaged for a trade is Oscar Lindberg. You look at the bottom 6 and it appears like Vesey-Hayes-Buch (ugh, 2 rookies, lol) will be the 3rd line. So that leaves Lindberg, Fast, Grabner, Jooris, Gerbe, Jensen, and Voldemort (Glass) for the 4th line. The Rangers have to do something with Jensen or they risk losing him on waivers (which they most certainly would if exposed). Grabner was signed for 2 years to play at least this year (and then get exposed for the expansion next year). Fast has a spot for sure and Jooris will be the opening 4th line C IMO. So that appears to be the 4th line. So where does that leave Oscar? Plus he has the most trade value of that group (not even close).

    So who would Oscar be packaged with? Probably Nash if I were to guess. Or, Lindberg could be traded for draft picks to try and stock up there for next year, but someone has to go. Glass “should” be finally waived but someone would still have to go and letting Jensen go for nothing would be very foolish. He should get a real chance to show what he has because he has been coming on very strong lately. Could be a diamond in the rough.

    G and Staal were being shopped everywhere and no takers. So the company line is 2 words: “Bounce back.” What else are they going to say because they will be in the opening night line up. 2 red flags for this coach with the opening night line up that says he hasn’t changed: Glass in the line up and G on the first pair with McD (put Skjei there instead). I hate this coach.

    1. Richter1994, excellent post, I too see Lindberg as a casualty in the numbers game. I think when healthy Lindberg is an excellent 2 way player, who also has a bit of a mean streak, rare for a European player. I would hate to see him go. Really spot on with your Girardi /Staal comparison, the NHL world knows they are through, overpaid and just plain dead weight,, skating in quicksand. ( Girardi more than Staal ). They basically tried to give them away, no taker, mainly due to their ridiculous contracts. So yes, all that is left is: They will have bounce back years. Please, this is the MAJOR PROBLEM that will haunt this team.

      1. Thank you my friend. We agree on these points. I love the forward depth, LOVE IT, but that D corps…

        Our only hope is that the D plays just well enough to keep Lundqvist from losing his marbles, which would mean “game over.” I hope that Skjei takes a big step forward that leads him to the top pair with McD.

    2. Maven, err, I mean, uh, Richter: please lend some context to this Nicky Jensen not being mentioned in the same breath as Hugh Jessiman…

      To wit, did the Dane really acquit himself this past season in the minors?

      I know it’s a post-facts world, but Trevor Linden gave up on him. But quick.

      I mean, Swarty owns a car wash in the exurbs of Copenhagen. If Jensen washes out, Swarty’ll give him a job.

  15. First of all, very happy we won the bidding for Vesey. That being said, I’m always very cautious and suspicious of the expected over-hype of prospects. I’ve seen far too many “future stars” turn out to be just ordinary players or worse. But still, this is a hard cap league, and you win by bringing in quality players who are affordable and cost controlled. So this had to be done and if it all breaks right, there’s no reason why this team can’t contend for several years to come. But it’s highly improbable that this team can win a Cup with just good or very good players (other than Hank obviously). It will be exactly what we saw from 2012-15. Real good but not good enough. To change this cycle, out of this group, at least one or two need to become stars. Right now, star power is still sorely lacking.

    I have a few thoughts following the Vesey signing that I believe debunk three points that I’ve argued against since I joined this community.

    1) “AV is not a good coach for young players”. This has been an ongoing topic of conversation on BSB for quite some time. But is it really true? Here are some quotes from both Gorton and Vesey following the signing.

    “He (Vesey) enjoyed talking to AV and hearing what he had to say about playing young players.”–Gorton in his presser speaking about the factors that led Vesey to sign.

    “But myself, my agent and my family were very impressed with the Rangers in our meeting, and talking to coach Vigneault, Jeff Gorton and Chris Drury, I was very impressed with those guys….”–Vesey from his statement.

