Tear it down


Even With last night’s win against the Sharks, the Rangers head into the All-Star break in a complete free fall.  We have all known for months that the process has sucked, and Henrik Lundqvist had been keeping the team afloat.  Well, now that Chris Kreider is hurt and a consistent rotation of random injuries keep hitting the roster, the team has had to bring up a carousel of AHL talent.  The goals are starting to dry up and Alain Vigneault’s “quality over quantity” system has stalled.

For the past several years, the deployment and systems philosophy had run contrary to our conventional understanding of hockey analytics, and the Rangers’ relative success had many analysts questioning whether the team existed between the lines of the current stats.  While it still might be a true statement, this years’ incarnation (which had apparent depth issues from the outset) has put any evanescent hopes of contention firmly out of reality.

So, what now? Well, technically, the Rangers are only one point out of a playoff spot and two out of the second seed in the division; but come on, let’s be real here.  The Rangers are dead last in the league in every meaningful possession statistic besides GF and GA, but we know that is a combination of Hank and the quality of the (top heavy) forward core.  The bottom is falling out.

In the spirit of “hate week” as Dave has coined it, it’s time to burn it down.  If the organization wants to get Lundqvist that elusive Cup, it needs to take decisive action to give the organization a complete overhaul and recognize this for the lost season it is.  I don’t think there is any way around it.  This team is going nowhere, and the organization can choose to accept ongoing mediocrity in the name of a few home games of playoff revenue or they can seize the opportunity to take advantage of a parity-rich environment and maximize some returns that could turn this franchise around.

What does that look like?  Let’s take a look at my rebuild*…

*Bear in mind that this is never going to happen, but rather than slowly drink myself to death, I’m going to give it a go.  Also, I’m not going to try to forecast actual returns for players, as that would in no way be accurate, so I’m going to go through the philosophical approach to the purge.

The Coaching Staff

Lay waste to it.  Benoit Allaire is the only one who should make it out alive.  Alain Vigneault’s message and philosophy has run its course and should be cast out with the rest of this season.  Lindy Ruff is no different in systems or approach to the modern game, so he is out, too.  Scott Arniel has done nothing of note and has been a loyal lieutenant to AV since the beginning.  Honestly, I forgot Daryl Williams was even on the staff.  He’s a goner.

So, who replaces these guys?  I would look for a young-ish guy who is analytics savvy and a good communicator.  Someone who is willing to take research from the (gulp) front office and apply it on the ice.  The on-ice philosophy has to get much more progressive and realistic about asset allocation and deployment.

The Front Office

For any of this to matter, there needs to be a serious shake up at the top.  I know, I know, Dolan is never going to do that.  That’s true, but this is my therapeutic exercise and that’s what’s going to happen.  Sather is out.  Gorton tried, but he has never really seemed to grab hold of meaningful autonomy and he routinely has his ass handed to him at the negotiating table (at least in trades).  No remnants of the old regime can remain.

As for the rest of the front office, how about we get guys like Chris Drury, Brad Richards and Brian Leetch out of hockey operations? Go down to Harvard (or Yale, Princeton, etc. if you want to avoid the whole Boston thing) and find your best combination of economists and ex-college players with MBA’s and JD’s and have them advise your new GM.  This league’s slavish devotion to giving guys with physical skills over intellectual ones the keys to multi-million-dollar franchises is astonishing to me.

Oh, yeah.  Gordie Clark can stay because he is good at his job.

Pending UFA’s

Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, Nick Holden, David Desharnais, Ondrej Pavelec and Paul Carey are all pending UFA’s at the end of the season.  They combine for $12.85 million in cap space.  Trade them all.  Nash and Grabner, in particular should fetch meaningful returns.  The organization should prioritize near NHL ready talent to help accelerate the rebuild.  Best returns possible, and they absolutely should be willing to trade within the division.

Also, I would look to re-sign Nash to a reasonable deal after the season.  Just because he should be traded now doesn’t mean he can’t be a part of the future.

Pending RFA’s

The Rangers have a high-profile crop of upcoming RFA’s who are undoubtedly going to be looking for raises (all have arbitration rights).   Those players include Brady Skjei, Kevin Hayes, JT Miller and Jimmy Vesey.

To me, Skjei is the type of player you build around.  I am on the fence with Hayes and Miller.  I think both of those guys have utility going forward, but the price has to be right.  Vesey, I’m not a huge fan of.  His RFA salary will definitely eclipse his value.

My approach would be this.  Gauge each RFA’s baseline contractual demands and act accordingly.  Each one of those players should fetch a decent haul.  The cap is rising next year (hopefully) so there could be some wiggle room if you project them to be better in a new system, but they are certainly not untouchable.

Longer-term Contracts

Mika Zibanejad- Young and should be part of the next core, signed long-term.  Keep him.

Chris Kreider- The blood clot injury is scary, but his contract is affordable and he brings a nice power forward profile to the top six.  Keep him.

Mats Zuccarello- Zucc is a tricky one.  He only has 1.5 years left on his contract, he is now on the wrong side of 30 yet should net a pretty significant return.  I’d gauge the cost of an extension and act accordingly.

Jesper Fast- For his cap hit and versatility, I think his on-ice value eclipses his trade value.  Keep him.

Pavel Buchnevich- What, are you nuts?  Keep him.

Kevin Shattenkirk- Good value on the remainder of his deal, provided he isn’t hiding any more injuries.  Definitely a keeper.

Marc Staal- Ha! Good luck moving that contract.  Maybe Peter Chiarelli wants to pair him with Kris Russell.

Brendan Smith- Highly doubt anyone would touch this contract.  Welcome to the Smith/Staal third pairing.

Ryan McDonagh- Given the demand for top end defensemen, it’s time to extract value from McDonagh.  Given the circumstances, the trade demand and return package could be the Aroldis Chapman return for the Rangers.  Since his next contract will be most certainly be ill-advised, he is the premier piece to kick start this rebuild.

