Some quick Friday afternoon thoughts

I know, I know, Dave just gave his thoughts on the deadline yesterday, but Dave and I are not the same person.  Deal with it.  It’s been a couple days since the deadline has passed, and I have had the ability to process the Rangers moves (and non-moves) and as you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. Considering Alain Vigneault’s track record with defensive deployment, it’s understandable for fans to be skeptical about the actual impact of the Brendan Smith trade. With someone like Shattenkirk, it would be a no-brainer to put him on the first pair. With Smith, depending on your view of his skill level, he could play anywhere from 1RD to 3RD. It seems like the Wisconsin connection with Ryan McDonagh has him ticketed for the first pair, which is a good thing. I don’t believe that Smith is an actual 1RD by any stretch, but since the Rangers gave up some relatively significant assets to acquire him, I’d much rather he push guys down the line up, than lengthen it from the bottom.

2. I suppose the bigger picture story is the non-acquisition of Shattenkirk. Every #hockeyinsider at one point or another had indicated that the former Blue had effectively forced his way to New York, ala Rick Nash. Seems that wasn’t meant to be as Washington ponied up for the rental version of Shattenkirk. On one hand, losing a really valuable puck moving defenseman to the best team in the conference is a big blow to the Rangers realistic Cup chances, but in hindsight, I’d rather the front office stay out of a bidding war with the Caps and look to bring him in this summer.

3. I’m glad the Rangers did not go out and try to acquire a “gritty veteran” forward at the deadline. They have no real need for additional forward depth and an acquisition of that type would have just removed skill from the lineup. If this were say, five years ago, something tells me Shane Doan would have been wearing blue last night.

4. I was a little bummed to see Mat Bodie go. I know it’s a relatively insignificant move in the grand scheme of things, but I enjoyed watching Bodie play for Union College (which is about 20 min from me), so there was a local connection there. Good luck, Mat.

5. That Marchand goal last night was just such a microcosm of the Rangers defense.  The Holden/Staal Disney on Ice impression was something special to watch, though.

5. I’ll be very curious to see Jeff Gorton’s blue print for the defense this summer. It seems that the desire to bring Shattenkirk aboard is there, but how he deals with potentially re-signing Smith and the tough decisions on Klein, Staal and Girardi will make for some off-season intrigue. The Rangers have a couple key RFA’s in Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast to factor into those calculations, as well. I think everyone would be fine with a McDonagh/Shattenkirk, Skjei/Smith, Clendening/Staal blue line for next season, but I will be very curious to see if some combination of Klein, Girardi and Staal will really be jettisoned.

6. Isn’t it crazy that Henrik Lundqvist just turned 35? He is almost exactly one year older than I am, but I still take it for granted. It seems like yesterday that he was one of the best young goaltenders in the game. At 35, he is clearly not entering the twilight just yet; I would even argue that despite his rough start to the year, he isn’t even really declining. Looking at Hank on a historical curve, Dominick Hasek won a Stanley Cup at 43 and Martin Brodeur played in a Stanley Cup Final at 39.  It’s not necessarily all downhill from here.

7. With eighteen games to go, the Rangers enter a fairly grueling part of the schedule. They have four (!) back-to-backs this month and fifteen total games. The quality of competition isn’t anything special, but after all those back-to-backs, they take a three game west coast swing before returning home to play Pittsburgh. It would take a fairly monumental collapse to have a playoff spot threatened by a downturn in play, but unless they really carve up this schedule, it’s looking more and more likely that they will cross over to the Atlantic come playoff time. Which, I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing.

8. Oh, one more thing.  How ridiculous were those Buchnevich and Lindberg goals?  Wow.

That’s it for me this week, the boys are back at in against Montreal tomorrow before a back to back down in Florida. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

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  • Both Buch and Oskar can shoot the puck. The 6 defenseman you selected for next year would be quite nice, but offing all of those contracts would be quite a task. I really hope that Gropp fits in as a 6th or 7th defenseman.

    I am guessing the draft will make some of the plans mute, as I am sure there will be some wheeling and dealing with the Vegas team.

    Hoping we add a speedy replacement for Grabner, as he seems already a resident of the Vegas team.

