Irresponsible Rumormongering

How could the Rangers replace Derek Stepan IF they trade him?

Derek Stepan has registered at least 53 points in each of the last four seasons

With the Rangers hamstrung by a tricky cap situation, several cumbersome no-movement clauses and few tradable assets that make sense to part with, there’s been quite a bit of chatter that Derek Stepan might be the most logical piece to dangle in exchange for a right-handed defenseman.

But while there’s some plausibility to the idea, dealing Stepan would also leave a gaping hole at center. So hypothetically speaking, how could the Rangers handle the crucial pivot position if Stepan were shipped out of town?

Stand pat and promote from within

In this scenario Mika Zibanejad would become the undisputed top line pivot while Kevin Hayes and Oscar Lindberg would receive more responsibility and ice time. But regardless of how high you are on Hayes and Lindberg, there’s a major drop-off in going from Stepan, Zibanejad and Hayes down the middle to Zibanejad, Hayes and Lindberg. Is that drop-off worth the upgrade on defense? That’s something that must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but there’s no doubt the Blueshirts would be taking a huge hit down the middle.

In this scenario, it’s also possible that JT Miller could be moved to center full-time, but most indications are that New York prefers to have him on the wing and that he’s more comfortable in that position. The vacant fourth line position could be filled from within by Boo Nieves, who pushed for a job out of camp last year but was quiet after that. But it’s hard to fathom him being handed a job uncontested – Nieves would almost certainly face some level of external competition (perhaps Maxim Lapierre for another PTO?).

Find a replacement through free agency

There are two fundamental problems here: 1) Free agency is pricey and would reduce the anticipated cap savings of dealing Stepan in the first place, and 2) It’s a poor free agent crop with few viable options.

Here’s a quick look at who’s scheduled to be available:

Joe Thornton – It’s difficult to imagine Thornton leaving San Jose under any circumstances, but Thornton and Rick Nash have had some outstanding chemistry in international play previously, so perhaps that could be appealing for Jumbo Joe. Fitting him under the salary cap at a guaranteed 35+ contract is another story, but he’s the one pending UFA that could match Stepan’s value to New York.

Mike Fisher – Fisher’s situation with the Predators is very similar to Thornton’s with the Sharks and it’s hard to fathom Nashville letting Carrie Underwood its beloved captain leave town. He’s also a dreaded 35+ candidate.

David Desharnais – The 30-year-old has barely been able to hold down an NHL job over the last two seasons and was run out of town in Montreal, but he has hovered around the 50-point plateau previously.

Martin Hanzal – Hanzal was one of the headliners at the trade deadline and put up decent numbers for Minnesota with 13 points in 20 games. He’s a solid third-line center but has had a very tough time staying healthy.

Nick Bonino – Poaching a player from the Penguins is obviously appealing and like Hanzal, Bonino would be a reasonable leader for the third line, but no more.

Brian Boyle – I can dream, can’t I? The smart money is on Boyle staying re-signing in Toronto, as Mike Babcock has loved him for years and the Leafs need a few battle-tested veterans to guide their youngsters.

Sam Gagner – The 27-year-old pivot turned perhaps his last chance in the NHL into a 50-point season and will be rewarded this summer.

The best of the rest: John Mitchell, Nate Thompson, Vern Fiddler, Dominic Moore, Jay McClement, Ryan White, Chris Kelly, Steve Ott, Tom Pyatt, Derek Ryan, Chris VandeVelde, Daniel Winnik, Yanni Gourde, Jordan Weal, Andreas Martinsen. Of these, I’d only consider Fiddler because he’s responsible for my favorite moment of Alain Vigneault’s career.

Obtain a lesser defenseman in tandem with a center for Stepan, or build a multi-player blockbuster

The whole point of trading Stepan would be to fetch that top-pairing D-man the Rangers sorely lack, so attempting to also acquire a useful center in a package for Stepan would be somewhat counterintuitive. That said, if the Blueshirts do intend to increase Brady Skjei’s responsibilities significantly and are able to re-sign Brendan Smith, then perhaps acquiring a bona fide top-pairing D-man isn’t an absolute necessity so long as New York gets a legitimate top-four guy that has exhibited the clear potential for more.

Last year’s swap of Derick Brassard for Mika Zibanejad is a decent model to follow here. Brassard was viewed as the best player in the deal at the time, but obviously the Rangers brass believed Zibanejad was capable of much more even if his value at the time wasn’t sky-high. Remember, Zibanejad also came with a second-round pick, so if New York instead focused on a D-man as the focal part of a return for Stepan and an unproven yet talented center was substituted for the second-round pick, there might be a way to build a solid deal. But yes, that’s a lot of ifs.

Of course, the other way of expanding the deal and getting both a center and a D-man in a trade for Stepan would be for the Rangers to amplify their side of the equation. That goes back to the earlier issues of New York not having much of value to realistically throw in, but it’s not impossible. Given Stepan’s salary, this would almost definitely have to be Kevin Klein or Nick Holden as it’s unlikely New York would part with another young forward unless the return was massive and the other D-men carry massive cap hits that would likely be too hard for another team to accommodate along with Stepan.

Make a second trade for a center

This gets tricky for all the reasons listed above. To get a good center, New York would again have to part with more assets it doesn’t really have to give. Certainly a reunion with Artem Anisimov would be nice, but Chicago would only consider dealing the Russian to get cap relief and that’s not an area the Blueshirts are positioned to help.

Youngsters Matt Duchene and Alex Galchenyuk are also on the block, but they’re premier young talents that would cost an arm and a leg. There will be other names that circulate as the expansion draft approaches, but as of now this looks like a dead end.

So with all that said, would you still deal Stepan? And if so, how would you replace him?

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    • Stepan + Skjei for Ryan Johansen + Ryan Ellis, who says no? Probably Nashville, but right now they need to protect 4 D and Skjei is exempt so maybe it isn’t so far-fetched.

      • That deal I’d make, but do you really see them giving up Ryan Johansen, for our trash???? I don’t see that happening, sorry……………

        • Walt, with all due respect, your vocal disdain for Stepan is so extreme it is beginning to become offensive. Your view of him isn’t even accurate. It’s as if, in your mind, their paying him Toews/Kane money. He is making 6.5 million per year, and based on comparable contracts, he is not paid an egregious amount. Trash?? Come on, Walt. There is a lot of middle ground in between Mark Messier and a heaping pile of garbage and Stepan falls comfortably in the middle of that spectrum.

