Monday musings – some random Rangers thoughts and a thank you to River Ave Blues

I made the mistake of not writing a post in advance of Game of Thrones, and it is currently 11pm on Sunday night and I can’t focus on any specific topic. So because of this, I’m going to go with a brain dump. **POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR GAME OF THRONES IF YOU DID NOT WATCH LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE**












1. The more research I do on Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, the more I like Kakko more than Hughes. Perhaps this is only because I’ve been ready for Kakko to the Rangers for quite some time now, and I’m becoming biased. I just like that he’s been able to produce so much against grown men at the age of 17. Hughes is still tearing things up in his own right, but something about Kakko makes me think he will pan out to be better.

2. What do we say to the God of Death?

3. I know we like to spend time guessing what the Rangers will do this offseason, especially with Kakko in the mix and Jeff Gorton on the record saying they will accelerate this rebuild. But something about this screams caution, and while the Blueshirts can and certainly will be active, Gorton knows there’s nothing wrong with sitting back either. Kakko and Panarin give the Rangers significantly more flexibility to address the blue line issues, but the latter isn’t a guarantee.

4. The fact that the show had characters that kept living because “they served a purpose” was great. They did their job. Thank you.

5. I’m still under the impression that Marc Staal will be with the club next year. The moveable guys on the blue line are Kevin Shattenkirk and basically everyone not named Staal, so that’s basically why. With those contracts, I just can’t see a major overhaul unless the Rangers are willing to retain salary or send guys to the AHL.

6. I just don’t get that battle strategy. There are so many questions about it.

7. Finally, a big thank you to Mike Axisa and River Ave Blues. For those who don’t know, RAB is shutting down today, and they really set the bar for fan run blogs. When I started this site, I tried my best to model it after RAB. Mike was instrumental in getting this site off the ground. This actually started in an RAB chat where I asked a Rangers question, and picked Mike’s brain about how to get a blog off the ground. Mike wrote here every now and then, but it was the fact he was kind enough to post links to posts here at BSB from the immensely popular RAB site. RAB will be missed. Thank you Mike and the rest of the folks at RAB for setting the bar of what a blog could and should be.

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  1. Kapo fits the Rangers’ needs better at this time, though getting Hughes would be a tremendous get. But the Rangers have centers, they need scoring wingers to make their centers more productive.

    I hate to say it, but David is right about Staal, the Rangers just can’t let it go. At least put him on the 3rd pair.

    But someone has to go. Staal, Smith, and Shatty all can’t be on the team with their full cap hits. They can, but they shouldn’t.

    Buch should get a “show me” bridge deal. But adding a productive Buch, along with Kapo, Krav, and possibly Panarin, should really boost the offense, taking pressure off the back end. So I agree, getting an impact D man will be costly and will probably not happen. I have no problem bringing in Hajek, Lindgren, and Rykov, but they also have to have open spots for them.

    1. That would be a mistake. Sign him long term he’s clearly a Top 6 player/talent. A bridge deal will just make him cost more cap-wise on the next contract — you know it, I know it and most importantly Buch’s agent knows it. If the goal is to build a team that dominates for the next decade, you sign your young talented prospects to long term low cost deals … if you want to go down the road we went before then sign all the kids to bridge deals while you fork over excessive amounts of money for old vets with no real future.

      1. You give out contracts like it were candy.

        I’m a big Buch fan but let’s see 50 pts before we throw 5 year deals at him.

        You liking the Skjei deal right now? slow down pal.

    2. You front load it, you get him to 28 and then if you need to move himm you get better returns.

      1. … and if he performs you’re then stuck with the dilemma of what to do with him. Why not take him to 30 and front load those first 3 years. More importantly though, nothing more than a very very limited NTC.

  2. Dave, the battle plan wasn’t important, the characters had plot armor! Once they went past the books the show writing “GoT” pedestrian.

  3. Just spitballing a lineup:



    To be honest, that’s not a bad lineup, even without Panarin. They just would need a D to play with Skjei.
    Trouba would be a luxury, the price might be a bit steep and his play wouldn’t complement Skjei well(whether Skjei deserves that level of deference is another matter.)

