Using your best players in all situations

pavel buchnevich chris kreider
Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/AP

Throughout the preseason, we’ve seen some changes to deployment that we aren’t necessarily used to. Even strength ice time is tough to gauge right now with the roster so full of players that aren’t going to be on the regular season roster. However it’s been on special teams, specifically on the penalty kill, that we’ve seen some changes.

The first and most obvious is the regular usage of Chris Kreider on the penalty kill. It’s something that’s been highlighted a lot, but we’ve never seen him in a penalty killing role before. On paper it certainly makes sense, since Kreider’s speed is incredibly dangerous. He can take Michael Grabner’s spot as the dangerous speedster that generates offense while shorthanded.

However it goes beyond Kreider’s specific toolset that allows him to be dangerous on the penalty kill. It happens to be coincidence that he’s one of the fastest players in the league. The overall strategy appears to be David Quinn using his best players in all situations. Kevin Hayes was used regularly on the PK in games this preseason as well.

This is a strategy we see successful teams use regularly, where the best players are used in all situations, including the penalty kill. Again on paper this is a fairly obvious strategy, as your best players give you the best chance of winning. For a player like Kreider, it means being used on the penalty kill regularly.

As Quinn eases rookies and younger players into the lineup and into the rigors of the NHL game, it’s fair to expect players in roles we haven’t seen before. Hayes and perhaps Mika Zibanejad on the penalty kill may be something we see a few times. I’d throw Mats Zuccarello into this mix too, although he did see some PK time last year.

I’d also expect to see Filip Chytil on the powerplay –also a given– since he’s one of the better offensive players. Ditto Pavel Buchnevich. However if no one else really sets themselves apart from the rest, I can see Jesper Fast getting spurts with the man advantage.

Using the best players on the roster in all situations is a recipe for success. We are seeing a little bit of that in the preseason. What does remain to be seen is whether or not roles will change as kids progress and perhaps overtake others on the roster.

"Using your best players in all situations", 4 out of 5 based on 6 ratings.

30 thoughts on “Using your best players in all situations

  • Sep 27, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Query: Did Jimmy Vesey implode under the pressure of expectations this year?

    Wow, is he horrible so far. And Names is no better.

    • Sep 27, 2018 at 11:28 am

      as a Vesey fan I hate to agree…but both these guys have disappeared. Could be good news for a couple kids come trade deadline or before

      • Sep 28, 2018 at 6:29 am

        I like Vesey too, and thought he would take the next step. But call it like it is, he’s been horrible up until last night (I did not see last night’s game against the Flyers).

        Names too, but I heard he scored against the Flyers so that’s positive.

    • Sep 27, 2018 at 11:35 am

      What pressure? Guy is not that good. He’s 25 years old. He has Fast-level offensive production with zero d-zone abilities. Yet the narrative him around the league is that he’s a gamer and has a nose for the goal. He 100% should have been traded because of the morons running other teams would think they were getting a real asset.

      That there was a debate comparing Buch to Vesey shows how dumb everything is. That AV was not riding KZB 23+ a game last year is malpractice.

      • Sep 28, 2018 at 6:32 am

        My “pressure” comment was a tongue in cheek comment, lol.

        But look at it this way, Jimmy was one of the few that actually went to the net to score goals, 16-17 of them for a guy that did not play 16-17 minutes per night.

        Vesey is not a puck carrier or creative player, not at all, he’s a go to the net and score garbage goals player. Fine for the bottom 6. Maybe he gets 20 goals.

      • Sep 28, 2018 at 6:34 am

        And I totally agree, Buch is on a much higher level player, so I do not know who is making that comparison.

  • Sep 27, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Someone give me a recap of how certain players played last night as I missed the game. Box Score seems to indicate the PP is working well (Zib and Buch chemistry) and perhaps Letteri was throwing his 140lbs around. How did Shat look? Vesey, Anderson, Chytil, Gettinger, and Howden look? Staal still destined for Press Box? Crawley play well? Hank look any sharper?

    • Sep 27, 2018 at 9:51 am

      They all looked ok. Vesey and Names were invisible. Isles carried a lot of the play throughout the game. King did fine.

      Crawley had a very good game.

      • Sep 27, 2018 at 9:56 am

        I like Crawley….Howden is better than Lias right now

        • Sep 27, 2018 at 10:52 am

          Howden wasn’t bad but was pretty quiet. Lias was quiet too. Chytil had a few moments when with Zucc or Buchnevich. Crawley had a good game, needs some AHL time to refine his game but he has a good edge to his game.

          • Sep 27, 2018 at 10:55 am

            Crawley has a future…Howden is a gifted play maker…and He was impressive in some puck battles

            • Sep 27, 2018 at 11:00 am

              I think Howden definitely has a future. But neither Howden or Andersson registered a shot on goal, Howden didn’t register a hit and Andersson one hit. Howden got beat on a couple of faceoffs, Lias won the majority of his. Overall, they were both pretty quiet last night as far as I could see. I am hoping that as they get more experience they grow in their roles.

      • Sep 27, 2018 at 11:36 am

        Pionk did amazing, the score could have been worst without him and Hank. Skjei was just bad, right now he’s looking like a 3rd pair who needs to be put out there against weaker competition. If Lou was still GM of Toronto than I would have tried to trade Skjei for Nylander.

  • Sep 27, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Someone give me a recap of how certain players played last night as I missed the game. Box Score seems to indicate the PP is working well (Zib and Buch chemistry) and perhaps Letteri was throwing his 140lbs around. How did Shat look? Vesey, Anderson, Chytil, Gettinger, and Howden look? Staal still destined for Press Box? Crawley play well? Hank look sharp?

