Two questions for the mailbag this week. As always, you can use the widget on the right to send us questions.
Steve asks: What type of coaching do we need? What offensive strategy do we employ to best suit the skills? Defensive strategy?
This was sort of answered a bit in a few posts, but it’s good to have one central answer here. In regards to the type of coaching we need, the best answer is the simplest one. The Rangers need a coach who will develop the youth. That is first and foremost.
When it comes to systems, I think it’s critical that the Rangers get a coach who has a less predictable system than Alain Vigneault. AV’s counter attacking system was easily countered, and the man/zone hybrid in the defensive zone was too complicated to work.
Less is more with the Rangers, especially as they look to develop the youth. A simple zone, perhaps still with the overload as the primary deployment in the defensive zone, is the best approach. It’s simple, it’s effective, and it’s not nearly as predictable.
As for offense, that’s tough to say. The Rangers definitely need a system that generates more sustained offense. It will lead to fewer quality chances, but it will lead to more zone time. The latter is more important right now.
Steve (different one, I think) asks: Are there any free agents you think the Rangers should target?
You mean aside from Ilya Kovalchuk?
It’s tough to gauge what the Rangers need because they aren’t supposed to compete next year. So instead of targeting a specific position, the Rangers should probably target someone who can fetch a pick at the deadline. At least, that’s a good theory and I’m sticking with it.
Someone like Tomas Plekanec could be interesting, since he’s still a skilled center who could put up 30 points. At 35 years old, he may not have many offers coming his way, and may need to settle on a one year deal. If he is able to put it together, he could fetch something at the deadline. Teams always want centers.
The Rangers might also want to target Group 6 UFAs, since they are going to be in their mid-twenties and might be worth a flier.
Matthew Peca from Tampa fits this mold. He’s going to be 25, has skill, and has been scoring at a roughly 55 point average in the AHL. He also had five points in ten NHL games this year. He’s a guy that, if the Rangers need some young bodies to fill the roster, might slide in as a “why not?” signing for the third or fourth lines to see what he can do. Rocco Grimaldi from Colorado also fits this mold.
Both players have their own reasons for possibly not getting a look. Both are undersized, but that shouldn’t have mattered in Peca’s case, since Tampa Bay plays undersized guys all the time. I think he’s just blocked in Tampa. Look at that roster.
As for Grimaldi, there’s a chance that the old school Avs didn’t play him because of his size, and no one really knows what Florida is doing. He also put up solid numbers in the AHL. Both could be worth a look. The Rangers will need to be creative, that’s for sure.