          Don’t take this as me telling you that you have to like him. You don’t. But can we be realistic about his value as a positive asset on this team.

          • Hat

            Your right, I have a disdain for his game, and lack of gumption, and it shows big time. The thought that as an organization we would give him the contract we did, and the NMC, just drives me nuts. If we don’t get rid of him, our hands, and ability to due what must be done for the improvement of this team, will be restricted!!!!!!!!

          • I know you think his contract is fair value, but I have been steadfastly of the opinion that he is vastly overpaid. Good player yes, but expendable for all the reasons Walt mentioned. For two years I have advocated trading Step because his NMC is a killer for a guy who doesn’t play like a top centre & frankly I don’t care what the stats say.

          • He is on the high end of the spectrum (perhaps overpaid but not egregiously) and I am completely on board with trading him for the proper return. I don’t disagree with any of that, nor do I with what you say about the NMC. I can agree with all of that. But Walt (and others) has been calling him Daisy and trash for weeks now, and frankly it isn’t warranted.

          • I called him candy ass not daisy and stop with the spreadsheets. He is the worse number one center in the NHL and some teams have two centers better than him (Pittsburgh,Edm). He gets his numbers because he plays with the teams top players in all situations not because he’s better but because of the coach. The other centers on this team playing the same situations would put up better numbers. Some already have done so in 5V5 situations and others have scored more goals. Hat you need to look at the games not spreadsheets and you will see how a player really plays and gets his points. Who drives and who rides. Numbers one centers must drive in all situations for a team to think cup. Stepan is a passenger. Miller is a center and should be put in the middle and given the freedom to wreck havoc. He’s a natural center. Before CBJ traded Ryan J. I said trade Stepan for him a true number one center. I have no problem with Mika, Hayes, JT and Oscar in the middle. If Stepan is as good as all say he should bring back a top RHD no?

          • Harlem- 1 who said a thing about a spreadsheet?

            2 Newsflash- he isn’t our number 1 center. Zibby is and to anyone watching it’s clear as day that he’s passed Stepan on the depth chart.

            3 Vesey is better than Kreider and Zucarello? Vesey is better than Miller? The Rangers spread their talent across 3 lines but it is clear as day that Zib has the most favorable linemates (Kreider and Zucarello).

          • He hasn’t been the same player since breaking his jaw and leg.

            He is damaged goods.

            And despite the arguments to the contrary he is NOT a number one center. I will go as far as talented two way center that scores when he is in the right spots. Which he wasn’t this year.

            So besides being too small to handle big players and too slow to handle fast players his only way to get points is positioning. And it was horrible this year. He can pass. Got enough passers on the team need finishers.

            Like I said he lost something after the injuries.

          • Remember that there are other additional considerations and reasons to trading Stepan (and perhaps even Nash) than merely his just not being good enough to be a top #1 center, which he most certainly isn’t. We must find a way to protect Fast, and Grabner and Lindberg. I would propose Stepan for no player at all! How ’bout a number one and a #2 or 3 pick? We currently have no # 2 or 3 pick this year I believe and it would give us at least one (or 2) extra spot(s) to protect one or 2 of the above-mentioned. We’d also save 6.5 Mil (+ 7 + more if Nash were dealt too) in cap space. In addition, we MUST sign Smith and promote Graves, and if we were to keep Holden we’d have McD, Skjei, Smith, Holden, and Graves…and be able to fill #’s 6 and 7 D-men from stacked group of Klendening, those 2 new kids they signed recently, and pick of whomever they didn;t jettison: Klein, Stahl, Girardi. Then maybe find a free agent centerman or sniper to fill in upfront if it’s deemed necessary. We also need this open protection spots for the draft for vegas and not a new guy we;d need to protect. Thoughts???

        • Actually, this might be a pretty decent trade. Nashville gets a tiny bit younger. Nashville gets the player with the most growth potential. Johansen didn’t outscore Stepan by much (61-55) and this trade has a huge benefit to Nashville — it allows them to protect three (!) forwards in the expansion draft that they would otherwise have to expose.

          Likely, the trade would have to be tweaked a little to satisfy both parties – a little extra one way or the other – but something like this is possible, depending on the attitude of the GMs to the players involved.

          Bear in mind, Nashville is a good team that may win the Cup because they got hot at the right time. They are not this vastly better than the Rangers team.

          • Ray

            Could be but they play with tenacity, and we never have under this coach, and his system!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Never? The only coach in NHL history to rally back from 3-1 series deficits in consecutive seasons? What about in 2014 when we went to the SCF and 2015 when we fell 20 minutes short yet still made it that far despite losing their heart and soul player to a near fatal injury and had most of the defense wrecked by injury? Those weren’t exactly overwhelmingly talented teams. They were nothing if not tenacious when they were healthy.

            I think that’s a little harsh Walt. Were they tenacious in Games 4, 5 and 6 vs Montreal and Games 3-4 vs Ottawa, then not tenacious in the other games?

            The issue is they just haven’t been talented enough to get it done the last two seasons. Teams that win are tenacious. Teams that lose are not.

          • It helps when you have a coach who doesn’t toss out borderline 4th line AHLers / verifiable pylons in the waning minutes of a playoff hockey game……

            on a regular basis…

        • Are you aware how good Stepan and Skjei are?

          Truth is, Rinne makes his skaters look better; Hank makes his skaters look worse. The Rangers finished well ahead of Nashville in the standings, but somehow Nashville has the much better players??

          • Nashville spent the 1st two months of the season figuring out how to play with PK. In the game I saw, he was tentative, not playing like a rover that he did so well in Montreal. They struggled. from mid December the figured it out, but were still streaky.

            I won’t even comment on the Rinne thing.

          • “Hank makes his skaters look worse”.

            You mean the guy who just won Gold at the Worlds?

            Playing on a Swedish team lead by an NHL washout, but with a very good D.

            Against a Canadian team made of all NHLers and picked by pretty much everyone as an unstoppable machine?

            Pretty much an argument for what a good defense does to a goaltender. With the help of Hedman, Stralman, Ekman-Larson, and Ehlers, Hank showed what he can do to a team.

            Statements like “truth is”, then followed by an Opinion, is pretty much the definition of a logical fallacy.

          • You make a good point. Not many people are courageous enough to discard years of evidence in light of a single game.