Henrik Lundqvist- With three more seasons left at $8.5 million, no team will provide a proper return for the King’s services.  He shall man the crease until the Czar is ready.


So, what are we left with?

We have the following forwards retained:  Zibanejad, Kreider, Fast and Buchnevich.  Possibly supplemented by Zuccarello, Hayes, Miller and Vesey.  Next year should see the emergence of Andersson and Chytil, so the foundation for the future is fairly solid up front.  Need some additional skill and depth in trades.

Defense: Shattenkirk, Staal, Smith and technically, Kampfer.  There is plenty of depth in the minors, including DeAngelo, Pionk, Graves, etc., in addition to any defensive prospects or draft picks acquired in any deals.

Goaltenders: Lundqvist.  Considering the retention of Allaire, finding a proper backup amongst the Rangers current minor league options or talent currently outside the organization should not be an issue.

This type of extreme transition should be put the Rangers firmly in the tank and in a position for a high draft pick.  Allow me to put on my conspiracy theory hat for a moment.  The NHL likes important franchises to draft franchise players (See McDavid, Connor and Matthews, Auston).  Given what the bottom of the league looks like (Arizona, Buffalo, etc.) I don’t think it’s far-fetched for the NHL to want to see Rasmus Dahlin in blue.  Either way, a top 10, probably top five pick would be on the table, in addition to the haul for the guys traded away.

With the focus on NHL ready prospects and the competitive jumble in the standings, the environment could be right for the Rangers to rebuild quickly and effectively with an eye on contention again as soon as next season.

The problem, of course, is that the organization will not do any of this and we will all be resigned to a fate of slow liver degradation (or worse, watching the NBA.  Gross).  So, that was my cathartic exercise of destroying our beloved Rangers in the name of getting them back to contention.  I’d invite you to do the same (or rip my strategy apart) in the comments.  Have a great weekend everyone!

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  • this team was lucky to win and the whole idea of this that the team didn’t replace people they traded they didn’t replace Girardi they don’t have a partner for the captain and they didn’t replace stepan

    • They Did Replace Girari. Have you seen Nick Holen on the top Pair? Minus the free falling snowangels his defensive play is just as bad as we were used to seeing from Danny Boy.
      Gorton did have a partner for Ryan in mind. Kevin Shattenkirk. And Our coach gave the pair an entire 5 periods to get acquainted with each other in regular season before blowing it up. They played together in 1 preseason game vs the devils and had by far the best game of any other pairing. Coach cannot grasp the fact that having a solid O-minded Dman in his system is a good thing, but wont allow it to gel.
      They did replace Step, with Zib and they replaced Zib with Hayes. Unfortunately they did not fill in the gaps on the 3rd and 4th lines. DD has had his moments, Boo looked good but not enough for Coach, Holland is a trainwreck and getting pref treatment as a hardworking vet. Whether or not you believe Lias/Chytil was the expected answer it never materialized. While other young guys around the league get chances to succeed ours get pinned to the bench or pressbox as part of the process.

    • JG talked about it twice with how trading Stepan was because they had Hayes and AV was seen talking the same stuff about why and who replaces Stepan. You obviously don’t have to agree with it but imo it was a 10/10 to give Hayes the keys now and finally get rid of 6.5 going into the garbage.

      • How’s that working out for us? Hayes is being out every thing that matters by the “garbage” while on a worse team…so what does that say for Hayes?

        • Lol you shouldn’t ask me that because I’m not the GM with the phone. I’m obviously happy about the recent move and at the same time not that shocked about it. I was the type of fan who saw Hayes as a threat for Stepan’s tenure. I think seeing Sather call him out in two different occasions during separate summers wrote the story on the wall to me. He would later on then he rave about Kevin Hayes that he likes him so much that would go out and sign his AHL big bro Jimmy Hayes. Comparing the two is useless and this is why most of the media hasn’t tried to stirr that pot by saying the NYR miss him. They know what it meant for when a team that sold it’s top paid center with a backup goalie who has a strong established pedigree and gets a return of the other teams 4th best D prospect. Then a 1st added onto that meant they never had intentions of keeping him so I’m sure they’re cool with it.

          The Yotes get screwed over because now they’re back to searching for 1c who can guide those young kids with leadership. They thought Stepan could take a even bigger role with them and touch north of 65 points lol.

          • Well, facts fly in the face of your theory. He leads in 5×5 TOI/GP, leads in all strengths TOI/GP, has more primary points than any center here…yea. We could go on. So there usage of our “garbage” and his subsequent production are quite happy. Ironic you don’t want to speak for our front office, but are willing to speak for another organizations. Huh. Odd

            Jeff Gorton being a bad GM, running a bad front office, has everything to do with getting fleeced in that trade. Kevin Hayes is what he is. There is NO more development. He is a 40-45pt 3rd line center. Nothing more.

      • I am not enamored with Hayes, Miller, or Vesey at this point. But I’m also not sure any of us has gotten a good read on them based on their deployment by AV.

        Just read Brooks’ afternoon column saying they are gonna blow it up. One can only hope.
        I don’t think any of the three should get a pass if there is a bigger deal to be made.

        If they do deal and get considerably younger then they HAVE to move past AV. It is just not going to work. And neither are all of the other coaching retreads out there. They need to get an up and comer like Cooper.

        Or…Go out of the box and take chance on Messier?

        Maybe. He would seem to have the makeup to be a teacher type and he would certainly get some respect from the young guys.

        A few weeks ago Pat mentioned this Czek dude, Filip Pesan, who has had a strong run of success with young guys. I have no knowledge except for what Pat wrote but if he was invited into camp by the Rangers then he is at least on their radar.

        I would not suggest he be given the reigns but teaming him with Mess might be a really interesting way to go about things.

