Who Are the New Prospects? Some Info about the Deadline Aquisitions

libor hajek

First off, I would like to show my appreciation for the Rangers management realizing that a rebuild might be the best option in order to compete in future years. The Rangers began to trade off some fan favorites and target young players to try to jump start said rebuild. It is understandable that people may be upset that after the sell offs. since we didn’t get an absolute ‘A’ level prospect, but at the same time –in something like Ryan McDonagh’s case– would you move someone like Mikhail Sergachev for 1.25 years of McDonagh if the sides were flipped?

Most of the value the Rangers acquired is in the draft picks. Given the now deep center prospect depth, getting picks in a draft dominated by wingers and defensemen is pretty nice timing to help build hopefully a future contender. Based on who the Rangers have acquired, I envision a team being built that will come at you in waves. Filip Chytil looks like he can be a first liner, Lias Andersson looks like he will be a quality NHLer too. The Rangers as of now don’t have a franchise prospect (hopefully a draft lottery win can change that), but the pieces that we have recently acquired are the pieces that can potentially develop into key players that help separate contenders from pretenders. Quality depth is just as important as elite skill.

Yegor Rykov

There are a lot of story lines that surround the prospect received from the shocking trade with the New Jersey Devils. Let me first say that I am really happy the Devils traded Rykov away in this deadline, and I am even happier that he is now a Ranger. Rykov is a quality puck moving defenseman prospect playing for SKA in the KHL. At 21 years old, he is playing 3rd pair minutes on a team that can likely defeat some current NHL teams.

A problem regarding Rykov never really involved his skill but more that there was fear he may not come over. I think the Rangers have less to worry with this as we have always seemed to get guys to come over to the States. There are a couple of Russians currently on the roster, Nickolai Bobrov –the NYR director of European scouting– was a former employee of SKA, and Igor Shestyorkin is his current teammate with both contracts expiring at the same time. It can be much easier for both to come over to America if they are coming with a friend.

I’ve seen a few people compare Rykov to Dmitry Orlov and I think that is pretty fair, but overall he really is just a tank on the ice. He has both the talent and the physical stature to be a defenseman that is necessary to build a championship team. He plays with his heart on his sleeve while being absolutely adept at moving the pucks from the defensive zone. Overall, I would consider him NHL ready right now. Don’t be surprised if he will be on the Rangers’ roster during the 2019-2020 season and quickly loved among most Rangers fans. He definitely checks all the boxes in the kind of defensemen people love to have.

Ryan Lindgren

Warrior. That is commonly the word that is used to describe Lindgren. I haven’t had much chance to watch the NCAA this season but I have a few friends who watch the University of Minnesota who have rave reviews about this prospect. Unlike our other acquisitions, Lindgren is likely more of a bottom pair guy should he make the NHL, but a key feature in a championship team is having no weak links. Should Lindgren make the NHL on our 3rd pair I am sure he would be considered one of the underrated pieces.

Lindgren is seen more of as a defensive defenseman but that shouldn’t necessarily be associated with being an anchor. He is a nice skater and uses that to close people off fast. He also absolutely loves to hit and looks for the open ice check when given the opportunity. He blocks shots and even at his young age is seen as an emotional leader on and off the ice, being an assistant captain as a sophomore is a ringing endorsement of how he is perceived by coaches and teammates.

Offensively, he certainly leaves more to be desired but at the same time, while I am a big believer in hoping for those super high producers, the NCAA especially in regards to defensemen certainly have more than what meets the eye. After all, even Brady Skjei had 10 points as a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, Josh Manson –one of the prime defensive defensemen in the NHL– didn’t even hit 10 points until his last year in the NCAA. I do think he should be able to jump more into the rush because for a stocky defenseman he is a pretty good skater.

Lindgren is another example of the type of prospects the Rangers added to the system, a good skater who can think the game really well but also has those intangible qualities that coaches seem to love when building a team. Lindgren can be a nice project for the coaching staff, but unlike the other prospects that they traded for, I think it is fair to think of Lindgren as more of a long term project. He will likely finish another year of college and at least a year of the AHL as well.