    “Obviously I’m good friends with Kevin Hayes. He’s someone I’ve known since childhood. We played a little bit together growing up and we work out together and skate in the summer, so I’ve talked to Kevin a lot and he went through the same process as me two years ago, so he meant a lot during the process. He definitely had a big impact on me.”–Vesey from his statement.

    Vesey’s signing, following the signing of Hayes two years earlier, in my mind certainly debunks the theory that AV has a bad reputation with young players. I would think that in most cases, a player would NOT choose to sign with a team if he was not a good fit with the coach, right? I’d rank the player-coach relationship as maybe the number one reason why a player would choose to sign–especially a young player.

    I kept hearing how AV jerked so many young guys around, and in fact someone out here went as far to say that AV acted like a “coward” when he chose to sit Hayes for a couple of games when he was struggling. If Hayes felt that he was mistreated, then why on God’s green earth would he encourage his best friend to come on board and play for a “coward”? I understand that Vesey knows Miller too. Again, if Miller had been the victim of “mind games”, don’t you think that the REAL hockey community would know this about AV and that young players would steer clear of AV and the Rangers at all costs?

    As an aside, I have a good friend who used to work for the Blackhawks in their front office. He still has connections there. He told me that Toews and Kane each made trips to Boston to see the kid and told Vesey if he comes to Chicago, he’s definitely going to get a chance to play with one of them on the top two lines. And given the success the Hawks have had as a team as well how they gave integrated young players into mix, and the great reputation Coach Q has, on what planet could the Rangers have landed Vesey IF AV actually did have a bad rep with young players?

    So, I submit to the hockey court……

    “he was bad with the young players in Vancouver”–DEBUNKED! It turned out those players at the end of his tenure in Vancouver weren’t very good, so he was right not to play them more.

    “He hates Miller…he keeps jerking him around”–DEBUNKED! It turned out there were well documented work ethic issues with Miller that he has now worked through. He has seemingly earned AV’s trust and was given a much longer leash this past season. The kid earned it and AV responded in kind. Good coaching.

    “He acted like a coward in his benching with Hayes”–already discussed. Why would Hayes recommend that his friend should come to the Rangers if ANY of this were actually true?

    “he should have played McIlrath more”–maybe, but McIlrath had had all of a half season of AHL success. Before that, he was viewed at best as a long shot and at worst a bust. He made the team largely because he would have been exposed to waivers otherwise. To play a kid with so little pro experience is very risky. He played in half of the games he was healthy enough to play in. More than enough for his first year.

    I also have previously submitted the Bill Parcells quote where he said (paraphrasing) “If you give a young player too much too soon you can absolutely ruin that player.” Joe Girardi earlier this week said pretty much the exact same thing.

    On the charge AV is not good with young players…..I say he is clearly NOT GUILTY!

    2) “This is Gorton’s team now. Sather needs to stay on the golf course so Gorton, his hand picked successor, can clean up the mess Sather created.”

    To debunk this, I submit the following to the BSB jury….

    “Glen has input in every process. We talked to him every step of the way. He’s been through everything and been through more, so he’s been great. Just sort of advising along the way, and maybe this and that and picking up things. So he’s been a great sounding board and every step of the way we told him what we were thinking and where we were going and he’s been very supportive.”–Gorton’s statement when asked what role Slats may have played in the Vesey signing.

    I’ve said before and I’ll say it again. Sather is the President of the Rangers. He is not retired. He is involved in every decision. The only things that have changed are titles, responsibility, and most importantly, the “Circle of Life” so to speak that every team must go through in terms of when to “go for it” vs when to retool. We just saw in March that the Gorton most definitely will trade part of the future to get what he perceives to be a final piece. And depending on where the Rangers are at the deadline next March, I suspect he will again.

    On the charge that Gorton has been brought in to clean up Sather’s mess, I say there is no evidence to support this at all. There is far more evidence to suggest that both Sather and Gorton are working together as they have before on most key moves.

