Thoughts on the final cuts and the first look at lines

The Rangers finalized the roster yesterday, with Brett Howden making the team over Lias Andersson. That was the biggest surprise of the roster, as the rest played out pretty much as expected. The Blueshirts will carry eight defensemen, also expected. As usual, I have thoughts.

  • There was a lot of hubbub on social media about Andersson’s reassignment to the AHL. The 19 year old was called a bust, and the Lias truthers were out in full. From “he can’t skate” to “should’ve drafted (insert player), told you” to “ugh trade him already.” It was honestly quite funny considering Andersson was drafted a little over a year ago and isn’t even of legal drinking age yet.

  • Regarding Andersson, he is still a highly regarded prospect. He can skate very well, he has all the tools to make it to the NHL and stick, and he will be on the Rangers this season. It’s fair to say you preferred a player in that draft over him, but to say he’s a bust or that he doesn’t have any hockey skills is hyperbolic overreaction.
  • The decision to send him to the AHL wasn’t Cody McLeod over Lias. It was basically Filip Chytil and Brett Howden over Lias. Chytil had a better preseason and won the spot in the top-nine. Howden had a great preseason as well, and the decision was made that he would be the 4C, and Lias would be better served getting 1C minutes in Hartford over 4C minutes in New York. The minute there is an injury in the top nine, Lias will be back.
  • Moving on from Lias, I am glad a bunch of folks here kept reminding me I was sleeping on Howden. I watched him a little more closely this preseason, and he 100% earned his spot on the club. I don’t think he will be the 4C for the remainder of his career, and as spots open up, he will move up in the lineup.
  • As for the defense, carrying eight defensemen is the smart choice. I went into detail on that yesterday though, and I’m not going to hash it all out here again.
  • The first practice lines were also made public yesterday, with the forward lines being close to what we expect. I have some minor preferences that would change the lines –like Vlad Namestnikov and Jimmy Vesey swapping spots– but overall it’s tough to go wrong with that group. The Rangers are deep at forward.
  • As for defense, I wasn’t overly enamored with the pairings. It more or less comes down to preferring Brady Skjei to be with Kevin Shattenkirk, and preferring Tony DeAngelo not be the 7D. I’m more concerned about that than I am about Lias, honestly. That said, it’s the first game of the season, and I expect a rotation in those eight defensemen to ensure everyone gets playing time.
  • Remember that injuries happen, and there will be call ups, trades, and other moves made as the season progresses. This is not the roster that will finish the season.
"Thoughts on the final cuts and the first look at lines", 3 out of 5 based on 22 ratings.
Show More


  1. Andersson to Hartford is a positive not a negative, but it will be viewed as he’s not good enough. It’s BS and he will get the all situations minutes he needs to hone his skills, playing 15 to 20 minutes per game. He COULD have played here if that was better for him and the Rangers. End… of… story…

    My line up:




    1. For better or worse, it looks like we’re getting a lot of McQuaid this year, hopefully til the deadline only. I know the metrics don’t support this but, I still think Vesey plays an important role on this team, and I like him on the third line with Chytil.

      1. Smith is a waste in the d-zone, and Shattenkirk isn’t much better; Their lack of awareness in positioning is egregious. With a leaky Lundquist not good
        McQuaid reminds me of Arnie Brown.
        Vesey does not have the grit and personality to be better than mediocre…maybe he will improve, but so far, nada

        1. I remember Arnie Brown, I don’t remember him being overly tough like McQuaid. But he wasn’t a figure skater either.

          I always felt Vesey was never comfortable with AV and vice versa, I thought AV felt JV was forced on him along with the hoopla that followed him here. Jimmy has grit that I think he was reluctant to show… we will see, but new coach, new system, new start. I am hopeful.

          1. Brown was physical and responsible in front of the net.
            He and Jim Neilson did a decent job during the ETC era.
            The fans gave Rod Seiling a rough time, but I loved him for his under appreciated solid D. Why isn’t Park’s #2
            hanging from the rafters? He, next to Orr, was the best D-man of his era…something between him and MSG management??
            You won’t like that I think the Cat ruined the Rangers with
            his horrible trades and unwillingness to ice enough muscle…that’s enough–not none.

