Thoughts on the calm before the storm

The Rangers are in the middle of a bit of a rough stretch in the schedule, playing almost every other night for the rest of this month (and next). Aside from the Carolina game, where they may have suffered from ceremony lag, the Blueshirts have been playing a lot better. The wins haven’t been there, but they’ve had better process.

1. The better process is clearly visible both watching the games and looking at the possession numbers after, so there really shouldn’t be any dissenting opinions on that. The Rangers are getting more sustained pressure in the offensive zone while limiting chances in the defensive zone. You know, hockey 101 stuff. They’ve certainly been carried offensively by the top line, but the rest of the club isn’t getting shelled completely.

2. I haven’t gone back to watch video yet, but my theory is that a lot of the recent play is due to a little shift in zone entry prevention. Before, the Rangers used to concede the blue line and let forwards enter the zone with speed. That led to a lot of time for the Rangers running around in their own end. Lately, it appears as if the Rangers have started pressuring the rush between the blue line and the top of the circle, which has led to disruption and some turnovers. I’m looking forward to taking a deeper dive into this.

3. On the trade front, the Brian Boyle deal bodes well for the Rangers. The Devils got a 2nd round pick for a 4th line center who kills penalties. That’s a steep price. With the Rangers looking to trade Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, and possibly others, that price will be looked at as the low bar. We knew Hayes would fetch something good, but Zuccarello’s season, until recently was looked at as a hindrance. With Zucc returning to form, he should fetch more than Boyle. Should.

4. When it comes to the trade deadline, the common prevailing theory is that the Rangers will want, or should target, future assets. First round picks, high ceiling prospects, etc. That’s good stuff, and things you want to see them get. However I won’t exactly be losing sleep if the Rangers acquire a prospect who is significantly closer to the NHL at the cost of a higher pick. For example, a high ceiling player who is still 3-4 years away and a 1st is nice, but a high ceiling player who is 1-2 years away and a 3rd may be better, given where the Rangers find themselves.

5. The current blue line situation is something to look at. Not in terms of talent or performance, but in terms of pure bodies they have. Marc Staal, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Skjei, and Brendan Smith are all signed for the next two seasons (or more, for Skjei). You have to assume they want to extend both Neal Pionk and Tony DeAngelo. There are three prospects the Rangers traded for who may need roster spots before those spots become open. There isn’t an urgent need to clear roster space, but it’s just something worth noting.

6. Jeff Gorton has done a pretty good job since the last trade deadline. This trade deadline will be another measuring stick to see if this is an extended rebuild or a quick turnaround. He has three more weeks until the deadline.

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  • The Rangers have been competitive in their recent outings, as their play in their own zone has improved. Further, they are cycling the puck more in the others team end, this is a good thing as if you have the puck the other team can’t score. I often hear fans yell shoot shoot shoot, but taking low percentage shots isn’t always the best strategy as all you are doing is turning the puck over.

    I also would like to say as we approach the trade deadline, no trade is better then a bad trade. And that prospects and draft choices quite often don’t pan out.

    • I would trade anyone not wearing number 72. I would actively look to trade Hayes Zucc mcquad namestnikov vesay shattenkirk and if anyone is interested Ada Smith and stahl

  • Should be an interesting couple of weeks for sure. My bets are that Hayes, Zuccarello and McQuaid gone. Should get nice returns on Hayes and Zuccarello. I would also listen to offers on Fast, Vesey, Strome and Namestnikov. Only move them if a deal is good otherwise keep them. They are nice players to have fill out the bottom six with.

    The defense is an issue, but can solved. First buy out Staal, he’s terrible and needs to go. Its obvious that between DeAngelo and Pionk, DeAngelo is the better, more skilled player. If the right deal came around I would have no problem with Pionk getting moved. I would hang on to Shattenkirk, Smith and Skjei to fill out the veteran defenseman. Smith and Shattenkirk will be for sure gone in two years. That leaves openings to one of the prospects, a cheap free agent or even someone acquired in the off season to have a spot.

    • I have no problem with Pionk getting moved
      as well. The Rangers already have 2 righty dmen that play the same way but only better. Neil is the odd man out.

