The Rangers Offseason is Turning into the Galaxy Brain Meme

I’d like to start today’s post off with an assumption that everyone is familiar with the modern idiom “paralysis by analysis.”  If you’re not, here’s a quick definition courtesy of everyone’s best friends over at Wikipedia:

“Analysis paralysis or paralysis by analysis is the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.”

This clever term came to mind yesterday as I took a break from my Fourth of July activities to check Twitter (never a good idea on a summer holiday, but I couldn’t help myself).  I came across this from Ranger fan Patrick Cunningham:

To put it succinctly, I couldn’t agree with Patrick more.

Obviously we’re still in the throes of the NHL’s offseason madness.  The ink is barely dry on John Tavares’ new contract, there are still a handful of pretty good free agents available, and Pierre Dorion is still locked away in a lab cooking up an Erik Karlsson trade that may set a new standard for stupidity in the NHL.  As Doc Emrick would say, “What chaos!”

Amidst all of this fun, the Rangers are looking for the proper avenues to continue their rebuild.  They are in prime position to do just about anything considering their salary cap flexibility, relatively deep asset list and the low stakes surrounding this offseason.  This atmosphere has led to a ton of really interesting and valuable discussion in and among the Ranger community online, in traditional media spaces, and surely wherever hockey fans gather in person during the offseason.

One of the great things about being a fan in 2018 is the wealth of information that is always at your fingertips, for free. Want to convert Vitali Kravtsov’s pro stats into NHL equivalencies and compare those to Oliver Wahlstrom’s?  You can (and Pat did an amazing job on that here)!  Wondering which Rangers salaries will still be on the books three seasons from now?  CapFriendly is free and really useful!

To bring it back to the original point, there has been lots of speculation about the Rangers’ opportunity to use their available salary cap space as an asset.  By offering to take a bloated contract off of another team’s hands, the Rangers could use that as leverage to acquire prospects and/or draft picks.  And so we end up here, discussing a seemingly endless list of players, including but not limited to: Ryan Callahan, Bobby Ryan, David Backes, Andrew MacDonald, Matt Martin (before he was traded), Troy Brouwer, Brent Seabrook, Milan Lucic, and Brandon Dubinsky.  But a word to the wise: just because you can do it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea,

In a vacuum, acquiring any of these players in the right deal could be useful.  But what it seems is getting totally lost in this discussion is the fact that the Rangers are trying to build an actual, functioning hockey team.  Yes, it’s possible (even probable!) that they are going to be bad this season, and perhaps even the season after that.  At the risk of telling people how to be fans, I will offer the gentle reminder that professional athletes don’t tank, and the Rangers’ front office staff doesn’t approach its job like an NHL GM simulator.  Yes, it’s fun to delve into hypotheticals, but at some point the discussion strays from reasonable into Galaxy Brain territory.

So far, the Rangers have been patient in their approach to this offseason, and it seems as though Jeff Gorton is playing by his rules only.  He’s checked in on lots of free agents that we know about (and some that we don’t!), but when the asking price got too steep, he moved on.  He’s done his due diligence on the trade market, but is not going to sacrifice prospects or draft picks, seemingly even for Erik Karlsson.

Still, there are 82 games to play, starting in three months.  The Rangers will put 18 skaters and two goalies on the ice and they’ll try to beat the Nashville Predators.  Maybe one of those names listed above will be among them.  But if not, it doesn’t mean the Rangers got it wrong.

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  • I think the Gorton plan is:

    Accumulate young assets.
    See what they can do with this coach.
    Act accordingly after assessing the current roster.

    Of course, this was kind of forced on them when Kovy rejected them, Chevy is asking a ton for Trouba, and same for Karlsson.

    Taking on the “bad” contract only works if the Rangers overwhelmingly benefit with the sweetners received. For once, the Rangers have the leverage, don’t give it away so easily. Lucic is by far and away the worst of the bunch.

    • You don’t take on a bad deal for nothing, but any contract under 3 years is worth doing, while 4 years(like Ryan’s) gets slightly funky. Deferring picks 3-4 years down the line may even be preferable.

      Lucic’s contract is so radioactive that there’s too much hope that compliance buyouts happen(which there’s a chance that doesn’t happen considering a new CBA isn’t going to diverge that much from the current one.)

      • Agreed Reen.

        I don’t know that I go 3 years out, but 2 years max, like Cally’s contract. But even with that contract, a top prospect has to come back, like Cirelli, Foote, etc.

        The great thing is that the Rangers do not have to do anything, let the other teams add to the sweetners to make a deal possible. I don’t think the Rangers have ever been on this side of the table before.

        • Only reason you couldn’t go 3 years out is if you were getting a bunch of players back who were just coming off their ELCs and were killing it, but those types won’t get moved.

          This year? Why not? Chytil & Andersson both on yr 1 of the ELC, so term matches up perfectly. Leave $7mm of wiggle room after that and have those crummy contracts staggered out and they’ll be unencumbered as the team is in their prime.

          But the number of lousy deals has to be 1 to 1 of ELCs on the roster. Have them fill top 6 roles(badly) until surpassed, then move them down the lineup instead of trying to pick up bargains like Desharnais.

          Get the kids ready, but Peter principle them up until they show what they can’t do.

          • I’m ok with 3 years but the assets coming back have to be grade A.

            The only way I take Lucic’s contract is if one of the Oilers’ top 6 players come back or Klefbom.

          • “I don’t think the Rangers have ever been on this side of the table before.”

            Hell, we’ve never even been in the building or the room that the table is in!

          • If Sather was still in charge, you would be asking Dolan for a line of credit to sign everyone..

