MusingsOffseasonState of the Rangers

Thoughts following the Free Agent frenzy

Photo Credit: New York Rangers

Happy Friday, BSB faithful.  Sorry to double down on the “Thoughts” and “Musings” posts this week, but it’s been a very active week in Rangerland.  The last time I wrote, it was the day before the Expansion Draft.  Obviously, quite a lot has happened since then.  So, as you can imagine, I have some thoughts.

1. Since there is a lot to analyze, let’s take this in semi-chronological order. Let’s start with the Girardi buy-out.  It had to be done.  I know it sucks carrying his cap hit for the next few years, but the Rangers really had no choice.  They needed to get younger and more mobile on the blue line and starting to clear the log-jam of overpriced veterans was the first domino.  I wish Dan all the best in Tampa, even if I gagged a little when I saw the contract.  Nice try, Yzerman.

2. In a vacuum, I don’t think losing Oscar Lindberg in the Expansion Draft was the end of the world. He was a useful player and I woud have liked to have seen him stick around, but what can you do?  Outside of that vacuum, I would like to know the process and sequence of events behind the Stepan trade, as losing him and Lindberg back-to-back basically decimated the team’s center depth.

3. Speaking of the Stepan trade, I have mixed feelings. I know many around these parts were happy to see him go for his lack of physical play and sub-par performance in the playoffs.  At the end of the day, he was a metronome player, good for 50-55 pts per year plus solid defensive zone play.  His salary was more or less commensurate with his production, it just seemed onerous due to poor financial commitments elsewhere and a stagnant salary cap.

4. Jeff Gorton chose to package Stepan with Antti Raanta in an attempt to maximize the value of the deal, which saw some mixed results. The Rangers basically traded Arizona consistency in important, difficult to fill positions.  In return, the Rangers got a high draft pick in a perceived weak class and a problematic, yet talented young defensemen.  If I’m trying to value those assets from a Monday Morning Quarterback perspective, I think the Rangers should have been able to still get the #7 pick, plus a DeAngelo without the attitude/referee abusing/homophobia issues.  It’s easy for me to say that, because that player doesn’t exist and Gorton did the best he could.  I just think those two assets weren’t fully maximized in the trade.

5. I know the Pavelec signing came first, but I’m working within a theme here, ok? The Rangers then used the savings from Stepan’s contract to sign Kevin Shattenkirk to a sweetheart deal.  Clearly, Shattenkirk had his heart set on New York from the get go and gave the Rangers significant term savings to get the deal done.  There is absolutely nothing not to like about this contract, as it gives the Rangers the top four, right handed, power play quarterback that has been a gaping hole in their lineup for years (save for when they had one in Yandle and buried him on the third pair, but I digress).

6. I know, I know, the Rangers re-signed Brendan Smith in there, too. Fine, I guess my semi-chronological order thing went completely out the window.  Sue me.  I thought the Smith deal was fine.  He was a key contributor in the playoffs and found some really phenomenal chemistry with Brady Skjei (even if they were glued to the bench while Staal and Holden were hacking and sliding their way to front row seats of game losing goals).  His AAV was a little higher than I would have liked, but reasonable term and flexibility were the real wins with this deal.

7. For some reason, Benoit Allaire fixed his eye on Ondrej Pavelec to succeed Antti Raanta as the new 30-game backup to Henrik Lundqvist. Pavelec’s on-ice performance hasn’t been as bad as the stats indicate, especially 5v5.  He has the athleticism and underlying talent to be a quality goaltender, but his technical imbalances and rumored lack of work ethic hold him back.  Another key question is how willing he will be to modify his playing style in his age 30 season.  I plan to do a more comprehensive write up on Pavelec in the coming weeks, but my initial impression: meh, there were more attractive candidates out there from where I was sitting.

8. The Rangers then brought in David Desharnais for center depth. He has fallen off the cliff a bit the last few years, but at thirty years old, he should still have something left in the tank.  If the Rangers go into the season with the former Canadien and Oiler penciled into anything other than a 4th line role, though, something has gone wrong.

