BSB Roundtable: New Year’s Resolutions

One year ago, the New York Rangers were preparing to play in the Winter Classic against the Buffalo Sabres. Looking back, that game ended up being the swan song for the AV-era Rangers. It also produced one of the great hockey photos of all time:

JT Miller’s overtime winner in that game was perhaps this franchise’s last true high point. What followed was a miserable January and the infamous White Flag letter from the front office to the fanbase in February. 2018 was a year of resetting and refreshing for the Rangers, as they embarked on the long and indefinite journey of a rebuild.

As we usher in 2019, the BSB staff offered up some New Year’s resolutions for the team.

Becky: Stop with the OT games, for the love of god.

If you’re going to lose, lose in regulation, please. And if you’re going to win, that’s great! I don’t root for tanking. That said, these OT games are giving us all needless agita. This is supposed to be a season of low stress and even lower expectations. I’ve enjoyed the Rangers more this year, but the late-game collapses are starting to test my patience. Plus, extra points in losses don’t do anyone any good.

Dave: Give more opportunities to young players.

The Rangers are fooling themselves if they think they’re a playoff team. 2019 will only be a valuable year if the Rangers make roster decisions that make sense for the long term. Simply, this means getting young players as many meaningful minutes as possible. Rather than scratch Filip Chytil, scratch Ryan Strome. Rather than force-feed minutes to Marc Staal and Brendan Smith, get Freddie Claesson into the lineup more regularly. Wins and losses are secondary to development, and the Rangers need to fully commit to that idea in 2019.

Pat: Make a blockbuster trade.

Jeff Gorton should swing for the fences, bring home the bacon (meaning a sweet prospect and/or first round picks) and bump some guys up the depth chart while giving the kids time and space to develop. I’d love it if we could make a blockbuster deal to bring home something sweet, and it’d be all the better if we could get some room in the lineup for guys like Andersson, Claesson, and so on to learn and grow. Also, eat better, go to the gym, read more, whatever other crap people make New Year’s resolutions about, I don’t know.

Rob: Play better defense.

We’re now going on four years in a row of bad defense from this team. Coaches, personnel and systems have all changed, but the poor defense has persisted. It’s amazing Henrik Lundqvist wanted to stick around through this rebuild, considering all the rubber he faces on a nightly basis. Maybe it’s fun for him? Either way, I’d like to watch some games in 2019 that don’t involve the Rangers getting badly outshot and out-chanced. Is that too much to ask for?

Thanks again to all of you for another great year here at Blue Seat Blogs. On behalf of the entire staff we wish you a safe, happy and healthy 2019. And as always: Let’s go Rangers!

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  • SalMerc – Want the team to really have a plan and act accordingly. If we are going with a youth movement with an eye towards a 2019/20 playoff run, give the kids time, move out guys who can either bring back great prospects or picks and then use your Cap space wisely. Not sure if Hayes signing is the best long term solution, but we should know shortly. He and Zucc and Namesnekov should bring back some valuable assets if they go. Buy or trade for elite talent. We will need it if we are to move up. Fix the defense! Bring up Libor, let Pionk and Tony D play everyday and go get a stud defenseman.

    • Man, just rebuild already and stop giving false sense to the fans…..Remember when Gorton stated team was rebuilding, then Dolan opened his mouth and stated that the leadership had identified an elite player they were going to target?……Get your facts straight leadership………we have some nice young players, but need to add an influx of defenseman that can move the puck and clear the crease of our enemies…..if you get offers for our vets that are sensible..then move the players…….

      • They are coming, this is why the Rangers drafted/traded for mostly d’men … rebuilding and identifying an elite player to target isn’t necessarily a contradiction. They should cover all the bases.

  • Becky: OT games are great. Despite the “rebuild” this team still finds a way to compete night in and night out — it’s part of a TEAM maturation process, they need to re-learn how to win close games. Losing 5-1, 6-2, 4-1, etc. doesn’t help anyone and it demoralizes the players, but being in close tight games night after night provides the players with “important” and meaningful minutes.

    Dave: Agreed, they need to find a few more minutes for players like Pionk, Chytil, Andersson (yes, him) and ADA (scratching this kid shouldn’t even be an option at this point, he’s proven to me that he deserves MORE ice time and games). That said, the FO and Coaching Staff also have to find ways to increase the value of their possible trade chips — Smith, Staal, Namestnikov, Zucc, etc. It’s a tough balancing act and in the end NO ONE will be satisfied.

    Pat: A blockbuster trade would be nice, but whether it fits into the overall Team building plan is another question. The players we should be getting rid of might not lend themselves to such a deal. Stay the course, trade what you want and don’t let “other voices” dictate what the FO should do. Trading guys like Zucc, maybe Namestnikov, Smith, Shattenkirk, etc. will bring back a nice haul regardless of “blockbuster” status. Gather better assets by moving the assets that don’t fit into the plan — we have a core, keep it intact and move the driftwood.