      • There is another element here that I believe JG is considering with the players on those bad contracts and that is character. It seems obvious to me that he is only looking to add players that can come in and be an example to these many young players that we now have in our system. It’s becoming clear to me that Lias Anderson is a leader and will be this teams future Captain somewhere in the near future. I would also say the same of what I see out of Ryan Lindgren on defense. This in my mind is building the core of the team and I trust that JG has a solid vision of what he wants in that core. If you look at adding a Bobby Ryan to the current team, it could poison the locker room as he clearly is not the type of player Gorton wants as an example for these kids to follow. Same with Lucic… work ethic, playing hard and most of all being hard to play against are all what I see the future Ranger teams looking like. This will eventually be a team with an edge to them to go along with high end talent. Bobby Ryan is talented but I would not describe him as hard to play against. I could see them bringing back a Callahan however because he has all the elements that I think JG wants without all the injuries of course and of course the big contract.

        In sort, I like where this team is going and believe that JG is pushing all the right buttons. I don’t see him making trades or acquisitions that general public thinks he should make, look at the recent draft for instance. I have to believe that the picks he made were made from this same desire to draft the right players that meet his vision of what he believes the team should look like. I trust JG because of his history of picking some pretty good players in the draft. This should be a fun year…no pressure and lots of opportunity for the kids to play with AV gone. I am curious to see how much better Hayes and Buch will be now and low good our two picks from last year are going to be. Go Rangers!!!

        PS. One interesting note on Ty Ronning. His father played against the Rangers in 1994…Cliff Ronning and he just made it into the HOF. His father said that when he was given his first chance to play in the NHL it was coach Pat “Quinn” that gave him the chance…even though he was the smallest guy on the team. Now, we have Ty looking for that same chance to play from coach our new coach David “Quinn” even though he would be one of the smallest players on the roster. I am most interested to see if history repeats itself here on the NY Rangers!! This season is going to be fun…win or lose!!!

    • you stay the course with the players you have and make the best that you can of it !!! YOU DON’T GO OUT AND BUY ALL THE PRETTY (SO CALLED) PIECES TO TRY AND MAKE THINGS BETTER, we’ve all seen how that works, with the exception of 1994. if these kids see opportunity’s to make the roster they might surprise, if they become discouraged by seeing mgt. go out and bring others in, that might change their mindsets. PLEASE stay the course and build from within unless something comes out of no where that really makes sense. give the kids a chance to develop, look what Vegas did with guys other team didn’t want !!!!

      • No team goes all “home grown” and wins. Every Cup team has had to go outside their organization to add pieces that make sense and make the team better.

        The Rangers’ problem has always been that their drafting has been so bad in the past that they had no choice but to get players from the outside to be competitive.

        Vegas is the exception, I would like to see it happen a 2nd time before I declare them a “very good team.” The expansion draft was definitely skewed in their favor, like no other expansion draft the NHL has ever had. Not to take anything away from what they accomplished.

    • Hey Ric, there’s a bunch of talk that the Canes are shopping Justin Faulk (the real one). He’s 26 and has 2 years remaining at $4.8 mil per. He’s not going to come cheap at those numbers but maybe Gorton can scoop him up as a consolation prize. He’s also a righty stick.

      • I have not heard his name as far as the Rangers are concerned. And believe it or not, IMO, the Rangers are pretty solid on the right side: Shatty, Pionk, Smith, and DeAngelo.

        The left side is very questionable only because we do not know if Hajek and Lindgren are NHL ready. If they are then we are ok there. But right now you have Skjei and Staal.

        • You forgot Claesson.

          I believe Smith is actually a lefty and I don’t think DeAngelo is an NHLer. If my understanding is correct, the Rangers will have 16 defensemen on the 50 man roster and they are 13 lefties and 3 righties. Unless DeAngelo is any good (spoiler alert – he isn’t), the Rangers need to move a LH guy to the right side (likely Smith) or get another righty.

          You are correct that most of the lefties may not be ready this year.

          • I did forget about Claesson but I did not forget that Smith is lefty, since he can play the right side.

  • While the team is showing patience, we all need to recognize we are not a very good offensive team. Gorton expects the kids to fill the gap. Big expectations. An experienced scorer could help.

    Not keen on any of the remaining free agents, but the search for a scoring winger should continue.

    • See that’s the thing, I don’t think that Gorton has any expectations for this coming year.

      I think it’s more about 2019-20 after assessment and evaluation as to what they have now.

      But the Hayes decision is coming. That they have to address this offseason.

      • Exactly Tony. There is no imperative for them to get this player or that player this season. They just need to field a team with enough bodies to play and evaluate what they have. This season and next are steps toward building the team they want.

        • Right Peter.

          They tried with Kovy, Karlsson, and even Trouba, but the Rangers also weren’t going to force any of those deals. Sather would have overpaid to make any of those deals, as opposed to Gorton who is sitting there saying that any deal will have to be on the Rangers’ terms only.

          Refreshing, right? But it also requires patience within their org and our fan base. De Haan is probably another example of “checking in” and deciding that the terms were “too rich” for the Rangers’ liking.

          • This is to Rich S, please read above post. Proof positive that Sather was still in charge until this season, and now JG runs the show. Still think Stevie Y is a GOD for a GM?

            This post is not an attempt to start an argument with anyone, but the Tampa GM is very good, but he doesn’t walk on water!!!!!

          • Right Walt, Gorton is now in charge, but now he must take over the last piece, and that is running the drafts (I cannot believe that Jeff was on board with that 2nd round goalie pick), which is still Gordie’s, Sather’s boy.

            Stevie Y signed Cally and now McD to horrendous contracts so he is not immune to stupidity. He just took advantage of Sather’s “get the guy at all costs” mentality that also allowed AZ to take advantage of him in the Yandle and Stepan trades.