            First of all, your comment is a non-sequitir. It doesn’t matter whether Hank is the greatest tender who ever lived or someone who doesn’t belong in the NHL. I was addressing how one viewed the guys on the ice with him. Are you telling me that from watching one game, you suddenly decided that Hedman was good? I dare say that your opinion of the Swedish defensemen was more or less what it was before the game.

            Second, I did not say that Hank was a poor goaltender; I did not even say Rinne was better, although goodness knows that his performance in the 2017 SCP exceeds any single year that Hank put together. [As noted above, one Cup run does not a career make.] There is a difference between doing your job and helping your teammates do theirs. Lundqvist excels at the former and sucks at the latter. We can argue about the relative importance of those two things – I am not pronouncing those that think the former is far more important are wrong (though I may disagree). However, we should not argue with the fact that when Girardi looks like crap playing in front of Hank (but not in front of Raanta), the goalie is coloring our perception of the other guys on the ice.

        • Thank you Dave. I can’t at times understand what people are looking at. Oh,spreadsheets that’s the problem not how a player creates chances,scoring opportunities for others shift after shift. That’s what the great one or really good ones do put pressure on the other team every time they step on the ice.Beware because I’m on the ice and I’m coming at you hard and if you make the littlest mistake trouble.

        • No way, Dave.

          All we gotta do is like add a 3rd rounder and it’ll be even!

          and by ‘3rd rounder’, I meant 3 first round picks. Lol

      • Ryan Johansen had the kind of injury that ended Cam Neely’s career.

        It might not end up that way as they caught it earlier, but something to keep in mind.

    • Walt – always love your passion, but cool it with the irrational Stepan hate.

      If you want to pose a legitimate conversation, discussing why he’s awful, go for it. Use video, analysis, stats, whatever you want.

      This “he’s not better than a turd” stuff is annoying and, honestly, insulting to those of us that spend hours analyzing and writing content.

      • Cmon Dave, Walt never uses things like statitistics or anything really tangible when analyzing a player. It’s either “he sucks” or “he doesn’t suck”.

        • I like Dave’s comment, but would like to add that the rule should apply both ways.
          A statement like (paraphrased) “Stop attacking players without a cogent argument”, then it shouldn’t be followed by Spozo’s equally black and white statement of “Walt never…”

          • Pavel

            Thanks my man. You see Spozo likes to throw grenades, and then wonders why people respond the way they do to him. I get personal with the players, but not to others until they attack first. On this post I won’t get too upset about!!!!!!!!!

      • He did discuss why he dislikes Stepan(soft, nonphysical, can’t win faceoffs, overrated, overpaid). All valid points. Stats are not absolute truth you know?

          • I hate stats, I go by what I see on the ice, and what I’ve seen isn’t worth the contract he has, IMHO !!!!!!!!

          • Cmon Walt don’t you know they already shot and released Moneyball? Why are you still auditioning?

          • What has moneyball ever won, Nothing. Spreadsheets and more spreadsheets don’t win cups. Players do watch the games and see what a spreadsheet will never tell you. How tough this MFCKER is to play against.

      • I don’t agree with this, but it is fair to argue that Stepan is only a $4M a year center. Now, truly, what is worse, someone known for his strong opinions thoroughly bashing a $4M player making $6.5M or people who profess to be even-handed and polite describing a $2M a year player making $5.5M as a pylon.

        • One could argue he would be cost controlled for the rest of his contract. So as players make more he will not.

  • Yes I would replace him if by trade, or from within.

    Oscar can handle the 3rd line, Hayes the 2nd, Z the 1st, with either Boo playing the 4th, or as suggested, Miller possibly going to the 3rd, and Oscar to the 4th. As for Stepan, he is grossly over rated, over paid, under performed, but maybe can help get us a much needed right d-man.

    It’s clear as day, we need to replace the defense as it is constructed today. Staal, Girardi, Klein all should be let go some how, giving us an opportunity to get much needed cap relief, but more importantly, upgrade the entire defense, which is about two, to three years overdue.

    I have no idea what is available at the draft, but maybe a deal with Colorado for Duchene can be worked out, if there are no takers for a decent right d-man out there. That wouldn’t give us much cap relief, but it would upgrade the position, as to Daisy’s short comings have well been expressed by many, including myself, and rid the team of that horrible contract. Bottom line, I would get rid of him in a heart beat, for which he has none!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I think you undervalue too many hockey skills. A good team needs players willing to go to the boards and dig out the puck, in fact you need players like that on every line. But if everyone is on the boards, no one is going to score. Different people have different skills and you need a good mix.

      It may be right that people here undervalue what you must admire, but that doesn’t negate the importance of other skills. By your standards, Wayne Gretzky wasn’t very good, but obviously he did okay.

      • Ray

        Come on man, he has a mental malady, I refer to it as “Contact Aversion”. I took my lesson seriously when Doc Paul lectured!!!!!!

        He absolutely refuses to get dirty, and is nothing but a coaster. If he produced like The Great One, I certainly could overlook it, but the guy can’t shine Wayne’s shoes…………

  • Gaping hole at center? I really don’t agree. Put an able bodied center between Rick Nash and Matt Zucc and he would get 45 points. Let that person actually be able to hit the corners and not the crest on the goalies jersey, and add 15 points. Make that person be a two-way player (definition of a good center) and they fit the bill nicely.

    He won;t be missed by anyone who does not own a Stepan jersey. Turn the asset (if you can still call him that) into Cap space and a defenseman or picks. Use what we have or give someone a shot to move up.

    I crave the day where Stepan is a trivia question. I also want to replace him with someone who brings actual vociferous leadership on the ice. Something this team definitely needs. The captain does not bring it.

    • I couldn’t agree more, there is a absence of on ice leadership, which is not to fault McD’s hockey ability, he’s just NOT captain material.

    • I question anyone who questions McDonagh as a leader. I’d compete hard as hell if I were on the same bench as he.

      • It’s unfortunate you aren’t dressing Hat. Hockey talent and ability aside, which I admit McD has plenty of, he has not shown me on ice leadership. As captain he has repeatedly allowed other teams to take physical liberties with Ranger players. Even in as much as he lacks a response when an opponent takes one of those physical liberties with his goal tender. And goalie is the position a D-man is most intimately involved with.
        It’s not just a lack of physicality. When the Rangers come out flat in an important game, it’s incumbent on the captain, and to a lesser degree the other players wearing a letter, to take affirmative action to light a fire under his teammates and if at home, the crowd as well.
        That said, I am not sure this lack of response is all on McD. The culture stems from the head coach.
        I respect your opinion Hat, we’ll just agree to disagree on this point.