    3) “Trading draft picks has ruined this team. We are too old!” The Hayes signing, the trade of Brassard and now the Vesey signing clearly support what I’ve said from the beginning, which is not to get so bent out of shape when future pieces are traded. Unless we are talking about a generational talent, most of the time the talent or picks you’ve traded away can be recouped in future deals–which is exactly what the Rangers have done. One can certainly argue that neither Hayes or Vesey would have signed if there was a perceived glut of young talent that might make it more difficult to crack the lineup.

    It’s a balancing act, obviously. But I think most fans want their team to go for it when the opportunity is there.

    I rest my case, and now I look forward to hearing the verdict of the BSB jury. 🙂

    1. From the guy who says to others,”what did you expect him/them to say”, except of course, when it supports his theses, then it becomes the gospel truth. LOL!!! Did Vesey say, “I signed with NY because I was really impressed with Coach Vigneault?” Even if Slats was consulted, do you really think he can overrule Gorton? If he did, then Rangers would be looking for a new GM.

      1. Fair point Paul. I concede that. Those quotes were meant to support the bigger picture, which you’ve cleverly avoided. And that big picture is the central question in the debate…..why would Vesey sign with the Rangers if AV actually had a bad reputation when it comes to young players? The answer is…he would NOT have signed if that were indeed true.

        As for Slats, as President, he certainly CAN overrule. Dolan in theory can overrule. That’s the chain of command. But you are right, they would not do that unless they really felt the GM was off course. And yes, if that were to happen, then there would be a GM-ownership disconnect. So, you are partially right. Sather CAN overrule. But it’s highly improbable that he would. My point was that those saying that Gorton is working to “right the wrongs” of the Sather Administration that Gorton himself helped to shape are off base. They worked together then and they undoubtedly are working together now.

        1. A couple of responses:

          AV on young players. I have this argument too, saying he stinks at it and AV supporters use Miller as an example. Well my response to that is that Miller have the goods all along and just needed playing time, which AV was not amenable to doing every time Miller made a mistake. So, IMO, AV “wasted” valuable learning time for Miller by not letting the kid work through his issues. BTW, the Vancouver fans had the same complaint.

          On Vesey. $925K for a 3rd line player who will get 30-40 pts? YES PLEASE. And at 23 years of age. It’s not over hype IMO, it’s teams looking for an NHL ready player at 23 who will be paid an ELC. That’s value. That’s why so many teams were in on him. If he gets 35-40 pts then it’s a home run.

          Sather s still the last word, although Gorton is calling the shots on a day to day basis. Sather has the “right” to overrule Gorton but he will not do that too often because this is now Gorton’s gig. Gorton does look for Sather’s guidance and counsel. Gorton is making a definite effort to get younger and faster, as Nash, G, and Staal have been vigorously shopped.

          1. Richter-

            On Miller, it was reported by Dan Rosen on NHL.com around this time last summer at Miller was working on improving a sorely lacking work ethic. This was confirmed this past season on a Rangers post-game show by Dave Maloney who went even further, saying at this time a year ago there were serious questions as to whether he even WANTED to be an NHL player…a stunning indictment from a former player. Miller himself alluded to this when he signed this past summer, acknowledging he has a tendency to not bring it consistently enough when he has off games. It’s something he has vowed to work on and last season he was much better in that regard. I don’t understand why people think any coach is going to reward a player who has work ethic issues with MORE playing time, especially on those two Rangers teams in AV’s first two seasons that were legitimately fighting for a chance to win the Cup with what was, in my view, a no margin for error roster lacking in star power. Few if any would.

            As for Vancouver, the fans aren’t evaluators of talent. What young players in Vancouver did AV hold back that Torts somehow made better? I can’t think of any. I went back through that roster in AV’s final two seasons and the young “talent” wasn’t all that good….probably a key reason why Gillis got fired a year later.

            On Vesey, think you misunderstand what I’m saying. I support the signing 100% for all the reasons you mentioned. My point is you never know with young talent, and the Rangers aren’t going to be lifting the Cup anytime soon unless some of this talent becomes GREAT, as opposed to just good or very good as we saw 2012-15.

            On Sather/Gorton, we agree.