            Right GM and right coach at the right time.

          • We don’t know about the McDonagh contract yet. He was slowed seriously this year by injury. Does he get fully healthy and come back? If so, the contract is a steal. If his decline is ongoing and irreversible, it is a blunder.

            Personally, for $8M, I would rather have McD + Kampfer than two Namestnikovs.

          • In all honesty Ray McD didn’t just have an issue last season. This is something of a trend. I have no doubt that he can rebound and have a good year, but one has to question whether that’s going to be the outlier as opposed to the norm during the course of this contract.

          • Raymond, 7 years at almost $7M per starting NEXT year.

            Like I said, horrendous.

          • Walt,
            An article written by ”Rob” does not prove anything.
            Unless sather or gorton decide to tell us exactly who made the decisions the past few years, none of us really know. However, I cant believe that gorton as the ”GM” in title this past year didnt make the decisions or that as assistant GM the past , did not make or give input into them.
            As far as yzerman, we got boyle he got strallman, we got st louis, he got two number ones, we get nemchinov he got miller………etc etc
            But I hope you are right and gorton had no part in the terrible decisions the past 4/5 years since he has been here, that alone gives me hope. In my book, yzerman is still top 3 gm material, although the mcdonagh contract is bad! I liked lamoriello not overpaying for taveras…..also.

    • Or you could just let the coach loose and see if he can unlock the scoring of the guys the team already has.

      • Reen

        Great point! This is a teacher now behind the bench, and will let the kids stub their toes and not bench them for making mistakes!!!!!!

        All I can say is come back after 2-3 years, and see what the finished product looks like, I believe you’ll be happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • What scoring guys are that? Our first line? Our second line that lives to pass? Who is the guy who can put this team on their back and carry them to victory? The kids need a guy to look up to. Not sure that guy is on the current roster.

        • Again, thank god you’re not running the team & Gorton is.

          Why panic now when there’s plenty of time to panic later?

          • It is not panic. It is reality. Kids need to grow with positive role models. Other than Zucc, who is a positive role model and strong player (personality wise) on this team.

            I accept the youth. I just think making Quinn the only teacher is a mistake.

          • Because Leetch, Graves, Ortmeyer & Richards are just window dressing.

          • Again, you realize that 13 players on the roster are 25 or up, don’t you?

            Apparently not.

        • “What scoring guys are that?”

          We don’t know yet but we are going to find out, just like the rest of the team.

        • What’s the obsession with the one guy who can carry a team on his back. Screw that, I want a TEAM that doesn’t need to rely on any one particular player.

  • ” just because you can do it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea”

    How true, but there are plenty that seem to want to throw good money, after bad, just so they have a name player!

    “I will offer the gentle reminder that professional athletes don’t tank”

    Probably true, but somehow the Pens have managed to do a major swan dive twice, when Mario Le Wimp, and Cindy were coming along. I will never believe that those season leading up to both drafts weren’t planned dives by their management, and instructed their coaches to maybe play some of the lesser players?????????????

    As to the probably of a poor season coming up, or maybe two poor seasons, well after trying it the other way, and getting a total of one Cup since 1940, I just fine with it!!!!!! LGR……..

    • The Rangers will win just enough to not make the playoffs but pick 12-15 in the draft, we all have to accept that.

      And who knows? The kids come in and start meshing after a few months of getting their feet wet and they win more than we think they can.

      I am really curious as to what they do with Hayes. Now the price tag appears to be between $5M-$6M per for a long term contract. Kevin hasn’t broken 50 pts yet, but does anyone not consider how AV deployed him in the past vs. how the current coach will get more out of Kevin going forward? That’s the key question for the Rangers. I see Kevin as a 50-60 pt player going forward.

      • Agreed. I think he is worth around $5.25 – $5.5 mil. He is still relatively young and he should be able to hit 50 – 60 if deployed properly.

          • Which would be an absolute steal since Zib is not half the player Hayes is. There’s no way he gets this much, but I would do 7 x 7 if I had to.

            I don’t like the notion of top six-bottom six. You want a top scoring line of course (dreaming Kreider-Chityl-Zuccarello), but then the second most important line is a two-way line that can play against Crosby, Ovechkin, McDavid,etc., hold their points down, and actually score enough to match or exceed the opposition. The traditional #2 line is actually third most important and that is where Zibanejad really belongs.

            When Tortorella was coach, I believe he actually gave the third line with Dubinsky and Callahan more ice time than the second.

            Where others saw AV as inhibiting the development of Hayes, I think he actually enabled a star to emerge.

          • “Zib is not half the player Hayes is”

            An interesting opinion, though I’m not sure it’s an unbiased, factual statement. They do different things, neither one known for doing so at an elite level. They both are above replacement level (NHL mediocrity). Zib has a hell of a shot which Hayes couldn’t touch. Last year taught us that Hayes is likely a better matchup center.

            I do agree with your notion of the real use of lines and prioritizing who really is 1st, 2nd, 3rd line. To further that point, in 2014 AV did a tremendous job of deploying Stepan / Cally / Hagelin / Richards / Nash / Kreider aka the “top 6” against tougher competition so that the “3rd line” of Brass / Zuc / Pouliot could feast on lesser competition and easier minutes. Our “top 6” was apt enough to do their job so the “3rd line” could flourish.

          • “Zib is not half the player Hayes is”

            “An interesting opinion, though I’m not sure it’s an unbiased, factual statement.”

            I hope it is obvious that this is my opinion and not something I present as a factual statement.