        • Jerry

          I have to agree, the whole of the leadership is questionable. As a kid do you look up to Dan, Marc Step, all who are being shopped around, and couldn’t lead a blind man down the street, even holding his hand!!!!!!!!

        • You are correct. McD tries to lead by playing example, but sometimes you require a motivational leader – someone to get in your face. McD isn’t cut out for that (and neither is Stepan, see Hank’s angry tirade Game 6).

          We are a “nice” team, well nice gets you bounced in round 2. Nice gets you watching the Pens and Ottawa. Give me some bad-boy hockey for a change. I am tired of the Jean Ratelle days. Throw checks, get nasty and yes, PROTECT YOUR TEAMMATES. We have turned the other cheek for 8 long years.

      • And who are you? McD good player but I Question his ability to lead not Captain material. This team doesn’t play hard for 60 game after game. To many game come out of the locker room not ready to play. Spreadsheets aka Stats. How does Mika play with the best forwards when as you have stated Vesey is better than Mika line mates and Stepan plays with Vesey and Nash most of the year.

    • You have hit the nail on the head completely!! He will not be missed as much as his advocates insist. JT can move right into his spot, even if Dave is in complete denial about this.

      • “JT can move right into his spot, even if Dave is in complete denial about this.” First off, a juvenile dig there.

        Secondly- while vastly more skilled, more physical and possessing a better scoring touch, JT Miller approaches the game with a somewhat “ditsy” mentality. He is guilty of brutal blown coverages and often times makes a selfish play to cheat on the puck offensively. I am saying this as a huge JT fan. He was far and away my favorite young Ranger for the past 2-3 years (though I will say Mika jumped into the conversation this year due to the responsibility he shows in conjunction with his skill). So don’t think that I am not in JT’s camp. But let’s agree that he can jump right in with the production, but he is not the same player on the defensive side of the puck. Can he be- sure, but he would have to approach the game in a different fashion than he has done ever since we’ve seen him take the ice.

        • Sometimes what a player does depends on what is asked of him. I like to see weaker defenders on the PK sometimes because you are telling them that defense is important in a way they must understand – and perhaps it carries over into the rest of the game.

          Giving JT more responsibility could make him a much better player – or blow up in our faces.

          • Very fair analysis. JT is a mystery wrapped in a riddle. Lots of ability. But very unsure of his hockey acumen. To me, your top line center needs to be not only your most talented, but your most cerebral of players. Miller’s hockey judgment is shockingly poor at the moment.

            But no doubt, he’s still young and you are right, sometimes when you give a player more responsibility, they suddenly do a 180 and mature.

          • Ray

            When put out there on the PK, both he and Hayes did an admirable job of it, but the wonder coach saw better, and sat Miller after a while. Another reason to be critical of the guy!!!!!!! Miller has been bounced around from line to line, from wing to center, back to wing, it’s too confusing how often AV juggles lines, only to go back to square one after screwing things up……………….

          • Every single team and coach juggles lines. The only lines that dont get juggled all that often are lines that have high end elite talent on it. There is NO ONE on this squad that has been all that great that they deserve to stay put when a line starts failing.

            The other reason lines get juggled is due to injury, and we had more than our share that forced AV’s hand.

            When the talent is evenly spread but not elite, if you keep it all the same too long, teams are going to figure out how to shut you down. This is not the GAG line or the French Connection. Juggling lines are a fact of life in modern day NHL coaching.

            Again, I would bet if you sat down and analyzed every coach and how they utilized their lines, I doubt it would be all that different from what AV does.

          • Trotz demoted Ovie to the third line and in sparked the team to Game 5 and 6 victories. Keenan (or someone since Iron Mike had kind of mentally checked out) moved Kovalev to Messier’s line in Game 6 1994 ECF vs the Devils and it helped spark the Rangers.

            Those are just two top of mind examples. I’ve never bothered to track lines, and I can certainly be wrong on this. But it seems to me that there was more line stability back in “the day” then there is today. And again, the amount of high end talent and how healthy players are will often dictate that strategy.

        • Juust another reason why AV needs to go.

          Talent dictates tactics if you want to optimize your team/army/business. AV still hasn’t realized that.

  • Getting rid of Step’s salary is a win in itself.

    Personally, I think the blockbuster concept is unrealistic so I would be happy with a decent D-man and a high draft pick

  • Bonino is the only name that significantly interests me as far as replacements go. Fisher would be good in our bottom 6, but he isn’t going anywhere. Hanzal would also be a solid contributor, but I think he get’s paid too much to fit in next year. I’f I’m replacing Stepan, cost savings has to be part of the equation.

      • He centered Pitt’s best line last season with Hags and Kessel, he provides some depth scoring, and kills penalties.

        • 43

          You may of misunderstood my question, at what cost would he be to get him here. The wording may have been confusing, sorry for that!!!!!!!!

      • Bonino also brings a career high of 49 points which he probably won’t come close to ever again, is not a fast skater, is about the same size as Step, also has had some injury issues at points in his career, and is about to be on the wrong side of 30.

        Hard pass here on Bonino. No matter how you see Stepan, it’s a very tough argument to make that Bonino is a replacement, unless you mean we’re shifting everyone else up and he’s in practice replacing Lindberg on the 4th line.

        I know people don’t like Stepan and it’s reaching a boiling point, but Bonino? Really?

        • The argument isn’t to fill the role that Stepan plays though. It’s to see who’s available and what said player could bring to the table if Stepan is moved for a defenseman. No one here is arguing that Bonino is or isn’t a synonym for Stepan, except for you.


            Intro sentence of fresh comment that I replied to: “Bonino is the only name that significantly interests me as far as replacements go.”

            …I did throw in my qualifier, beginning with “unless”…not sure what else you want from me here, LOL.

        • As 43 mentioned…. the replacements for Stepan are already on the team. Zib and Hayes would recieve increased roles, as well as Lindberg. Bonino would help stabilize the bottom 6.

    • While I enjoyed him signing with us, I never understood it. What winger wouldn’t want to play for Nashville? Best blueline in the league, and a skilled top 6 which is lacking depth- so less moving parts to shuffle through to find good playing minutes. Not to mention the city is a blast. Seems like an ideal spot for a rookie winger to spend a few years gaining traction in the league.

