Musings: Alex Kerfoot, Kyrie Irving and the lure of New York

There are plenty of reasons Alex Kerfoot might want to join the Rangers

– Though there are mixed opinions of Alex Kerfoot’s pro potential, landing him would still be a coup for the Blueshirts. I’m very uneasy about the pressure on Lias Andersson entering training camp. Heck even David Desharnais is far from a sure thing. Bringing Kerfoot into the mix would be a very nice insurance policy and create a healthy competition.

– It’s almost comical to see the difference in the offseason between the NHL and NBA. While only the most rabid Ranger fans are still refreshing Twitter for Kerfoot updates, the world exploded when the Kyrie Irving blockbuster went down last night out of nowhere. I think there are pros and cons to both situations. On the one hand, I’d love it if my sport were discussed 24/7 across society and the excitement was this high even in August, which is normally such a dead period. But on the other, I don’t necessarily mind a month or two each year to take a break from the action before I get completely sucked in all over again.

And while I’m in awe of the way basketball has marketed its players – to the point that even a passive fan like myself that hasn’t watched a full non-playoff game in ages is still following rumors with great interest – there’s a lot to be said for the loyalty of hockey teams that often keep their cores together for an extended period. There’s literally no one that’s safe in the NBA, which is entertaining, no doubt. But while I always will support the Blueshirts above all else, I’m rooting pretty hard for mainstays like Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, Chris Kreider, and so on to get the rings they’ve worked so hard for.

– Last point on Kerfoot: I’m once again counting my lucky stars to be a Ranger fan. Whether he actually ends up on Broadway or not, this is approximately the billionth example of how uniquely positioned the Rangers are to land talent. Every club has its own selling points, but I really can’t think of a single one that can match the Blueshirts. Check out this list of perks:

1) They’re located in the world’s most prestigious city, with endless nightlife, entertainment and dining.

2) The city is so big that players can go about their lives without being mobbed, but there are also plenty of diehard fans that pack the arena every night.

3) The Rangers have well established pipelines to other hubs like Boston, Minnesota and Wisconsin, which consistently churn out talent.

4) New York has endless financial resources that allows them to brush mistakes under the rug and double down on a new round of imported players year after year.

5) They can woo potential newcomers with a jaw-dropping display of the lavish lifestyle, as displayed by the private helicopter sent to retrieve Keith Yandle and the numerous glowing reports about their facilities and mouth-watering spreads.

6) The Rangers are an Original Six club with a storied history, sleek sweaters and wonderful treatment of alumni.

7) The team has been in the playoff mix for over a decade. Management has demonstrated a commitment to winning year after year, so there’s no concern that you’ll be stuck in a rebuild.

I mean, what more could you really want?

– I’ve think Jesper Fast has the best chance of being this season’s Michael Grabner – a guy that comes out of nowhere to become a huge offensive contributor. Since it can’t be someone that’s already established, the candidates boil down to Fast, Andersson, Desharnais, Matt Puempel, Boo Nieves or another prospect or training camp invite. Slim pickings, but Fast has always had good hand-eye coordination and goes hard to the net. I could see the stars aligning and him randomly potting 20 goals.

– On the note of roster dark horses – there’s really only one that comes to mind: Adam Tambellini. Tambellini hasn’t done much to warrant consideration, but there’s also not much in front of him. Desharnais is a given, but Nieves and Andersson sure aren’t. If the Rangers aren’t 100% certain that Andersson is ready for the show, then they’d be wise to let him grow for another year – and that’s not an unrealistic scenario. So barring a PTO or another late acquisition, it would be Nieves job. And like Tambellini, he hasn’t done much to this point to give confidence that he’ll win the job outright. So with a strong camp, maybe Tambellini comes out of nowhere? I know many of you are eager to see Steven Fogarty, but I’m very skeptical he’s going to make it to the show.

Question time:
1) What are your thoughts on the pros and cons between the NBA and NHL?
2) Who do you think might come out of nowhere to have a big year?
3) Who is your training camp dark horse?