        2. out of curiosity, how does mcquaid remind you of arnie brown ? i don’t see any resemblance.

      2. I agree that McQuaid will play but it was my line up, lol.

        But I had to include Staal because it would have been unrealistic to leave him out.

        Vesey should get 20 goals this year.

    2. Mcquaid with his toughness needs to be in the line up every night as a 5th or 6th defenseman.

        1. No, at the expense of Stall………Neither will win the Norris trophy but McQuaid will make the goalies life much easier by clearing the crease……and slowing down opposing forwards entering the zone with their heads down……and stand up for his teammates………

          1. I wish at the expense of Staal, Rich, but you know at $5.7M per that he’s going to play.

            Maybe DQ has a set of balls and puts him in the press box.

          2. With 8 D its time for the new coach to make a statement and reduce Marks playing time. I’m talking about 20 games less than he is accustomed. He should get rest and play against opponent’s that puts him in the best position to succeed. He may hang in there and accept his role and we are no worse off. or maybe he feels he should play 75 games and may want to move on. Problem is who wants him at that price

          3. That goal in the Devs’ game where he fumbled the puck (admittedly he was put into a bad spot, but that’s what happens on the ice) that led to a goal should be example #1, starting this year.

    3. Andersson will be behind once again. If a injury happened to Zib or Hayes than everyone moves up including Howden. I would bet anything that Lias would come up from the AHL as a 4c seeing garbage minutes, they wouldn’t dare put him in the top 9. In other words he wasn’t swift enough to play in the NHL and needed conditioning. Quinn wasn’t impressed with his camp like Howden.

        1. I think you’re going 0-100 with this topic, while i looked at this for what it was. I never alluded to this being a demotion. In order to get demoted, you need to get pushed down a notch. This is where you lose me because for 1) I always thought Lias would have needed more time to condition in the AHL . 2) He was never a real NHL player yet. Therefore this can’t be considered a demotion because he’s once again gonna have to start his season away from the NHL rink. I’m also going by Quinn’s overall reaction which sounded unimpressed about his game. If that sounded like a demotion than it is what it is.

          I certainly could tell you that he’ll start below Hayes/Zib and Chytil /Howden in case of a injured center. His promotion will consist of 4th line duties.

    4. My question is: why is Mark Staal still in the line-up??? He was a mess on the ice during the preseason and is slow as hell…that makes no sense to me. What a bad contract that is turning out to be. Why is McCleod on the roster??? this is even more of a mystery…It’s early but I am starting to have my doubts about the management of this team.

      1. I have no idea about Staal but it has to do with his contract. I think that DQ should show some balls and put him in the press box, making it clear that he’s not wanted here.

        The McLeod signing is laughable. No explaining or justifying that one.

    5. Typical NYR fan paranoia…..Lol…..already labeled as a bust…….wake up those Ranger fans still inkling for a quick sign every free agent out there…..that is not the way a rebuild works………

  2. Lias isn’t a good skater. At best he is average and that is after this offseason because to his credit, he realized his skating wasn’t good enough and he worked on it. Still it is far from good. He isn’t a bust at all at least not yet but he will never live up to his draft status . I see him as a career checking center/winger.

    1. He skated like Oscar Linderberg since he improved his speed burst. He’s kind of quick but not fast enough to line him up against top 6 matchups anytime soon. It’s been all Ranger fan hype and than NYR media that has hyped him up as this low or high level 2c and maybe low level 1c. I’ll ever buy that theory until I can see some kind of improvement to his 200 ft game.

      On draft day they were comparing him to a better Jesper Fast/Swiss Army knife, who could move up and over on the wing in case of a emergency. In just like the scouting reports of him, if he needed to play in the top 6 than most likely it would be over on the wing. I see him as a new age bottom 6 center.

      Jesperi Kotkaniemi is 2-3 years ahead of him with his 200 ft game and positioning. Than he’s probably going to be 6-8 year ahead in offense as a 18 year old towards the end of the season.