  • I find it extremely unlikely that the rangers fall hard enough to get within striking distance of a top 5 pick this draft, regardless of how bad we have been of late and regardless of if we were to have a fire sale. Recency bias has engulfed the rangers community because we’ve shit the bed on one West coast trip. This team is still capable of competing for a wildcard spot and you’ve gotta be crazy to this management is going to blow up the team at this point in Hank’s career.

    • Indeed. Whether or not it’s strategically the best course moving forward, this team is still too talented, and too close to at least making a playoff dent, for the FO to blow it up, especially since even with blowing it up, you’re right, they probably wouldn’t fall hard enough to even net a top 10 pick.

      In a normal season, perhaps they could sniff the bottom after blowing it up, but too many good teams have struggled this season. Despite a milquetoast record, they’re still right there, a win away from 2nd in the Division.

      If they swept the west coast trip, they’d be 2 points out of first.

      So, blowing it up to get a top 10 or top 5 pick isn’t the answer.

      Now, blowing it up to change the coaching staff, pursue trades, and bring up guys from the pipeline so you can get the growing pains ironed out over the remainder of this season, and maybe have a shot at contention next season, that’s a much more realistic goal.

      • I agree Chris. I believe that most if us who have been arguing that they need to be aggressive sellers want a combination of talent and picks for the most frequently mentioned players. One does not trade McDonough for anything g less than a talented player and at least a valuable pick like a first rounder too. Grabner’s value is such right now that he could realistically garner almost the same in a trade. Nash is the perfect player for a team with real cup possibility to snatch as a rental, so try to fleece someone. Holden, who has been playing fairly well, is liable to have more value than many of us believe in the market. Zuccarello May have value too, but again, you have got to get a decent piece for him to justify a trade. Yeah, they are all wonderful players but I believe it is time to move them.

        Then you bring up the best players you have in the pipeline too and get them some experience for the balance of this season. I think the above moves are the only way to possibly get the team out if the ‘good but not good enough’ category they appear to be stuck in.

  • We’ll know soon enough what direction this team is going, but some of the recommendations are sound!

    Lots of people talk about this upcoming draft as being deep. They say the Dahlen kid is for real, a generational franchise player. If we can get Josh to do a quick article on the kids coming up this draft, it would make for some very interesting reading.

    • Dahlen is a pipe dream. The Rangers can’t fall far enough to net him. However, I am interested in hearing about the 10th-20th range of first round picks.

      • The Ranger scouts should try and get a hold of the Hawks scout team. If they can pick Hayes in the 1st round then I would love to see who they get this year.

    • Yeah, who wants a 50-55 point threat on the blue line anyway, right? Let’s just keep remnants of the 94 team in the front office, in the rafters, and remind fans of 94 incessantly on the MSG Ranger broadcasts. That way the Cup drought they’re in will last 54 years again.

      • Keep Shattenkrik for sure. I’m not that big a fan of Clark, I think they could do better. I’m also not as big into analytics like many are. How is analytics and young GM doing for the Coyotes right now?

        • The worth of something is rarely proven by one example. Citing Arizona or Florida as an example of failed analytical emphasis ignores the fact that teams like Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Philadelphia have improved themselves by utilizing analytics.

          I get being annoyed by them—Corsi and Fenwick in particular are both oversimplifications of the game that don’t account for some of defensive hockey’s finer points—but they’re helpful indicators of individual impact. I don’t really like expected goals as a stat, it’s a hypothetical statistic at best. But these numbers can help build balanced rosters and they can also indicate if a team is functioning well overall.

          Puck possession isn’t a new idea. Teams like the Oilers and Penguins openly discussed the tactic in the 80s and early 90s. Messier talked about it as a Ranger. It’s a good strategy that appears to play no role whatsoever in how the current Rangers approach hockey under Vigneault.

          • This team is better than what it has shown on the ice. How can you call out Smith for defending his sweater?I am not a fan AV. He hasn’t done right by the players or management. His process looks a lot like constipation. He should be removed from his position along with Messers Ruff and Arniel. J Gorton time to step up and guide the team with a strong positive hand. Go against Slats if that is what is called for and maintain your name in the league.

          • Jeff,
            Couldn’t agree more !!!!!! nash, grabner, kreider, buch, sjkei, shatty, miller, hayes, vesey all highly sought after free agents or #1 draft choices…..
            Its the coach………how many odd man rushes, breakaways does this team give up, EVERY game…..no improvement in the last 4 years….we get worse every year!!!!!! AV must GO !!!!!!!!!!

  • MAC is a top defensemen, why get rid of him, build on him, he has years left.
    I see moving him as too desperate.

    It would be nice to get younger elite MGT in place.

    but I just don’t think MGT is going to be shaken up now. Coaching staff, yes, a few maybe 2 moves on the roster.

    thats my gut.

    • You only trade Mac if you can get haul for him which I think at this stage we can so I’d do it .we don’t have the pieces to win right now we need to acquire them but we only have top veteran NHL players to trade I’d trade all the up coming unrestricted free agents plus MAc and the king and rebuild this team for the future and it shouldn’t be a long rebuild either because we’ll have ca space and high draft picks to improve

      • Leafs missed the playoffs ten times to get where they are today. Oilers missed a dozen times.

        Anyway it’s a big step from rebuild on the fly to tear it down… not sure this organization has what it takes to go all the way to the nuclear option. Or to succeed if they decide to go all the way for that matter!

    • If we are gonna tear it down then McD must go for the haul he can bring back. Someone wants his skill and his Cap hit for the next two Stanley runs.

      He didn’t hurt his trade value last night….

    • I’ve come to realize if that chance gets taken to trade Mcd then it would be to a team like the Oilers or Winnipeg for Klebomb or Trouba. There’s no D man on this team that could rise up through the ranks and take Mcd’s plate full of responsibility and play at a consistent level. If the club is high on any of the AHL boys then I would add to the package to Edmonton and get Nurse included. Mcd expenses would need to be retool within that instant.