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  • 1) Hockey is great and basketball has become unwatchable.
    2) Vesey
    3) Pionk

    BTW, just mentioned that Rangers might land Kerfoot with Sharks in it big time as well. so I heard…

  • I think Anderson comes into camp so ready and so in “game shape” that he makes it very difficult to move him to the AHL. Not saying he is ready for 3C duties, but his play will make him look more like a 1C than any other center in camp.

    If Hayes does not come ready to compete, expect AV to be on his ass from day 1. Let’s hope he had the same off-season training he had last season and does not think he is a shoo-in for the Calder.

    • So much hinges on Hayes. And you’re right, if he’s not ready for his best season yet, there will be a big problem

  • 1. I love the NBA’s salary cap. NHL, not so much. Basketball is highly publicized drama, and never watch myself but agree with you that I do know what is going on since it’s widely covered. I like the fact the NHL is low drama though.
    2. I am going to Pick DeAngelo to have a big year. And even be a plus player.
    3. Bereglazov will be the dark horse.(Holden should be gone by the start of the season or early in and Berglazov and DeAngelo with rotate as the 7 D man)

  • Fast only scored 20+ goals in junior, just not in his skill set. He could only pot 17 in a top 6 role in Sweden.

    Fogarty is just a sneaky guy that grows on you. Has his defense down, has the size to not be dominated physically and can skate. Won’t get you 10 goals, but plenty of company in that department.

    With Tambellini, it simply comes down to his weight coming into camp. If he’s over 200lbs, he’s got a shot.

    • I thought that Fogerty would be a dominate 2-way player at Notre Dame with his size and the way he performed with the Vees in the BCHL just after high school. It was a little disappointing.

      • Having size in junior really makes a difference, especially in the BCHL. Having the reach in a 2nd tier league masks true talent . 30g in the WHL doesn’t mean much anymore, let alone down another level.

        My rule of thumb is if you’re not of average height, your production has to be higher than average successful scoring rates; the farther away from average the higher the production. For smaller players it’s higher skill to make up for size, for bigger players to show average skill.

  • Hockey is a much better sport than basketball, which is the most corrupt of any American sports league. And Jesper Fast will not score 20 goals in this, or any NHL season. Desharnais is my sleeper pick for decent production at a low cost this year, based on actual statistical achievement in his career in seasons past. His injury luck has been pretty bad the last three years, if he’s healthy he should get into the 30-35 points range.

      • Wake me up when American football gets their Tim Donaghy. Until then the NBA surpasses everyone in terms of corruption, and that is even without discussing the mockery of competition under David Stern.

  • I watched 5 NBA games last year all in June. I watched hundreds of NHL games. So, I’m the wrong guy to ask about the NBA/NHL debate.

    The only thing I will say is that in an era of vast increases in revenue for sports, Gary Bettman has done an incredibly poor job in increasing his sports income. And, another lockout is assured as player salaries stagnate. The money paid to the starting five of the Cavs is greater than the NHL salary cap.

    And, Kevin, if you are going to make a prediction about goal scorers, it might be a good idea to take a look at some of the metrics that go into scoring goals. Like shots attempted. And then shots actually on target. In 68 games last year, Jesper Fast attempted a total of 101 shots and hit the target on only 56 of them. He’s not going to play until November at the earliest, so pencil him in for about 65 games at most. Grabner had 5 goals in his last 66 shots on target last year which is probably a better barometer of this coming season than the 22 goals he scored on his first 96 shots. Fast (even if we give him a high sh%) would have to take triple the number of shots to get to 20 goals. I think it’s a pretty safe bet he’s not getting 20 goals. Or maybe not even 10.

    And about NYC as a playing location. Kevin Shattenkirk aside, I don’t think there is a player’s agent in the league who doesn’t have a financial wizard on staff to let the player know why playing in NYC is about as bad as it gets money wise. And, After look bing and working in NYC and suburbs for my entire life, I can safely say NYC, while enticing, is NOT a great place to work when it comes to commuting, cost, etc,

    Adam Tambellini? Steven Fogarty? I would be stunned if either ever played an NHL game for anyone, let alone for the NYR.

    BTW, the original 6 is a made up marketing slogan. It’s been 50 years since there were only 6 teams. No one playing hockey for the last 15 years (including Jagr) was even ALIVE when there were only 6 teams. There are only a couple who post on this board old enough to have seen an original 6 game.