            I don’t know what you mean by bias. Certainly my opinions are affected by how I evaluate the value of players, but I don’t think bias is a fair word. There is no reason for me to personally prefer Hayes to Zib. In fact, by chance my license plate is 2692 and if you convert 26-9-2 to letters, you see the opposite may be true.

          • Boyle was the 3c until Torts was gone. Dubi always seemed to play in the top 6 as a center or winger along with Artie.

            Are you saying that Zib should be the 2c going against the other teams top lines? 60 point rookie star Barzal physically abused him last year. Zib isn’t a strong 5 on 5 player and would become less effective against 65-80 point centers.

            I wouldn’t give AV all the love for turning Hayes into a star in the making. At the end of the day he bet on himself to choose a team where he could play right away without any of the AHL conditioning and as a center. AV and anyone with a pair of eyes for the game saw his potential in the pre season. He was also got screwed him over by getting left over PK time with AV’ s boy toy Glass. Hayes managed to exceed the tough love by getting Glass a shortie that ended a 90+ scoring drought. He had to rise up on his own between fans who hated for no reason and the tough deployments from coach. I think through it all it’s him who should get every bit of praise for always getting it together even in crappy roles.

          • Raymond, that’s 2 I do not agree with.

            Zib is LIGHT YEARS more talented than Hayes is. LIGHT YEARS, not even close. His problem is staying healthy. If he did then he would be a 70 pt player, easy.

            Hayes is a very good 5 on 5 player, no question. His pts per 60 are better than a lot of so called “elite” players in the league. There is no question that he has room to grow but his skill will only take him so far.

            Zib is much more skilled, while Hayes is a better all around player. But to say that Hayes is the much better player has no basis whatsoever, IMO. If you want to say that each has almost equal value to the Rangers in their own ways, then that comment I would accept.

          • Won’t argue about talent, but in the final analysis, talent is irrelevant. Only performance matters. So far, Zibanejad has been an excellent PP performer and has not contributed worth a lick at even strength.

            And injury is a poor excuse. Hockey players get hurt all the time and they have to play hurt. Valuable players contribute when they are banged up. Players with all the skill in the world who are not useful when they are not 100% don’t help you win a Cup.

            Mika may be a great player someday (I hope so), but it hasn’t happened yet.

      • Tony

        I hope nothing stupid happens with Hayes. I suspect that your right with your assessment of Kevin, and what his potential could be under this new coach. We have plenty of cap space, give him that $5 mil, for 5 years, and if that doesn’t work out, teams in need of a center will trip over themselves trying to trade for him. He is history, but AV really hurt this team in many ways, and is still hurting us……………….

        • I (almost) feel like we will see what we have in Gorton on how he handles the Hayes situation. Meaning, if he stays that he gets Kevin under a reasonable contract, or if he’s traded that we get good assets coming back.

        • hayes 2 yrs 4,250,000 to 4,750,000. he’s better than what he’s shown but needs to show it !!

          • He won’t do 2 years at that price, he’ll go to Arbitration and have pretty good arguments to get a million above that, and even then you’ll lose him as a UFA unless you really jack up the price.

          • Hayes better show something, for that sum of money ,concidering he has yet to throw a body check in his entire NHL career, he should have been the one sent to Tampa and JT Miller moved to center.

          • This supposed “0” body check count by Kevin Hayes has cost the Rangers exactly 0 wins and has caused exactly 0 losses.

            0+0=meaningless issue

          • Rich S, thanks for sharing, excellent article. Well at least we have Zucc, the guy has more heart and passion than any other Ranger. Imagine Zucc’s heart in Hayes body.

      • If Hank starts off slow again(or gets hurt) you could be looking at a bottom 5 team very quickly.

        You’re looking at a big comeback by Smith and a D corps that has to unlearn AV’s systems and get comfortable doing it. In form Hank could paper over the cracks, but anything less is a big problem.

        I’m not worried about goals, provided Kreider plays on the off wing or is allowed to overlap instead of playing table hockey. If you look at how Vegas piled up goals was that the overlap of guys like Karlsson & Marchessault were constant, setting up each other for royal road off hand one timers while gaining the zone. The Rangers can do it up and down the lineup with the talent at hand.

        • Henrik declared himself 100% healthy, which is good and bad at the same time, lol. I think the team starts off fairly well, no beginning, hungry young players, and new coach.

          Unlearn AV’s system? LOL, that sounds like an oxy-moron. I think they erased last year from their memory banks the day the season was over. I do not see that as an issue.

          If anything, the true test will be Jan-Mar, to see if the young guys start to wear down due to lack of NHL experience and stamina.

          BTW, the new D man, while not spectacular, is evidently good at entering the offensive zone, something our D men had a lot of trouble with. And Smith is working out like an animal to make amends. We’ll see.

          • On the D side, yes. On O? You literally just throw the pucks on the ice and let them loose, don’t make them rule bound when they gain possession.

            Hockey isn’t rocket science unless you make it so. Create space, go to space, feed it to the guy who has space. On D, you deny space, you close space, you disrupt paths to space.

        • remember when Marchessault was ranger property ?? they never gave him a chance. don’t blow it on other youngsters.

          • I don’t know this for a fact, but I believe that had the Rangers offered him an ELC the first time, he would have signed it. Obviously, they did not think he was good enough and signed him to a Whale contract instead. Sadly, when he proved himself by being the leading scorer for the Whale, he held all the cards.

          • Marchessault made that decision. The Whale/Rangers front offices wanted to bring him back on a follow-up contract, but Marchessault felt he had a clearer path to the NHL with the Columbus organization, so he went there on a three year ELC instead.

