Five things I’d like to see as the Rangers close out the season

The Rangers are in the final stretch of a dismal season. They were surprisingly solid in October, and then fell off a cliff as the season progressed. It’s what we expected from this club, despite that 9-1-1 stretch early on. The Blueshirts blew any opportunity at finishing dead last with that run, but that was never really in the cards anyway, at least not with the forward group they had –before the deadline– and the goaltending. With single digit games remaining, these games are not meaningless to the players or the coaching staff. There are some experiments, some changes, and some gripes that I’d like to see as the season ends.

1. Filip Chytil at center

This is a big one. Chytil was drafted as a center, but was moved to wing early this year to help him stick in the NHL. With Mika Zibanejad solidified as the 1C for the immediate future, I’d like to see what Chytil can do back at center and see if he can earn 2C minutes next year. Otherwise the Rangers are going into the year with Ryan Strome as the 2C, since he’s the only other center right now that can consistently (somewhat) produce. Lias Andersson isn’t ready for that role. Ditto Brett Howden.

2. Middle-six minutes for Lias Andersson

This is another big one. I like that David Quinn is big on earning minutes. That instills good work ethic into the club. I don’t want that to change. I would, however, like to see Andersson get a chance with some legitimate NHL players. Six minutes a game with Connor Brickley isn’t going to cut it from a development standpoint. There is nothing to lose here. This kid was the 7th overall pick and is barely 20 years old, after all. At the very least, play him more than six minutes a game. That shouldn’t be too much to ask. He got 11 minutes last night with Brendan Lemieux and Brendan Smith, so that’s a start.

3. Give John Gilmour a legitimate chance

John Gilmour has lit up the AHL all year. Yet he was third in line for a defensive call up, behind both Ryan Lindgren and Libor Hajek. It’s understandable, as both Lindgren and Hajek were specifically targeted by Jeff Gorton at last year’s trade deadline and are a part of the Rangers’ future. Gilmour was beat out by Neal Pionk in camp before putting up 20 goals in the AHL. He deserves a chance to unseat the very bad Pionk. Give him powerplay time. He can’t be much worse than Pionk anyway. What is there to lose?

4. Give Neal Pionk a chance to succeed

Pionk had a strong start to the season on the score sheet. But when that dried up, holes in his game were front and center for quite some time. Compounding matters was DQ’s insistence that he play Pionk with Marc Staal for 20+ minutes a night against top lines and on the top penalty kill unit. Pionk struggled mightily. He’s not a top pairing defenseman. He might be a decent bottom pairing guy who moves the puck, but until he’s put in a role that best suits him, we will never know. He has not been put in a good spot.

5. Win or lose in regulation

Here’s a stat for you: The Rangers are last in the league with 22 regulation/OT wins. That’s worse than LA and Ottawa, the bottom feeders int he league this year. Kudos on the Rangers for having the fighting spirit to get to OT and duke it out with some solid teams. But boy those loser points are killing them. If even half of those games are regulation losses, the Blueshirts are bottom-three with an 11.5% chance of nabbing the top pick, and a 33.9% chance of staying in the top-three. Currently at 6th overall, the Blueshirts have a 7.5% chance of the top pick and a 23.3% chance of getting into the top-three. This goes up to 8.5% and 26.1% if Anaheim passes the Rangers. Every lottery ball counts when it’s Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko.

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  • I will add the 7 things I want to see

    1. Chytil get 2C minutes
    2. Howden get 3C minutes
    3. Andersson get 4C minutes
    4. Lindy Ruff gone
    5. Smith and Shatty gone so more kids have a chance to play on the back-end
    6. Panarin in a Ranger sweater for 5 years at $11M per
    7. Zucc re-signed

    • Nice additions Creature… I would love it if they signed Zucc (provided Dallas passes). Also I want Kravtsov up…. TOP 2 LINES:

      Panarin – Chytil – Buch

      Now we’re talking.

  • I’m all for giving the kids more ice time, and responsibility, what have we got to lose? At this stage of the season, and our drafting position, I would replace both Name, and Strome at center with Chytil, and Andersson. Let them play, it means nothing but getting experience for the kids, which is priceless.

