Irresponsible Rumormongering

Should the Rangers re-sign Brendan Smith, or trade for Jonas Brodin/Matt Dumba?

Brendan smith
Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

One of the under publicized storylines of the offseason is what the Rangers plan on doing with Brendan Smith. Smith, acquired at the trade deadline last season, was a solid if unspectacular player for the Rangers down the stretch. He was certainly one of the top three defensemen on the team, and was a rock in the playoffs.

Smith is an interesting player. As a UFA defenseman capable of playing the right side, he’s in high demand. But without a solid scoring line or a reputation as a “shut down defender,” his contributions are tough to measure using traditional methods. What we do know is that Smith is a solid skater who is good in his own end. He has good positioning and doesn’t leave people open in front to deliver a hit. He also doesn’t snow angel often.

We already went through what a potential Smith contract might look like, and it is certainly something the Rangers can afford. In fact, you can argue that for a top-four defenseman with underlying numbers, it’s probably a bargain. When you weigh in what the Rangers might be considering from Minnesota in the Derek Stepan rumors, then it’s easily the better choice.

Above is how Smith compares to Jonas Brodin, who is the hot ticket rumor in any Stepan trade. The numbers I want to focus on are the two right-most bars, for shot generation and shot suppression. Both players put up roughly the same scoring –Brodin had a breakout year offensively last year, but it’s unclear if he can continue that– so you want them to have high marks in generating shots for the good guys and limiting shots against for the bad guys.

Smith compares favorably to Brodin in both stats, with a significant margin in shot generation. It is worth noting that Brodin’s 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons weigh down his 2016-2017 season. It’s also worth noting that Brodin is just 23 years old and signed to a good deal (four more years, $4.16 million). If Brodin continues his 2016-2017 play, and doesn’t regress back to his prior two seasons, then he’s a solid pickup. But it’s a gamble.

Matt Dumba is the other desired piece in Minnesota, and I have to admit the more I research him, the more underwhelmed I am. Dumba had a sexy scoring line this year, at 11-23-34. But the folks I’ve spoken to in Minnesota have said that he is a bit of a train wreck in his own zone. The numbers above support it. His shot generation and suppression numbers just aren’t good.

Food for thought on Dumba: Nick Holden had an identical 11-23-34 line this year, and we’ve seen his issues in the defensive zone. Definitely unrelated, just a coincidence I found to be intriguing. But based on what I’ve heard/seen/researched, it appears they could be similar players. (UPDATE: See below for Dumba/Holden comparison).

So when it comes to Smith, Brodin, or Dumba, it’s a question about which player pushes the Rangers forward this season and in the future. Smith is 28 years old, so he’s no senior citizen, but he’s not as young as Dumba or Brodin. Smith also doesn’t cost anything in a trade, just money. I’d argue that Smith is the best bet, and if Stepan is to be traded, it be for someone like Jacob Trouba. But that’s just my opinion.

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  • Get Trouba and Borodin and dump Staal and Hodor.

    Pay Smith as little as you can get away with -$3.5?

    Who we trading for Borodin?

    I don’t think Stephan alone gets us Troubadour.

    Who are our 4 centers?

    • Are you looking at the same information as me?

      Oh hell no. Especially Dumba (not a fan).

      Trading Step for these clowns would be terrible.

  • with Girardi and Klein(assuming he retires) out of the mix we can sign Smith and then what I think is the real decision… should we sign Shattenkirk or trade Stepan for a D man.
    And it depends on who that D man is; Trouba, done. Dumba or Brodin, they need to throw in something else. If we sign Shattenkirk and Smith, do we can look to trade Stepan for other assets?

  • Sign Smith, the only D-man on this current roster with a set of steel balls , the rest are far too polite, opposition very comfortable to play against Rangers ( especially on home ice) . That has to change, sign Smith, get Josh Mason , get Evander Kane.

    • “sign Smith, get Josh Mason , get Evander Kane.”


      Sign Smith, yes.

      Get Josh Manson – ANA isn’t trading him away for a 2nd & 3rd next year. Not happening. Prepare to part with real stuff for this one

      Get Evander Kane – oh HELL NO. Another guy who only ‘kind of cared’ in his contract year. Wouldn’t want him even for 1 year/ ~1.5 million ‘show me’ type of contract.