  • I think some of this will happen. Maybe not in the way you envision and maybe not with the results you expect. But I’d be surprised if none of it came to pass.

  • Yes this team is not perfect. The Top 6 of the roster isn’t elite, although it rarely has been, and the bottom 6 isnt as deep due to injuries. But this team is far from being bad enough to win the lottery. As of today, 2 points seperate 2nd place and 7th Place in the Division.

    They can sell pieces and still remain competitive in this league thanks to the parody of talent and the “loser point”.

    My biggest take away from this season is the trade of Stepan, which we knew was a long-term play, has been more damaging in the short-term than the fans and front office expected. I think it’s a fair question to ask how much of the leadership in the locker room was him versus Zucc and McD.

  • Didn’t the Panthers after a great season, go the route of getting rid of all hockey guys and going all smart analytics guys?

    Ever since they missed the playoffs and are not in the hunt in a bad top heavy division,

    Why is it one or the other. Fine bring in a couple analytics guys to work with the Hockey guys, but getting an all analytics coach and front office wont work. Hockey is not black and white you need both sides.

  • This teams set of forwards are as good as any in the NHL . They just need a little tweaking next year. Need to go ,DD -Carey -Holden -Kampfer -Staal lots of luck there .Some one might just take Smith at the trade dead line if they are in need of a D Man due to an injury such as we have with Shatty right now .
    Miller -Hayes – Zucc
    Vesey -Chytil -Nash If resigned
    Fast -Andersson – Grabs if resigned
    Extra Littieri –
    McD -Shatty
    ADA -Skjei
    Take your pick Staal -Graves -Smith – Pionk – Day -Gilmour –
    Would like to see Grabs and Nash resigned . Grabs brings some needed speed to the team . Can not figure why AV won’t even try him on the PP , he is one of the only forwards that can gain the zone on his own with his speed .
    Now i do know that some of the forwards are not going to be here next year as will sign a few FAs. Raanta might be a good sign next year if he would agree to be Hanks back up again .They need a coach that wants them to shoot the puck on net rather then passing it into the net . On a side note did Duagay get canned for his comments on the air the other night LGR

    • Excellent !!!!!! On the money rangers17……..
      That team, along with a GOOD coach should be able to compete!!!!
      D man Sean Day is the best defensive prospect we have had since Leetch accd to reports!!!!!! May or may not be ready for next sept….
      Ty Ronning another cant miss scoring machine in the WHL….setting scoring records!!!!!
      Want to see Smith on his natural side before we get rid of him…….

  • I am willing to give Gorton a little longer to revamp the team. I believe that has been his mission, but rebuilding on the fly is not easy to do and injuries have made the wheels come off the bus. I think that he just may be driven to do a lot of what you suggest regarding the players. But Slats is still his boss, so the possibility of a ruinous, short-sighted trade is a real possibility! While I think a change in the coaching staff would be a good thing, I doubt it to be imminent.

    They probably won’t tank enough to get a top 5 pick, but astute trades of people like Grabner and McDonough could bring very good talent, and Nash, Zuccarello and Holden could bring decent returns as well.

    • If this new Hayes line takes off then things will get interesting for Zucc because his svalue will skyrocket up. If there was a idea to keep him around after 30 then this might be a reason to let him remain as a NYR but who knows. JG might get something that’s younger and faster with more size and skills to put with Hayes and JT Miller.

    • I don’t think the wise move is to have a preconceived notions of selling or buying. The fact of the matter I that there is a lot of hockey to be played and we aren’t certainly out of the playoffs and could get hot at the moment.

      That said I don’t really think we are contenders.

      What JG should do is work his butt off assessing the market and exploring all potential deals that could help us especially in the future. We shouldn’t sell just to sell; the return needs to be clearly in our favor. On the other side we shouldn’t overpay just to get a bit better. We need to create value!! Nobody should be off the table if the return is attractive enough. The Yankees of 2016 are a great example. They sold the 2 best pieces of what was possibly their greatest strength and set themselves up for years to come.

      Lets get more then we give.

  • Absolutely agree with most. Still not sure how much freedom Gorton has because I am convinced Sather still has a hand in trades.

    TOTALLY AGREE with dumping the Druries/Richards/Letches of the organization. Get real staff versus ex-players who might not be totally committed. I may be wrong but Drury is way over his head.

    Bring Igor over ASAP to split then transition with The King. This guy appears to be the goods.

    AV needs to go for sure. He is not built to coach a young team.

  • The only coach who will be perfect for the ‘new’ New York Rangers next year would be mark messier .he has the pedigree and desire to coach this team it’s time for dolon to be bold and bring him back to the garden and Mike Keenan as an associate coach as well. Remember what toronto did they brought in an allstar coaching staff from GM to coach niw look what they are . Messier is no Gretzky he will do a damn good job because he’s a born leader and we need a new leader for the New York Rangers

    • Correct Sally Boy. Clean house behind and above the bench.

      Call Mark Messier and give him the keys to the car. This team needs a spirit transplant from the top down.

    • And we know this why? Keenan again? The glory day of 94 is over.

      Mark Messier so wants to coach, that’s he’s doing exactly nothing coaching related. Sounds like a recipie for success.

      What we need are people who can see where hockey is GOING, not where it’s been, and who can evaluate talent and put that talent in positions to succeed.

      We don’t need relics from the past.

      • Easy, Johnny B.

        If Messier decides to forego his side hustle, as spokesmodel for some Canadian Grandpa shoe–velcro straps over soles thick as Frankenstein boots–he’s a great fit.

        Maniacal Mike Keenan as assistant, or co-coach? I agree, John; push on.

