Well, we are back after the hacking, and we lost a week’s worth of content. That content included where I had pegged Pavel Buchnevich’s next contract and final thoughts on Glen Sather as a GM. That really stinks, but it such is life. I apologize if the site triggered malware alerts or work filters, obviously that is not something I did maliciously. We still have the issue on the main page in Google Chrome, where clicking the featured article does not work. That was unrelated, and I’m working with different tech support to get that fixed. It’s isolated to Chrome, so that’s a bonus, I guess?
Anyway, there was a lot that I lost in that issue and a lot that has happened in the three days that we could not post. So let’s have at it.
1. Catching up on content lost, the Rangers should really be looking at a long term deal for Pavel Buchnevich. The kid put up 21 goals and 40 points in just 64 games. He showed that he is a big contributor when he plays with skilled players. If he continues to play on the top line, he will rack up the points and, if he’s on a bridge deal, his third contract will be insane. Lock him up to a deal now and take the risk.
2. My thoughts on Glen Sather post was brilliant, but it was lost. In the end, no matter if you loved him or hated him, you have to respect the barrier he put between James Dolan and hockey operations. Dolan did not have that barrier with the Knicks, and the Knicks have been a train wreck because of that interference. That mess could have easily been the Rangers as well. Sather had Dolan’s ear. Perhaps that’s the most valuable part of his tenure.
3. On to things that happened while the site was down. The Rangers gained three points in their final two games, and those three points had them drop from 5th to 6th in the draft lottery. It’s a 3% change in top-three odds, and a 1% change in #1 overall odds. They also finished last in the NHL in regulation/OT wins. Think about how bad Ottawa is, and now remember that they had three more regulation/OT wins than the Rangers. That 9-1-1 run in November really killed their chances at finishing dead last, but death to their 14 loser points. This point system stinks.
4. The Rangers are left with the following draft odds. And yes you are reading that properly. The Blueshirts have a larger chance at dropping from 6th to 7th than they do with any other pick.
- 1st – 7.5%
- 2nd – 7.8%
- 3rd – 8.0%
- 6th – 16.3%
- 7th – 38.9%
- 8th – 19.4%
- 9th – 2.1%
5. In exit interviews over the weekend, David Quinn said he expects the entire coaching staff to return. If Lindy Ruff returns, that will be a huge mistake. It’s something we covered in February, and it still holds true today. Yes, part of the issue is the personnel. However Ruff has never had a history of good defensive teams. It’s time to get a new voice in there. He’s an Old Boys Club guy that has certain value in the right situation. This is not the right situation.
6. Jeff Gorton said that he wants to get both Vitali Kravtsov and Igor Shestyorkin signed this summer. That bodes very well for the Rangers. Kravtsov may have some adjustment issues, but he is a true elite talent. Ditto Shesty. There is also no rush for either of them either, but I wonder if they will have KHL clauses if they get sent to the AHL. Both are part of the future, and both will have big roles.
7. Speaking of big roles, Gorton also mentioned they may look to advance the rebuild this summer. With all this cap space, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rangers go big after Artemi Panarin and/or Erik Karlsson. They can afford both without mortgaging the future and without taking a big hit on cap space. However the big obstacle will be getting rid of the dead weight on the blue line. That’s an entirely other conversation that needs more than a paragraph.
8. Gorton and Quinn both said they rely on the Blueshirts’ analytics department to make these decisions. It’s good to hear the Rangers actually have someone, somewhere, doing something, but the big question is what they are producing for management to review. Are they snake oil salesmen? Are they producing information and deliverables that are ahead of the curve? Or are they looking at things that don’t lead to success, like fighting? We don’t know, but we do know that Quinn and Gorton want to “add some toughness” to the lineup this summer. If it’s of the Brendan Lemieux type, then great. If it’s of the Cody McLeod type, then no bueno.
9. It is very good that Gorton believes the Rangers overachieved in certain areas. They did. The number of regulation/OT wins should be a stark reminder about how bad this team actually was. He did call out Mika Zibanejad and Alex Georgiev specifically. I’m optimistic and think Zibanejad can repeat that performance. Georgiev I’m still unsure of, if only because of the blue line in front of him.
10. I don’t think Chris Kreider has played his last game as a Ranger, especially if Gorton is serious about advancing the rebuild this summer. Kreider’s skill set (elite speed, strength, and net front presence) is so incredibly rare that he has more value on the team than off. Plus remember that he speaks fluent Russian, which will be important for players like Buchnevich, Kravtsov, and Shestyorkin. If the Rangers land Panarin, that’s another guy that speaks Russian. You need that kind of locker room presence for your two elite level rookies. It’s an even bigger bonus because Panarain and Kreider are both great players.
11. Jesper Fast had surgery to on his right thumb, an injury he sustained around the All Star break. This takes me back to injuries and the Rangers’ management of injuries. Players want to play through injuries, and that’s normal. However Fast should have been shut down long before March. This team was clearly not going to the playoffs, and while Fast wants to play, there’s more value in recovery. That’s just my own opinion, though.
12. Last thought, and that is on the playoffs. The Rangers have a few interests. The two priorities are Dallas getting to the Western Conference Final and Tampa winning the Cup. Each of those gives the Rangers a first round pick this year instead of second rounders. I don’t need to tell you how important that is. The other two important things are both Winnipeg and Columbus losing early. Winnipeg’s first rounder would then be in 16-22 range. A Columbus first round loss would move those 4th and 7th rounders up as well.
13. Bonus thought, lucky number 13. Thank you all for another season of BSB coverage, which has now covered 10 seasons of Rangers hockey. There have been a lot of ups and downs, a bunch of site re-designs, and one hacking/malware attack. We are going to continue moving forward with coverage into next season as well. We wouldn’t be here without you all, so thank you. I can’t say that enough.