          2. I would be not truthful if I said that I didn’t hear about Miller’s lack of work ethic, because I did hear it. But based on prior experiences with Miller as a player from what I read, there had to be reasons for this particular incidence. While it’s not always on the coach (the player bears responsibility too), the coach usually “sets the tone” with the player and can create an environment that is harmful to player development.

            There is a story after AV got fired in Vancouver that if you read that article you can basically just change the players’ names from the Vancouver players to Ranger players. Scary how the similarities match up.

            While Hayes may have been to blame for some of his “play,” the coach’s decision to play Glass over him in some games is nothing less than negligence and stubbornness on the coach’s part. Should never happen no matter how bad Hayes plays. How Glass is even on the roster remains a mystery to everyone except the coach. Gorton should put the situation out of its misery.

          3. What about Dan Girardi playing with a broken knee cap, over a healthy DMC ???? I agree with your post, and I must admit, I’m not a fan of this guy at all, even before he came here, from his days in Montreal !!!!!!

          4. Hey Walt, answering you here. Excellent example. Oh one other thing my friend, you forgot G’s concussion in addition to the broken knee cap. Disgraceful on all fronts including the safety of G the player.

          5. It was not disgraceful. He was medically cleared to play.

            If he was cleared to play, it was understandable why a coach would go with a player who has had tons of playoff success and particularly so shutting down Crosby and Malkin over a player who had little in the way of experience.

            The whole narrative is totally overblown. Nothing likley changes whether McIlrath plays in that series or not. You all are just harping on this one issue and somehow THAT is the reason AV isn’t a good coach.

            Sorry, not buying it.

          6. He we go again, Joseph Goebbels responds with the canned answer!!!!!!

            Sorry Ed I have begun to tune you out for good!!!!!!!!!!!!

          7. I think “wasted” is a little harsh. He got into plenty of games and got good experience. If he takes another step forward, no reason why he can’t be n effective option.

            But I don’t have to concede that AV probably should have played him a little bit more. I just don’t agree that it’s the cardinal sin that you and others have made it out to be.

        2. The smartest thing Slats has done over & over is get people who can do the thinking for him, because like George Bush, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Things started to change for the Rangers after he screwed up multiple times & then brought in Gorton & Clark, to straighten the mess out which they did. So who cares if he CAN overrule, because he’s not going to do it. The tougher job will be Beuke’s, straightening out AVs mind.

          1. Yeah, I’m sure Slats, a HOF GM, isn’t the sharpest knife in the draw

            And of course, somehow Bueke is going to straighten out AV’s mind. I mean Bueke has such an extensive NHL coaching resume to fall back on.

            I can already see the narrative coming. If McIlrath struggles, it will be AV’s fault. If he takes a step forward, or if indeed the defense improves, that will be all because of Beuke. The man is a magician!!!!! Look how many teams have been banging down the door to hire him as an NHL coach….just like they are speed dialing Messier! 🙂

            I’m just kidding Paul. I actually think Beuke will do a good job. But let’s not go overboard here either!

      2. Agree Paul, also what thinking player would bad mouth an organization, or coach for that matter, and burn bridges behind himself????? So the quotes mean nothing to me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Ahhh, but Walt, you too are cleverly avoiding the central question. If it were actually true that AV is bad with young players, why would Vesey sign with the Rangers? Interesting that you failed to address the actual central question here as opposed to the peripheral stuff. Just like Paul. 🙂

          Back to Paul, now. You went out of your way earlier to cite the importance of Drury in this process. You based that I assume on the same quotes you are now disparaging as it pertains to AV? Just double checking here. 🙂

          Lastly, of the three people Vesey mentioned–Gorton, Drury and AV–which relationship is the most important one? Let’s assume the proposterous notion you are alluding to here is correct–He was sincere in his praise of Gorton and Drury but simply gave lip service to AV. Possible right? I mean, as a reporter, I concede that Paul and Walt CAN be correct that you can’t believe everything that is said in a presser. One never knows.