9. Finally, the Rangers inked Jesper Fast to a three year extension. Fine little piece of business for a guy who provide a tremendous amount of lineup flexibility and play in almost any situation.

10. So, where does that leave us? There is a still a massive logjam on the blue line past the top four.  Technically, Kevin Klein is still in the mix, as he hasn’t formally announced his retirement yet. (Update: Klein has officially announced his retirement) There is Marc Staal, Nick Holden, Anthony DeAngelo, Alexei Bereglazov, Neal Poink and Ryan Graves all with realistic aspirations for the bottom pair.  Something has to give on that front.

11. As for the forwards, the Rangers now need a center like they need their next breath. Mika Zibanejad has filed for arbitration, so he will be back in the fold at some point, but that leaves Kevin Hayes as the 2C and Desharnais as the 3C.  If the team is serious about moving JT Miller back to center, then they need to bring in another winger for middle-six duties.  How about a reunion with the age-less wonder, Jaromir Jagr?  Wouldn’t Jagr/Miller/Buchnevich be a fun little third line?

12. I think the Rangers had to get a little worse to get a little better, if that makes sense. There was such a tremendous imbalance between the quality of the forwards and defense last season, that we are seeing that balance out a bit.  The forward depth needs to be re-stocked, but the blue line is worlds better than last season.  There is, however, still more work to be done.

13. Two little minor notes: I liked the moves to bring in Paul Carey and Cole Schneider in an attempt to make the Wolf Pack tolerable next season. Not a huge fan of the Ruff hire, as he is an old school coach with old school ideas.  However, if he is on board with the front office’s vision, he could use his influence to keep AV from getting too attached to mediocre veterans.  Probably not, but if you can’t be optimistic in the off-season, when can you be?

How are you all feeling about the offseason so far?  Any moves you would like to see the team make before training camp?  Sound off in the comments below.

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  • Too much to dig into at one bite.

    The one thing I can write about with confidence is that the Rangers played the expansion draft/trades poorly. The Coyotes deal could’ve happened before the roster freeze and not have affected either team, so the ability was there to retain Lindberg.

    Everything cascades after that. If you look at everything as discrete transactions where the one deal forced the next it all pencils out for the best they could do, but that rotten apple spoils the rest of the trades, because we knew AZ’s demands and the result.

    • With the benefit of hindsight that is true however Gorton sights were set much higher than what he had to settle for in the Coyotes trade. He was desperately trying to get a top defenseman but no one budged on Stepan so he took what he could get at the 11th hour. And then Shattenkirk fell into his lap so it kinda worked out if Andersson turns out to be a solid 2nd line center as projected.

      Agree it would have been great to have Lindberg now though.

      • I agree, there was a poor market on Stepan that writers like Brooks won’t admit because it might hurt the “Stepan was a likable guy” crowd. It was obvious that Antti was a throw in making him a plan B to help push Step out the door. The deal definitely was pending besides the fact that JG explained all of this a week and a half ago.

        Where do you see that he’s projected for full time top 6 minutes or as you say “2c”? I’ve read that this is where the comparing Fast game to his shows that he’s suppose to be a utility type but will have much more to offer when he moves up and down. His downfall is his offense and hands but I assumed that goes into not knowing how his game will translate to the NHL style. I’d say his ceiling for now is 3c and being a shutdown center who can hopefully put up serious points in a top 9 role. Maybe he’s a future 2nd line winger but I doubt that he hacks it at the 2c or at least on this team anytime soon.

        • From the Elite hockey prospects website: Andersson is an excellent team player. Never takes a shift off. Also blessed with good hockey sense and plays a strong two-way game. Offensively, Andersson stands out with impressive puck skills, a good shot and fine speed. Has the tools to become a scoring line player, but could also become an excellent role player who always gives 100%.

          Also pretty clear the Rangers, and
          Gordy Clark is a good talent evaluator, wouldn’t have taken him in the 7 slot if they thought his ceiling is 3c. (even though they were hoping for Cale Makar or Cody Glass but neither fell to them).

        • He’s better than Fast in terms of the development curve. Started producing more points a year younger in the same league, as a center.

