Apologies, there will be no recap from last night’s game. I thought I was going to be able to watch, but plans changed. So instead, I’m going to brain dump on the Rangers so far. That works, right?
1. I’m surprised at the number of people who think that the Rangers should prioritize Neal Pionk’s development over Tony DeAngelo’s. This is no slight against Pionk, who is important for the future as well. However DeAngelo is the more talented player. He’s had his issues in the defensive zone, as had Pionk. The difference is raw ability, of which DeAngelo has more. At least, that’s just my opinion.
2. There has been a lot made of line combinations, the lineup blender, and playing time for kids. It’s always something to watch, but there’s nothing worth flipping out over yet. Easing rookies into the lineup is preferred, which means limited playing time and perhaps some time as a healthy scratch to watch from above. The lineup in March is more important than the lineup now.
3. Last bit on lineup decisions. I’m really (not) looking forward to the outrage that will occur when DeAngelo or Pionk are scratched when Adam McQuaid is back. Or when Lias Andersson is sent back down when forward injuries clear up. When frustrated, refer to #2.
4. Regarding trades, there is no rush to trade anyone either. There is a belief that trading Kevin Hayes now will someone inflate his trade value, but it basically isn’t true. There’s minimal trade value in an extra 10-15 games, trading Hayes in December versus January. If the Rangers go the trade route, finding the best deal possible is the priority, not the timing.
5. I’m still of the belief that the Rangers will not trade Mats Zuccarello. However, I’d be wary of whoever his new best friend is.
6. Henrik Lundqvist is still an elite level goaltender. Don’t ever forget it.