      1. that’s not such a surprise, that the #3 pick is a relatively strong year is ahead of the #7 pick in a relatively weak year? i’m not the expert but
        as someone here i believe mentioned recently not much of the 2017 draft class has made much of a dent in the nhl yet, except for the #1 and #2 picks.

        i haven’t seen many say Lias is a future #1 or even high level #2, but we’ll see. the title of “most nhl ready player available” at that slot granted to him by the FO seems a bit more up for grabs now though..

        1. I made a point by strictly saying that a 18 year who had the opposite hype of being NHL ready player is now already better at defense and positioning. Two components that came with Lias being NHL ready that most of the NYR fanbase harped about.

          Dude everyone spat out their drink after MTL drafted him. His draft # had nothing to do with the hype and ugly truth to Lias game lacking at both ends of the rink. I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that you aren’t one of those draft tracker wizards who knows all the underrated picks. It’s not like he was suppose to be a top 10 pick in that deep draft. Vice versa to Andersson in a none deep draft which made him approachable due to being ” NHL ready”

          1. agreed on “nhl ready” – while most of Lias’s draft-mates haven’t hit the NHL hard either, if he was 2-3 years away anyway it casts some doubt on the strategy to draft for “nhl readiness” instead of elite upside.

            i’m definitely not a draft wizard but it seems in general the 2018 top 10 was viewed as stronger than 2017, kotkaniemi should stack up well vs Lias and the guys selected a little before or after him.

  3. The decision-making surrounding Vesey is preposterous. He’s turning 26, and he’s not going to improve. He has Jasper Fast level offensive production with zero ability in the d-zone. So he’s ideally suited to an extremely sheltered third line role as he has a little bit of a nose for goal. But because the NHL is demented, folks love these good old boys. Vesey should have been moved at the trade line or this summer, instead of wasting a space. Maybe the FO thinks by putting him on the second line he’ll increase his value and be able to move him? I doubt it. I would also add the same about Spooner. Why is he on this team?

    Either way, I’m sorry but this group of forwards is not a bottom five worst teams in the NHL. Especially if Buch takes a step (I would not be surprised if he gets more than 65 points this year) and if Chytil puts up Hayes rookie season production. That’s just the reality, which again raises the question why the Rangers FO blew last season, and then decided to waste another season in this non-rebuild. It’s a big gamble to hope these kids come through. Once you get to the playoffs, you never know.

    The defense is an abomination. it’s been declining now for the past six years. Right now we have two top four d-men in Skjei/Shatt; one average third pairing dman in Smith, a couple of unknowns in TonyD and Pionk, and then garbage. If this group was even average, we’d be in the playoffs.

    1. IMO JimmyV. Is going to be moved along with Hayes and possible Zucs at the trading deadline…….

  4. I think the Rangers need to be very patient with Andersson. Supposedly the kids ceiling is going to be a Toews type 2-way centerman. I’ll take that now or next season. However long it takes, you gladly wait for that caliber player to emerge.

  5. Right now I see Mr.Andersson is a very average player. He has avg speed, avg skater, avg shot, avg passer, avg toughness…nothing standout about him. I think he may stay in the minors for quite a long time before he comes up to the MSG. I hope he is not a bust, but right now he’s very average.

  6. I am not a big Mr.Andersson guy from day one. What is he? Is he a physical player? He’s NOT, I haven’t seen any big hits. Is he a skill player? He’s NOT, he didn’t have any exciting moments. Is he a great shooter? No. Is he a speedster? NO. So everyone says he is a leader in the room, but you need to put up some numbers to be a leader. So what is he?

  7. re lias-

    on the one hand its way too early to label a prospect bust 1.5 years from being drafted.

    on the other hand the energy coming from that pick was fairly negative to begin with. swiss-army knife, jesper fast – at number 7? was gordie drunk? pronman: speed not good enough to be label a top prospect .

    so, in that prism this start is merely confirming the original analysis, which gives larry’s article merit in its timing. (im never a fan of media headline grabs)

    as another here pointed out, it appears that year was very weak and likely Arizona knew that because those picks never get traded and not for guys like stepan.

    1. All you have to do at BSB is find quotes from the draft day and prospect profiles to make your point stick. You would be shocked to see how many people over here claimed that the league etc on draft day thought Andersson was a top end 3c/2c and low leveled. Which brought folks to say he’s already just as good as Hayes which got lead through a rabbit hole of the need to trade.