          Also, don’t give too much credit to ‘projections’. Even Stepan was considered a reach / bottom six type (IIRC) when the Rangers grabbed him in the second round.

      • Except with foresight(that is available to find on this website), I was willing to expose Stepan for the expansion draft if I couldn’t deal him for a box of tampons.

        So please save that excuse.

        So yes, Gorton overrated Stepan, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

        It just made his job harder.

    • Gee, we must have all forgotten that there needs to be another team to trade with who may have expansion list issues.

      If ARI excepts the trade BEFORE the draft, they need to protect both Stepan and Anti, therefore exposing two better players off their list to VGK.

      • There was nobody on Arizona’s roster that getting either Stepan or Raanta would’ve changed their exposure calculus.

        If you legitimately think different… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • John Mitchell scores goals, plays on penalty kill, blocks shots, plays center and wing. I believe brings enough to be considered a good addition.

  • Regarding Step: v good player whose ceiling was reached. That was as a great 2C or mediocre 1C, not good enough to win a cup with. Mika still developing and has a chance to be better….or not. Still, with resources lacking to bring a brilliant 1C over the top of the existing forward lines, trading Step made more and more sense.

    Hockey is a strong link sport: your best players make the biggest difference to the result. Depth is overrated. At this point we may have to hope for a rental at the trade deadline if we want someone of game changing caliber on our team. Meanwhile, I would run Miller out there at C and see if he can blossom into a second line talent.

    • Depth has been this teams bread and butter ever since we had the old Zucc-Brass-Pouliot line. It looks like with bottom 6 players like Grabner, Fast, DD and guys who’ll be forced to play down there like Buch will continue to set that trend.

      See you are so in the frame of thinking JG wanted a 1c and a brilliant one at that. Mika and Hayes were always going to be the 1a and 1b center of this team. If you been exploring to make a trade for a elite 1c then you wasted alot of your time into nothing, I would have told you that everyday for the past 2 weeks. Ps if Stepan was a great 2c then he would still be here so obviously the top people didn’t think that of him as of late.

  • As Reen mentioned above, the trade could have been handled better, and reaped a better return. I’m of the opinion that again, we as fans of the Rangers seem too over rate our players, and the rest of the NHL didn’t think Stepan was as good as many thought, and JG gone the best he could???????

    Now as for the moves, well I’d say we made out on the deal. We filled a need, top pair right d-man who can work the PP for us, that’s assuming AV trusts him enough to play the PP-QB position. Yandle could have been the man, but AV thought otherwise, so this deal had to be made to fill that need again! We got defense depth, and the entire defense is much more mobile than I can recall. If we could trade off Staal, and have to play Holden, he goes to his natural left side, D’Angelo moves into the right 3rd pair, and bingo, the defense is set, with one of the kids getting the 7th position.

    Also, we got younger, faster, stronger, and cheaper at the center position with the Andersson draft, assuming he makes the team out of the gate. I’m not too worried at this point, until I see what the final line up will be, and how they jell as a unit. Over all I’d give JG a B+ for this off season!!!!!!!!

    • I don’t think they would’ve gotten a better return for the deal they did, but they could’ve done that end deal before the freeze and been ahead of the game.

      Could they have done a deal with Carolina before the freeze and gotten better value? Probably.

      • Why can’t we look at that from this angle: Rangers swapped Stephan for Shatty (practically same $$ and years), and traded Raanta for 7 overall pick and D’Angelo. If anyone said before the draft that we could get all these, would any Rangers fan had said NO?

        • I would have.

          One we had the cap space as soon as Girardi was bought out, so we didn’t NEED to move Stepan to sign Shattenkirk. Better? Yes.

          Two, as many of us noted…Centers are more difficult to replace than backup goalies, wings, and anything short of top pairing defenseman.

          We traded from a strength (solid center depth) and did not fill a weakness (first-pair RD) that in turn created a bigger weakness in that your center depth is obliterated.