  • Honestly, I don’t know what to expect, and assuming that the Rangers go the conventional route and trade Hayes, Zuc, and McQuaid, I fear that the returns may not be what we want.

    That’s why, IMO, the Rangers should have traded them already. There are now other players from other teams for the contenders to trade for.

    • Hayes will be traded… then a good bet to resign with Rangers…. Zucs will be traded as well…. mountains of interest in Kreider…… Jimmy V and Buch have also garnered interest….. Shatty…. Smith and Staal will be traded if teams come calling…. I would expect a flurry of activity and possibly some shocking trades

      • I’d agree that Kreider is getting mountains of interest, but teams are probably looking to steal him thinking the Rangers are hot on making deals. Kreider should only net a huge haul, or else keep him. And there might be an overpay out there, his actual and perceived value, IMO, is off the charts right now.

      • The chances that Hayes is traded and then resigns with the Rangers is minimal. It just doesn’t happen. I forgot where I heard it or read it but its only happened like 3 times in the last few years. Plus if Hayes gets moved to a real contender do you think he’s coming back to the Rangers and there rebuild? The only way NY gets Hayes long term is by resigning him before he hits UFA status. I have a feeling that Panarin openly saying he wants to see what he can get as a UFA is going to start a trend. in todays NHL players are so controled by their teams that they very rarely get a say in what a team is going to do. Panarin, Hayes and other pending UFAs have earned the right to unrestricted free agency by the terms of the current Collective Barganing Agreement. Sure Tavares screwed the Islanders by insinuating he was strongly considering re-signing with them and then bolted to Toronto, but shame on Garth Snow for allowing the situation to happen in the first place.

    • This is all tricky. Bear in mind that every day a team procrastinates on a rental is one day less they have to take a cap hit for. It just is easier to fit Zuc or Hayes under the cap on Feb 26 than it is on Jan 26. I think the Penguins traded Brassard early to clear up space.

  • Brian Boyle plays on the power play and has 6 goals doing so. Fast will never get a 2nd round pick because he sucks and is over valued by our team. Numbers tell a true value. I would not trade Zucc or Hays. Everyone on defense except DeAngelo is expendable.
    We had someone defending the coach yesterday and I trying to say what he does is to make the players better. I think he is doing the opposite. Putting Buch on 4th line is wrong or Chytil. What the coach is doing is wearing out his welcome. Stupid decisions makes the team question his decisions. At this point he is no different than AV. Inflexible! Youth gets taught lessons and old timers get away with murder.If youth are held accountable the the coaches inexperience and mistakes should be held accountable, but of course decision making don’t need to be accountable, only the players.
    Some people will never like me because my opinions irritates your demons. Just say that I am wrong without explanations that will show your mental deficiencies. The easy way is the downward knuckle.

    • Zib, Kreider, Hayes all having career years under the new coach.

      Shattenkirk and Smith are vets who have been healthy scratches.

      Buch has been healthy scratched a couple of times, and played better after his benching both times.

      There’s some facts for you. Your opinions aren’t consistent with these facts.

      • For a majority of the year we had two 4th lines. One with Cody and one with Fast. Why not put two of your worst players on the same line?
        The complaint wasn’t about Buch being benched. It was about putting talent together and not putting talents with anchors. Giving the youth an opportunity to succeed.
        The coach deserves credit for Kreider Hays and Zib. Though not too much because on Kreiders situation, the coach put Fast on his line and was unproductive for aprox 90 percent of the time. As for Zib ang Hays they played well despite the coach.
        Thanks Downward Knuckle, I may not be 100% right but I believe I am more than 60%.

        • I don’t agree with everything the coach has done either, but I think he’s more right than wrong and I think overall the team is headed in the right direction.

          Even the defensive system is starting to come together, as noted in point #2 of this article.

          I can see your point re:McLeod. Pretty much every single Rangers fan celebrated the day he was traded back to Nashville, myself included. You can debate whether an enforcer is even needed on a team anymore. Even if they are, I think McLeod became redundant the moment they brought in McQuaid who is a better hockey player and a better fighter. McLeod should have been released that very day. I don’t think the 7th round draft pick was worth the 31 games he was taking up a roster spot.