    • Let’s look at Grabner another way …

      What if there is a Connor Sheary (from two years ago) type available as a FA. A younger, not yet established winger, that is a pure burner.

      Would you be ok letting Grabner go to Vegas and simply sign this hypothetical young player? Would you rather the Rangers negotiate with Vegas to keep them from drafting Grabner?

      Personally, I think Grabner is a decent hockey player, but I’d be shocked if he pots 25 ever again.

      • On any other team? Probably not. His role, linemates and system flatter him. In Vegas he’d be back to a 10-15 goal scorer overmatched against top lines.

        • I think people don’t look at Grabner’s record very closely. The only time really he had a full season of play where he scored a low number of goals was last year in Toronto.

          Yes, I think he is a situational player. Deployed correctly like the Rangers deploy him, he stands the chance of putting up good numbers. Used otherwise where his speed is not a focus and he will definitely not score as much. His forte is the breakaway and stealing the puck to get behind defenders. He’s got a good backhand shot from close range. Get him those opportunities and he will produce.

          That being said, he is 29. I’d love to keep him around, but it probably won’t be possible. The Rangers would do well to find a young guy with similar skills for the role.

  • But but have you seen Staal play? I pointed out that Staal has been our worst defenseman yesterday, and it was implied that was an inaccurate assessment. In just the past 4 games, the Staal/Holden pairing have given up over half of all 5×5 goals against.

    In calendar year 17, the Rhombus of Suck starts with Staal, moves up (down?) to Holden then to Girardi then to Klein. That’s from worst to least worst.

    I still think Holden deserves a shot to play on his natural side and away from Staal. If he’s not going to be granted the opportunity, then I’m afraid we missed the boat on selling him high, just like we did with Klein.

    • He could likely handle 3rd pair duties, but I think Girardi is a better fit for that bottom pair, and deal off/buyout Staal.

        • Agree. My spidey senses can see a possible future of:
          1) Organization getting Girardi to waive his NMC clause
          2) Gorton “trading” our 1st rounder this year in exchange for Vegas selecting Girardi. That would be a decent chunk of change for them that will aid in getting them to the salary cap floor
          3) getting Staal to waive his and try and unload him for pennies on the dollar with around 50% retained. While that’s still dead money, not as bad as his buyout.

          From there? I don’t know. I think AV still views Klein as effective despite two years of evidence now he can’t keep up. Question becomes Holden. He’s not a right defenseman and he’s not a puck mover either.

          • Love the moves……..

            #4 . ? How about including Stall in a givaway trade with.Stepan,
            and using the money saved to resign grabner and our RFA…..

          • Not enough teams near the floor to make it work.

            Throwing this out there, wouldn’t wish it on anybody; but the mishandling of Girardi’s ankle(if worse than mentioned as MRSA as an ever present threat) could give the Rangers an out.

          • Vegas has to achieve a minimum amount in NHL salary during the draft. Girardi’s $5 mil can take a good chunk of their required $43 mil

          • Forced retirement, and would save us the #1 pick John was willing to lose to clean house……..

          • Wow John, you also see Danny boy’s short comings, and are willing to give up a #1 pick to just rid us of the man. Welcome to my world, but there still are others who believe the man can play, yes he can, maybe in the ECHL !!!!!!

            By the way, what a waste of a good #1 pick…………

          • Not ideal no. But saves us $5.5 million dollars. Unless the scouting department can project a worthwhile prospect for this years #1, I’d rather use that asset to rid us of that contract with no dead cap space. Now if the scouts say there’s a worthwhile target for us in this draft class then keep it.

            To avoid having dead cap space, were gonna have to get creative and lose something to rid ourselves of him. If he retires we still get hit with a penalty by the CBA I believe. I’ll look into it. I think they have to be over a certain age or in a certain part of their contract. Girardi isn’t in the last portion of his contract nor is he over 35, I’ll look into it.

            Other problem with that, I truly believe the coaching staff thinks he’s still a viable option on the team. Would you retire if that was the case?

          • First of all, the contract was signed before a certain age that requires the cap hit after retirement, and Dan wouldn’t qualify for that.