      The best compliment to Andersson was that maybe he could play like Chris Kunitz in the top 6 over on the wing.

      1. 2/3 c is very broad category . Hayes is probably more 2 then 3 at the moment anyway. Also ppl forget that he entered the league at age 23. right now you’d take 17 or 25 goals from lias and run so fast.

  8. As I said boys and girls, right from the horse’s mouth (interview on Rotter’s blog):

    “Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said that the Rangers could have found 5-8 minutes a night for Lias Andersson but that they would rather him play 20 minutes a night, in all situations, with Hartford than on the fourth line.

    Gorton said that the Rangers are focused on the long-term with Andersson and said “he’s pretty close to an NHL player but if we want to maximize where he is going and what he is going to be for us, it’s the right decision.”

    Rangers coach David Quinn said that Andersson had a good camp and could have made the Rangers but, “having him play 20 minutes a night in Hartford is the best for right now is the best thing for him.”

    Earlier in camp, Andersson said that he wanted to be with the Rangers for all 82 games and was trying to show that he can play a “solid game and “be a guy you can trust out there and take faceoffs and hopefully, score a couple goals, too.’ (Newsday)

    Andersson said that when he spoke with Quinn earlier in camp and was told to just play his game, he felt “20 pounds lighter” after talking with the new Rangers coach. (Newsday)”

    1. The Rangers do not have any top end talent up front. I was hoping this years first rounder would be that but he is struggling to in the KHL. I’m concerned hope he turns it up. Last I looked he has 3 pts in 10 games.

  9. Nothing to be upset about with tha Andersson decision. When the steak is ready it’s ready.

    Howden fills the role that Andersson was going to. If he wants that spot he needs to get better.

    I expect him to be back up after they deal Hayes.

  10. The fanfare of Lias being demoted/upgraded to the AHL is proof of at least some displeasure. Having Larry write a fanboy piece to lias says it all to me. The 7th overall pick should be able to make this weak opening night roster. Especially since the 21st pick did so both preseasons. Enough said. Spin it anyway you like this is not a deep team and that says worlds about his camp to be promoted to the AHL.

    I don’t see this team being an absolute disaster. That is of course if everyone stays healthy. When the injury bug comes and it will…lets just pray it isn’t the core players. Maybe Nash gets better and comes to us for a little while.

    I see this team getting around 76 points for the year off of the schedule. Pretty much exactly what they did last year. 5 wins less and they are in the buffalo ottawa category fighting for the 1st pick in the draft. I added a bunch of maybe wins for this team in that 76 points. But lets say 5 wins added to 33 I already gave them….that makes them calgary dallas level still not enough to make the playoffs. They would need an additional 5 wins or roughly 43 or 42 wins this year to make the playoffs. You go through this schedule and see how many wins are there in your mind.

    Hockey isn’t played on a simulator …and teams that should beat the rangers might not but odds are not in the teams favor.

    1. larry often gets leaks that formulate his articles. its possible that this is mgmts message to lias to pick his game up (think his pk goal vs nj). they’ll never say it publicly but they cant be happy with his body of work so far in prospect camps/traverse, and training camps. his stats even from ahl last year wernt exactly off the charts.

      my retort to gort and gordie would be: you made this bed, drafting a guy that high compared to fast. now its their job to salvage it.

      listen, if you are going to pick high 5 6 years in a row. A. there isn’t a slot for everyone. B. not all are gonna pan out C. you may need to trade a prospect or two.

      so welcome to a rebuild folks.

  11. Of course JG and the media are saying all the right things about Lias. What else could they or should they say. It’s too early to give up on Lias. He has some talent and works hard. It’s undeniable though that the impression that he was a reach at 7 is increasingly more credible and it’s disappointing that he can’t be a 1C on a rebuilding team focused more on player development than winning now.

    While Howden is better suited for the 1D/PK role than Lias the reality is he has probably pulled at least even to Lias as an organizational prospect. If Lias can’t score almost a PPG as a Hartford 1C we will start hearing the bust label more frequently.