    • Sep 27, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Vesey, Andersson, Gettinger invisible…Chytil was noticeable but didnt do much….Howden was very noticeable out there altho Hickey was his man on that goal…..Howden is going to be the goods…He is better than Andersson right now….taking him at #7 pick was a disaster….Crawley was ok last nite….we have something there with him

      • Sep 27, 2018 at 11:36 am

        disagree about Anderson…thought his forechecking, backchecking and faceoffs were decent last night, the intangibles, which I think he brings. Howden is going to be good tho and hope he’s up after trade deadline

        • Sep 27, 2018 at 11:54 am

          TB is right and especially about Andersson and his overall game. I’d say more than half of the time on the forecheck, he was on the wrong side of the puck, it was always easy transition zone entry’s for the Isle when he was out there. Then during the other times he wasn’t strong enough in his 1 on the 1 battles. He didn’t have a effective game against Barzal and that’s who he was squaring up against for majority of the game. Anyone could tell that Howden just needed to get stronger and adjust his speed and thinking to the game and than he’ll easily challenge Andersson to get pushed down in the everyday lineup. He looked like a Gazelle that needed to train more in the AHL. It might take a full AHL campaign for him to reach his potential but the potential was definitely there in his last two pre season games.

  • Sep 27, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Nice to see our consensus best players for the PP and PK being deployed that way. We need our first units to produce in the top 35% of the league to be really effective. The concern is always what happens when your first units do not do their jobs? The coach makes changes. Hopefully with players that can provide the added jump each unit requires.

    Have faith in Quinn! Have faith in KBZ! Let’s play hockey for real.

  • Sep 27, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Looks like some players are playing themselves into the lineup, while others are playing themselves down to the Wolfpack, waivers, or release.

    Why is it surprising that a new coach would play the best players? Av had favorites and boy did it show, Coach Quinn so far does not.

  • Sep 27, 2018 at 9:25 am

    you’re definitely on to something here and no one should one excluded from any assignment due to previous perception. Try it once. I remember hearing Carl Hagelin can’t play on the PP. He was awful.(Torts quote) When he went to Pittsburgh they put him on the PP and he looked pretty good to me.

    I’ll be very interested to see how day to day and minute to minute deployment goes when we go live here next week. hard to gauge in pre-season, but the best players need to play in the best situations all the time. It really is that simple

    • Sep 27, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Hagelin has played 27 total minutes of PP time in the 221 regular season and playoff games he has played since he left the Rangers.

      Torts was right about that. How did Torts know? He gave Hagelin almost 85 minutes of PP time Hagelin’s first two years in the league and another 25 minutes the following two seasons.

      Also Hagelin has 3 career points on the PP.

      • Sep 27, 2018 at 11:03 am

        And we gave him away for free

        • Sep 27, 2018 at 11:41 am

          Not every asset has to be maximized. It was more important to not keep Hagelin and have him become a drag on the cap (which he most certainly became since he left NY) than it was to turn him into assets.

          Furthermore, Hagelin was a bottom 6 forward approaching his UFA years. That’s not a very valuable asset. The Rangers turned Hagelin into the #41 pick and an older prospect, Emerson Etem. What more did you want?

          • Sep 27, 2018 at 12:00 pm

            He was coming off his best campaign as a NYR and was apart of the better 3rd lines. JG should have pushed for something a little more to get added in that deal or for a different combo than he previously received.

          • Sep 27, 2018 at 12:23 pm

            Hagelin was a good Ranger…terrible trade…We couldnt pay him because we paid Stepan instead

          • Sep 27, 2018 at 12:30 pm

            TR, you do realize that Hagelin has been on one of the worst contracts in the league since he left NY, right?

            The Rangers got the same production as Hagelin from Fast at a quarter of the cost. They got double the production of Hagelin at an eighth of the cost with Grabner.

            Giving big contracts to bottom 6 and depth forwards is usually a fatal mistake in the capped NHL. The Pens happened to have two of the best forwards in the world, along with Kessel to help offset the fact they annually throw $4M into the fireplace every year with Hagelin.

            • Sep 27, 2018 at 3:54 pm

              Fast couldnt hold Hags jock back then…Hags was always in the middle of things….Stepan was chosen over him to keep…..Trade Hags fine….just get something back for him ……Inept FO

  • Sep 27, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Just my opinions: I’m not sold on Chytil yet; Andersson is a younger, somewhat quicker, Fast; Fast is underutilized on offense because he’s so good defensively; the KZB line can go head to head with anyone; Hayes was used regularly on the PK last year, and definitely merits a spot on the PP as well; Mika and Kreider on the PK also makes sense; Zucc, Fast, and maybe Andersson are going to be productive, but not superstars, wherever they play; DeAngelo needs to be on the PP; none of the young defenseman (including Pionk) has convinced me that they are NHL defensemen yet.

  • Sep 27, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Howden and Hajek better pan out or that trade is a disaster

  • Sep 27, 2018 at 11:01 am

    After watching the game, I think we will be competitive, but on the losing side of many close games. As we go past our 2nd line, we are just not deep enough or good enough at this point to match up with even a team like the Islanders.

    Our kids need to develop and become a threat – we are not there yet. I am hopeful that this year brings experience and growth. Next year we add another kid (Kravsov) and hopefully some real talent (Panarin/Trouba) to make us a legit contender.

    Fingers crossed

Comments are closed.