          But here’s why I’m likely right. I have no doubt that Gorton and Drury played a major role in landing the player. But logically, what relationship GOING FORWARD is the most important here for the player? Drury/Gorton, who he will barely interact with once the season starts? Or the head coach, who’s use of said player will directly impact on how quickly he develops and how much money he will make in his next deal? I guess if the player is an idiot, he’d come to a team with a HC that has a bad rep. Ahhh, but there’s that Harvard degree thing. So I guess he’s not an idiot. 🙂

          Since money is the same wherever he would go, then the answer is obvious. There is NO WAY he comes to the Rangers if it were actually true that AV has a bad rep when it comes to developing young talent. He would have been advised against coming by his agent, his college coach, his buddy Hayes, etc.

          Two of the top college free agents of he past three summers have chosen AV and the Rangers. That’s a pretty clear verdict I’d say.

          The defense rests!

          1. Two of the top college free agents of the past three summers have chosen the Rangers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not the coach my man ………………Let’s face it, the bright lights, social life, a great organization, serveral buddies like Hayes, JT, and Kreider, anyone can over look a coach, I know I could !!!!!!!!!!!

          2. The coach is months from being removed. Everyone knows the dire situation the coach is with the team. Vesey he knows that he will be there way longer than the coach if the coach keeps up his stupid decision making.

          3. Rock, you know this about AV how and why? On what planet is a coach in “dire straits” after the two of the best back to back seasons in franchise history, followed by 101 pt “off season”.

            I guess Cooper in TB is also in the same predicament, since his three year record in TB is virtually identical to AVs, despite the fact TB has a far superior roster (count the amount of Lightning players in the World Cup vs the Rangers….more than double the amount). So which coach has done the better job?

            So let me get this straight. Vesey purposely decides to play his first two seasons for a coach he knows is likely gone soon, for a coach he knows will make stupid decisions, will likely be fired, and then Vesey will get to play for some unnamed coach that he knows nothing about. Yep, that certainly makes sense……. on Mars I guess.

            If anything, Vesey choosing the Rangers probably indicates that in his Q&A with Gorton, he probably got the sense that there’s a good chance AV will be around, not the reverse.

          4. Bright lights, social life, great organization. He could get that in Chicago, Boston or Toronto. I’ve lived in Chicago. It’s every bit the great city NYC is. And on a per capita basis, the Hawks ar a far bigger deal in Chicago than the Rangers are in NYC. Same for the Bruins and Leafs.

            So seriously….if you had heard the coach of the team you were considering is NOT good with young players, and you had a chance instead to sign with the Hawks and play with a great coach and two elite players like Kane and Toews, you’d overlook the coach just to play in NY? Even though, by your understanding, the coach treats young players badly and that could impact your development? HA! I highly doubt you or anyone would make that choice if your supposition was true.

            All things being equal, the coach to me might well be the deciding factor in the decision that was made. He clearly does NOT come here if he had ANY misgivings about the coach.

          5. I guess this is because you keep repeating a lie that the Rangers don’t doesn’t have a good team. He picked the team that doesn’t have good players and no quality players only Henrik.
            The team quit on the coach he has five months left to change things around if not he’s gone. The players don’t live in a bubble they know exactly what’s going on. The coach is the biggest problem with the team not the team. So you see the only person that thinks we don’t have great players is you.

          6. My son worked in both Boston, and Chicago, and they can’t hold a candle to the Big Apple!!!!!!!!!!!

            I attended plenty of trade shows at Mc Cormick place, and know the town very well, it sucks ……..

          7. Really Rock? How many of our “great” players were selected for the World Cup? Compare that to TB. No comparison.

            When did I say we didn’t have a good team? Of course we have a good team. Good teams can make deep runs as we have done. Great teams that have great players tha can win it all. Who on the Rangers, other than Hank, is considered “great”?

            Do you think there is a GM out there that would take our roster over most any other team that made the playoffs these last few seasons?