      • I see Hayes breaking out between 60-70 points. We know he has enough skills to put up some of the best numbers as a penalty killer. Amped up 5 on 5 ice time with quality linemates will only make him a better player. Consistent PP time will put him over the top. Bonus minutes by playing in more OT situations will go a long way for his game. He has some nice hands to be a great shootout performer for this team. Unfortunately I don’t think his DZ% deployment will change much. When he sees more offensive opportunity than he has enough skills to convert on those chances.

        Questions that surround Hayes and breaking the 50 pt mark barrier are pointless. He’s been hovering around there as a shutdown 3c next to no PP ice time. Coots from Philly was supposdly a top quality 3rd line center before Hayes broke into the league. He averaged 35-37 points before last season. He has seen some major PP minutes within those seasons. Now Hayes has enough game to easily jump over 55 point mark well into the 60s. It makes sense that a guy who learned how to play as a NHL center on the fly dominated the 3c role will now get dominate a top 6 center role next. The money and term is probably why Brooks has made it clear that Zib could become expendable if they were to look for a blockbuster trade.

        • I would not at all be shocked to see Kevin crack 60 or even 70 points if he is deployed like an offensive center and gets some PP time. I really would not. PPG players like Tavares are getting these monster albatross deals, yet some folks turn their noses up at a penny over $4.5M for Hayes, and I just don’t get that. Is Tavares literally twice or more as good? If you ask me, he isn’t. Hayes has yet to be unleashed, but if he is shipped out for anything less than a fleecing and is unleashed, I think Gorton will be kicking himself. Pay the lad, I say, and lock him up now before the price goes up significantly when Quinn (hopefully) deploys him with more offensive opportunities.

          • ” Get some PP time “? What does that mean? A little bit of PP2 time, here and there? That’s what I got out of that and if that’s what you meant than you are wrong.

            He can help run that 2nd PP like it’s a top unit around the league. I think he looked amazing down low and has overall better hand eye coordination and hands than Kreider. Imo he utilizes his body and reach alot better as well in the OZ especially near the slots. This should be the beginning for him to be a full time PP player.

            As a huge fan of his since 2014, I’ve noticed the hate that he received since day 1. Imo it revolved around the fans who loved Stepan that tend to lead that parade. Now those same fans think that Lias would be able to touch what someone like Hayes can bring to the team. We will never get a dominant 3c who leads all 3c in the league without PP minutes and favorable OZ% starts. Guys like BB, Moore, Dubi were terrific on the PK but we won’t ever see one after Hayes who leads the league in goals/points and beats guys like Marchand at his own game. Fans rather throw shade at his and call him inconsistent as if there’s other 3rd line centers who put up 50+ points even though. He has owned first or second halfs of the seasons so we know he doesn’t slow down. Look at Vesey, he tends to lose his while Hayes already showed that he could dominate in the 2nd half.

          • Easy, killer. Same team. Big Hayes fan. I meant real actual PP time, and in actual high leverage situations as well, not just when they’re being blown out or blowing out the other team and not pressing as hard even on the PP. First unit, second unit, wherever. Just a healthy slate of as you said full time PP, I’d like to see what he could add.

          • “Fans rather throw shade at his and call him inconsistent as if there’s other 3rd line centers who put up 50+ points even though. He has owned first or second halfs of the seasons so we know he doesn’t slow down. ”

            The next time Kevin Hayes puts up 50 points, let alone 50+ points, will be the very first time Kevin Hayes puts up 50 points.

            Also, “owning” one half of a season does not equal “doesn’t slow down”. In fact that’s the exact opposite.

            Sorry to insert facts. Back to your regularly schedule Kevin Hayes love fest.

          • Because the Rangers (read: AV) have yet to actually deploy the player to his natural strengths, we still, somehow (this is actually pretty embarrassing for the organization in my book, by the way), do not know exactly who Kevin Hayes is. Would Joe Thornton have ever become a prolific assist machine if he had been used predominantly in a third line checking role for two straight seasons and didn’t put up a PPG there? Hayes did at one time draw Jumbo Joe comparisons; from a 2014 interview: “It’s kind of a big comparison, but he kind of plays like Joe Thornton,” Brassard said. “Same size, he plays the same way — long reach, really tall guy, strong on the puck, sees the ice well.” That’s from a C who played against Thornton, of course – not just a scout looking for the closest big-name style comparison to make the scouting report sparkle.

            If you buy a Dodge Challenger, does it have enough balls to tow $1,000 lbs. of bricks on a trailer? Sure. However, you’re still doing it wrong. Just because Kevin can hack a 3C role does not mean that is where he belongs, and just like you wouldn’t judge a Challenger only on it’s towing capabilities, you shouldn’t judge Hayes only on his counting stats while playing 3C in AV’s system.

          • Eh. I like Kevin Hayes, I think he’s an excellent 3C. But expecting more suddenly? Eh. He’s entering the point where he’s going to start trending down.

            I don’t expect more from him because:
            1- I agree with the physical and vision comparisons to Thornton, however it has to stop there. Thornton has always been a possession driver on his teams with his teams always being better with him on the ice. Hayes has been the opposite. He’s been trending worse since his rookie year, and the Rangers tend to have the puck more when he’s off the ice.

            2. Contrary to what the #1 Hayes fan implied, Every year since his rookie year he’s done most of his scoring damage pre-All Star game. Last year he shot way above average in the 2nd half, if he’d shot his career avg ~13%, he’d have 5 less goals and once again scored less in the 2nd half.

            3. If you can get the right package for Hayes you should move him. There’s already Zib, who if we move I can think of one person who’ll have an aneurism because he’s right handed, with 4 other younger players. If you keep Hayes or Zib, then you have 4 players for 2 spots. If you move Hayes, and Zib gets hurt? Helps “the tank”.