          A center lineup of Zib/Stepan (interchangeable), Hayes and DD would be a much stronger lineup down the middle than Zib, Hayes/Miller/DD, or possibly a rookie. One way or the other we were getting Shattenkirk. We could have had Shattenkirk and a solid middle but opted instead for just Shattenkirk.

  • It was a productive off season. Would have liked to have seen us give Mikhail Grigorenko a shot over Desharnais, but Desharnais is low risk and should be fine. Along the lines of work to be done, if we can trade Nick Holden for a 3rd or 4th line center that would solve a few problems. Maybe have to throw in a late round draft pick to get a 3rd line guy. The Stepan trade is tough, but I don’t think we have a lot of choices(or for that matter better choices) to move him. Without this move no Shattenkirk so we will see if that was the right choice. I like the direction we are going the the flexibility we have opened up. Our top 4 D is great. Now we need to find another center. On the expansion draft not sure there would have been a different outcome whether the Stepan trade happened before or after the expansion draft. We probably would have protected Fast and they still would have taken Lindberg. If we protected Lindberg they probably would have taken Fast.

  • When do we resign Glass? Oh ya, we already did Tanner Fast! If Fast was so good why did he not get selected? If Fast stays on the 4th line I will not have any problems but as you know the stupid coach will play him on the 3rd line to reduce the offensive abilities. That will prevent the 3rd lines offensive production to be maximized.

    • If Tanner Glass was anywhere near as skilled as Fast, his reputation would be a lot better around these parts! I’m not sure it’s fair to compare anyone in the NHL to Glass, really. He’s just putrid.

      Despite that bit of hyperbole, I do agree with you that Fast should be stapled to the fourth line, except for perhaps in case of injuries further up. Fast is not a subpar player, and he doesn’t belong on the fourth line because he lacks skill. He belongs on the fourth line because that’s exactly where his skills play the best.

  • Jagr. Jagr. Jagr.

    Would love to see him lace up for one more season. Would also like to see a move for a solid 2c/1c

    In a perfect world, Matt duschene becomes a ranger.

  • Way to go guys you just proved my point! I post something you don’t agree with and you take it down. So much for freedom in America and having the right to speak my mind. What war did you fight in for this country? what injuries did you sustain while in combat? People like you are make me laugh you LOVE the freedom as long as it agrees with you. You fail to give that right to others. I would put my life on the line once again to give you the right to do this even though we disagree. That’s the BIG difference between us! No hard feeling my friend You HAVE THAT RIGHT I FOUGHT TO GIVE YOU.

    • You were emailed as to why your comment was flagged and removed.

      We appreciate your service to this country and will always respect it. However your comment was removed and the details provided why. If you do not agree, please continue the discussion in the email.

    • Freedom of speech rights do not pertain to private forums such as blogs, discussion groups, comment sections. The owners of private forums have the right to regulate the type of speech they permit. Freedom of speech rights pertain to governmental regulation of public forums. They are not applicable here.

    • What is the point of everything you wrote?

      While Dave and Staff thought I implied that they would do something extreme when I posted something, I knew they might to avoid a flame war which wasn’t my intention. But I also know they don’t do so without good justifiable reason.

      Evidently you gave the staff here more than enough reason.

      As for your rights, you forgot about the most basic right of all. That you are in fact free to do whatever you wish, but that wish carries consequences; either good or bad. You exercised that right and the consequences were viewed as bad. Own it. Accept it and maybe look at yourself and figure out what you can do differently to achieve a more positive outcome and improve yourself and others. If you were in the military, you’d understand that.

    • I know some Vietnam vets that are really close to me still. If I showed this comment of yours then they would like to come find you and tell you what’s really up about being a vet. I think it’s funny how you want to express your opinion about the tarnish freedom of speech on a website that’s for blogging about hockey. If you want to make a difference then go to Washington DC with this.

  • Am I way off base hoping tha Lias Andersson sticks with the big club? Anyone know what management’s thinking is there?

    • I think they’re banking on that to a certain extent. We’ll have a better picture after camp, preseason and the first 9 games of the season- at that point they’ll have to decide if they want him to stick with the big club. I have a feeling he will based on the current state of the team.