  12. Lias is a good player, but may not end up elite. He will play in the NHL and may only be a solid third line center. Unfortunately he was taken #7 and people will always compare his stats to others drafted behind him. It is not his fault he was taken #7. If Howden surprises and they decide to keep Hayes, it could be that Lias is part of a trade. No one knows. But for now, keep in mind that if Lias maxes out on 3rd line, he is not to blame. Our scouts will have messed this one by picking him as an early 1st rounder. Time will tell if he is another Manny Malhotra (who did play over 900 games in the NHL but was never justified as, ironically a 7th overall pick)

    1. One glaring difference is that Malhotra was rushed by then management to justify the pick at #7.
      This management group is actually using it’s brains and keeping the kid in the AHL to play more and thus develop.

      It’s far too early to say Lias is a “bust”. Period.

  13. Lias is what he is…and average skater …not a #7 pick….Wait a couple years when we never see Nils…and we took another project defenseman in Miller….Please throw Gordie Clarke out into the street

    1. Exactly … Gorton and Gordie have to harvest their own crop they planted. They committed drafting MALPRACTICE by going for character top ten and are now scrambling to save face. And I’m so glad it’s backfiring so early at them.

      1. Man, your Ranger fandom is so freaking laughable. You’re glad that an important draft pick for this team is struggling, because it supports your corny scorn-filled view of NYR and Clark? Go to New Jersey and be a Devils fan already, you’re already mentally there.

        1. MC do you see how conceited this statement is? We all know you are the best and greatest ranger fan ever. And all the phone calls you get from Sather and Gorton on whether to trade hayes. Come on man simmer down a little. What you said here is completely out of line. Relax! Smoke a joint…drink a beer. Step away from being the angry troll you are. In my eyes you are the joke. I may not agree with what these 2 said, but no way in hell did jump down their throats for having a opinion.

          1. Who cares what you think, Odious? You’re another guy who’s rarely got anything accurate or positive to say about this team or its players. So sick of fans like you and your ilk, who write off draft picks minutes after they occur, who know nothing about the sport, and who invent nonsensical BS about the Rangers to prop up delusional “insights” about the organization.

            Remember your pathetic analysis of why Cody McLeod wouldn’t fight against Nashville? I sure do, it was so contrived that it was unforgettable. I also remember that you’re a disgusting pig who advocated for female circumcision in a rant against women’s rights.

          2. I seriously think you are in your early 20’s and you are just at that stage in life. Rebellious. And believe me kid …it is a long road ahead with tons of hardship if you don’t get that in check.

            If you are older…man I am so sorry. I mean what has life done to you that your only route to get your anger out is to take it out on complete strangers on a rangers blog. I mean this sincerely. I am so sorry. If you need a friend man I am here.

            Take my advice man…if you are getting this heated over preseason nonsense it is time to take a break from this board and all others. It is just a game. Go get a dog, a girlfriend, something to keep you busy beside trolling on ranger blogs. Life has so much more to offer.

          3. Who’s getting heated? I’m swatting away your idiotic contentions without breaking a sweat, or being angry. You’re the one who’s constantly negative here, endlessly hating on other players, coaches, etc. I called you a disgusting pig because that’s what you are: anyone who hates women as much as you do is a sad example of a human being. Anybody who needs to invent imaginary psychodramas to improve their experience of watching sports is probably someone who needs antipsychotic medication, like yourself.

            The troll is you, I’m merely out here trying to refute the hyperbolic BS spouted by you and a few others on this site.

  14. I think folks are getting way ahead of themselves in regards to Lias Anderson. Playing in the AHL before making the jump to the Big league is a natural progression for the vast majority of NHL hockey players. Its all part and parcel to player development. Chill out people.

  15. Let’s be honest, a seventh over-all pick in the first round, should be somewhat of an elite player or flash some signs even only 20 years old. That is a very high over-all draft pick. Honestly, you can try and justify it, but Anderson being sent down has to be somewhat of a disappointment so far. He really hasn’t excelled much at all so far at a high level, although, that can change quickly as he develops. Let’s hope he tears up the American Hockey League and matures into a force in the NHL for years to come!

Back to top button