            He picked the team? Really? Do you actually understand the difference between a coach and a GM? The GM picks the team. And that particularly is true with the draft, where the coach has very, very little input. Our failure to draft enough high end players is why we have fallen short. What does that have to do with the coach?

            The team quit on he coach? Really? That’s a pretty serious charge. Fireable in fact. What are you basing this on? Just wondering, did the Hawks quit on Coach Q this past season and the Kings on Sutter two years in a row? Did the Panthers quit on their coach? Or does that lazy narrative simply apply to AV?

            If the players were unhappy, again, I ask you, why did Vesey come here. Why didn’t they go to Gorton and say the coach has lost the room, as apparently happened three years ago when Torts was ousted. Do you honestly believe that the GM of the Rangers, who’s future is based on making the RIGHT decisions, would keep a coach when the players had quit on him? If that wer the case, the GM would be equally culpable and would be fired too.

            Please give us your proof if you are going to make such a ridiculous claim.

          8. Walt, so let me get this straight. I’m not allowed to voice a different opinion? I thought the whole idea of this blog was so that different opinions can be expressed. I have always respected your views even if we disagree. Okie dokie then! I’ll just say “whatever you say Walt!” Would that make you feel better!

            And on top of that, Chicago and Boston somehow aren’t good cities to play hockey? That’s a new one! Only NY huh? Hilarious!!!!!!

            And you call me a “snob”! You need to look in the mirror.

          9. Correction on my post to RR….I meant to say….

            1) “Great teams have GREAT players that can wit it all”

            2) Do you think there is a GM out there that would take our roster over any of the teams that made the Conference Finals the last few years? (I did not mean all playoff teams…my bad!)

          10. VZ said Detroit was too far from home. Is Chicago closer to home, Eddie? After all Detroit IS Hockeytown, n’est pas?

          11. Eddie has such blinders on that he can’t seem to grasp the ideas we are espousing. VZ didn’t say I was REALLY impressed with Coach Vigneault in our meeting and that is why I chose the Rangers & besides Haysie told me he is a future Hall Of Famer.”

          12. Paul, fair point. Geography matters. But if that was the ultimate tie breaker why not stay in Boston and play for his home town team?

            And no, I don’t have blinders at all. I’m not saying that AV was THE reason. I’m saying that if AV TRULY had the rep of being bad with kids, there is no way he would have chosen to come to the Rangers. That’s been my point all along. It’s obviously unknown what degree AV played in JV’s selection. But logically, if the choice is limited to…

            A) AV was THE reason he joined the Rangers

            or

            B) he came in spite of AV,

            there is no middle ground option, and you could win a $1 million if you get it right, which one would most people choose?

    2. Eddie, Thanks for making this site an exciting, opinionated place to be. We do not always agree, but your opinions are valued and open many eyes, two sides to every story!!!

      1. Thank you Bobby. You are a class act. I enjoy our debates very much. It would be boring if we all agreed, right? :).

        1. You know what’s boring—it’s hearing the same old lines over & over& over & over. At least you could repeat them in precis form, so that I don’t go into trance about a quarter of the way through what I’ve already read 28 times before.

          1. Ok…..but does that limitation apply to you? How many times have you gone on and on about how the coach is the weak link, McIlrath needs to play more, blah, blah blah.

            You have your opinion and you are entitled to it. Should I not respond if I disagree? Personally, I think it is totally reasonable to speculate that the Vesey signing, coupled with the Hayes signing two years ago, MAY challenge the thinking on what AV’s reputation really is with younger players. Why is that repetitive or unreasonable?

          2. Sorry I don’t write 10,000 word screeds(as Professor Fotiu calls them) on the same thing over & over, except on occasion with you. Hey, season starts soon & I hope AV does all the right things and makes you right as rain, but I’m not betting a bottle of Crown Royal on it.

  16. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie!

    Hope you’ve had a good summer.

    I was the one who referred to Vigneault as a “coward” for benching Hayes. You presented my comment with poor context.