Libor Hajek

I don’t know about you but I really loved that Hajek was able to get some airtime when the Rangers played the Calgary Flames. Hajek, in similar fashion to Rykov, is another big bodied, puck moving defenseman that is key when building a team in this version of the NHL. As Larry Brooks and a few other beat writers documented, Hajek is an interesting prospect because of his production at the world juniors and the ringing endorsement from respected coach John Paddock, stating that he may be NHL ready by next season.

What everyone can expect from Hajek is a brilliant two way defenseman who uses his skating to absolutely smother players both large and small against the boards and also jump in on the rush. He is one of those defensemen that goes quietly unnoticed all game until they either shut down a huge play against or become the extra man on a rush that causes a chance. His offense is prevalent as he is one of the better producers among his WHL defensemen peers when you factor in ice time. He really is just a super smart defenseman that will be able to be a big piece for the Rangers.

One of the things that can be intriguing to fans is that even though he is a left handed shot, he has been able to play on the right side and from viewings, looks extremely comfortable there as well. This fits a big need, as there is a lack of defensemen who can likely take these heavy usages against some super talented offensive players, especially on the right side. I think that Hajek can be one of hopefully a couple of possible answers to this problem, getting a defenseman who we can trust to be both a great shutdown guy but also produce points for us is huge for the rebuild.

Brett Howden

When you include Brett Howden to a prospect pool that already has Chytil and Andersson, it becomes difficult to find teams with better center prospect depth. Howden is a two way playmaker who seems to have many tools and tends to be a jack of all trades. Similar to Andersson’s wonderful defensive play, Howden is no slouch defensively and has been able to take many key matchups for his team. While Andersson has a great shot that makes him a really strong prospect, Howden makes his money with quick accurate passes in tight and being a strong net front presence.

I don’t think I have to talk about how it seems that the Rangers never have anyone in front to clean up rebounds or cause issues for the opposing goalie, but Howden would be an answer to that problem. A few people see him more of a 3rd liner, but I would have to disagree. His production has grown every year, he tends to rise up in the big tournaments such as the World Juniors, and it will be interesting to see how he will do in this year’s WHL playoffs.

Many other avid prospect watchers have mentioned that Howden doesn’t have breakaway speed that can separate him from the opposition. This can end up being a problem, but it is also in my opinion one of those things that can be coached and improved more easily than what Howden naturally has, which is the ability to read and exploit a play. We saw guys like Brian Boyle truly develop under the tutelage of Barbara Underhill, and I am willing to bet that if it really needs to be done, the Rangers can improve Howden’s skating, but as of now I don’t envision it to be a massive issue.

Similar to the other prospects, Howden too is in a leadership role and has been even at a young age. He is a two year captain and was an alternate at the time of his draft year. I think through brains alone, Howden can carve out a really nice role on the middle-six but I think if he ends up on the third line, you’d be hard pressed finding a better overall 3rd line center. Normally, you’d love a center that can be useful on both the power play and the penalty kill, Brett Howden is exactly that.

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  • Love it! So excited for Howden especially. Reminds me of a bigger Stepan who isn’t afraid to shoot. Don’t know much about the D prospects outside of Lindgren so thanks for that! Great work as always, Josh!

    • What did Stepan average considering that he’s basically always gotten offensive chances with the NYR’s big star names? Has to be in the mid 50s right? Hayes can average 5-7 less points by seeing half of that ice time and no PP time to distribute enough points still at 5 vs 5 even strength while he gets to play against different top line from. Ever since he’s lead the PK it’s been ranked inside the top 10 and he was the league leading scorer while being on the man down last season which set him up to beat out Mess and Leetch in shorthanded assist and points as a NYR record. He lead the league in steals the last time I checked during this season and that had to be against primarily elite names. Imo that middle ground won’t be reached by any incoming center’s because even Mika couldn’t maintain that role.

      This kid sounds like if he’s ever deployed in that fashion than we should be lucky to see him put up 30-35 points which is really good as a 3c. This reminds me of the poor smuck on Blue Banter who act like Zib is some superior center when in reality he’s averaged 30 something points. Any career highs sets him apart from Hayes by a whole 2 extra points and 3 extra goals than him. Bottom line is that we should hope that this guy has the ability to be a good 3c/4c because I can’t picture him getting a top 9 spot for the most part.