        Clearly, ineffably, we need to get over this counterintuitive ’94 obsessive thing… and reorient our retro to the ’28 Cup team.

        We name Lester Patrick as bench boss. Then bring Frank Boucher, and The Cook Brothers, Bill and Bun in on PTOs. I mean, it couldn’t be any worse than the Robbie Farnham experiment.

        Who’s with me?

  • I disagree with G Clark. His recommendations on draft picks in later rounds have been poor. This is where depth should be built. I realize later round talent eval is difficult to eval but other teams seem to be making better decisions than NYR.

    I feel we need a new head scout.

    • Yet the Rangers have more later round talent than other organizations. We’ve “hit” more than others, so facts dispel this notion

  • I don’t know why you’re calling this “hate week” because all I ever see on this site is hate. I know it’s not everyone but there’s so much ripping and complaining here that I don’t bother with it usually. Once again AV benched a player and the player comes back with a good game ex. JT and Buch but let’s not actually say anything positive. Instead let’s cry about the coach. I would like to see us get younger for sure and there’s almost nobody I wouldn’t move on the roster to build for the future. I didn’t expect much from the team when the season started because we got weaker up the middle. We’re really gonna find out how good Gorton is these next few years Let’s hope he can put together a team with talent and that really wants to win every time their on the ice

  • Stop the hate! From day 1 of this season we knew the following:

    We were thin down the middle
    Our top lines needed to score for us to be in contention
    Hank 2018 needed to like Hank 2011
    Our defense needed speed and also needed to help break out

    None of this has changed! Our injuries have hurt an already this center position. Our top 6 are not scoring at a scorching pace. Hank is playing his cahones off and the weak defense can’t survive 2 major injuries.

    This happens.

    How do we fix it. With hate? Cmon!!!

    Support the team you love. Hope that they have a plan that can either bring us greatness this year or youth and potential greatness in years to come, but please all this hate is getting ugly.

    • People on this site overrated Mika. The dude doesn’t win board battles in any of the 3 zone. I remember seeing the Sens fans talk about Zibs ability to play wing and that being his true calling as a shooting winger who has nice hands. Imo Hayes with the right line like right and not with guys like Vesey could supply that top 6 depth. Buch needs a 1c and Zib should either play wing or go in a trade to help fetch a 1c.

  • Look trading players for draft picks is a nice idea but in reality it is like throwing darts after 20 beers…You might hit the bull’s eye once but you most likely are going to hit your friend in the face 10 times. It’s random chance.

    Even with 1st overall picks.. there is only like a 60% chance success rate since the 70’s. For all the Crosby’s and Lindros’s there are a ton of of Yakupov and Patrik Stefan.

    Building a winning team is not solely about talent. Is Matt Cullen the most talented guy in the NHL? Is he an elite skater? Does he have a elite shot? But the guy has 3 cups to his name. More than anyone on the rangers roster. There are no more Gretzky’s, Lemieux’s, that can simple dominate the whole league. Look at McDavid. Where is his team? Hockey is my favorite sport cause it really is a team sport. From the guy on the 4th line to the number 1 center everything has to go right for you to win.

    This group had their runs and just didn’t get it done. It happens. Trade the guys who are no longer happy here and move forward. I watched Zuc last night and asked myself is that really him? Couldn’t make a pass, doggin it almost every shift. I mean Hayes and Miller were just really clicking so his stats don’t say anything but I don’t think I saw him win 1 board battle all night. Guys are not happy let them go their way. And just hope you get something of value in return.

  • “The Rangers are dead last in the league in every meaningful possession statistic besides GF and GA”. So what.

    For a very apt analogy, is height a good quality in a basketball player? Of course. But it is only one ingredient in assessing a player. In fact, if general managers across the board obsess on height, given two equally good players, you can actually get the shorter player at a better price and so a winning strategy is to go short.

    How smart are hockey GMs across the board? Seriously, they could protect about a dozen players on each team and offered an expansion team enough talent to have the second best record in the league. Seems to me there is good evidence that the traits gms share are maybe unwise. Maybe good judgment is to go for reverse analytics.

    Quick note from NHL website: Yes, the Rangers are 31st in USAT, unblocked shot attempts for-against. But Arizona is 29th and Washington is 30th. In USAT tied, the Rangers are actually 28th whole Washington is 30th. Toronto is not nearly as good as they were a few years back.


    End of rant. None of this detracts from the point your evidence is meant to support. The Rangers are simply not good enough to win the Cup with the present talent. I do not agree with blowing up the team. I think the Rangers need to focus on addition, not subtraction. I don’t think much is gained by trading Pavelek or Carey for a fifth rounder, even if they could get that much. I don’t want to trade Zuccarello or McDonagh, but you do it for the right price of course — and Buchnevich as well for that matter.

    Who is untouchable? Players you need and players who are undervalued. Who do you want to trade? Players who are either overvalued or superfluous. The fact that there is so much agreement here about who to trade suggests that people here don’t get the overvalued, undervalued stuff. If everyone thinks a player is undervalued, who exactly is it who is undervaluing him? I don’t want to trade Buchnevich; I think he has a bright future. BUT BUT, if there is a gm out there who sees Buch as a future HOFer and I just don’t see that, well, maybe I try to find out what he’ll give me in return.

    As for your short term trade list, well, I really disagree only with Pavelec. Not counting Shesterkin, the third best goalie in the system is an embarrassment, at PRESENT skill level. Putting a bad goalie in demoralizes the team — and it is not that that Pavelec would net much in return. Of the others, only Nash and Grabner would net a real return. I would tell Grabner though that I hoped to see him back in the summer. OTOH, I’d get rid of Desharnais because he is just in the way (maybe Holden too, Carey is irrelevant).