    There is no way we get rid of the three boat anchors on defense. Staal is here for the duration, as is Shatty, and possibly Smith. This rebuild may be another few years away, no problem, so position ourselves to get the best shot at the quality kids coming up next season as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 1. Id like to see the communication from Quinn to the press continue. Nothing is given for free and the rest of his developmental plan are enough to explain the situations at hand – Even if it means he repeats himself 82 games next year.
    2. Benching these kids for poor play. Keep that up. please.
    3. Moving Chytil back to center. agreed.
    4. keeping Smith on the 4th line rw. (not every game), If we have to endure his contract…
    5. Tampa to win the cup, Dallas into the conference finals, Zucco signed by Dallas.

  • 1) I want to see Hank to sit a lot after he wins his 20th game. Give Georgi the lion’s share of games the rest of the way; and
    2) Scratch Staal, Smith and Shattenkirk for at least half the games remaining … let’s see more of the kids in terms of both ice time and games played. Can’t remember how many call ups we have left, use them all.

    • If, and that’s a big if, Hank wins 20 I totally agree. But wow. The guy is at .922/2GAA for March and is 1-4-1. Ouch…

  • I didn’t agree with the initial pumping up of Pionk, analytics and a larger sample size have now confirmed what seemed obvious all along – offensive talent but a dreadful defenseman – far worse and a lower ceiling than the Staal, Smith & Shattenkirk contingent we are saddled with and complain about.

    Now pumping the tires on a 25 year old Gilmour who is an excellent skater and greater offensive talent than Pionk, but similarly a dreadful dman – possibly even a rung lower than Pionk.

    • Pumping of the tires will be forever young until you get to see them for a couple of days at Traverse City, then the deadly reality sets in.

      Speaking of TC, will be interesting to see if Day gets another bite at the apple there. Didn’t do a full season in Hartford, the Rangers have a bare cupboard beyond Keane; would have to bring all of Scandinavia over to dress 6 otherwise. Suggestion? Draft Montana Onyebuchi.

  • It would be nice to see the Brooklyn Fishstick team miss the playoffs or at least get knocked oot in the first round

  • Five things I would like to see:

    Losses in regulation
    Play hard
    Give the kids primo playing time
    Rangers get 2 wins, Hank gets both of them to get to 20 for this season
    Rangers draft Hughes or Kappo

  • One thing I would like to see is an actual LIVE lottery draft ! Not some guy walking out from another room with a card!
    Second let Staal sit and rest with Fast along with a few other D and bring up another kid or 2 !

    • And 3rd , 3,2,1,0 point system , 3 is a win in Reg, 2 OT , 1 skills Comp win , 0 for a loss.

      • So in this system when a 3, 2, or 1 are awarded does the other team get anything? I assume “NO” because it would be a loss, just want clarity. If so, I like this system. Makes every part of the game a race for a win!

        • I say 0 for any type of loss , can’t say scratch the shootout cause that kinda gets everyone riled up and out of their seats. I just don’t think you should get 2 points for a skills competition win. So you get a point or go 2 reg win , 1 OT win , 1/2 pt for shootout , 0 for any loss.

  • Just read Corey Pronman’s chat from earlier today. To sum:

    Kravtsov: 1st liner

    Rykov: middle pair optimistic, hope he plays

    Reunanen: Marginal excitement, thinks Rykov an actual prospect(but doesn’t think that much as above.)

    Elmer: has some skill, *could* be a nice depth guy.

    Lindkvist: Great hockey sense, meh speed/skill.

    • You’re bringing too much reality to the discussion. Corey has previously advised that Miller, off to a great start, would still not be a top ten pick if the draft was redone, but would move up in the teens somewhere. The Lindkvist comment could apply to Lias Andersson too although I don’t think Pronman would say he has great hockey sense. He has commented on LA’s skating and lack of explosiveness though. Kravtsov on the other hand does seem elite and Chytil has a chance. Overall our prospect pool is still pretty meh – really need another strong draft, like last years.

      • no question they need a knock it out of the park draft before they can even consider starting to build the ship back up. because then they are just perpetuating what got them here. it gets worrisome when you hear dolan and gorton say “were gonna use our picks to get NHL players”.

        • I wouldn’t worry about that. It’s just meaningless blabber. Pretty much anything Dolan says qualifies as such. All in Gorton has done well. Two years in a row with a somewhat meaningful season and than a tank to the bottom for the draft. I think Gorton learned from the Lias blunder that you go for high end talent at the top of the draft, not character, NHL readiness and other such stuff. And kudos for the Kravtsov pick when most said it was a reach and that it should be Wahlstrom, who has been a flop so far.

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