    • Fans- We still need to get a top 6 center or a 3c and then maybe DD makes the team and as the 4c

      Obvious plans- JG drafts a really dependable 2 way player in Andersson to make the team and play the 4c spot then signs DD to take the 3c spot. Let me add the fact that he plays wing so that could help him make the team in September and especially if Boo is pressing for either positions on the 4th line.

    • I don’t think you’re off base. While projections vary on his ceiling, most scouting reports agree he was one of the most polished early round players in the draft in terms of potentially being NHL ready sooner rather than later. He’s your typical Swede; sound two way game, so as much as the club likes Fast…I have to assume they like Andersson’s toolkit even more. He’s like Fast + from what I can tell – not to be confused with an offensive dynamo, but more offense to be had than Fast, for sure. Since Fast was one of the few young players AV trusted seemingly unconditionally from the very get-go, I would not at all be surprised to see Andersson stick and be given a lot of leeway. It seems to me that AV definitely gives young players bonus points for having the defensive side of their game be more polished.

      • Agreed. AV definitely gave Vesey and Skjei ample playing time, and Buchnevich would have played more too if he had been able to take the physical rigors of NHL play.

        Andersson does resemble Fast in the descriptions I’ve read, but with the skills of a center and a better shot. Sounds like someone who could center a 3rd line or at least the 4th.

  • Nick Holden has to be traded by the start of the season, right? Too many options back there and he still has value for his contract.

    • I think something happens to a defensman. I keep hearing that Colorado wants to deal Duchene, but they want Skjei. Rumor is we keep offering Staal because of Duchene’s contract cost. Maybe they settle on Holden or Day.

      • Would they do Skjei + Staal? Dollars work out, they get their want. We get our center and some much needed room on the blue line. If I’m NYR brass and I know the kids (DeAngelo / Beregzalov / Poink / Graves / Day) can mitigate the loss of Skjei I do that. I’m talking from our point of view alone. If I’m COL, I acknowledge that I would not make that trade.

  • Thinking that there are still a few teams with too many forwards and not enough depth at defense. Montreal comes to mind. Holden would work out well there. I think most of what you said is true, but as I have said in the past, only few know what goes on in the clubhouse. I think the Stepan trade was a locker room trade and not an on-ice trade. His presence must not have been great, and combined that with a hefty salary and upcoming NMC and a much-needed RHD free agent, Gorton needed cash. Stepan was without a chair when the music stopped. Gorton found that there were not many takers. I think Stepan had his own reputation around the league pushing his value down. Putting Raanta in was the only way to get into the top 10 in the first round.

    When the off-season is done, nothing really changes. You need a superior PP (which should be better). You need a superior PK (which may drop a notch), and you need your top 6 to score and your top 4 defenders to put up big minutes. If these things happen, we will be okay. If we depend on Fast and Desharnais and Andersson to put up 40 points each, we are looking for failure. Zinbad, Nash, JT, Krieder and Zucc are the scoring nucleus. Together they need 200 goals. Not too much to ask from 40% of the payroll.

  • Justin, I mostly agree. I think the Rangers should have gotten more from Arizona. I don’t think this was about Stepan’s trade value. Gorton (wrongly IMO) thought DeAngelo was a real prize while Arizona does not make the deal if they agree. I also fear the goalie exchange will come back to bite them.

    I think the buyout of Girardi was wrong, but we’ll never know. It was possible but dangerous for Gorton to hold G until his NTC expired and then deal him. It would seem in hindsight that a more favorable deal cap-wise could have been worked out. I don’t think TB did such a bad thing here. I mean Girardi is still miles above guys like Maatta.

    I don’t think the third pair glut is what you imagine. After last season, Graves wasn’t even a postseason call-up. Unless he makes an incredible advance, he does not get a look this year. I also don’t see Pionk in the mix. So it is really four guys for three slots. Given DeAngelo’s attitude, making him a lock going into camp is a huge mistake. And Bereglazov is hardly a sure thing. Gorton may still deal Holden out of cap concerns, but shouldn’t just to create fewer bodies. At least 50/50 he is still among the Ranger top six as chosen by a good coach.