    Finally, I would dispatch AV and probably hire a coach who is not as good and then replace him in a year or two. Bottom line: AV has coached a lot of years with a lot of good players and never gotten the brass ring. The current team trajectory is downhill. He won’t do it and as long as he is the coach, you can’t find the guy who will. OTOH, he is above average and so it is hard to improve on him. But you can keep hiring new guys until you find the winner.

    • Height in basketball compared to advanced metrics is an absolutely terrible analogy, actually. Advanced metrics outside GF and GA – none of which are actually intended to be a single-point overall evaluation tool – are performance-based/derived. Obviously, height is not.

      I have no issue with looking at goal differential as part of the package, but that isn’t infallible either. Columbus is -6 and has two more points than the +2 Rangers. Washington is +12 and they have only three points less than the +40 Bruins. Chicago is +10 and last in the Central, by four points, and Minnesota ahead of them is just +4. Calgary is also just +2 yet is a point ahead of the +18 Kings. Etc.

      Your arguments about and/or issues with possession and/or shot-based metrics and other advanced metrics are opinion-based, yet you present it like fact. If you don’t like advanced metrics, fine – just say that. Like most (all?) advanced stats in the four major American sports, they aren’t perfect or an end-all-be-all…but, they aren’t useless, either. Look at the season-long all situations CF% for recent Cup winners…most are in the top ten or five of the league. That’s not a mere coincidence. By the same token, occasionally a middle of the pack team will sneak in there with a nice scoring hot streak during the playoffs; it happens. What you won’t find, however, is a terrible Corsi team in that group…just like you won’t find a -50 goal differential team in that group.

      • Looking at Cup winners is not good science. It is a very small data collection and there is truly a great deal of luck in who wins the Cup. I simply do not accept the notion that Washington winning the Cup is unfathomable – and Washington is a terrible Corsi team.

        The conventional wisdom is that GF/GA is more accurate an assessment of a team than W-L. There is a certain amount of luck in the equation and it is not surprising that the orders are not identical. What GF/GA tells us is that, for example, we expect the Rangers to be slightly better than Columbus over the latter part of the season and LA to be better than Calgary. Of course, this assumes the teams continue to play at the established level. This ignores trade deadline deals. It also does not take into account injuries, which should cause a Ranger decline from the +2 level.

        “Your arguments about and/or issues with possession and/or shot-based metrics and other advanced metrics are opinion-based, yet you present it like fact. If you don’t like advanced metrics, fine – just say that. Like most (all?) advanced stats in the four major American sports, they aren’t perfect or an end-all-be-all…but, they aren’t useless, either.”

        I have frequently offered opinions on advanced stats, but this particular comment contains nothing you could label as opinion masquerading as fact. Show me the offending line.

        On the other hand, your line about them not being useless is actually an opinion. My own opinion is that they are useless for every purpose which BSB community members use them for.

        Now I will I believe say things which are completely factual. In basketball, height is a good thing. In hockey, possession is a good thing. There are different in that height is a physical characteristic whereas possession is a result of skill, but just as height does not guarantee any skill, neither does having some skills guarantee a complete skill set. Finally, if your assessment of players overvalues certain assets at the expense of other important assets, you will make incorrect choices.

        Now my opinion: There are ways to evaluate the complete player. Analytics can give us a more precise measure of partial skill sets. There is a danger in giving too much weight to the skills we can measure precisely at a cost of undervaluing the harder to measure stats. and in a world where everyone is using analytics, well, the smart money is to bet against them.

        There is a correlation of course – players like Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid excel at every metric that makes any sense. But seriously, let us consider Dan Girardi and Kevin Shattenkirk just for a moment — and I am not going to make a bold assertion here.

        Shattenkirk is a good puck-moving defenseman who is weak in his own end. Girardi often gets trapped in his own end, but is pretty good at keeping the puck out of the net. These are two prototype players whose kind has been around forever. Coaches fifty years ago could look at these two guys and know what they are getting. But suddenly here come analytics. Analytics tell us that Shattenkirk is a much better possession player than Girardi. Seriously, is that really news? They are just telling us the obvious. So no, they do not have any value here. But what analytics enthusiasts think is that the numbers prove Shattenkirk is better because we can codify his superiority – and there is no nice retort on behalf of Girardi.

        Notice I have never said Girardi was better (and in fact given their ages, I would opt for Shattenkirk). However, what I have said is that making the choice is not informed by analytics, which merely gives us a forceful way of stating PART of the obvious.

        And when everyone starts using analytics, if you have two equal players, the guy with the better possession numbers is the guy with the higher salary and higher trade value.

        • You’ve had a history of poo-pooing advanced stats, especially Corsi-related, Ray. Hmm, let’s look back to…gee, that took a while…yesterday, when you told Rob – who wrote a well-thought-out piece with statistical backing (Gasp; how dare he!) that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and to “Drop the numbers…”. I’ll tell you how that comes off: “I’m Ray, and Ray is better than performance-derived facts.” Not a good look.

          I’m not even sure what you are trying to achieve with your paragraph number two above…unless you are trying to further illustrate that goal differential is not very concrete in addition to what I pointed out. If so, nice work. Of course luck factors into the equation of a championship…in literally every single team sport. Captain Obvious called, and said he would like you to stop stealing his thunder.

          The list of cup winners for which you can draw Corsi stats is not just a couple. It’s a decent sample. The trend is clear, albeit not airtight. Because – once again – no advanced stats are airtight. If they were, as folks have said before, there would be no point to actually playing the games.

          “…in a world where everyone is using analytics, well, the smart money is to bet against them.”…putting this as nicely as I can, that is one of the stupidest statements I’ve read on the internet this week. The analytics say fast, deep, possession minded hockey teams are doing most of the winning in this era, and they are…so, you want to go slow and play three lines/two pairs or something, I guess?