      • Angry, then lets get real , Josh Manson is worth Stepan even up, if I am Gorton, I JUMP AT THAT ONE. Heck I would even trade JT Miller even up to get Manson. The team needs change its identity, although with AV running the show, it will be difficult. A good coach should be able to have his troops play different styles if his roster dictates it. Kane does have baggage, but is a proven 30 goal scorer wherever he goes, and carries a reputation , do not F**k with me or my teammates. I like Matthew Tkachuk too.

        • I don’t know if I’d trade JT or Stepan for the guy. I feel like if you’re letting that quality of trade chip go, a guy like Trouba is who it should be for. Obviously that would cost both of them (plus a first & Raanta, among other throw ins). But that’s just an opinion.

          As for Kane, sorry, totally disagree. Now, if you had a magical wand, for example, that could mystically bring out ‘the real Kane’ on a regular basis, then I’d be all for it. I just don’t think we need a guy like him; we need guys who care, not guys who got thrown out of Winnipeg.

        • Yes to evander kane……..yes to manson….
          No.!!! Don’t want to part with Miller!!!!! Fast, Hits, 22 even strength goals, increasing point production every year……I want to see him replace stepan at center….with kane his wing!!!

          • Rich, I’d LOVE Mason, on our team, but feel that’s just wishful thinking. He’s too physical for our head coach.
            Agree on Miller. I am very high on him and would hate to see him go. He’s coachable and still learning the defensive side of the game.
            On Kane, I’ll disagree. We don’t have the coaching or on ice leadership to get the most out of a moody, plays when he feels like it otherwise goes through the motions, player.

          • “Kane, I’ll disagree. We don’t have the coaching or on ice leadership to get the most out of a moody, plays when he feels like it otherwise goes through the motions, player.”


            That’s a very kind way of putting it.

          • “with kane his wing”


            Lol, if you guys thought Kreider had no heart…. wait til you see this clown.

        • Bobby, I agree with your comment on AV concerning adaptation surrounding a roster. And I’ll add, a good coach should be able to change a style of play to counter any given opponent.
          Which brings me to the point of I’d keep Smith because he is the most physical of any D-men we have on our roster at this time.
          Sign him. Period.

          • Talents dictates tactics.

            Pretty sure the current head coach of the NYR has never heard that, let alone thought it.

          • Gospel truth.

            Brendan Smith remains a Blueshirt.

            And stick tap to guru Dave.

            Your breakdown of Matt Dumba was illuminating. Given your trenchant take on him I’d pass as well.

        • He scored 30 goals…once. 6 years ago.

          Yea he carries a rep. It’s a “I don’t care about anything but me. What I have practice tomorrow? Nah I’m gonna go party in Toronto? That dress code doesn’t apply to me” rep.

    • Bobby B,
      Couldn’t have said it any better. Love what Smith brings…..good strong D and a willingness to be physical and ‘answer the bell’.
      Must be resigned, don’t want to make the same mistake we did with Strallman!!!!!! He is here, played well and probably sign for reasonable dollars, no need to chase expensive free agents or someone elses ‘maybes’…

    • finally someone got it right on Kane!!!!!!!! stay clear of him……..

      re-sign Smith, with Shatty already in house, or so they claim, am not to keen on him though, Mac Truck, and Skjei not bad top four d-men. Graves, and the 2 UFA signed this off season, we could be OK. Now we need a power forward that isn’t shy with contact.

      I can see Stepan going to the Canadians for Galchenyak, and maybe a pick..

  • What do you think about Carl Azner as a UFA? Solid D man. Can he play the right side? Not much on the O side. Isn’t he a better player than Smith?

  • Would love to see them find a way to keep/sign Brendan Smith. Loved his grit during the post-season. As for Matt Dumba, I, too, am underwhelmed.

  • I would re-sign Smith, try and get him on a 4 or 5 year contract, and deal with the fact he will likely be terrible for the last year or two.

    Dumba is only 22, I think it’s safe to assume he is a guy on the rise and his D zone presence should improve. At the very least he could be another quality option for the blue line that happens to be under 25. That’s a good thing. I wouldn’t do Stepan for Dumba straight up though, Minny would have to kick in a draft pick, either their 3rd rounder in this draft or PHX’s 4th rounder.