    At least so far, take away Shattenkirk and the team is far less than the team that played Ottawa. Shatty restores the balance somewhat, but I doubt completely.

    • With all due respect, some of you guys must have been watching a different ‘Dan Girardi’ than I have. Since Tort’s tenure, he has gone from an overpaid but somewhat serviceable top 4 RD to one of the league’s worst players.

      Even without Graves, the team has an abundance of NHL-caliber defensemen. McD, Smith, Shatty, Skjei, Holden, Staal, Berezgalov (he’s probably ready), DeAngelo…. with a few guys who can/might make the team (Day, Pionk), and of course Kampfer. There’s even a couple of Swedes I think I’m leaving out. Point is, something has to give, and he’d be NUTS not to trade Holden (assuming anyone wants him).

      But yes, I agree that Stepan’s absence might create a giant hole because I don’t see Zib, Hayes, or Miller replacing his defense. For the umpteenth time, there’s a reason the team outscored the opposition 3-2 during his play at even strength for the entire season (against top competition).

    • I agree Ray,
      I am not that happy with the trade to Arizona unless this Anderson kid becomes a star. Their new backup goalie hopefully will get better with Allaire coaching him. He needs to play at least 25 games for us. Raanta may very well be better then Lunqvist this year, and we lost a steady center. It would have been nicer if Arizona threw in Duclair.

      • Yeah…it’s astonishing to see a defender with a 0…ZERO…shot suppression metric. Girardi may literally be the worst defender currently in the league in systems where playing the puck, and not blocking, are the emphasis. Perhaps in any system these days, frankly. I couldn’t believe he got $3M; that’s a lot to pay for a man who is unquestionably strong in heart and effective at leadership, but unquestionably ineffective on the ice. Even in Torts’s systems, Girardi didn’t feature an above average shot suppression metric.

  • “…save for when they had one in Yandle and buried him on the third pair, but I digress.”

    This little dig has been made more than a few times on this site.

    Yandle was third in TOI and second in PP TOI among defensemen during his tenure in NY. Please stop with the “buried on the third pair” narrative.

    I love you, Justin, but dems the facts.

    • That’s incredibly misleading – AV didn’t start to ‘rely’ upon him until injuries forced his hand.

      And yes, not putting him with McD (Instead of GIRARDI!) ——> nuts.

      • He played like 19:58 a night, just behind McDonagh and, if I recall correctly, Girardi, who each played just over 20 minutes a night.

        That’s not burying a player.

        • Not burying him & having him not playing the second most minutes (or most even, with McD resting on the PP) is what makes it nuts.

          Girardi has not been an NHL-caliber defenseman for some time now (ESPECIALLY in AV’s system!!!!!!).

          Furthermore, the first ‘season’ we had him, he WAS on the third pairing.

          • LA really exposed that point for the world to see during the cup finals. Many won’t, and or refuse to see it due to history, but it’s there, just open your eyes. Dog your right on……….

          • Aye, [the] ‘Dan Shame’ game 1 incident will be forever burned into the back of my mind…

            Granted, I still respect the guy etc…. but wow are we fortunate that he’s gone.

            It’s almost amazing how he wasn’t strapped to what the Hurricanes demanded for Eric Staal (along w/ 50% cap held) just to get rid of him….

            Two second rounders and a prospect (to rid us of the worst defenseman in the league)?

            Reminds me of a stupid commercial I’ve seen…. Could’ve had a V8!

          • When Cally was traded for MSL, Girardi’s perceived value by the front office was that they weren’t desperate to get rid of him – and that’s at the very least. Actual perceived value was probably more like he was still a key component at that time and weren’t even considering him not being a Ranger. Hindsight is 20/20 and all, but given what Yzerman paid for Girardi now…that seems to have been the best possible chance to move him and perhaps not even retain salary. That Kings series might have gone a bit differently had Girardi not been on the top pair. I do not blame him fully, of course…but some of the most costly goals of the series were scored on him.

