Which kids in Hartford could make a difference?

anthony deangelo

The New York Rangers are not a good hockey team. Aside from their run in November, which was largely due to a regression in SH%, the Blueshirts aren’t even a .500 team. They’ve hemorrhaged shots like they’re getting paid to do so, and they are basically playing uninspired hockey. The last time we saw this happen, one that didn’t result in the firing of a coach, the Rangers recalled Carl Hagelin. That team went on a run to the Eastern Conference Final.

In theory, a shot of youth could get the team going. I say in theory because we’d still need to see the coach actually willing to play a rookie in a key role. Heck, he won’t even play the team’s third highest scorer in the top-six on a consistent basis. But let’s say this is Bizarro World, and Alain Vigneault will allow any kid that is recalled to play to their strengths, which kids could actually make an impact?

Neal Pionk – The undrafted free agent defenseman made waves in the preseason with his solid and steady play. He was among the last players cut at camp this preseason, which shows how close he was at the start of the season. Pionk has a relatively decent line of 1-11-12 on a Hartford team that gives up goals almost as much as the Blueshirts do. If he was that close in preseason, he could, in theory, be a stabilizing presence on a blue line that needs it.

Tony DeAngelo – DeAngelo got a pair of games in the NHL before being returned to Hartford. He had some serious issues in his own zone, but to be frank, he’s no worse than anyone else on this roster right now. He has tremendous offensive upside though, and at some point he’s going to get a shot. The Blueshirts didn’t trade Derek Stepan for him just to give up on him after two games. The kid had a terrible start to his AHL year, but appears to have figured it out recently, and his line of 2-11-13 is mostly from his recent play.

Filip Chytil – I don’t think I need to go into this, do I? He’s got a line of 6-7-13 in 18 games, and Hartford isn’t good.

Boo Nieves – Funny how timing works out, doesn’t it? Alain Vigneault, once again, shows that he won’ stick with true rookies (note: not kids, just rookies), no matter what.

Naturally, the Blueshirts would need to make some room on the roster. That shouldn’t be tough. Steven Kampfer and Paul Carey are two immediate players you can ship to Hartford to open one forward and one defense spot. That should be enough, as a pair of kids might do the trick.

Or, as mentioned this morning, the Rangers could simply open a bunch of roster spot with some trade deadline selling. I wouldn’t put any money on it, but anything is possible. These four kids (and more – like Ryan Graves) need/deserve a true shot.

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  • Chytil reminds me of where kreider was in 2012. Very Raw away from puck and a bit spacy … Which would drive av nuts right now.

    However he has ten sog in last three games on a horrific ahl team. That’s after getting 20 shots playing on Czech 2nd and 3rd line and barely pp.

    Don’t think they’re ready for that move yet.

  • In reading this post part of me thinks these kids may be better in Hartford until the current coaching staff is relieved of their duties. The fact Nieves is on this list is a head scratching sign that should not be ignored. I think maybe Graves would be the best D call up. We don’t play D period. Just someone to actually show up and play D would be a big help. But with Holden taking up half the top D tandem…i would like to believe we have nowhere to go but up…

  • D’Angelo and probably Graves or Pionk, maybe Lettierri, should have been on the team from the get go this season. Sending Tony down like they did was asinine. But whatever. Could they make a difference? Maybe. Might they be worse than what they have presently? Possibly, for a while. But they have more talent and potential and need the experience.

    Growing pains are OK Dave. I am not concerned if they lose games any more. I’d bring up as many of the Wolfpack as they can and let them get in there and play. Chytil might need to bulk up first; I don’t want him getting injured like Buchnevich. But heck yeah, bring the kids and see what happens.

    • These kids are playing hockey. Just because you are not seeing how well they are progressing does not mean that Ranger staff don’t see it. And they are learning.