        • My first non-rational thought is that it’s impossible for him to be as bad as his predecessor….
          -I feel he actually has a plan that doesn’t include indiscriminate waste of high draft picks for well-past-their-expiration date- “stars”.
          -He didn’t bite and overpay for Shattenkirk, for that “one more kick at the can” mentality
          -His trade for Smith, improved the D, albeit improving the D wasn’t at all hard. Just sitting some would have been improvement by subtraction. He gave up an extra second and a third. That was a good trade.
          -He was weaned in Boston. And that is an organization which puts value on well balanced teams, smart drafting and intelligent trades.
          One can argue his first trade (Stall) was a bad one. I agree. However, Stall in Minney had a good year. So maybe, just maybe Stall’s assertion that he was being used improperly by AV in NY was accurate. That being said I would have kept the one, of very few good prospects we have and not made that trade. And Aleksi Saarela (please excuse me if I misspelled his name) was a legit prospect.

  • Keep Stepan and put him on the 4th line with Glass and Fast. He will do great there. Miller had to play with little talent but all drive.
    It’s funny Stepan was never put on the 4th line to teach him a lesson. I guess some people just can’t learn, I mean the coach.

    • I don’t think / hope that Glass isn’t returning. Isn’t his contract over?

      If Gordon does indeed have a plan and wants to show that he’s in charge of the ship, then he should take away AV’s favorite toy.

    • Ranger

      Great point, but daisy is AV’s little sweetheart!!!!!

      Then there will be some who say he doesn’t treat the younger players differently than the rest. Bunk !!!!!!!!! And, not to be redundant, with all the ice time he gets, he still didn’t lead the team in scoring did he????????

      • Walt-

        Go back to the articles and the blogs around the time when Torts was fired. The exact same thing was said about Torts–that he didnt give the kids enough of a fair shake. Especially Kreider and even Miller, as young as he was at the time. Torts didnt trust or seem to regard Zuc very much either.

        Sure, a case can be made that he leans on his vets but most coaches do.

  • I think you make good points. But if you can move Stepan for a solid right hand puck moving D man you have to do it. It won’t be easy necessarily to replace him, but it’s harder to find a solid right side D man that’s available, that you would want. And it seems that most teams in the league are looking for puck moving right side D man. One knock I have on Step is his inability to win big face offs. For a solid Defensive center his face offs are horrible. Plekanec ate his lunch in the first round. He also never seems to get too fired up. We need some energy. I would prefer we sign someone for a year and see how Nieves pans out. We also have to many big dollar contracts with too much term. Someone needs to go.

    • He’s also mostly a winger(a big guy who can skate(and stay healthy) is an improvement on Fast.

      Fogarty is a natural center, but don’t expect more than 10 goals(if that) from him. He’s all defense.

      • Well there you go, he, Fogarty, could go to the 4th line, and keep Miller on the wing. Bottom line, Step is replaceable for a hell of a lot cheaper than what we have………

        • Fogarty can go to the 4th line…IF he’s ready. Is he? As with all marginal rookies, color me EXTREMELY skeptical.

          • It would help if you see them play; and not just on TV.

            Fogarty was give #1 checking role as a frosh and became the captain as a senior. Military brat, so he’s not a goof off.

            Good(not elite) skater, has size and knows how to use it without getting out of position.

            He’s what’s in the cupboard. If they can find someone as cheap who can do it, I’m all ears.

            This is what you have to do in today’s NHL. If Slats hadn’t left such a mess and AV knew his personnel, maybe it wouldn’t be this bad.

          • In terms of seeing them play in person…..Well, maybe. But then again, I doubt it. Just because a “fan” watches a guy play in person doesn’t mean you necessarily have any more insight about this than anyone else.

            I will be the first to concede that you have probably forgotten more about AHL/KHL/OHL/WHL hockey than I have ever known. You clearly have a remarkable insight. But please forgive me if I dont take a fan’s perspective such as yours as gospel. Is there a scouting report from someone who actually does this for a living that corroborates your belief that he’s NHL ready?

            I’m always VERY skeptical with marginal AHL talent. For what it’s worth, The Hockey News doesn’t even have him listed as one of their top ten Rangers prospects. Not saying they are necessarily correct, but as I said, I will remain highly skeptical about Fograty or anyone else currently in the system not named Shesterkin.

            As for AV not knowing his personnel, please give me even one example of a prospect that Gorton and Sather decided to move on from that has gone on to excel elsewhere. It seems to me that, once again, we are debating the players who are on the margins. Those decisions rarely matter. What does matter are the true difference makers at the top of the food chain that ultimately decide the success or failure of the team. Unfortunately, our difference makers haven’t made enough of a difference often enough. Thus, the results.

          • Funny enough, I used to write scouting reports for Max McNab when I was with the Devils.

            Hockey News looks at top line guys, wouldn’t know what to do with a bottom 6 guy, hence their rankings. Asides from U18 & U20 worlds(when in N. America), all they do is talk to guys who talk to other guys who eye games.

            The hard thing to do is suss out those guys who don’t light up the score sheet. It comes down to this: it used to be size & toughness, now it’s speed & size.

            As for AV, all you have to do is look at the one legged Girardi he kept running out in 2015-16.

            As for Slats, he just biffed pick after pick, year after year, then gave away the store to 5&18. The best was when they did a NYR draft special and every shot Slats was in he was the sucker at the poker table.

          • Well, if thats the case regarding your experience with McNab, you clearly have ten times more knowledge and experience than the rest of us. And your point about the bottom six guys certainly makes sense.

            Curious about your assessment of THN top prospects list for the NYR. Who is legitimately a player that can do more than just barely make the roster. Is there anyone who can be a difference maker?

            As for AV and Girardi, if thats the best example you have of his player evaluation, then I have an issue with that. None of us have any idea what Girardi’s actual status was. He was cleared to play. Obviously, AV concluded that his 7D McIlrath was not a better option. I certainly agree that that was a subject of hot debate here, but given what became of McIlrath this year, it’s really hard to say that AV made the wrong call. And apparently, Gorton was in complete agreement because while it may have been AV’s call about whether he made the NHL roster this year, the decision to keep him or trade him was 100% Gorton’s. And then Gorton rewarded AV with a mega-extension. So they certainly appeared to be on the same page.