    About Number 4. You know there is a salary cap, right? On you can only have a certain number of players under contract. And buyouts still effect the salary cap?

    Is Dave on vacation?

    • Thanks for the support Al!

      Per the Fast point, the whole idea of that was someone that comes out of nowhere. So stats are kind of irrelevant to my premise. But your argument against Fast is reasonable. In my eyes, he’s not going to rack them up by shooting wristers. It’s rebounds and tip-ins, which you can catch lightning in a bottle with.

      Your argument about money in New York is puzzling to me. NYC has a long history of overpaying vets (Richards, Redden, Gomez, Drury, etc.) and has landed numerous college and undrafted free agents in recent years. Not to mention the marketing opportunities in the big City. I also commute to the city – but I think the idea of commuting from a penthouse in midtown is slightly different than what you’re talking about.

      And finally, to #4 I think you’re missing my point. Many teams would be hamstrung by Richards, Girardi, Redden, and Staal contracts. They’d be so onerous as to keep the team from being competitive. NY has so much money that buying them out – even with the penalties incurred – is a very reasonable option. Many teams don’t have that luxury – or only have ownerships permission to exercise it once in a blue moon.

      • Rebounds and tip ins are tough to come by if you’re not big enough to provide net presence. Not really feeling it with Fast in that regard.

          • Considering he has 22 goals over 4 seasons for the Rangers, he hasn’t really shown all that much. One timers as a trailer, rebound as a trailer.

            Even if AV gave him top 6 minutes it’s tough to see him getting to 20. As bottom 6? Improbable.

      • The marketing opportunities for NHL’s in NYC are non existent.

        You aren’t buying a NYC penthouse on a hockey salary. How many NYR’s live in the city? A handful?

        And number 4, even the floor teams have bought players out. ARI has dead cap space, CAR too,And the NYR HAVE been hamstrung by those contracts. Don’t you think Carl (2 Cups) Hagelin would still be here if it wasn’t for the twin anchors?

        • Al, actually I doubt Hags would have been retained regardless. Because if they had moved on from Staal and Girardi, they likely would have had to spend that money to find other veteran options.

          I like Hags, but going long term with him at significant dollars would not have made sense–with or without the twins.

          • No, we wouldn’t use a player who had 16 points in 24 playoff games en route to a Stanley Cup. Playing hurt this year in the PO, he still had 2 goals. (2 more than JT!)

            And his possession numbers are unreal.

            And he’s at a 4 million cap hit. Not bad actually.

          • I ddn’t say we couldn’t use him. I’m just saying the Rangers would have had to find defensemen and that wasn’t going to come cheap.

            And, did you see Hags quote a few weeks ago? Biggest difference between playing on the Pens vs the Rangers?–

            “Hagelin also described the differences between his teams with the Rangers and his current team in Pittsburgh by saying that the Penguins have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and that they create opportunities every time they are on the ice.

            “He followed up by saying ‘we did not have that with the Rangers.'”

            Translation–no shot Hags has that kind of productivity in the “No-Star Zone” that unfortunately is the Rangers–and even he knows it.

        • Hey, a couple of the boys are 2nd banana to Dancing Larry for All American Ford and Hank does pretty good for himself overseas; so there are some avenues for it, but it’s not like Jack Halligan is around actively working it(doesn’t count as pooled revenue per CBA.)

  • 1. NBA generally does have a more exciting off-season and trade deadline, since big-splash trades are far more numerous most years compared to the NHL. Some years in the NHL I feel there are no truly big trades, period. Also you have free-agents who can opt out of years of their contracts, so that adds another layer of intrigue. NBA has better general media coverage in America, by far. NBA players are easier to market as well, namely because there are far fewer of them and their faces are much more exposed/shown close-up on TV, and therefore recognizable. Plus, NBA players generally have louder public personalities and a higher sense of the individual; it’s part of that sport’s culture. Hockey players are a polar opposite mostly – generally do not have publicly loud personalities and generally are not very individualized. For every really recognizable/individualized NHL player such as Brett Burns, there are 10+ such characters in the NBA.