      There are a wealth of stats about baseball. One fact is that the best prediction for a second year hitter is his first year stats. One might expect hitters to improve in their second year, but on average they don’t. Why is that? My guess is that most players tend to level when they get good enough to make the show. Keith Yandle, Kevin Shattenkirk, Anthony DeAngelo, and Neal Pionk are good puck-moving defensemen who are weak in their own end. The first two made the NHL despite their deficiencies and never addressed them. Do you really think the last two will address theirs at the NHL level?

      • Rangers staff is busy creating space for their own “boys” 🙂 they don’t care and not yet aware about contemporary trends 🙂

  • How can i count the ways this post is off base?

    “The Blueshirts didn’t trade Derek Stepan for him just to give up on him after two games.” This sentence is too long. The correct sentence is “The Blueshirts didn’t trade Derek Stepan for him.” They of course traded Stepan for the #7 draft pick and cap space. DeAngelo was a throw-in.

    Hockey isn’t just about winning today’s game. There is also a long term component. I believe there is at least a small possibility that Filip Chityl will make the HOF. The Rangers should manage him to develop the star that he can be, a far more important goal than using him as an upgrade on Carey or Desharnais. Buchnevich and DeAngelo are two very talented hockey players. But DeAngelo is not responsible in his own end – the best way to keep him that way is to tell him that he is good enough now. As for Buch, he reminds me of Alex Kovalev (not quite as talented), often playing by himself. He is a coaching challenge.

    Another thing. The current Ranger esprit de corps seems awful. Bringing a kid into it is not likely to give him the right idea of what hockey is all about.

    Hartford is a bad team. You seem to think that is an excuse for the poor numbers of the various prospects, but of course it is those very prospects that make the Pack a bad team. The notion that there is a wealth of players in Hartford that can help the big club is absurd. You may not like +/- but like it or not, it is one of the few stats we have and it does tell us how well the team does when a player is on the ice. Filip Chityl is +1 on a bad team. That’s what you expect from a guy who doesn’t belong there. DeAngelo is -12, hardly the man among boys you would like to believe. The idea that you can evaluate defensemen by scoring is absurd.

    [JFTR, I think the dman most likely to wear Ranger blue next year is Brandon Crawley.]

    Finally, there is roster management. By nature, AV (and most coaches) like to send out the same 18 guys each night. The 13th forward and 7th defenseman just should not play that much. These positions should be occupied by marginal veterans and not by kids who need to play. You want a Kampfer in the 7d spot, not a Pionk or DeAngelo. [Agreed Kampfer has gotten too much playing time] And the waiver rules allow sending guys like Lettieri and Nieves up and down and make moving the likes of Carey and Desharnais harder. Adding Holland to a forward corps that needs life was a good move (he did help Hartford) and (assuming Hayes is not out for long) you don’t want two guys sitting. The guy who needed to go had to be Lettieri or Nieves and frankly we should be happy that AV kept the lesser known player. I think (and this is just my opinion) that what we will see is a competition for the #3 center spot between Desharnais and Holland with Boo eventually back in as #4.

    • Good post Ray …

      … I agree on Crawley possibly making the jump although I’m leaning towards Graves who has been in the system long enough to probably have to clear waivers next year.

      • I don’t know how good Graves is, but I do know that he was not called up as a black ace last year when the Hartford season was over. That screams that the organization did not see him as NHL close. Rightly or wrongly, I don’t think JG and company view him as a serious prospect. Sometimes, such players take a big step forward and the organization is surprised, but I don’t think that has happened.

  • Until you make room for any of these kids the question is moot. They won’t get played and if they do, they’ll get shit ice time. First things first, the coaching staff has exceeded their shelf life ….. They could try Tippet who worked well for years with a “vet” challenged team out in the desert, that could be an immediate hire along with Adam Oates as an associate coach — or they could wait and grab someone like Sheldon Keefe or a Jim Montgomery (that may seem like a stretch for this market) for the top job. Both are young and work with young talented kids.

    I haven’t seen Hartford enough to comment all that intelligently on the matter, but it does appear to be the case that both DeAngelo and Pionk have picked it up offensively of late — but what about their defense? That was the issue with DeAngelo in the first place. The kid I want to see first is Graves who strikes me as a bit more stay at home (although he does possess a rocket for a shot).