      • Just remember Hayes became what Boyle could never be as a shutdown center and that’s the path for this guy coming in.

    • I really like the kid Hajek. I thought he played on the Czech u20 WJC team with Chytil. I hope Gorton hires the coach of that team this summer. If AV is fired of course. Keeping him must have been a favor to Sather.

  • These posts are just great Josh.

    And let me give you props, when Ranger fans were jumping off cliffs because of the “returns” in trade (and mind you, those same fans have not seen 30 seonds of any of these players play, lol), I was very comforted to hear that your tweets were in support of these acquisitions. Those comments meant a lot to me as a fan, so thank you!!

    BTW, notice the theme here: Speed, skill, CHARACTER, and some size.

    I’m excited.

    • Tony

      BTW, notice the theme here: Speed, skill, CHARACTER, and some size.

      I’m excited.

      You took the words out of my mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great minds think alike don’t they??????? LOL…..

      • Well Walt if you listened to Gorton and Drury in there interviews around the dead line they said they were looking for two traits in players: skill and character. So it makes sense to see that in the prospects.

        • The way I see it is they are building a quality leadership core here that will seemingly all grow together. It is great that they have the skill to not be just those 3rd pair/ 3rd/4th line character guys but more of the guys who can get the team going on and off the ice. If they start to build something good, some guys that may lack character may tend to clean up their act who knows? My big thing is with this center depth, they want to come in absolute waves, these defensemen who can move the puck allow these centers to be the perfect link between defense and offense. It is that really sweet depth with skill, puck possession and dominance in the puck battles that made the LA Kings a championship team. We have the goalies, the centers need to develop but the potential is there for something nice, just need that big minute eating defenseman. Wonder if Sutter can be an option as a coach to help facilitate this kind of Rangers team.

          • You can have one bad apple in a locker room and peer pressure can keep them in line.

            If you get two of them you get a feedback loop happening and it sucks other players in.

          • Well played, Joshua. Thank you for the insights.

            Can I pose a couple questions? Yesterday, Leatherneck cited a pair of collegiate players to consider, should they go the Jimmy Vesey/Kevin Hayes free agent route.

            Centerman Jake Evans was one, a Montreal Canadiens draftee; the other was Team USA/WJ D-man, Brickley (can’t recall his first name, Connor perhaps).

            Closing out, can you weigh in on Sean Day, in terms of his progression, or otherwise?

            Thanks, man.

          • Day was playing great, got traded, quickly got hurt after the trade, just got back into the lineup over the weekend.

            Should be a solid 2nd pair D

      • how are there 3 thumbs down?
        Is there someone who doesn’t want players with those characteristics? Looking for a slow, cement handed, tiny jerk?

        • Pavel

          That’s the reason I call them the Three Stooges!!!!!! Every time they do it when a post that makes all the sense in the world just shows their collective IQ, which combined is less than my 3 year old granddaughter!!!!!!!

          Keep it up you savants!!!!!!

  • Josh

    Nice job, always read your post because your the youth information guy, the staff is better off with you on it, thanks!

    Enough with the brown nosing, your remarks on two defense man in particular gets we chomping at the bit. Rykov, built like a tank, tough, and NHL ready, music to my ears. We have been lacking big time hitters on our blue line for so long, I’m salivating at the thought of this kid paroling it.

    Libor Hajek, being coached by John Paddock, whom I respect, and getting a ringing endorsement from him, it doesn’t get any better. Big kid, solid shot, plays great defense, this kid could be a steal.

    As for the forwards, well our strength will be down the middle. Just look at the options we will have, this doesn’t even include the draft, Zib, Hayes, Andersson, Chytil, Howden, Spooner, Nieves, who else is this deep at center??????

    Great post, love what I’m hearing about the returns for our former players, and can’t wait to see what the draft brings us. Good times are ahead for the NY Rangers!!!!!!!!!