            On Slats, no argument. He blew it big time (or his staff did) from 2000-2005, and then the biggest muff in my view was in 2010 when they went with McIlrath. If he hits even once with those first rounders, we might have a Cup by now. That’s why we’ve been good, while Chicago’s been great. Simple as that.

          • As for Girardi’s status, I saw him block the shot in Vancouver. I saw him go out in warm ups in EDM and skate on one leg AND HE STAYED IN THE LINEUP: went -3 with 2 giveaways. PLAYED 18 MINUTES Even played 2:30 on the PK.

            CF% 33.33
            Rel CF% -25.29

            The biggest difference maker is the fool of a coach who couldn’t see what everybody else in the barn saw.

            He was then out the next night.

            So if the idiot coach can’t see it, who’s the doc, Dr. Nick? Dr. Bombay? Dr. Steve Brule? Between Girardi’s knee and Staal’s eye, I’d rather have a checkup from a candy striper.

            I’m sure when Girardi retires, his medical history will have AMA’s(against medical advice) on it like Gerry Cheevers had stitches on his mask.

      • “He’s also mostly a winger(a big guy who can skate(and stay healthy) is an improvement on Fast.”


  • Did a deep dive into Hayes, Stepan and threw in Miller. I broke the season up by home and away and also did a split of when Hayes’ line would start, with December 10th being the point of change(around that time was when AV went to him starting most of the games at home/ harder assignments.

    P60 is 5v5, all score states.

    Stepan in the 1st bit was P60 of 2.49 at home, .8 on the road. the 2nd bit(larger sample) was 2.12home/1.2 away

    Miller was h2.62/a1.8; h1.73/1.81

    Hayes was h2.55/1.22; h.65/2.16


    Stepan was CF% h50/41.74a early, h54.79/51.33a late
    Miller: h43.30/44.51a; h47.87/43.73a
    Hayes: h43.81/42.98a; h45.19/41.95a

    I did the whole zone starts thing and the big pick up is that Hayes & Millers OZ & DZ starts (on the road) changed dramatically(25-30%) when their roles shifted. Stepan only got increased OZS.

    Long story short, Hayes, slump had as much to do with deployment as anything.

    Fuurther research would have to go into QoC and I don’t have time for that.

    • Thanks, proving again that AV’s constantly changing of line mates, and assignment’s backfired again!!!!!! What a cerebral midget he is………..

  • I saw the title of the article and started LOLing. I will have to read this later and the comments as well, which I’m sure are entertaining.

    There’s an edit prompt now? ooooooo, fancy. I’m sure that no one used it in this thread, lol.

  • There is clearly no easy answer to this, and I’m really bad at proposing and suggesting trades.

    As I’ve stated before, I vehemently disagree with the notion that Stepan is this awful player that we can easily discard, and just simply move up the rest of the good but not great centers that we have, and think there will be no effect. If he were simply let go without upgrading the position or another area, we will most assuredly regress. I also don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that he couldn’t have a 25 goal season next year. I think he is absolutely capable of it. He is also cost controlled for the next several seasons, and that has to be taken into account as well. And remember, this guy is consistently matched up against the best the league has to offer, and handles himself well most nights.

    The flip side to that argument is that he may simply be nothing more than a barely 20 goal player who’s solid enough but nothing more. It’s hard to win it all without a strong 1C, and we don’t really have that at the moment. And yes, that NMC takes effect in six weeks. That cant be easily dismissed.

    So while I realize everyone is focused on Stepan, to me he is no different than anyone else on this roster. He’s a good but not great player who has value, and that we absolutely should consider moving if the right deal is out there. No different than anyone else–except for that pending NMC.

    I would think that for Rangers management, how they reconcile the NMC piece of the puzzle is about thinking long range. Do they believe they have an adequate replacement in house that can help now (color me skeptical)? Do they believe that anyone currently in the organization can emerge as a 1C during the the two year span where Stepan has the full NMC in effect? Possibly Mika. If you deal him for defensive help, do you take a flyer on a short term deal with a Thornton to provide veteran leadership for what is otherwise a mostly young team? That could work and give the team time to develop its own true 1C. If you did that and traded Step for help on defense, I’m all in with that move.

    If you don’t foresee any of the current crop emerging, do you believe that in the next two years, there will be a chance to land a high-end UFA center? With Stepan gone and Nash off the books next summer, is there a chance to make a Stamkos-esque signing? If there is, and the Rangers believe they could land such a player maybe next summer, then it might be worth clearing the cap space now and getting rid of Stepan, even if it does mean regressing for a season.

    So, as it is for most trade speculation, I’m Switzerland on this. Neither for nor against it. Same with every other player. No one on our roster is untouchable. And no one on our roster must be dealt at all costs. All depends on the return and the big picture.

    • Best line of the comment:

      “So while I realize everyone is focused on Stepan, to me he is no different than anyone else on this roster. He’s a good but not great player who has value, and that we absolutely should consider moving if the right deal is out there.”

      That right there is the truth. Stepan has been selected as the newest whipping boy, but in reality, he’s one of many good but not great players on this team. All are expendable at the right price.

      • Again, it’s the NTC that makes him the desirable movable asset. Heart and grit mean nothing, it’s cost per point that makes him desireable to others and the inability to move him July 1 that makes it desirable for the Rangers to move him.

        Nothing more, nothing less.

        You risk by hoping Hayes can move up and Miller/Lindberg can take 3C. The stats I mentioned above suggest that shouldn’t be a problem(as long as AV doesn’t screw things up.)

        Your opportunity cost in not doing it is your ability to do further transactions that can get you younger and better. The result is you’re stuck with a guy who gets eaten alive on the road.

        The latest research shows that a F peak is 28; with his leg injury, who knows if he peaks sooner or already has?

    • So what’s wrong with regression for a season, we get rid of that deal, get cap space, get a d-man (I assume), so what? We surly aren’t going beyond the first, maybe the second round in the PO’s, if we keep Step, he will never deliver us to the promised land. Cut the umbilical cord, and get on with life minus Daisy!!!!!!!!!

      • Regression for a season is fine, IF there is a way to get a future 1C that is better than Stepan. What’s the point of regressing if the end result is that we wind up saying, “man, we really need a Stepan type” again?

        I just dont think that’s the game plan here. I think Gorton has a plan to remake the roster and make us better short term and long term.