          That said, I don’t think McLeod had much to do either way with players developing on his line. Quinn saw what he needed from Chytil while on a 4th line and moved him up. Same for Buch. As for Andersson, he didn’t show enough so he got sent back to Hartford. Clearly the metric for success was something other than scoring, since nobody has been able to do that on a dumpster fire line with McLeod.

    • While I agree that it seems strange to put players like Chytil and Buch on the fourth line I feel like the coach needs more than a season to work out his own kinks. I can’t argue with any of your points but I see him as a rookie who had to play through his mistakes in much the same way that the players do. Only difference is you can’t scratch him for a game here and there to allow him to watch from a distance. I will reserve judgment on Quinn until next year.
      I sure hope they don’t trade Kreider unless they get a huge haul in return. He’s a breed of power forward that only comes along once in awhile and we’ve invested so much time in his development I’d rather reap the benefits of his play than his trade value.

  • 1: Determine the expansion draft 7-3-1 on the 50 man roster.

    2: Is the player coming back a: on a 50 man roster and b: going to make the draft list? If yes, who’s getting bumped? Do you mind dealing that bumped player in the next two seasons? If no, are you taking on salary and getting picks for it?

    3: If you’re getting a pick(s) back, where is that team in the standings? If they’re top 8, would it make sense to push the puck back a year or two? Will their pick & yours allow the team to move up for an elite prospect?

    • I understand that full NTC players must be protected, but, Do players with modified/partial NTC clauses have to also be protected? Is so, then Staal MUST be bought out if he is still part of the team. I’m not sure if his contract will expire before the exp. draft and I know his NTC is a full one.

  • Still waiting for miller update , but if its bad, sell every of value (within reason) and make a push for Byram. Will likely need top 5/6 for that. Doable but not without trade sinkage.

    • Doubt it’s that bad as his upper body took the brunt of the collision initially. A fractured patella is a possibility, bone bruise likely.

  • The Blues up 3-2 over the Preds in the 3rd.. They are doing a great job keeping Cody McLeod off the scoresheet. With the improved play of St. Louis you have to think they could be buyers at the trade deadline.

  • If the return is off the charts and a team is over paying, there is no one on this team that shouldnt be traded.

  • Have to take issue with #5, someone(two) on d’ has to go and ADA needs to play every night — um unless he’s a really really bad boy.

  • I have hoped for NYR to act like Rutherford of Pitt and set the tone … In stockpiling picks & prospects its time to turn those + our roster over and trade for grade A talent .Im sure Gorts has outlined who he wants to persue ,whether its Panarin or Duchene or RNH you can overpay to wow the other team and get what you want .Karllson seems good to be a F A signing
    IF we trade for a Panarin it is a MUST to sign & know it going in with his agent . Sign Karlsson ,and trade or sign a top grade A talent for center . as much as Z bad has improved ,how good would it be to have 2 top centers ,keeps pressur e& focus off of one. ANyway top scorer, top D & PP guy ,Top center to compliment Z bad .,with HANK .
    why do you think HANK stayed , to watch his time paass geting beat up nite in & out ? ,NO to win a cup in a last built run as part of the rebuild to be ready next season, I cant imagine why he would stay otherwise . gotta get a last run for the glory .
    My Core NOW;
    Zbad ,Krieds ,Howden , Chtyl,Buchny,Fast,Boo, Vesey 8

    D=Shey,Pionk,A d’A 3 ( not sure if keeping Pionk is beter than pkg’ing now for higher ratd talent & size )
    we have so many D prospects in pipe line , we may have seen his best & his D is very suspect

    HANK 1

    ** i will trade anyone to get and keep Grade A talent up to age 29 -30 ,if any core pieces can be pkg ‘d to upgrade to a grade A talent we should make the move .

      • Let him sit in the press box and stop playing he will waive his no trade clause. Why keep him around? To screw up the rebuild he has value and we can use that value a first rounder and possible NHL ready player plus loose his salary! It is a win win!

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