    Sadly, I think the real problem with trading Stepan to Minnesota is that Minnesota doesn’t really have the cap space to accommodate Stepan and replace Dumba. Minnesota’s other 4 D, Suter (old, costly), Spurgeon (tiny), Brodin (overrated), Scandella (not a fit for the Rangers), really don’t interest me.

    • Exactly, there’s no one on that roster whose statistics scream ‘trade forrr meeee’.

      MIN isn’t an impressive team to me. I personally would stay away.

  • Just was reading some trade rumor articles. A few suggested that Rangers either trade (difficult to do) or expose Hank to the expansion draft, citing Raanta’s better statistical play as a case to hold onto the “rising star…”

    What do y’all think about a move that bold?

    • Rising star?

      Ask yourself how old Annti Raanta is then insert that age to your sentence reads “or hold onto the “rising star…”

      • John B, are you serious?

        I put “rising star” in quotations to imply that it was a quote from several different articles, not my opinion.

        However, I think keeping Raanta over Hank, while risky and unpopular, could be a savvy move by Gorton.

        • No matter who said it, ask yourself his age.

          I agree with Angry that 28 isn’t old for a goalie, but for most part he’s not going to develop much more than he already has and most likely will remain at this production level for another 4 or so years then begin to decline.

          His Finnish league stats aren’t posted, but has Raanta ever played more than 25-30 games in the NHL? There’s no telling if he’s physically capable to carry a full time starters NHL workload. I think he can. I’m more willing for someone else to find that out though

          • His sv% was pretty consistent throughout his career except that 1st season in Chicago.

            The concept that you have to be physically ready to be a starter is laughable. Mental toughness, sure.

          • That “career” that you speak of is about the equivalent of one NHL season.

            I am constantly amazed that Ranger fans are convinced that less than 100 NHL games is enough evidence that the player can replace a HOFamer like Lundqvist.

            80% of Lundqvist is still better than 90% of the NHL goalies.

          • You can only play the games you’re given. Finnish season is 60 games, so he got 3/4 of the starts his final season. and won the league playoffs with a .943

            But at the end of the day he’s been a .919 goalie, so above league average and better than Hank of late. I’m not for moving on from Hank, but stats is stats.

            Sometimes that’s all you need.

          • I don’t disagree with you on your points but when you’re carrying the load of 60+ games it puts the situation into a different category.

            Granted, Talbot did it but he has a pretty good team in front of him. Raanta would play for either LV (where he would be the 3rd goalie behind Fleury and Grubauer and possibly used as a trading chip at that point) or ARI where he would get lit up because the Yutes are extremely young. I have my doubts.

      • Raanta is not old for a goalie.

        Still, to even compare him with 30 is ridiculous. Raanta on his best day is like Hank suffering from a hangover.

  • Resign Smith 4 years $4m per, Instead of trading Stepan, trade Hayes and a 2nd for Manson. So we can protect Lindberg.
    If Stepan is going to go, Not to Minny for Brodin,Dumba.. how about to Winnipeg for Trouba or to Edmonton for Darnel Nurse.

    • There’s silly season and then there’s off the wall silly season. We are beginning to eclipse off the wall silly though.

      Winnipeg has been explicitly clear that they want another defenseman for Trouba. Does Derek Stepan fill that? Is it possible? Anything is. But Winnipeg is set at center. They have no use for one unless it’s a 3-team trade.

      Josh Manson is not getting traded by Anaheim. The only defenseman they’ve been shopping is Sami.

      Edmonton needs defensemen. Why would they trade a young promising defensemen to us when they have more centers then they know what to do with. Or is this another Stepan, Staal, and our 7th rounder for McDavid and Nurse type deal?

    • See, I like your thinking; we should add to a Stepan trade to get an actual elite player.

      Hopefully they don’t trade down for a pile of Minnesota retreads or some other junk.

    • Joe

      Darnel Nurse is a name that looks good on paper. The kid is tough, plays a solid game, and it’s tough to gauge how really good he is because he played for the Oilers. I like this kid just the same, and would purse this trade!!!!!!

    • I think you’re spot on for cost & term on Smith.
      And I would also rather move Hayes than Stepan. Manson looks good
      Since Calgary is looking for a young forward with size to complete the Gaudreau line, I wonder if Hayes & a 2nd would get Brodie?
      With Hamilton on the 1st pair, is TJ now expendable for them to up the offense?

  • This article is simply great stuff – in this instance, it parts the fog of personnel decisions so clearly. Thanks, Dave.

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