            I’m not advocating selling him for sake of selling him. I think if he gets 5.5 million, I think people are going to be disappointed.

      • A 6’5″ power forward, 25, who wins face-offs is a key to any team and one in demand – and we have him. I like Hayes and I think this year will be his break out year. Also, next year’s draft is a loaded one as well… keep the faith.

        • I agree, but go easy on the winning faceoffs … last year was his 1st year winning over 50%. He is trending in the right direction though.

      • “The Rangers will win just enough to not make the playoffs but pick 12-15 in the draft, we all have to accept that.”

        I don’t know about this. Like you, I expect a few more moves. But if not much changes, I don’t know what is going to happen. I can imagine Chityl winning the Hart Trophy, or limping through the season because he is just not there yet. If Georgiev is the goalie he showed the last few months of last season, Quinn splits the tending 40-40, and Hank responds to decreased pressure and workload favorably, the Rangers could have the best goaltending in the league. OTOH, if Georgiev’s finish last year was his Hamburglar moment and Lundqvist continues to decline, the Rangers could be near the bottom in that aspect. And then there are the myriad of young players. If no one is ready, we will see a lot of Nieves, Holland, DeAngelo, and Kampfer – or even worse, kids in over their heads. Add that to the goaltending and lack of elite players and you have a legit candidate for worst team in the league. OTOH, if the ETA on the kids is sooner rather than later, you could have a team not too bad at first, which gradually improves, squeaks into the playoffs, and with momentum and some deadline deals wins the Cup.

        For example, it is extremely unlikely that Sean Day will be the best LH defenseman on the Rangers in November. It is not unthinkable that he will be the best in May.

        Incidentally, I believe currently the best LH defenseman to be Marc Staal. At some point, he should be surpassed by Skjei and some kids. If that doesn’t happen, the Rangers can truly be awful. If he is passed quickly and by several players (and not by falling apart personally), it could be a bright year.

        Things may change. I don’t expect further moves to enhance the Cup chances, but they may give more insurance against being truly awful.

        • it takes a few more moves just to get the current lineup to become a bubble team, imo, unless hank really plays lights out this season.

          and i fully expect we will see those moves that push the team just enough into mediocrity and out of high draft pick zone.

          • Interesting idea. From things I’ve heard Day say about his last year in juniors, he seems interested in being a complete player and helping the team where he can. And it does seem the clearest path to a good RD is to convert a LD.

          • He’s put a ton of time in on the right side from his time in Windsor.

            He’ll be instant offence like Holden just by taking quick one timers drifting in from the point.

          • As long as he doesn’t chase above the circle and tightens the rest of his D a little more, he’ll be fine.

            He’s more than willing to jump into the play, but his decision making deep is very meat & potatoes.

        • Georgiev looks way too calm in net for me to believe that what we saw last year was a fluke. His composure and economy of movement makes me think he’ll have a long career in the NHL — as to his ceiling though, I don’t know.

        • “I don’t know about this. Like you, I expect a few more moves.”

          Man, I heard a doozy today, involving Ottawa, TB, and the Rangers, with Karlsson going to TB.

          • Originally the “rumor” was Kucherov coming back to the Rangers and Hayes going to Ottawa. I didn’t think it was credible.

            But it turns out the Rangers may be the 3rd team in this but probably taking back someone like Cally plus incentive assets to do it.

    • Exactly what I said a couple of days ago – “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

      Salary Cap is about flexibility – When taking the “dump” you need to be careful not to tie yourself up for the foreseeable future.

      If “Quinn’s Kids” become competitive quickly we surely do not need to have a Lucic type contract tying up our cap space – not to mention him taking up a roster spot for one of the high-end youngsters.

  • There;s another adage that’s in play here: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. If you want to see how that applies, look at Las Vegas. They took a bunch of “good” players, didn’t tangle themselves up trying to find the “perfect” player, and made a hell of a run. We might just be able to do the same thing.

  • Quinn said he wants the Rangers to be a hard team to play against. Just how is that going to happen with this roster? Name one defenseman, or player for that matter, that will knock the taste right out of your mouth? Brendon Smith anyone? Need a radical culture change BADLY!

    • I have been watching recent playoff runs and man did B Smith suck. He helped cost 1 game in 2014 against the Bruins and another one in 2015 against the Lightning. He lunged on half of his hits which made him look like Glass who got more air. Quincey and him really helped burn down the Red Wings defense. Bottom line is that he’s a pretender, he would get beat up more often than none if he took on the tough guy act. Vesey is another pretender and I will always remember when he got beat up by Max Pacioretty which almost gave MTL the edge two years ago. I agree with your original comment, nobody on this team will use the MSG crowd as a option to gain momentum. Someone like Sean Avery must think Kreider is soft as butter and lame to watch on most nights. We can’t even look towards him to be the go getter in that department because he’s a passenger.

      • Maybe Smith was a pretender but at least he pretended to support Hank especially in the crease. If you ask me, every other defenseman, including McD, were playing titty bumps with the other team’s forwards when they were roughing up our goalies.

        Unfortunately, I don’t totally disagree with you on Kreider, high hockey physical talent, low hockey IQ. That’s my take.

        • Nah I’ll ask you if you remember how Mcd, G, Staal and Klein helped shutdown Crosby, Malkin, Backstrom, Giroux, Ovi etc? Smith will never have a good resume in playing shutdown D. Right now he’s the guy that NYR fans like to overrate and the same guy who called out by legends like Zetterberg and Babcock. I stand with what I said, he’s a pretender who helped flopped the Red Wings a little faster. Someone like Mcd almost got his hand taken out in the Philly series back in 2014. He had always tried to clear the crease to his full capability but I think with all those shot blocking days, they tend to slow him down. Smith takes penalties in trying to clear the crease, that guy is going to cost this team.