    Re Chytil, I don’t think he’s ready — he needs to ripen and should be playing 20 minutes a night in Hartford. I think the brain trust was right all along, Andersson is the more NHL ready of the two even if his upside may not be quite that of Chytil’s and I doubt he’ll be coming too soon with Frolunda being an SHL contender.

  • So a day after you say Boo hasn’t been that great and the call to bring up Holland is a good one, you take a jab at AV for not having a “true rookie” on the club. So in your ideal world what exactly is the rookie quota for any given team? Is Lettieri not enough? What’s the minimum # of rookies that need to be on the team?

    • Probably Nieves wasn’t good enough, but taking his mostly defensive role in the team he had +6 🙂 And DD hmmmmmmm taking 56% of starts in offensive zone and having miserable 41% Corsi For…. and he is still in line up…. scratching head

      • They need a 2C. That’s obvious regardless of who the 4th line center is. I’d imagine if Boo were facing the matchups that go along with centering the 2nd line on this team that some of his numbers would look worse. Just because DD is bad (in the role he has been forced in to by flawed roster construction) doesn’t mean Boo for Holland is a bad move. Holland has been a point per game player for the pack, something you can’t say about any of the other kids.

      • The difference is that Holland for Nieves is a reversible move. DD is likely still regarded well enough to be claimed if put on waivers. The question on DD is play him or lose (or trade) him to another organization. I may be wrong, but I’m betting Holland shows the Rangers DD is expendable, DD is gone and Nieves returns.

        This is a less risky way of replacing DD with Holland.

      • DD needs to sit for a few games. He has been completely ineffective and has had numerous defensive lapses. Unacceptable for a veteran. Boo also has had lapses but he’s a rookie still learning.

        DD is also older, undersized and hasn’t played a full season in years. Maybe he is tired and needs a rest. The last time he sat out he came back with some of his best games of the year.

        I’d like to see Lettieri get a shot at the 3c against weaker competition like the Sabres and Avs. He’s a bit undersized but has always been an overachiever and has skills and a level of compete we are missing

  • Maybe they should give all of the kids mentioned above 2 games each. Not to necessarily see how they do, but more about seeing the Show, and making them want it more.

    None of our AHL kids are going to make our top 6 better players unless those top 6 look at themselves in the mirror first.

    Trade for next year and let the kids grow. Bring them up for the final few.

    I think too many people are in love with JT and Hayes. Both are having a down year and should be considered trade bait.

    • If we’re going on the basis of “down year”, then you could add Kreider to the list, Zucc and Mika … every defenseman as well. This team is capable of much more, they just need a fresh voice and attitude.

        • I’m high on him as well, just going on the basis of the down year comment — 25 points in 35 games (and a -11) from your #1C is kind of down, whatever the reasons (good or bad).

  • Dave
    Nice article… should write one on all out top prospects, not just those in Hartford. From all the reports I can get my hands on to read , it appears that we have 5 ”’high end”’ prospects—–
    1. Ty Ronning – Setting goal scoring records in the WHL as RW…….
    2. Sean Day- ”’ in terms of upside , blows all other def. prospects out of the water”’, accd to hockey writer, adam herman
    3. Igor the goalie- a young Lunquist!
    4. Lias Andersson
    5. Filip Chytil
    Once AV is gone I expect/ hope the new coach to get more out of our young skilled players – vesey, buch, miller, hayes, kredier, sjkei, deangelo, fast, letteri and even help to get more consistency or scoring out of smith, zucc and zib……..

    • How in the world do you misspell “Lundqvist”? He’s only been here since 2005, and is the greatest goalie to ever play for this team.

  • Which kids in Hartford could make a difference?

    No one. If they are any good, they should be here already.

  • Keith McCambridge is a good and experienced coach and he has a good staff in all positions on his team in Hartford but they can only do so much and the up and down moves from NY do help them develop the players they have been assigned.

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