    I stated this NOT because Hayes did not deserve to be benched (as your comment implied) but because there were at least 3 veteran, top 6 forwards at the who were performing worse, and who had much great responsibilities within the team than Hayes. That is the proper context, for the record, and I stand by my statement.

    I have nothing to add re: Vesey, but the article was a very high quality assessment; nice work Pat.

    1. AD!!!!! Great to hear from you!

      It’s an old argument, and I want to avoid getting Paul upset by me being too long winded and repetitive. So I’m really going to try to appease him now as much as I can, since he and Walt fancy themselves as the BSB police. I don’t want to get a ticket for excessive words. 🙂

      Let’s just say that I still think that you jumped the shark by calling AV a “coward” for sitting a player, despite the points you made. This isn’t football. You can’t bench that many guys in a hard cap league. Anyway, AV doesn’t usually sit guys because they are struggling. The cardinal sin for him is effort, or lack thereof. It’s what earned Miller demotions and press box time a few years back, and despite not wanting to do it, it apparently became necessary to send Hayes a message due to lack of effort.

      You certainly are entitled to,your opinion. I just don’t think the hockey world shares the same view. I doubt JV signs with the NYR if the narrative on AV is that he’s a coward.

      Ooooops! I’ve exceeded my limit…..the BSB police are closing in….better run now! 🙂

  17. Question for anyone with a view: why did the Rangers have difficulty this off-season hiring an experienced, NHL defensive coach? We’ve never had difficulty attracting an experienced candidate for this role?

    I certainly believe the reports an experienced coach was our preference. So taking that as accurate, what happened?

    1. Apparently, AV wanted Brad Shaw to be his defensive coach, but Brad opted to go to Columbus & work for Torts, so let Eddie run a narrative about how it doesn’t mean a thing that Shaw picked Torts over AV.

      1. What narrative? An assistant coach decides to work for one coach over another? Wow! A shocker! Clearly that’s a damning indictment of AV. He should be fired immediately.

        So Shaw decides to work for Torts. That’s on AV. Vesey decides to sign with NYR. That’s in spite of AV.

        Makes perfect sense.

  18. I have to chime in, many different opinions, the juices are flowing, we all have our own views. I echo the words of Paulronty, Walt & Richter1994, The one point I can not let go is the playing of a hurt Dan Girardi, ( his game was in severe decline, before the broken knee cap/concussion) over arguable our third best D-man Dylan Mcllrath. This was inexcusable in my eyes, whatever his reasons??, AV has issues with playing Mcllrath,?? went as far overboard to bring back career AHL player Raffie Diaz in game 5 against the Pens, lets not fool ourselves, that was a slap in the kids face, not only felt by Mcllrath, but the entire team. AV seems to more of a veterans coach, he has had success with older players. I can not deny his won/loss record, but if this team gets off to a slow start, the AX is over his head.

    1. because mcilrath cant keep up with the deep skilled teams. skating ability just isnt there. hes a 6/7 d man at this point

      1. sorry to state this, but Boyle, and Girardi are slower than the kid, Bobby has a solid point here !!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Totally agree, Bobby, Coach Walt.

          It’s a given: The Undertaker doesn’t possess great, or even above average foot speed.

          Inasmuch the kid more than compensates for that deficiency with I. reach; II. his crease clearing/physicality down low; III. energy-exuberance; IV. size; V. his shot; VI. and relatively solid positional play; VII. guts.

          It’s simply a false narrative to keep repeating McIlrath can’t keep up.

          He ain’t freaking Phil Housley. He won’t ever be Paul Coffey. But he may be our next Jeff Beukeboom. Rich Pilon. Eddie “Boxcar” Hospodar. (I just had to… for Bobby and Swarty.)

          Without question, McIlrath’s got intangibles and components to his game that more than a few clubs are desperate for.

      2. that was not the case in early third of the season when McIlrath played games consistently. Inn fact, on most of those nights, McIlrath and Yandle were our best pairing unit across all ends of the ice. that’s not an opinion there is a whole gamut of stats that illustrated this last year

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