    Rob: Amen … but Rome wasn’t built in a day and we pretty much just started the building process — that’s why the majority of our “newer” prospects are d’men — Hajek, Miller, Lundqvist, Ragnarsson, Keane … don’t expect any real changes in our defensive play until we remove some anchors and replace them with a couple of the aforementioned prospects.

    • Gotta disagree with you over disputing Becky’s point about OT games—as you yourself say later in your post, the wrong players are often getting icetime with Quinn. So any situational experience that might be gained by Chytil/Andersson/DeAngelo isn’t really happening. Out of the youngsters, only Pionk seems to get that regular OT icetime. Additionally, if the Rangers have an extra 5-8 of these OT losses it’s going to have an impact on drafting position. They need regulation losses, and I’ll grant you that competitive losses are better, but draft position is this year’s top priority.

      • MC, I know your reading skills are better than evidenced by your response. 😉

        I stated the FO and coaching staff have to balance the need to give younger players these quality meaningful minutes with the need to showcase/increase the value of their possible trade chips. It just isn’t an issue which easily lends itself to one goal excluding the other. I never stated that the wrong players are getting ice time, I merely stated that I might prefer giving the younger players a little more ice time — the reality is they give Pionk and Chytil important minutes, even ADA when he’s in the lineup. Andersson is probably the best example of a younger prospect that needed to get more ice time under Quinn, along with a marginal prospect like Nieves

        Specifically re: the OT games, I see no real benefit to shootouts, but games decided in OT provide quality minutes — even if the 3-3 setup isn’t followed come playoff time, it still provides the players with urgency and the need to play mistake free hockey.

        Re: draft position being this year’s top priority, the players vehemently disagree and that won’t change (nor should it). I don’t want any players on my team that think that way, I want players that fight tooth and nail to win for 60 or 60+ minutes. Pride, a belief in themselves (confidence) and a culture of winning is key to sustained success. Let the chips fall where they may — the only thing that would bother me is if the FO went out and specifically made a trade before the deadline to improve this team’s chances of competing for and/or making the playoffs.

        • Didn’t mean to put another meaning on your post, I was agreeing with you that minutes for the youngsters should’ve been a major priority. Again, on OT I disagree with you—I don’t think there’s much value on wins or “good” losses this year. My problem is that I don’t trust that the Rangers FO has truly picked a course for the future—will they take their losses, trade assets, and gain beneficial draft positioning thru a true rebuild, or panic and provide more of the same half-witted quick-fix nonsense that keeps both Garden sports teams in an awful championship-less limbo? Finishing 9th in the conference is a meaningless achievement for any team.

          If an eighth place finish is Dolan’s real goal for this year, and Sather and Gorton won’t prevent that from happening (or worse, trade a prospect to accomplish this), then it’s clear this team needs a culture change in the front office before a Cup can be won. As it stands I’d really like to see Sather forcibly retired.

          • Maybe rebuild was always the wrong word to describe what they were going to do. They were never going to tear it down and start from scratch. I think the plan all along was to break up the CORE (like keep half and trade half) in order to restock the farm and the team — something they could get away with since half the core was under the age of 26 at the time.

            I think a major evidentiary clue is the fact Hank is still here and doesn’t seem destined to be traded. That said I trust they won’t proactively go out and make a trade for playoff “help” come the trade deadline but will in fact trade a few more pieces to continue the restocking process.

            Re: OT, the reason I have to disagree with you is that every time they go into OT it means they were tied at the end of 60 minutes. The fact that they traded away about 80 goals last year and their best d’man yet find a way to go 60 minutes tied gives me lots of hope for the future. They are literally 1 more scored goal or 1 allowed goal less from winning all these games is a positive — because help is on its way in the form of a revamped defense and a potentially elite forward. Now they just have to add a few more pieces, so bring on the trade deadline and let’s see what they do with it. 🙂

          • “Rebuild” was always the wrong term, “reshape” is the proper term and the exact word that they used in “the letter.”

            But the point is what they say and what they do appear to be 2 different things. I mean they talk like the young guys have dominated the line up. They have some, and now they have almost none.

            Having a line up without Chytil (possibly) and Andersson is stupid, for this year. LET THEM PLAY.

            I don’t want to see McQuaid, McLeod, Smith, etc. I want to see Chytil, Andersson, Howden, DeAngelo, Pionk, etc., all in the line up. LET THEM PLAY.

            But like I have said recently, there’s pressure to make the playoffs, from above, so now the knee-jerk stupidity commences.

          • Well said Richter—and Tanto, that’s a summation of my problem here too. Actions speak louder than words, and Quinn picks the lineup that’s going to win him the next game. That’s ultimately the issue. Mcquaid over DeAngelo helps nothing for this team’s future (or present, in my opinion). Andersson not getting minutes, Chytil not getting minutes, it goes on. Honestly the only kid Quinn has been hands-off with is Pionk, and he’s made his share of rookie mistakes too. Only difference is Pionk doesn’t see the pressbox.

          • This is where they all are not on the same page.

            This is all my own opinion, but here is the break down of the “cliques”:

            Gorton, Drury, and Quinn want a true rebuild, with young players.
            Dolan, Sather, and Gordie Clark want to make the playoffs THIS YEAR.