    • Walt:

      This part of your comment: …”As for the forwards, well our strength will be down the middle. Just look at the options we will have, this doesn’t even include the draft, Zib, Hayes, Andersson, Chytil, Howden, Spooner, Nieves, who else is this deep at center??????…”

      So true. Compare this depth to where we stood in Sept. 2017. Unreal how much the team improved at Center.

      • That’s what I was thinking when I wrote that. We were so thin, and were forced to play the likes of DD.

        Yes indeed, we have come a long way in such a short time. This also is one of the main reasons I have faith in JG as our GM, he sees a problem, addresses it, solves it, without giving away the shop!!!!!!!!

        • It reminds me a lot of how our goalie pool was so shallow and then all of a sudden in 2 years we are filled to the brim. I think our next position we are going to be stacking is defense if this trade deadline is any sign.

      • Agreed MBN.

        The guy I am enamoured with is Andersson. A guy who demonstrates he doesn’t like to come in second!!!!

        That’s the kind of leadership this team lacks.

    • I think the Russian dude and Czech player will be ready to jump in and earn a spot after camp. We could only dream that the NCAA high character player is able to make the jump, it would be nice to have that muscle for once. I wonder how this makes Staal feel? ADA will even have a hard time to impress at next years camp if he doesn’t improve his two-way. Pionk and Gilly should be joining the team alot different this time around and should almost be inked in at this point and especially Pionk who looks so natural. It basically took a off-season of drafting and a quick fire sale to come back next September with a much better prospect pool to pick as your next D core.

      I read that JG is expecting Smith to come back refresh next season. It feels like the FO is alright if they admit that his signing was a mistake.

      • Russian guy will need another year because his contract in the KHL has 1 more. That said, great to have competition on defense. Much easier to trade for a winger than a defenseman so if they can find the right mix of guys I think our winger problem can be solved with our soon to be filled depth at other positions.

  • Thanks Josh.

    Appreciate the write-ups on these folks. Having never seen them play, and having read very little on these guys, a post like this is always appreciated.

  • None of these kids has played a single game in the NHL yet . They will not all be here next year as we need to package some thing to get the elite player we will need to be a game breaker at any given time . Now don’t get me wrong i and very excited about the future of the Rangers . Been a fan since 1949 and thus is the first time i believe they are going to try and get it right . Every team needs that one special player to take them over the top when needed . LGR

    • I’m following closely to what JG has said in recent interviews and don’t worry, it sounds like they already know that they need some top end talent by next season. This might not be word for word but JG said recently that having all these draft picks on the draft floor can make you really popular. It also sounded like him and the other’s at some point will figure out what type of elite/big name will be needed which imo was indicated as to trying to chase either Travares or a D man like Karlsson or Doughty. I think the management is aware of it and thinking like us or they just need to hold their end and get a shiny toy for Dolan to put out on the ice since Nash is most likely gone for good now. It’s NYC and the NYR with 6 years in of Kreider being a passenger on this team. That means we’ll get to see what we want which is a true dynamic difference maker on this team but I just don’t know who

    • I totally disagree….you haven’t been around as long as some of us to realize trading for elite with your prospects is a losing proposition….when I was a young fan I used to feel the same way….possibilities are so enamoring yet reality much more truthful..

      Rebuild and create depth and hopefully one of Dahlin. Zadina or Wahlstrom will be in our pipeline with 4 other picks to go.
      Brendl was selected 4th overall….this year he would be a 3rd round pick. Korpokoski a FA signing or a late pick..
      REBUILD>>>>PROCESS>>>>DEVELOP>>>>EXPERIENCE>>>>SCC x2 or 3 in 10 years

  • Seems like Hajek is the pick of the litter… would he be a mid-range first rounder this year (in a re-do) in this talented 2018 class?

    • Hey, I am not sure where he will go this year as there are a lot of really good defensemen in this draft that are similar BUT, Hajek was seen as a maybe for the first round in 2016 and ended up going early 2nd. I don’t think at this very moment I take him over some defensemen in round 1 except a guy like Stanley but that is an argument for another day. He is just a really smart prospect. Key thing is treating them like prospects in our system and not pieces of a McDonagh trade.