        • No, Eddie, the problem is, as someone else pointed out (Rich, I think? Could be wrong) the biggest difference between Stepan’s production & some of our other centers is literally ice time differential & (more specifically) PP time.

          In other words, if Hayes or Lindberg got PP time, and the same total icetime as Stepan, they too would produce 50+ point seasons.

          • That’s a supposition. I seriously doubt Hayes can do it. Lindberg showed me a lot this year, especially recovering from his dual hip surgeries. It could be that next season he may be ready for more. But can he handle (or Mika?) the assignments vs the top elite centers in the game? Stepan doesnt get enough credit for his play that is mostly against the very best. And I still remember how awful we were when he had the rib injury a year and a half ago.

            Not saying you are wrong. I’m just skeptical and offering up a counter-point here.

          • I never said Hayes would be as sound defensively as Stepan is, but Lindberg? He might be even better, honestly….

            Rich S actually did much of the footwork on that, regarding the deployments & ice time of Stepan vs. the other forwards. It was pretty damning on step’s part… He had (I think?) 24 even STR points last year, despite his ice time & playing in all 82 games. Not exactly screaming ‘AHHHH don’t trade me’ with that stat line.

            Not to imply that I now think Step isn’t a low end 1c. I just think we have more than one guy who, if given the chance, could do exactly what Step does, and we would be nuts not to trade him.

          • But again, we DON’T really know how Mika, or Lindberg would do defensively vs the likes of Crosby, Ovie, Malkin, etc.

            I’m not saying we should keep Stepan. I’m not saying we should trade him. It all depends on what we can get back in return…not just for him, but for pretty much the whole roster. I’m listening on just about everyone.

            Miller is the guy that apparently, other GMs were asking about most at the deadline. The Rangers wouldn’t entertain a trade then and I don’t blame them. Now? I would certainly want to see if someone would overpay for Miller. I think the Rangers need to do something bold here, and he might be the trade chip that could bring back a big return.

          • But, that’s where I think you’re wrong. We already do, especially considering that one half of the games (or so, given playoff seeding) are played away from home, where the other team has the last change & the opportunity to play who they want versus perceived weaker competition.

            Also, specifically regarding Mika, that’s total BS; he played significant minutes vs the other team’s top lines, as the KZB line was our top line for (at least, IIRC) the first 20 games or so of the season.

            and yes, I think Miller could probably go. He’s a better version of ryan callahan minus the size upgrade; great player, but not elite. He has heart, though…. I would hate to see him go unless it was total larceny.

        • Look at the season point totals, already regressing.

          GF was up, but so was GA(for the third straight season.)

      • The real problem with step is that, when you look at a guy like Getzlaf, he’s the exact opposite; scores less in the playoffs, doesn’t hit or win faceoffs, couldn’t fight a small dog.

        To be fair, Walt, he’s a guy who belongs on a team with a much better center to draw the attention.

        We have too many players like that already. It’s nothing personal, but, we need to move on from that crap, & given the circumstances, he’s a great player to trade.

      • Walt,
        When anyone tries to tell me stepan is a decent player I just remind them that he had a whopping 13 even strength goals and a whopping 24 even strength points this year!!!!!!
        In 82 games!!!! And top line minutes!!!!!
        Without the inflated power play numbers his point totals are terrible…..Grabner had 27 even strength goals and miller 20……
        Even the stats say ‘HE SUCKS”…….
        Not sure of the love affair for stepan and AV -both terrible at their jobs…….
        I hope he is moved for a good RHD but I dont see other GMs valuing him!

        • Some can’t see the forest beyond the tree, and or just love players wearing blue, even though they seem to stink up the place. Thanks Rich, your right on with your post!!!!!!!

          • Well we have the guy who “hates stats” agreeing the guy that can’t produce the correct stats. He had 36 even strength points.

        • Thanks again Rich. I laugh because NO one responses to these numbers. Stepan sucks. His numbers are so based on the play of others and PP time. While others do the hard work he floats. He’s candy ass.

          • If Stepan sucks, then Kreider, Hayes and Miller are right there with him on the “suck” meter. The latter two in particular in the playoffs. The most totally overrated forwards in the league IMO.

          • Eddie—-
            Still fighting the good fight, I see! You’re never gonna’ change their minds. Stepan is the current whipping boy for all the problems that befall this team. Except when the name of the current coach comes up. Then the name-calling starts.

            That’s the reason I’ve stayed away lately. I understand the passion; its just when it turns into stupidity and nonsense; I have better things to do.

            I think it all stems from the fact, that Ranger fans, especially on this site, tend to overrate the talent that is on that roster. We’ve both mentioned it before—have a few good weeks and they want to anoint you as the next Saviour
            Have a few bad weeks and, you need to find a new profession.

            I get it, that’s being a fan. But really, for me, its become a real turnoff. I still check in, but after reading the same AV bashing, the same cute little nicknames for the coach and the still endless pining for DMAC—I’m gone.

            I don’t expect it to change, and maybe it shouldn’t, if that’s what the posters want. I would hope though, that some people on this site would tone it down a bit, and realize, at times, IMO, how stupid and immature they sound. I mean, come on—some of you are starting to sound like those clueless Islander fans!! (;

          • ” but after reading the same AV bashing, the same cute little nicknames for the coach and the still endless pining for DMAC”

            Another guy who thinks Dan G & Staal (etc) belong out there in the waning minutes of a playoff game. Lovely.

            It’s not so much about Dylan at this point as it is about the fact that we have a bunch of promising defensive rookies coming about next season….

            … and the guy responsible for their ice time also thinks Tanner Glass (in addition to the Wonder Twins) belongs out there with 2 minutes to go in a one goal game.

            No wonder this crap never changes…

  • Stepan is far from the biggest issue this roster has in my eyes, and he is far from easily replaceable. I agree with a lot of these points about him, Eddie.

    I get that everyone wants to be in a PIT/WSH/EDM/TOR type situation, with more than one center who is dominant, or has the distinct potential to be dominant soon. I get that. It makes sense. Who wouldn’t like that luxury?

    But, I’ve said this before on the topic of Stepan, and I’ll say it again: while he may be overpaid, he is not vastly overpaid. That’s just a dramatic claim. While he may not be a dominant true number one center, he is a solid center and on most teams certainly would not be less than number two. Those dominant true number one guys in or entering their prime do not grow on trees; this is why many NHL teams including the Rangers don’t have even one.