          Funny you should mention Shattenkirk/Girardi in relation to advanced metrics. You should check out their HERO charts and look at the shot suppression metrics. I think you will be surprised based on what you contend above, and it’s a perfect example of exactly the opposite of what you are contending. I however was not at all surprised the first time I saw that; I don’t look at Girardi and see a shot suppressing defender, personally, either; his game is to let the shot off and (maybe) block it or (maybe) at least compromise the shooting angle rather than prevent the shot itself. The reason I’m not surprised is that we can actually see these numbers play out on the ice IF we aren’t only seeing what we want to see.

          What your retort here says to me, more than anything, is that you have a comfort zone with your statistics of choice, and you favor the ones that you can bend to support your narratives of choice. You’re still banging that height analogy drum for example, which is frankly amazing to me. It’s not even just apples to oranges; it’s like apples to spaceships. Not at all comparable.

          What I’m saying is, advanced metrics aren’t perfect, but they help paint a more complete picture, because they give you more information to work with. When all the metrics (including goal differential, BTW…+2 after 50 games is nothing to write home about) say the Rangers are a mediocre team, they are a mediocre team.

          What you are saying seems to be that you don’t like certain advanced metrics, because you don’t like certain advanced metrics.

          • “…in a world where everyone is using analytics, well, the smart money is to bet against them.”…putting this as nicely as I can, that is one of the stupidest statements I’ve read on the internet this week.

            You must live a sheltered life. Let me try another analogy. Suppose you are planning on betting on the Super Bowl. Everyone knows that having the best quarterback gives you a big advantage. However, we don’t know precisely what that advantage is. Well, suppose your reasoning process leads you to believe that the betting public at large vastly overvalues the importance of the quarterback (and I’m not saying that is true in real life, just in mythical world). And suppose that it is also clear to you that the betting public also regards New England as having the better quarterback. Then, all else being equal, you should bet against New England because it is a zero sum game and that is the way to take advantage of a flaw in the reasoning process of others. You are not denying the excellence of the New England quarterback, just trying to exploit the fact that his importance is overrated.

            In hockey, you may have $4M defenseman who is a possession darling and so can earn $7M. You may also have a $3M defenseman who runs afoul of advanced metrics and can only earn $2M. In this world, it is only right to go with the lesser defenseman and use the $5M elsewhere.


            Two observations about advanced metrics. One is that I doubt few people here really have explored their worth. Certainly, all of the ink devoted at BSB has been concerned with how good metrics say players are and not how important the metrics are. I am aware of little research – and what little I have undertaken on my own has shown scant correlation with success.


            The list of cup winners for which you can draw Corsi stats is not just a couple. It’s a decent sample.

            Here I am ignorant. I only have access to data from Planet Earth. How many hundreds of Cup winners do you have stats for?

          • I thought the first analogy was bad. Then you managed to make a worse one.

            “In hockey, you may have $4M defenseman who is a possession darling and so can earn $7M. You may also have a $3M defenseman who runs afoul of advanced metrics and can only earn $2M. In this world, it is only right to go with the lesser defenseman and use the $5M elsewhere.”

            Proves you have little grasp of understanding of what the advanced metrics are, how they’re used, how they’re read. This is wrong on so many levels it is incomprehensible to even fathom.

            To even make the further statement that your own research shows “scant correlation with success”, which flies in the face of study and on ice verification of the exact opposite means you have either A- done zero research or B- didn’t like the results and changed the variable(s) to achieve a desire you wanted to see.

  • I believe the Ranger coaching staff has made one consistent mistake and it has cost them dearly. It probably cannot be corrected now. This is a point where I have disagreed with most here and I think that the reality is somewhere in between.

    I believe the following two statement are actually true:
    Henrik Lundqvist is not a prima donna. The Ranger organization has treated him like a prima donna. They have used different defensive systems when he is in and when his backup plays. The result has been that Hank has gotten worse results than Talbot and Raanta despite being more talented.

    If Torts and AV had simply told Hank that, “No Hank, we think this defensive set-up is better and that is the way it is”, Hank may have griped and he may even have struggled at first, but he is a fierce competitor and would have adapted — and just maybe he would now have his name on the Cup. Of course, the Rangers currently do not have the talent to win even with better systems.

    • Hahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!

      Ok. Caught my breath.
      So seriously….what you were serious?

      Bahahahahahaha bahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

  • Hey, Justin, sometimes you feel like you’re buried, only to later find out that you’ve actually been planted 🙂

    …..just trying to cheer you up, pal

  • I really appreciate the work you guys do, which is why I’m a frequent visitor to the site. But you’re at a point where your message of “sell everything” is getting incredibly stale, because we all know that as long as the loser point exists and permits mediocre teams like the Rangers to hang around in a playoff race, a firesale will never, ever happen in New York. Not to mention in the last years of Lundqvist’s window. Instead of beating this drum like a dead horse, I would love to see more entries on how the Rangers can realistically improve, through both internal measures and external.

  • Larry Brooks is reporting that Dolan has approved a mandate for the Rangers to pursue full seller status at the trade deadline, prioritizing contention next season over keeping the playoff berth streak alive.

    That’s a big change in NY philosophy, if true.

    • If true, it’s no surprise. Maybe JG will be in charge after all, and that relic Sather is no longer the real boss. But we’ll have to see if Brooks is right????????????

      • It doesn’t mean that JG needed his blessings to throw away this season, if this talk is true then there’s a plan in place to give Hank a shot this year. When I see that they can become “sellers” I see code for that being a special type of funding which means that he can gamble on names like Nash and Grabner to get established pieces for now and the near future. It might mean either that Zucc or Mcd will go in a trade that could bring back a top 4 name, top 9 name and a bottom 6 name.

        • Mint

          Who knows what it means, but changes are coming, and they are long overdue. I just hope that management gets rid of the entire coaching staff, except the goalie coach, and go from there.