          High physical talent in the sense that whenever he takes 3 strides or more then he becomes a mini speeding bus? Sure but he doesn’t use his body with or without the puck. He had his moments like Stepan did when he would score a hatty to contribute to his annual 17 goals per season. Kreider drills someone once and it will get talked about for 4 months until he does it again, but he rarely did it on a consistent basis. Broadcasting booths always expose how he can’t follow the flow of the puck in the OZ to make effective screens. Anything that a NYR fan would say he’s good at would get taken out of context that he’s some elite player.

    • The biggest culture change that needed to happen IMO already did. The concept of “knock the taste right out of your mouth” is something AV believed could be handled by one guy. Whether or not Glass and McLeod were actually effective in this manner (IMO they most certainly were not) is irrelevant – AV’s philosophy is that simply having those guys on the roster would prevent things. They did not, any more than Gudas prevents Flyers from getting leveled on the ice, any more than Reaves prevented Penguins or Knights from getting leveled on the ice, etc. Most of the bigger NHL players are not afraid of ten to fifteen seconds of getting punched. What they may be afraid of is getting flattened and/or concussed in open ice, which many “enforcers” can’t do regularly because they simply are not fast enough, and/or are not heady enough to anticipate how the play will unfold. Furthermore, AC would overreact (more so to young guys) to trying to play physical but taking penalties in the process. If you want to be more physical, you’re generally gonna take more penalties, and AV showed little tolerance for that trade-off (see Miller, JT).

      If Quinn emphasizes more physicality, but not simple pugilism for pugilism’s sake – actual play-impacting physicality – I think we are gonna see some snarl come out that has always been there but just wasn’t a part of AV’s required conduct or his beloved system. These guys are NHL hockey players; none of them are “soft”. The Rangers actually have a good-sized roster; for all the narrative about the Bruins for example being such a big heavy roster, they have more players under 6′ or 200 lbs. than the Rangers do. I can’t guarantee anything of course, but I think if Quinn emphasizes the physicality, we will see it. It may not come in the form of fights, and that’s just fine by me – that’s not the more impacting form of physicality in today’s NHL, anyway.

  • Callahan would be harmless. Two years left, get an asset for him, enjoy him as the Rangers captain during what will be two bad seasons.

    The hang up is that the Rangers would be facilitating the creation of an absolute powerhouse in Tampa.

    • At this stage in the rebuild, why would the Rangers care? Win the cup and the late 2nd we got turns into a late 1st.

    • I am pretty sure Callahan is going to end up in Buffalo.

      They are a young team who can use a veteran leader and he grew up in Rochester.

    • In a vacuum, I would love to see Cally back on the Rangers, with an immediate ‘C’ on the sweater. He’s a walking set of cliches: “Plays the game the right way”, “incredible work ethic”, “great in the locker room” etc.
      However, you’d have to think that dumping Callahan would enable Tampa to trade for Karlsson. And while Karlsson and Stamkos are on the downside of their careers, Tampa has an incredible core of Hedman, Kucherov and Vasilevsky, so giving them Karlsson will make them Stanley Cup favorites for at least the next few years. I don’t want that in my conference.

      • Again, the Rangers ain’t gonna win it the next few years, so why not get a pound of flesh to make it happen?

        If anything, we’ll accelerate their entry into cap Hell by abetting then.

    • We should not be in the habit of helping the stronger teams in our conf I would need to be blown away to help Tampa with CAP space. Pointe?

      • This is common thinking, but IMO it is bad thinking. In a good trade, two teams benefit. So, if the trade is truly even, you hold your own against one team and gain on the other twenty-nine. That is a favorable situation and I simply don’t see that you should be all that picky about which team you trade with. If you can make a better deal with the Islanders or Devils than with the Coyotes, go for it.

        Yes, if TB was on a run of five consecutive Cups and winning was all about Tampa Bay, sure don’t deal with them. But frankly we have no idea even whether Tampa Bay will be a greater power in the Atlantic than Toronto over the next few years – or necessarily even Boston. There are at least ten teams that can win the Cup next year and a good deal gains on at least nine of them.

  • He’s doing the right thing here. He has to find a GM in a pinch that will be willing to give up more to make this worth it. July 5th is too early for anyone to really be in that spot…. yet. But once teams start to lock players up and rosters take shape, it should be much more ripe for the type of deal we’re looking for. The longer he waits, the more GM’s will get pressured, be more willing to overpay, or just do something stupid that we can benefit from.

  • 2017-18: Retreat
    2018-19: Regroup
    2019-20: Reinvigorate
    2020-21: Recapture

  • This has nothing the with the topic, but I just came across Many Perry’s Corsica Hockey, and found this gem (list of goalie season by WAR metric he developed, starting in 2007-08, see below:)

    According to this, Henrik Lundqvist had 25% (5 out of 20) best goalie seasons
    in the last 11 years. Wow.