            The major problem is the coaching staff, ie Marv, who may be the only dipstick on planet earth that thinks Girardi is still good. And there lies the issue, where he plays him over younger, faster, better skating, better shooting defensemen, come hell or high water. I’ll say it again, the guy is a loon!!!!!!

    • Sal

      I suggested that last week, and was told that the players association wouldn’t go for it, but I agree, that would put an end to having to carry garbage on your roster quickly !!!!!!!

    • Bite your tongue. The fact the NFL has non-guaranteed contracts is one of the most reprehensible things in modern pro sports.

      You should look at it as a point of pride that NHL players are entitled to the money they sign a contract for.

      Now, if you are suggesting that the NHL do away with the idiotic Redden Rule and allow teams to bury veterans in the minors to remove them from the cap, while still paying them their full salary, I’m ok with that.

      • I agree and dosageee. I think the Redden Rule needs to stay but modified. Taking it away would allow teams like us to just buy away again and allows for open circumvention of the cap. I’d rather see them open it up and allow only a certain monetary amount to be buried in the AHL.

    • Go Dutchman! I spent my freshman year there and it was awesome getting lit on Saturday then heading out to watch some ECAC hockey.

  • I have two things to ask, this expansion draft is so complicated.
    1- don’t the Rangers need to have a defenseman signed for next season (Klein) to leave exposed for the Vegas draft? Or is it just a single skater/roster player?
    2-if the Rangers were to sign Shattenkirk, wouldn’t they have to dump either Staal or Girardi to protect him? Or is the draft before free agency begins?

    • Rangers can protect 7 forwards / 3 defensemen (or 8 skaters total) and 1 goalie.

      Skjei is exempt, as are FAs (Smith), so the obvious protection would be McDonagh, then 2 others. Right now, Girard and Staal have to be protected because of NMCs. But, buy one out or get one to waive, and you can protect Holden or Clendening or Klein, if you would care to protect one of those.

      Draft is before signing deadline, so Rangers could sign Shatty after the draft.

  • In order to get free agents under the cap, NYR need to get rid of Stepan and his 6.5 mil/year contact. Maybe NYR can resign Nash back for a reasonable contact, Eric Staal signed a 10.5mil 3 year contact last year.

    • No, they don’t, unless you see Mika signing a $8M/year contract extension.

      Dumping Klein and losing Holden or Grabner in the expansion draft, combined with non-tendering the dead weight that is Brandon Pirri, not resigning Smith, and Glass’ expiring contract, give the Rangers $13.25M in cap space to sign 1 D (Shattenkirk?), resign Mika, Fast, Lindberg, and find a 14 FW.

      • Fast is a fungible player that you could replace with another ELC player, like Boo(while I think he has hands of stone, so does Fast) who is bigger, as fast and cheaper.

        • Boo may be all you say, and he would make the 4th line, along with Oscar, and Fast a very sound line ………

  • Lindberg vs Fast in expansion draft? I would keep Lindberg, but I wish NYR could keep both. Washington went after Shattenkirk to block NYR from acquisition. As long as Lundquist stays on stationary bike he will stay in NHL past his 40’s if he wants to. Girardi will be bought out at end of year and he knows it. Staal is a keeper I feel. Klein or Holden? I would move Klein or maybe both could bring back at asset of interest. Finally, please get our KHL goalie on this side of pond for next year. Wish to know how he does against AHL competition.

    Bring on the Habs or the Bruins in the 1st round!

    • Doug

      The goalie, I won’t attempt to spell his name, is signed for another couple of years, and unless we buy out his contract, he won’t be here. As at matter of fact, I really don’t know that he can be bought out at all???????????

  • Shatty is coming to NY without giving up anything but casheesh.

    And it was evident that Gorton is not Sather and keeping the young core plus the high draft picks were a priority.

    PLUS, how would it look if the Rangers traded for Shatty and then waited to re-sign him after the expansion draft to avoid having to protect him? That would have been very hard to prove that this wasn’t orchestrated in advance.

  • I think Gorton is gonna pass on Shattenkirk, let Nash go, and trade Stepan for a few draft picks so he has plenty of cash to sign Mcilrath to a 10 year, 9 mill a year contract. It’s very obvious and I can’t believe nobody else seen it. Come on people get with the program

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