    Also, all of the teams listed above suffered stretches of poor performance that led to high draft picks that allowed them to draft said centers, or gave them the assets to acquire them, or they got lucky, or they had amazing scouting, or some combination of more than one of these factors.

    With what looks to be a subpar C free agent market the next few years OR with the truly talented under 30 centers that are poised to possibly hit it commanding big dollars, plus a cap crunch for the Rangers for the foreseeable future, there’s no easy way to address replacing Stepan short of a fleecing of another GM via trade or picking an amazing draft pick out of the pile. In my eyes it is very hard to envision a scenario in which he is replaced with a more productive center in the foreseeable future outside of getting very, very lucky.

    I’m skeptical about an in-house option as well. Therefore, I think the question to ask here becomes, can the Rangers get by with a typical 4C slotted there if they do move Stepan? I’d say probably, in my assessment, IF the Stepan monetary savings are put to good use. But that’s far from guaranteed, and therefore I still say the only way Stepan should go is if the return is an improvement on the defense that is as close to surefire as they come.

    Edit: Oops, meant to reply to E3. My bad.

  • Did the Rangers win a Cup that I don’t know about? If we keep saying that doing the wrong things over and over does not change the results, then Stepan has to go for that top pair righty that they need.

    It can be argued that the Rangers’ D is so bad that just addition by subtraction makes them a contender. The 3 pylons have to go. Start with that. I am hearing that the Rangers expect one of Pionk or Brez to make the club out of camp. Maybe both. Shatty supposedly coming.

    So maybe the Rangers get Shatty, re-sign Smith, and fill in the rest with a younger player and call it a day. Something like this:


  • ANYONE that does not come to the conclusion that Stepan (Daisy) is a soft, non-impact, lack of confidence player, just simply isn’t waltching the games.
    1. Does he hit? No
    2. Does he get hit to make a play? No (I believe he may have broken a sweat once in the playoffs)
    3. Does he skate well? Or fast? No
    4. Does he lead? Yes….he leads in missed scoring opportunities
    5. Does he glide? Check out a shift and you will see limited skating, missing the right position by a few strides, and yes, an avoidance of the crease
    6. Is he an excellent teammate? Never stood up in fight, defends his teammmates by saying that they need to move away from the aggressive play of round one into their style of play for round 2…we saw the results against an inferior team
    7. Can he win a faceoff? Not even against me
    8. Is he good on the power play? The guy couldn’t score if an empty net was provided
    9. Is he vocal? Sure, telling Hank to relax was his moment of passion

    Enough said…Daisy has to be pulled!



    Here’s a little tip for you: “Reading Comprehension”

    I’m sure you’ll be able to Google the term, and find an explanation of what it means.

    And really, “ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE???”

    I mean, if you want to call yourself a D**K, just do it!

    And there I go, getting into the mud with another high-brow poster. I’m done!!

    • Joe-

      You should consider sticking around. Your posts are among the most logical and insightful out here. You would be missed.

    • Lol… I agree with you about the Stepan thing (he’s a 1C & we’ll miss him when he’s gone)… nor have I been ‘pining’ for ‘his’ return… but….

      “I think it all stems from the fact, that Ranger fans, especially on this site, tend to overrate the talent that is on that roster. We’ve both mentioned it before—have a few good weeks and they want to anoint you as the next Saviour
      Have a few bad weeks and, you need to find a new profession.”


      Riiiight… because Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Tanner Glass, and Nick Holden being terrible at hockey (more so the first three) is a new phenomenon?

      Speaking of comprehension, I’m still wondering why people like you are so damned optimistic with this guy…. people like you and Eddie… do you have hope that he’s suddenly going to wake up & play the right players when it matters?

      Or am I wasting my breath because you genuinely, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, still believe those two (G & Staal) have any value whatsoever in the NHL as top four defensemen?

  • 1. trade Stepan, we need to repurpose his value + cap hit
    2 obtain best asset possible, regardless of position
    first consideration is most talent = best chance of success
    second consideration is cap relief

    3 if no other deals, replace from within
    Kreider LW – Miller C – Zib RW = 1st line

    Hayes, Lindberg = 2nd + 3rd
    Nieves, even w/concussions to date, can handle 4C

    Zib is the insurance
    would consider Hanzal 1 year only, possible stop gap can also do W.

    as to trade

    McD + Zuc both reduced + picks
    Sam Reinhart + EKane + better picks

    Reinhart is a big, but prudent gamble
    likely at least 2C at min legit 1C possible upside

    just remember to say ya heard it first from bernmeister

  • Stepan’s NMC is a month away. In light of the dilemma such deals have created with Girardi and Stall, how could you not agree to dump Stepan? Is it possible that he we’ll evolve into a top line center and leader deserving to wear the “A”? This is New York. The player wearing the “A” must be a leader, on an off the ice. Stepan is neither. On break-up day the “C” McD was sporting a Minn. Twins Cap. Couldn’t one of the beat reporters reminded him that he is in New York , and flipped that lid off his head. The problem with Stepan is more than his below average play. McD, at least has the skills on the ice. If the goal is to win the Cup, than the personnel and culture on this team must be changed. You know something is wrong with a team when you have to promote a career minor leaguer in the playoffs to lead the team with his physical play and rouse the troops in the locker room. Rangers simply have too many really nice guys on their team: Girardi(also wears an “A”), Stall, Stepan, Skeij, McD, Vesey, Nash. The current culture of this team has resulted in: 2015 Conference Finals Game 7 “no show”, shut out defeat at home. Next year ended with the 2016 disgrace ,again at home to the Penns in which Hank sat the bench in the 3rd.This year after ting the series 2-2 with two dominating performances they lost the last 2 against a lesser team and once again were a no show in game 6 at home ending their season. This is why Stepan must go. In addition to his lack of ability, he’s a bad influence on Kreider, Miller, Vesey, and everyone else on the team. If Stepan gets re-signed with his NMC intact, you have to take his “A” away! Don’t make the same mistake made with Girardi and Stall. This year the Rangers were arguably much better than anticipated, but without a change in the “milk toast” identity of this club they’re going nowhere. Give the “C” to Krieder for going head first into Carey Price, and then maybe he’ll show up everynight. There’s no place for an under performer like Stepan at any price, and on any line. Not in New York. Send him to Vegas- the KHL-get rid of him or by the end of next Season not will be Wade Redden all over again!

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