    ## player season WAR_Goalie
    ## 1 TIM.THOMAS 20102011 11.839463
    ## 2 HENRIK.LUNDQVIST 20112012 10.860530
    ## 3 SERGEI.BOBROVSKY 20162017 9.937583
    ## 4 JONATHAN.QUICK 20112012 9.439853
    ## 5 MIKE.SMITH 20112012 9.374637
    ## 6 TIM.THOMAS 20082009 8.165371
    ## 7 CAREY.PRICE 20142015 7.967805
    ## 8 TUUKKA.RASK 20122013 7.866080
    ## 9 HENRIK.LUNDQVIST 20132014 7.755855
    ## 10 CAM.WARD 20082009 7.252770
    ## 11 HENRIK.LUNDQVIST 20082009 6.938354
    ## 12 ROBERTO.LUONGO 20102011 6.856440
    ## 13 EVGENI.NABOKOV 20092010 6.717359
    ## 14 HENRIK.LUNDQVIST 20092010 6.494654
    ## 15 BRADEN.HOLTBY 20142015 6.484342
    ## 16 CAM.WARD 20102011 6.476188
    ## 17 HENRIK.LUNDQVIST 20122013 6.472801
    ## 18 JAROSLAV.HALAK 20092010 6.363367
    ## 19 JONAS.HILLER 20082009 6.331477
    ## 20 JONATHAN.QUICK 20172018 6.207274

      • Look closer at this table. None of the Lundqvist stellar seasons were in the last four years. And Perry is just wrong about 2013-2014.

        I certainly have never suggested – and I don’t think anyone else here has either – that Lundqvist was not a truly outstanding goalie his first eight years in the league. There is no doubt that he was a true hero, that he began the turnaround of what was a struggling franchise. Someday, rightfully, his jersey will hang from the Garden rafters.

        On average, the best goalie in hockey 2005-2013 was Henrik Lundqvist. And yes, he beat the Penguins nearly singlehandedly in 2014. A glorious history to be sure.

        But is he any more relevant to the present day Rangers than Eddie Giacomin or Mike Richter? not at all clear. Yes, he plays well on occasion, but only on occasion.

        At some point, one needs to acknowledge that a guy who is outperformed by his backup year in and year out is no longer the player he once was. By cumulative GSAA, which favors guys who have regular starting jobs, over the last five years, Hank is 15th.

        • I do not know how to do these stats and charts, but I heard the King’s stats 5 on 5 last year were outstanding. Can someone assist?

          • I’m not so good with the stats and charts, but Corsica Hockey is where I usually start when I’m feeling like looking for metrics.

          • Does it really matter if he was lights out against shooters born on a Monday with more teeth on the left side than right? What matters is how many goals you give up overall, not how many under certain circumstances.

            We know what kind of year he had. He was relatively poor for the first ten games or so, played extremely well for about three months, and then essentially fell apart. In comparison to other goaltenders playing with the same guys in front of him, his save percentage was not as good as Georgiev but better than Pavelec. His GAA was better than Georgiev, but to be fair Georgiev faced an astronomical number of shots as he only played behind the minor league defense.

            Hank was (barely) in the top half of regular goaltenders in terms of save percentage and I see absolutely no reason to suspect that that is not fair representation of his contribution. If everyone on the team played as well as Hank did, they would have made the playoffs, but he really did not move the needle much.

            I honestly do not understand why there is this insistence that Hank faces such a more difficult task than his teammates.

            Going back to 2013-2014, that WAR metric list credits Hank with saving 15 goals and Cam Talbot with saving 6. Now Hank played roughly three times as many games as Talbot and so the numbers say Hank saved 83% as many goals per game, pretty close.

            BUT BUT Hank’s save percentage was .920 and Talbot’s over .940. How in the world is a guy saving at a .920 rate roughly equal to one saving at a .940 rate? I understand that all goaltenders don’t face the same odds, but when people claim that year after year Hank faces an uphill climb that his teammates don’t, it has to be absurd.

            Final Caveat: Justin wrote a fine article a few weeks back about the mental difficulties of playing goal. I don’t think any tender has the ice water in their veins to not be troubled by this. And Hank is no exception. He showed this year that he can play well when he is healthy and his head is screwed on right. But his mental woes seem to be taking an increasing toll. Maybe it is a lack of belief in his teammates and that is fixable. I expect him to continue to decline, but I would not bet my life against him winning the Vezina next year.

    • Also notice how few on this list are recent seasons – it’s not easy being an NHL goalie right now. There are a lot of fast AND skilled skaters in the league compared to just a handful of years back. There are certainly a lot more offensively lethal defensemen in the league right now compared to just a handful of years back. As more and more GMs are realizing that there is no place in this game anymore for slow-footed pugilists on either end of the ice, it’s tougher on goalies, because those roster spots are being filled by guys who can actually put the biscuit in the basket. There are far less times that they see not a lick of offensive talent coming their way for a minute here and there when they can truly let their guard down compared to not too long ago when fourth lines may as well have been carrying clubs instead of hockey sticks.

      • I believe the concentration in the earlier years is due to a faulty system, not due to changes in the game. I may be wrong but I believe he computes an expected save percentage for each goalie, then uses the actual save percentage to see how many goals the goalie saved above average and then convert that into victories.

        If scoring goes up (and it has), perfectly computed expected save percentages should go down and the number of very strong seasons should remain constant. This doesn’t seem to have happened.

        • Well, the game has definitely changed a lot during that time-frame. That said, this is a rare example of when I am mostly letting my eye test do the talking. Systems surely are part of it as well – in any event – good call. You raise some fair points about the formulaic and/or statistical connotations as well, which, frankly, I have yet to look into at all. I was indeed shooting from the hip a fair deal regarding how I see the game in that span. I’m not sure I can agree on your last bit or verify your claims without digging more, but I do agree that there is potentially more to the story in the numbers and methods, perhaps, and I did not dig into that.

  • Hayes, Skjei, Spooner, Vesey have elected for player arbitration. In most cases these get resolved before it goes to the arbitrators, but that still makes me kinda nervous. IMHO, Gorton can’t afford to piss off the first two especially to the point they will be prepared to test UFA no matter what when the time comes. HERO charts put Hayes as a 2C and Skjei as a 2D, so depending on how good their agents are, could be trouble for JG if they go the hard way. We shall see.

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