    • Yandle – 4th round
      Barrie – 3rd round
      Klingberg – 5th round
      Gostisbehere – 3rd round
      Roman Josi – 2nd round
      Torey Krug – undrafted
      Jake Muzzin – 5th round
      Dustin Byfuglien – 8th round
      Jared Spurgeon – 6th round
      Kris Letang – 3rd round
      Colin Miller – 5th round

      All those guys today top 30 D-man

      • Brian Campbell – 6th round
        Andrei Markov – 6th round
        Lubomir Visnovsky – 4th round
        Nicklas Lidstrom – 3rd round!!!!!

  • Great post Josh. Thank you. Should be fun watching these kids develope. With all these young centers it will be interesting to see how they handle Hayes and Zib.

    • I think they keep them around for a bit. We saw this year how bad it is to trade a proven center before we know for sure if a young guy will take over.

    • Pressure is on Zib already… First assist dur even strength since the Buffalo game? Yikes… The KBZ has alot of ice time but not alot of points as a whole which is another warning sign. Hayes goes against top center’s and yet Zib has a -20 or something? I usually don’t bring up that stat but it has to be discouraging to be a minus player when you’re a 1c who has a career high with 50 points and 21 goals and now you can’t even take advantage of a solid 2 way center below you or guys like Kreider and Buch to consistently put up points.

      I hope the Ducks burn in hell and fall out of the playoff race. The real 1c Swede to get is Rackell and if JG is good than he could flip Mika into that with a trade to the Ducks.

      Hayes to have more offense could be handled by consistent and quality 2nd linemates, PP time and just a tweak or two to get him more OZ starts. Or he could go back to producing on the PK lol but if he sees any tweaks to what I just named than he’s a easy 55-60 something producer who already is a 5 on 5 beast. I can’t ever see Zib out producing Hayes by anything more than a couple points.

      • I don’t think ANA will move Rakell since he is so cheap for the next 4 years. I like both Zib and hayes. I feel like they have roles that they can do well for a rebuilding team and on special teams. We have to remember that Hayes is older than Zib by like 2 years and really only now in this lost season has Hayes become a sweet two way center after struggling last year. I have a theory that it takes some easing into to develop that true two way C unless you are naturally brilliant like Couturier. Zibanejad and Hayes for that matter could benefit from more options to build lines with. Lets hope.

      • What are you talking about (again)? Zib is outproducing Hayes right now, he has 2 more points in 3 less games played. Their production over their careers has been close, though Zibby has 6 more points over the last 3 1/2 seasons despite playing 20 less games in that span.

        Nearly every post you make features these absurd claims about Hayes, inflating his impact on the ice and inventing soap opera-style dramas in the Ranger locker room about who is actually the best center on the team. These are crackpipe-worthy levels of invention on your part. I don’t know why you even bother posting so much, you should just type “I irrationally and unconditionally love Kevin Hayes” and leave it at that, because that’s all you really have to say.

  • It’s obvious that part of the FO strategy was to stock up on assets before the draft. My only prediction is that the team isn’t done surprising us fans.

    • Totally agree. I think we will see another trade and given that they got these players who seem like they’ll be key depth they may go for big boom or bust with their plethora of picks.

  • Thanks for the information. It’s very helpful. I think we could see Hajek in the NHL next year. Playing along side Skeji? Howden is very interesting to me. Hope he starts next year in Hartford to see what he can do in the AHL. Agree we suddenly have a pretty good pool of young centers. I like Rykov a lot. I also won’t be surprised if they do sign Kovalchuk in spite of the fact it’s the start of a rebuild. They seem be forming a Russian group(Buch, Name, Rykov, Shes) Also a Czech group(Cyhtil and Hajek) I also read that Lindgren’s brother is good friends with Skjei.
    They definitely did some homework before they pulled the trigger.

    • A possible member of the new Czech group can be NYR fan and Chytil’s best friend Kaut. He made a big name for himself as a talented winger at the WJC and with 2 late firsts, won’t be surprised if he is one of our picks.

