Even on Friday nights, the late games are a little rough. Sorry folks.
Another trio of questions for the mailbag this week. As usual, use the widget on the right to send in your questions.
This is a good question, and the short answer right now is they don’t need him. The Blueshirts have seven defensemen on the roster right now, and Lindgren showed in his first stint (one game) that he wasn’t necessarily ready for The Show yet. There’s nothing wrong with him staying in the AHL right now. He may be there next year too. There just isn’t enough room on the blue line, yet. I’m not overly concerned.
Ray asks: What do you think the plans for the defense will be? Jeff Gorton has focused on the forwards, and we seem to be fine there, but the defense is still Swiss cheese.
This is a loaded question that requires a full post, not just a mailbag. So I’ll get to this in significant detail next week.
As for a short answer, I simply don’t know. There are a ton of options. I don’t agree with buying out Kevin Shattenkirk, especially since the cost is significantly more than simply trading him and retaining salary to make it more palatable for other teams.
I’ve come to the realization that Marc Staal will not be bought out or traded. He’s going to be here for the remainder of his contract. Ditto Brendan Smith. Although the latter is somewhat serviceable when deployed properly. The Rangers need bodies while their prospects develop. They aren’t hurting for cap space. So having these two around, doesn’t bother me as much as a lot of other people. I’d prefer the Rangers stink with these two than stink with rookies who are asked to do too much, too soon.
The only thing I hope the Rangers avoid is a bad Neal Pionk contract.
James asks: When do you think we will start seeing some of the kids we’ve acquired in the NHL?
This is a loaded question and a lot of guess work is involved. K’Andre Miller is the high-end talent here, but I don’t think he comes over to the NHL for another year or two. That’s just my guess. College players rarely leave before their junior year. He has so much raw talent that needs honing and developing, and Wisconsin has done wonders in that department with a different former Ranger defenseman.
Yegor Rykov looks like he’s coming over after this season (with the other two Russian prospects: Vitali Kravtsov and Igor Shestyorkin). He might slide into the lineup right away, which is nice.
As for the AHL guys, Lindgren was discussed above, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he needs another season. Sean Day has shown promise, but he still has a ways to go. Joey Keane just signed for next year. That’s it on the blue line, for the most part. The others are either not in the Blueshirts’ plans (John Gilmour) or are too old to be considered prospects anymore (Chris Bigras).