Mailbag: Defense lineup decisions, trade deadline, long breaks

Three questions again for the mailbag. As always, use the widget on the right to submit your questions.

Stanley asks: Why is Staal still in the lineup? Why is Claesson, who I think is their best defenseman sitting so often? Is our defensive coach still calling the shots?

This is a loaded question. Let’s answer the last one first: Lindy Ruff is still calling the blue line shots, but the buck stops with David Quinn. The system is still Quinn’s, but Ruff is the one who is recommending the lineup decisions.

As for why Marc Staal is in the lineup, the Rangers need bodies to suit up regularly. He’s been marginally better than some of the other options lately. He’s certainly been better than Brendan Smith. The issue isn’t so much Staal in the lineup, it’s Staal and Neal Pionk, an incredibly ineffective pair, getting top pairing minutes. Reduce Staal to bottom pairing minutes, perhaps with Tony DeAngelo, as mentioned the other day.

To answer the last question, I don’t know why Fredrik Claesson doesn’t get a legitimate shot. All I can do is theorize. Maybe he punted Quinn’s dog?

Harry asks: What do you make of these Colorado rumors?

There will be more on this in a later post, but the rumors make sense. The Blueshirts have a lot of what the Avs need. The Avs have a lot of what the Rangers need. They make good trading partners.

Any pipe dreams of landing Ottawa’s pick should be dismissed, though. Colorado isn’t dumb enough to trade that.

Tony asks: What’s going on in Hartford?

This was a much longer question that basically boiled down to this, so I trimmed it down. I post the game recaps that I get from the team, but other than that I don’t really watch the Pack.

I did reach out to Ricky Milliner, who follows and writes about the Pack. I had a bunch of questions, so when he responds to them, I will be posting them. Stay tuned!

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  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the trade with the Av’s, for Hayes doesn’t take place as soon as they are back from this break. I read where the Rangers have had scouts at the last few games with the Av’s, and their Denver based farm team scouting some young prospects.

    What will ever happen to Mint if they trade him next week. We may have to have a suicide watch, we’d hate to lose his posts, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I was listening to Elliot Freidman and he’s saying if Duchene signs with Ottawa there will be a bidding war for Hayes big time. So let’s hope they sign him in the next 2 weeks and then we could get some haul for Hayes!

    1. Duchene is obviously not going back to the Avs, so Hayes is the most solid chance for the Avs to get a top 2C.

      That being said, I have read a lot that the Avs are on the cusp of having a very young and talented team, which means that giving up valuable assets is not likely. The Sens’ pick is off the table and prospects like Makar are off the table, maybe more.

      What does this mean for the Rangers? The Av’s regular #1 should be a must and so should a prospect like Kaut or Jost. Otherwise, if Hayes goes to the Avs, then I hope that we do not get an underwhelming return. That would be a disaster.

      1. Those were some of the names in the article in the Blue Line Station yesterday I believe. That doesn’t change a thing, they will trade Hayes to someone if not the Av’s, who are indeed loaded with young talent. Bottom line, we are going to get a nice return for him, and that’s all we care about!!!!!!!!!

        1. Walt, I’m just trying to understand the link between the Rangers and the Avs, for a Hayes trade. Or, at least one that would benefit the Rangers if the top prospects are off the table because a late #1 pick is not enough and would be an underwhelming return for Kevin.

          Plus the Avs are going the wrong way lately, where they have not been winning consistently. So I do not think that they believe that they have a shot this year. Maybe they believe that they could trade for Hayes and sign him since they have a lot of cap space? That would be worth something to them in a trade for Kevin.

          But whatever it is, the Rangers’ scouts have been all over the Avs the last few weeks, that’s a fact.

      2. Richter I believe Gorton has a deal in the drawer for Kevin Hayes. Unless a team can make the Rangers an offer like you suggested, Hayes will be in a Ranger jersey next season.

        1. Could very well be pal. My gut tells me he’s going to be traded but no one knows for sure.

          I heard that a deal for Hayes was almost a given, but it’s the 3rd week of January and no deal, so who knows? lol

          If, and this is a big IF, the Rangers do the right thing and clear cap space, then signing Hayes and let’s say a Panarin, and maybe another top player (forward or D man) is possible. Then I would be fine with Hayes coming back.

          Panarin on Hayes’ wing would be a nice combo.

    1. -2 after 40, starts the 3rd by taking a stupid penalty. Was at fault on the 1st GA, the 2nd was started by Lindgren whiffed on a hit, then went downhill from there.

  3. I have a pointless question on a slow day… I noticed Spooner was placed on waivers today by the Oilers. Now, if he clears waivers and gets sent down at half salary, do the Rangers get half relief on the salary retention kept when they traded him for Strome?

      1. King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!!King Sieveqvist!! King Sieveqvist!! says:

        We got the better side of that deal. Strome has been playing very well!

    1. CBA 50.5(iii)F)

      In the event that a Retained Salary SPC is Loaned, the prior Club(s) shall retain (i.e., include in their Averaged Club Salary) the portion of the SPC’s Averaged Amount that it agreed to retain for the remainder of the term of such Retained Salary SPC (regardless of whether such Player is ever Recalled). With respect to the Salary and Bonus(es) of the Loaned Player, the prior Club(s) shall be responsible for the portion of such payments they agreed to retain, with the absolute amount to be measured by the compensation actually paid to the Loaned Player by his current Club during the time he is playing outside the NHL (i.e., such prior Club shall receive the benefit of any reduction in the amounts paid to the Loaned Player by his current Club).

      With Spooner on a one way deal, the Rangers would get a minor cap relief, a pro rated portion of the $900k they retained. 1/3rd(or so) off of less than half a season.

  4. Pionk has a lot to learn about playing defence. The Rangers are a much better team when he’s not in the lineup.
    I read Hayes may be going to the AVs and they do have a lot of intriguing prospects in their pipeline. Whether or not the AVs would part with them is a another story.

    1. I like Pionk offensively but his D is offensive, lol.

      Funny how the D has been much better without him in the line up, and even Staal has actually been pretty good during these past 3 games. Still not a reason to keep Marc for next year, but he will probably be here anyway.

    2. The rangers seem obsessed with defensemen that specialize in the offensive zone. hopefully they will make good trade chips – or learn the defensive side of the game – once developed a bit but you can’t have an entire roster full of them. can see Deangelo figuring it out. Pionk and (shudder) Skjei? not sure sure… please let me be wrong though!

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