      • I am all in on that. Do you think we trade up our picks to get #1?(like give up our 3 firsts to get Dahlin?) I have been looking at the guys in the first round slotting to be drafted between 25 to 31. There’s some good depth in this draft so I may pass on trading them up. But Dahlin would be a game changer,.

        • I don’t think any team would give up a pick for Dahlin. Maybe in last years draft someone would do that but Dahlin really is that defenseman that does everything and if you can get him at 3 years for under a mil? You would be incredible. Lets hope EDM doesn’t win him.

      • I just looked into Kaut a little bit. He made the SN top 31 prospects list in February. He was not there in January. You may be onto something here Josh. He’s in at #31 but considering Tampa’s situation. We may very well be picking at #31 with their first. All sort of lining up.

  • All of these skilled players point to one thing – a trade-day deal to draft in the top 3.
    We seem to have quite a few middle 6 players, but lack the talent of a stud.

    Hoping that stud can be acquired on draft day, and that means moving picks and/or players to get into the top 3. If we can do that, and have Andersson, Chytil and others here, we could be good in the second half of next season.

    I highly doubt the NYR brass wants another season of missing the playoffs. We can do this with youth and the leadership that is already here.

    • I think they will be willing to go into the season with a mix of guys like you said. That said, there won’t be much playoff pressure. We definitely need a stud and I think if we end up with a top 7 pick we are getting either a first liner or a first pair defenseman. Obviously a top 3 would be ideal.

      While I do want to rebuild, I don’t want it to be a Buffalo/Edmonton type thing where the losing culture and lack of depth in other positions is a problem. Regarding Buffalo, they have talent at center but almost nowhere else, NYR doing a nice job in having center depth, goalie depth and looking like we are at least going to have nice defensemen but can use the stud. Regarding Edmonton, I trust Gordie. They have messed up as Pat said in almost any draft in which they were not gift wrapped NHLers. As soon as we got to round 2 they did horrible. Gordie seems to find us some nice players in the 3rd round and later. This being a deep draft at wing and defense, two positions that we can really bulk up seems perfect timing so lets hope we hit a nice amount of them.

      • Buffalo will be good…they are in their infancy stage this year….2 more years before being highly relevant….They will have 2 good picks this year…Mittlestadt….one of Zadina, Svechnikov, Nylander

        Buffalo needs to go heavy on D and G and they have nice pieces in place already

        Trust me buffalo is not in bad shape

        • Totally. Add C.J. Smith to that group.

          Now was it Tim Murray’s regime that made the Tyler Myers/Evander Kane move, or his successor? (Buffalo would’ve kept Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux).

          Yea, Leather, I also like their group. Though the Dan Bylsma ouster still perplexes. (Jack Eichel led coup?) Last year, The Suit mentioned Bylsma as a potential Ranger bench-boss.

  • My prospect that I like is Ryan Lindgren…..again in WJ’s the kid was a stud and played way above what was his draft profile was….I thought to myself how fortunate the Bruins were to have struck gold with McAvoy and Lindgren.

    I think Lindgren has a few talents waiting to be shown. He will Letter with the Rangers. You don’t win Cups without players like him. Role players are just as vital and character priceless, he brings both to the picture.

    With Hayes, Namestnikov, Howden, (hopefully) Dellandrea, (possibly)Hayton or Veleno, Zibby….there is your depth at center and possible pick up next year’s draft a healthy depth at that

    (Hopefully) Zadina or Wahlstrom (possibly) Kupari, Kaut, Bokk,Ylonen, MacDonald ….,Gettinger, Ronning…(need more depth next year)
    FA signing Jake Evans next years draft….Nolan Foote

    (PRAY) Dahlin, (possibly) Dobson, Bouchard, Wilde, Bahl, Regula…..O’Gara, Hajak, Rykov, Lindgren, Day, (playing) Pionk. DAngelo, Gilmour
    FA signing Brickley, Trade hopeful (Trouba), next years draft Alex Vlasic

    Goalies….lights out here Shertyorkin….Georgiev, Wall, Huska, Halverson
    Wouldn’t hurt to draft another goalie

    The path is clear….doable…. attainable…measurable…SPECIFIC…

    Rangers have an opportunity…..don’t screw it up

    • O’Gara has the size, not sure the rest of his package though will ever make him more than a spare part …. as far as drafting another Goalie, maybe another Huska-like drafting, a late pick in the draft after Round 4 unless something too good to pass up falls in their laps earlier. You have to figure Hank finishes out his contract here (at least for now).