    Pretty much everything else though, I prefer hockey. The draft is more entertaining; several more rounds in play, and a ton more realistic prospects to investigate. There is much more strategy involved, if for nothing else than rolling four lines and three defensive pairs is obviously a bit different than one set of players seeing 60%+ of the game time. While NBA players are always moving, the pace is of course much faster in the NHL. I feel like players create their own offense out of nowhere more in the NHL, whereas a lot of NBA offense is based on a set of plays which leaves someone wide open. Evey wide open NBA bucket to me – which is many, even if from distance – is basically as exciting as an empty-netter…not very. Last but not least, the talent gap between the good teams and bad teams just seems so much bigger in the NBA, and any given year there could literally be as few as 2-3 realistic contenders for a title. While there are front-runners in every sport, of course…I feel like in the NBA, the “little guys” just have a next-to-zero shot at making a run due to the extreme talent gap. There are very, very few surprises come playoff time in the NBA, lately.

    In a nutshell…I’ll take NHL over NBA any day, and it’s not even close for me.

    2. I don’t think this team really has a Grabner this year. I mean, that was a guy some didn’t even expect to make the team, and he was 7th on the team in points in the regular season, 5th on the team in the points in the playoffs…while averaging just 14 mins TOI in both. I’m just not sure there is a true Grabner comparison potential this go around. I’m gonna go way out of the box and say Ondrej Pavelec though, just to pick someone here. Not because of anything to do with my personal scouting of Odrej Pavalec…but because of Benoit Allaire.

    3. Sean Day. I say this more because I’d like to see it than I feel it coming, to note.

  • Kerfoot to Colorado ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    If he plays top 6 minutes, who knows? Could put 60pts, be -70 and Colorado wins the lottery for Dahlin.

    • Dreger reporting on TSN that he is going to be an Av. Sounds like Sakic sold him on the “fit”, implying that there would be a big role for him in the near future with the Avs likely to be active in the trade market.

      Perhaps Duchene will now be moved. Who knows?

      • I mean that makes sense and all, but, with how FUBR things are getting in Colorado, I doubt Sakic will be around in the near future to follow through on any promise.

        Clearly, Kerfoot must not care about winning.

        • This is just a guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Sakic assured him of regular playing time, which he can do on a team as bad as Colorado. Probably all Gorton could do is say to Kerfoot he would get a look, but no guarantees on being one of the four centers, or even making the NHL roster at all.

          Again, just speculating.

        • No he sees reality and now he wants to bend it in order to break into the league. Every college free agent knows Hayes and he probably realized that he can’t compete with that or Zib in order to guarantee him a solid role. I personally think that this will be one of those names that has to switch over to wing to become successful in the NHL. There’s really nothing special with him from what I read and seen. I have a feeling he knows that and us just setting himself to be a regular in the best type of environment for his game.

        • Gotta get to that 2nd contract, not going to do that in Hartford.

          Better to be the world’s tallest midget on a bad team in Colorado.

          • Agreed. In my opinion, Vesey was the better player at Harvard and Kerfoot’s season last year wasn’t better than either of Vesey’s final two seasons seasons there. I’m not certain he would make the team over Andersson and I’m not certain Andersson is making this team. I wouldn’t be surprised if he signed with Colorado because they were the only team who promised him a roster spot.

  • No way Tambellini gets a look – wasn’t even recalled in April. Yes, the Rangers are thin at forward. Which is why they are not done signing forwards. Expect one, probably two contracts like Pirri last year. At the moment, the Rangers have 48 contracts and with three likely to slide, that is a very low number.

    • Ideally, you want to keep a couple slots open in case of emergency.

      I think the only way a forward is getting added to the 48 existing contracts is if Holden or Staal (I wish) was going the other way in exchange for said forward

  • Taxes are brutal in NY city. So that is one problem, but other than that its quite attractive to choose the blueshirts.

  • Big Duck on a Little Pond Mentality. The Avs can have him…

    maybe he wanted to be closer to home?

    maybe he likes to smoke weed? pretty sure most of the state does.

    maybe he didn’t wanna live in Veseys shadow again?

    maybe Kreider hazed him…

    who cares, I am so happy we have Gordon and not Sakic

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