  • I really thought the Rangers would not go this route 2 months ago, but between what I have heard lately and Larry Brooks’ article saying the Rangers are going to blow it up now matter where they are in the standings, I am surely relieved.

    Now, if they do indeed go this route, then let’s see what they do with this unique opportunity.

    Oh, and the coaches go too or else they are just wasting assets.

    • Imo that means good news, they will finish the rebuild on the fly it sounds like. Maybe a whole new look on the D? I feel like the bottom 6 will drastically be changed by the deadline with maybe only Fast being the last one left along with Lettierri. A cultural shift with a bit more edge to it? Maybe a plan to move Staal? No matter what I feel this change will be good for right now and the future. Hopefully it has that old Gabby to CBJ vibe to it. Brass and J Moore took ran the ice at MSG that night and Clowe was smashing heads.

      • I like it, if they blow it up. It’s time for a change. My concern was always that if they were in a playoff spot then they would not go this route. We all hope that they have seen the light.

        We questioned why the tough guy was claimed and I hypothesized that it may be a signal that the Rangers got him to protect their young players after a sell off of the vets. Hope that’s the case.

    • If they’re looking at blowing it up but only at the roster…yeah, not good enough. AV will take a player who should bloom in two years’ time and make it four.

  • If anyone is interested, on the TSN.ca website, Bob McKenzie has a video called “The Rasmus Dahlin draft” , listing the top 31 potential picks, and there really is some very good kids on this list. Keith Tkachuk has another son who is rated in the top five, and he looks very good. I guess the people were right, this is a very deep draft!!!!!

    • Thanks for the idea, but I didn’t get the same impression as you did. Seems like Dahlin is leagues above everyone else and the only player nhl ready. The rest seem to fall into a herd and no one right now has separated from the pack.
      I would never trust a draft without some top picks being from canada. Maybe i am nuts

  • I am against a fire sale. Whole heartedly. For reasons I have previously stated. Management has a bad track record,
    draft picks even high ones are luck of the draw,
    the trade market is destoryed by Sakic, and our No move clauses
    valuations of our players seem to be dodgy at best considering this is NYC and the media attention it gives,
    started the season short on center depth willingly,
    lost a couple of guys due to injury and the wheel fell off, over reaction
    went 8-1 without zibanejiad in the lineup,
    goalies cant be team/locker room leaders

    Now as far as the metrics stuff goes…I really don’t have any knowledge on it other then what the guys on here and other sites post. So I can’t have a true opinion on it. I never really spend the time to look up exactly what each stat is and what it is based off. And I doubt I am the minority on here. But the one thing I constantly notice is the eye factor of grit and determination and luck seems to constantly get pushed aside for the metrics. And metrics are great and etc…but why do cup teams always have those Daniel Carcillos, mike rupp, matt cullen stephan Matteau for that matter? You need guys to gel the locker room and also have someone on the roster that has done it to make the others who haven’t understand that they can win the cup.

    One thing I can say without a doubt is this Ranger’s team is divided. So til the coach is fired and/or someone is brought in to knock some heads around in that locker room the team is going to lose no matter who we have on the ice. Or how many 1st round picks we get. And I am not saying AV is a bad coach but this team is split right down the middle. And something has to happen. Whether you trade the players who are dogging it or fire the coach, but something needs to change.

    Aside from all of that …if the Rangers could figure this out by april, they have a real chance to win cause this year the contenders look real soft beside tampa. And they have Girardi and Callahan so how good could they be! LOL

    • “I am against a fire sale. Whole heartedly. For reasons I have previously stated. Management has a bad track record,
      draft picks even high ones are luck of the draw”

      I can understand the cynicism. But here’s the thing. Next year’s draft is deep as there are no real studs, even at the top of the draft. Dahlen is assumed to be the top player, but even he is not McDavid or Austin or anything close to them as a possible #1 overall pick. But it’s a deep draft.

      So now is the time to have 3 or 4 first round picks. Yes, the Rangers have to make them count in order for this to be successful. I think they have to try, even with no guarantees of success. The simple reason is that everything else they have done for years has proven to be a failure. The Rangers failed Henrik and the fans, big time.

      They had a good thing going in 2013-14 and followed it up by screwing it up. Letting go players like Stralman and Hagelin while keeping players like G, Staal, and Glass was a total mismanagement of assets.

      The narrative of “if we had another goalie that cost less” is so stupid that I cannot believe that it actually is said by some fans. Travis Yost had an article that showed salary levels for top forwards, D men, and goalies. Guess what? The Rangers were in line with that comparison, for goalies. So what would the Rangers do with $1 or $2M in additional cap space that would have won them a Cup, while having a much more inferior goalie who would have offset the slightly better forward group? The answer is nothing because the Rangers would have been worse under that scenario.

      Simply, it’s time for a change because what they have done the last 5+ years did not win them a Cup with a more than a Cup worthy goalie. Blow it up, players and coaches.

  • Lundqvist should waive his no trade clause and be part of the sell. Lundqvist trade needs to be a hockey trade, that means talent is not as much the key as is the salary exchange plus draft picks.

    not saying this trade but something of this comparisson:
    Lundqvist to the Sharks for C-Pavelski, RW-Meier, a prospect and 2 #1s

    anyway Lundqvist has to go to in order for him to win the cup.

    • I don’t know Henrik but I know people who do know him, and I think his love of NY will outwiegh the risk of being traded and still not winning a Cup.

      Chicago is now a perfect landing spot with Crawford’s career in jeopardy. But would Hank go? My money says “no.”

  • It is/was the inevitable correct move… I didn’t think Dolan would approve this, but I will believe it when I see it.

    • My approach too Cat, but from what I have been hearing since Jan 1, this news from Brooks is in line with what I have heard.

      But like yo said, “show us.”

  • Yes time to break it all down And not just Nash Grabner sorry to say time to bid farewell to Zucc McDonugh JT Miller

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