  • Josh – thanks for the insight on these guys. I know everyone here respects your opinion and perspective.

    When will we be getting a glimpse into your draft analysis?

    This is a big year and there is already a lot of speculation as to who we should be targeting. Would love to hear your thoughts on this

  • Compete level, that’s the most important characteristic in a player once you’ve established the player has the skills to play well in the “new” NHL. That’s the common thread I see with all these players …. and a guy like Ronning.

  • I believe that the Rangers will be around 6th or 7th when the dust settles at the end of the season. While they might be able to trade up a little, I don’t think that any team is going to turn over their chance to get Dahlin to the Rangers in a trade.

    Even at 6 or 7 or so, with another two 1st round picks and a couple of second rounders, they are going to be able to draft very talented players. Adding those draftees to the youngsters they have already gotten in trades, and to those they already have on the roster, along with a possibility of some trades, makes me very optimistic about the future. Us fans will need to be patient because some of the kids are going to be two or three years away from coming to the NHL. But the team is committed to the rebuild and I don’t see them turning to the very costly UFA’s in an attempt to become better faster.

  • Quality post Josh, the insight is great. One minor quibble.

    “Quality depth is just as important as elite skill.” I would say it’s important, but not EQUALLY. We’ve seen where great depth gets us, perennial also rans. Gorton’s next trick is to figure out which of this depth is worth a flip to grab the right elite skill for the new team he’s assembled.

    • Let’s not split hairs here. Odds are you will never win a SC if all you have is a few elite talents … and if all you have is depth the same holds true for the most part. You simply need both …. and Joen7, if it was much easier than you would have more teams with SCs because a lot of teams with a couple of elite players haven’t even sniffed at the Cup.

      • True, elite talent isn’t enough. But we often hear about winning teams running the playoffs with basically 4 defensemen, double-shifting top lines, and their stars carrying teams on their backs. But in the past 8 to 9 years, can we argue about the elite talent of the SC winners? The only exception maybe except Boston, who still had Patrice Bergeron and a young Tyler Seguin on that team.

        • 4 d and double shifting lines? You’ll need a lot of luck to make it through 4 rounds going that route after a long season — even more so where you have a lot of games going into double OT, etc. These guys are horses, but even horses breakdown and you’re always 1 mistake away, 1 bad refs call away from losing. I actually think those teams have won because their elite talent plays well and is supported by good play from the bottom 6. The bottom 6 has to hold their own at least in the majority of games come playoff time. Double shifting and 4 d can work in a few games here and there, but it isn’t a recipe for a SC. How often have you seen some 3rd or 4th liner end up scoring the big goal? Matteau Matteau Matteau!

      • Elite players eat up cap so you need to be creative to support a team with multiple elite players like the Pens.

    • He’s a long shot to make Hartford, as they’ll have 7 D in the system down there already


      • Kind of think Smith comes back with a vengeance this fall and makes the team … one also has to wonder about whether Staal is with the team come the fall.

        • Smith needs to be back ASAP we need to build him back up to turn him into an asset. I would not move Staal why take the cap hit to buy him out if we are not winning anyway. He can’t be traded either.

  • All of this is well and good. But lets wait and see if anyone can actually make the NHL. Then let’s talk about what they really are. 90% of the opinion’s on here are biased unfounded truths. It is like listening to Fox news.

    No one is listing actually stats for a season, or what they did in the WJC’s, Or if they are succeeding despite playing in a older league against older players. These puff pieces are just periodic glimpses into the potential players. Emphasis on potential.

    More then half this fan base think’s Zaneka is a good 1C and worlds better then Stepan. Yet 2 full seasons in, he has yet to play more then 60 games and tally more then 40 points. How many 1C’s put up less then 40 points last year and kept their jobs?