  • With all due respect I wonder if you even watch any hockey at all.

    We might as well throw in the towel on the entire season if Girardi is a top 4 dman. Olli Maatta has been somewhat up and down, and hurt a lot, including cancer, but he is 22 years old and talented! Some consider him a bit slow, but certainly not as slow as Dan. And good with the puck unlike G who cannot get the puck out of his own zone, which is why his advanced stats are so atrocious.

    And what kind of statement is it that take away Shattenkirk ………… I guess take away Crosby and the Pens don’t win the cup. Take away McDavid and the Oilers are not that good, etc. Seems meaningless to me.

    I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion but some opinions are best kept private.

  • I think those who are discounting the value of Anthony DeAngelo are mistaken. His attitude problem wasn’t effort, rather it has been his temper and being obnoxious. Those behaviors can be modified. One thing some will admire about him, if he doesn’t get in the box too often: he plays with an edge.

    He can can really skate, likes to jump in the play, has a good shot and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty digging for pucks along the boards. In 39 games as a rookie he had 14 points.

    At only 21 he is young enough to chalk up some of his past to immaturity. Let Lindy Ruff teach him how to be a defenseman and he should be a good one. Talking about his shot surpression numbers from a small sample on a bad Arizona team ignores the limitations of such statistics when comparing players from different teams. I think the kid has a lot of upside. He has natural ability to be a dynamic offensive player. Getting better defensively can be learned.

    I’ve seen some bloggers saying the Rangers should trade the kid now for a center. That would lose value for sure and Gorton went out of his way to get DeAngelo, saying the kid was not a throw in at all. I see him running the second PP unit and on the 3rd D pair this year. He will be a step up from what they had before. Trading Holden for a center or a wing makes far more sense.

    • “I think those who are discounting the value of Anthony DeAngelo are mistaken. His attitude problem wasn’t effort, rather it has been his temper and being obnoxious. Those behaviors can be modified. One thing some will admire about him, if he doesn’t get in the box too often: he plays with an edge.”

      Whoa. Playing with an “edge” involves actual CLEAN hockey plays on the ice.

      Abusing an official, not once but twice, and that’s only the documented instances, is NOT playing with an edge. That’s being an a-hole and poor sportsman.

      Hurling insults and attacking an opponent based upon their morals or what they do off the ice, is NOT playing with an edge. That’s being an a-hole and poor sportsman.

      Hurling those same insults and attacking your TEAMMATES based upon their morals and what they do off the ice is NOT playing with an edge. That’s beyond being an a-hole and poor sportsman.

      This type of behavior didn’t just manifest itself. This has been an ongoing behavior problem with the individual because he has “talent” and been coddled and had it swept away because of that “talent”. People can change, but not for nothing, an a-hole never truly changes. Brad Marchand hasn’t “matured”, Steve Ott never “matured”, Sean Avery never “matured”. This “kid” won’t change until he hits absolute rock bottom and he finally realizes that “talent” alone won’t carry you through life. Sadly I expect that realization to occur far after the NY Rangers give up on him, and probably one or two more organizations do as well.

      • John, I get what you are saying, but, people do change. I’ve witnessed clients who went from being habitual criminals to pillars of the community. Gorton researched him, the Rangers’ scouting staff and player development staff researched him. They believe that they can mold him into being an excellent hockey player and an asset to the team.

        I think you’re being too pessimistic in your assessment. You obviously believe me to be too optimistic. It is possible that I am. I guess we’ll see how it goes. I am hopeful. Saw him play one game for Arizona against the Rangers and he was a force offensively. If they can harness him it will be a big plus for the club.

        • I’m Switzerland on this one. I agree with John in that he is right to raise these concerns. At the same time, Peter is right to say just because a player has been something doesn’t mean he is doomed to forever be that.

          There are red flags here to be sure. Big ones that are quite troubling. But 21 year olds say and do stupid things. I was encouraged that he called Espo to ask permission to wear #77. A sign of respect and maturity.

          Talent is always worth gambling on. Let’s hope this kid has learned some valuable lessons. Otherwise NY will eat him alive.

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