            Gorton is the GM but Sather overrides him. So the “inconsistent” moves the Rangers make sense because not one person is calling the shots here.

            So like I said, no plan. It’s unfair to the team and to the fans.

            Bottom line is that Sather has to basically die for him not to have control anymore, because Dolan has given him a job for life, regardless of the results. And Gordie is a Sather boy, so we are in purgatory for years and years and years, with this regime.

            If Gorton ever resigns, at some point, remember this post.

  • I asked for a competitive team this year, and I have gotten just that. Sure we will be out-classed by quite a few teams, but we shouldn’t be out-worked, and for the most part, Quinn has put that worker-mentality team on the ice. What I am concerned about is the offense. Our “kids” are not really showing any kind of flashes of greatness on a daily basis. Sure Chytil had a 5 game scoring streak, but before and after he has been a non-factor. Howden broke in very hot, but has since cooled. If we move Hayes, Zucc and others, who is going to score for us?

    Pionk has shown some great offensive skills, but his defense is still very suspect. Tony D may be nothing more than a 3rd line defender with some skating ability.

    Our current AHL team does not have a budding superstar on offense, so I am hopeful we can either swing a trade or buy someone who can score, otherwise next year it will be even worse for us.

    Leave Chytil on the 2nd line, give Howden some PP time and let Andersson play the whole year with the Hartford club. Make all of our defenders available for trade and please get me a defenseman who plays awesome defense.

    • That scoring streak of Chytil was mainly from cleaning up some around the crease. I know he had snipe right after a goalie change and a lucky bad angle goal. I still see him lack on the fundamental side of hockey. He’s way to easy in 1 on 1 situations and he doesn’t generate that much space for his linemates. He could have benefited from playing in the OHL or WHL.

    • You want flashes of greatness on a daily basis from the kids? If any of them provided you with that they would be generational players like Matthews or McDavid, not good looking young prospects that will have ups and downs in their first few years of pro hockey. That said I agree with you that trading away guys like Hayes, Mika and Kreider would be a mistake at this time. We developed them, we should reap the benefits/dividends that they are now paying. Zucc is another story, he plateaued a couple of years ago and is seemingly beginning the downside of his career — plus his contract is up.

      Re: Pionk and ADA, Pionk is showing some signs of playing better defense of late. Again, a young player going through the process (yes I know, I hate that word too … but it’s a fact of life in the NHL with prospects). Re: ADA, in my mind he makes for a great 3rd pairing guy who can also slot in a QB a PP unit — that isn’t anything to dismiss lightly and who knows, maybe he can handle 2nd pairing minutes. We’ll see in a year or two whether that’s truly possible.

      Re: the AHL not having a budding offensive juggernaut, well that’s what Kravtsov should be — and he’ll probably be playing in Hartford sometime in mid-february.

  • Dave, you are clueless. Of all the players you would rather sit Strome? Do tell do tell as why. That had to be one of the stupidist things I have read this year. Strome is not at fault for being selected #5, if you’re going to rate him because of draft position, well fill in the blank.

    Strome has played well with the minutes he gets. He is an excellent addition and mind you he could easily move up from his 4th line duties. So we want to insert Chytil into this role just so he plays. Semd him to the wolf, better than being on the 4th line just so he is playing

    In fact Chytil doesn’t need to go back to AHL. He has been making plays but man he needs to score. He needs to play bigger too and not leave himself vulnerable or it will be a short career for him.

    Who on here thinks Strome has been bad? I know I don’t. So Dave if I misread your statement or took it out of context I will apologize but the way you wrote it is misleading.

    I want us to play well but finish high in the draft order. If we trade Hayes
    Keep Hayes then

        • King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!h says:

          Like the new name Leather? Start the new year off right ??

    • tank race is air tight right now. but we have games in hand. if no hayes trade wont finish below 11. and to a lesser extent Zuccarello.

    • I am with you on Strome leather…as he does have some skills and understands the defending part of the game. I still don’t get why everyone is on the Claesson bandwagon. He doesn’t move the needle as far as improving the Blueline, at best a 3rd pair dman on most teams.

  • World peace, because asking for a Cup is useless.

    Happy and Healthy New Year everyone. Be safe.

    Thank you to all the writers here that do a great job and put in a tremendous effort for us.

  • Sometimes the moves Quinn has made make me think they are in part due to ego and wanting to win more than develop players. The 5 forward power play unit was a ridiculous invention. Sitting ADA when Shatty was out was the genesis of it. I don’t Get the plan when stuff like that occurs.

    Be that as it may, I look forward to the NewYear for the team. They play hard and pieces are coming to fill out the team. We will see what they do regarding trades and signings.

    Happy New Year to all.

    • Agreed, sitting ADA mystified me. I could find no real problem with the way he was performing prior to the scratch … and as you suggested, it created the 5 man forward PP unit which is just asking for trouble. The only explanation I can think for such behavior is that ADA practices badly and DQ wishes to “eliminate” those bad practice habits??? There has to be some relatively good reason for it, right? lol

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