    I like fluff pieces as much as the next guy. But I realize, like some have stated on here…they are not done trading assets and half these players could be gone before october 1st. And as of this moment we have no elite talent on this team. NONE. We have a bunch b+ and C players but no one who has a winning pedigree. Only those that have come close but never had that cigar.

    And since I didn’t see anyone yet mention it….AV SUCKS! He is the worst coach ever and should be fired for existing in this universe. Cause I just don’t like him! I am not going to back it up with any facts just swear to my deathbed he is the worst. And any facts you present to contend this I will simply ignore and respond with hatred. God Bless America!

    • We’ve all been through the AV sucks period (for quite a while I might add), why should we keep beating that dead horse when we’ll know the answer to whether he stays or goes at the end of the season? I think a lot of people are tired of just typing a lot of negativity about how the team played this year and who coached them into this situation. Time for some optimism with the rebuild, there will be plenty of time to rake the team over the coals after they’ve drafted or after some of these prospects don’t measure up.

      As far as the prospects, stats are easy to find. Try google. Why should we go on and on listing numbers. Numbers aren’t even the best indicator of NHL success, just ask Pavel Brendl … or Yakupov … or Patrik Stefan … you get the idea. That said, Hajek, Rykov, Howden and Lindgren all looked really good in the WJC and each comes with stellar character references. So they might not have an elite in the bunch … and Lias Andersson and Chytil might not prove to be “elite” … same for Shesterkin … but time will be the ultimate judge of that, because aside from the few generational talents that come along, elite players are developed and come in all different shapes and sizes.

    • Just because your toast always hits buttered side down when you drop it doesn’t mean the rest of us should stop having toast.

        • It might be for the best if you never reply to me again, as you are a negative value to the convo around here.

          Best of luck going forward.

          • We’ll see, it purely depends on what you write as to whether I reply to you. That said I think the toast comment was meant for Odiel and not me. If so I was mistaken and apologize, if not then carry on and I will as well.

    • “And since I didn’t see anyone yet mention it….AV SUCKS! He is the worst coach ever and should be fired for existing in this universe. Cause I just don’t like him”!

      You just did, and we all agree with you!!!!!!

    • All I am asking for is a little fact checking on opinions. Just some actual facts to back your ideas. And to post them in your 1000+ word articles. If I have to search for myself why come here and read the articles?

      I am well aware some people come on here to just post on comments and don’t actually read these posts/blogs. But I do. Though I am starting to see a real downward trend lately. And I realize it is hard to find the enthuisasm to really do the homework when the team is sucking it up and all your favorite players are gone. And I also realize it is tough to manage this blog, a job, and a family. In respect to the last point …I think most people would rather see fewer posts with better quality. Throwing out garbage just to post it just brings down the overall quality of the site. You can see less people commenting on this site daily. It is basically Walt , Richter, Tanto, Leather, MC, Mint, and the odd 1 line poster. It is a echo chamber in here. Any opposing idea is quickly ridiculed and shut down. “Just because your toast always hits buttered side down when you drop it doesn’t mean the rest of us should stop having toast.” I mean talk about a deep thought!

      And so to that end…My first post was sarcasm. It was intended for Winner At Limited Thoughts. But I doubt he will even realize I am talking about him . Echo chambers are fun for a while fellas…but only for a while.

      • BS fella.

        I post something, and the same group of idiots, I refer to them as the 3 Stooges, and others on occasion, automatically go the thumbs down routine, and or try to shut me up, even for simple post, which was one word, “Why”.

        The other day you said come up with a name of a replacement for AV, rather than always saying he sucks. Well I did, John Paddock, and the response was crickets. You like to criticize people who differ in thought with you, so be it, but one thing is for certain, you won’t shut them down.

        By the way, are you one of the three who automatically go thumps down, I suspect that may be the case!

      • Odie, you are by far the lamest poster on this site. Spare us all your gibberish, go to the Banter instead.

  • Do you know if we had lost those 3 games on the last trip we would be in the 4th draft position instead of the 9th.

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