    I just keep coming back to Byfuglien because Winnipeg needs to clear out salary and need to shake things up, while the Rangers need a minute eating RD whose contract will be up sooner rather than later. The question becomes what it would take. If the Dallas pick comes through, I could see that pick and somebody like Fast going back.

    1. Reen, wouldn’t you rather use that Dallas pick (if it comes through) along with the Winnipeg pick and move up into the Top 10 or so and get another top prospect (Bowen, Cozens, Caufield, etc.)? I like the lineup (maybe Howden centers the 3rd line instead) but in all honesty it’s not going to compete for the Cup, not next year at least.

    2. Byfuglien is 34 years old. I think Panarin might be too old for where we are in the rebuild. I’m sure Byfuglien is.

      1. Byfuglien helps now, will be gone by the time the likes of Lundkvist and Rykov are ready to thrive.

    3. I would have Fast on the 4th line. Namenstikov the 3rd line winger. Trade Vesey and Strome. The tougher question is who is our 3rd and 4th line centers between (Boo, Lias, and Howden). Personally I think Boo is our most ideal 4th line center. Maybe that’s Lias’ role in another year or two. Just not sure Lias has the Offensive for 3rd line Center. Howden may or may not.

      1. Howden’s play was considerably better at the beginning of the season and at the end, after his injury forced him to “rest”. I think that bodes well for his ability to offensively contribute as the 3rd line center, the key will be his strength and conditioning work over the summer. I also think it’s reasonable to believe that Andersson will put in a lot of work over the summer and will be able to lock down a spot on the roster for the whole year.

  4. Dave – thanks for heads up about RAB and Mike Axisa. I missed that. RAB was the best and most informative of the Yankee blogs. It’s shut down will leave a huge void. I can’t think of another site, for any team and any sport, that delved so deep into one team. As you said RAB set the bar.

  5. Hughes and Kakko will both be great, but I agree with you on Kakko. To Panarin or not to Panarin? Tough question but I think if the sign him they need to move out Kreider. The long term dollars for both won’t work. See Toronto. And one longer term expensive veteran forward contract is enough for now.

    I think some of the best things Gorton has done was clear the decks and bring back assets. There was lots of thoughts that Stepan was worth more, but was he? Probably not. JT Miller got his contract with Tampa, then under performed. He’s being talked about being moved again. MC D contract will be painful. He had a good regular season but a tough play offs. These were actually all very good decisions in hindsight. Hayes and Nash also brought back nice returns. Zucc was the one you can say we could have kept. Or maybe should have, but he’ll probably net us 2 firsts at the rate he’s going.

    all that said it’s time to move Shatty. Toronto needs a R D man pretty bad and at half retained salary Shatty could have value.(far better than a buy out) Toronto is also in cap hell, due to good drafting and signing Taveres. (can they afford 3 $11 mill forwards?) He would fit in Edmonton too, but they are probably on his no trade list. But I think we need to explore that more seriously and move on.

    I think top priority on the D should be Adam Fox. if Pick 58 can get that done, they should pull the trigger. i would be fine with Trouba and even paying him $7 mill for 8 years at his age. But not without moving out bodies and salary. Agree Staal is unmovable. Smith would be hard to move too, but at half retained salary it is easier. But his playing forward and D has made him a bit more valuable. That leaves Shatty as the best choice to move out.

  6. If Miller is really on the block again (which I doubt) Rangers should think about trading Namestnikov back to Tampa for him. JT has a very appealing contract (probably factored in the Florida no tax situation) and we could help Tampa with the Callahan contract to make it work. Helps solve Tampa’s cap issues and returns a very useful, physical mid level winger in his prime without the AV baggage to worry about.

    Trading Shatty and retaining half his salary would really be selling low. I hope his value is not so low that it would be worth doing that. He could bounce back and be worth far more, certainly not likely to go any lower.

    Fox seems like a no brainer. Would help with rebuilding our D tremendously. And Gorton seems smarter than Sather who got robbed in the Marty St. Louis trade even though MSL would only come to the Rangers, similar to Fox supposedly.

  7. Ever since I saw Kakko I have said time and again that he was the kid we should go after. Hughes is very good, but that’s been against boys, whereas Kakko has been very good against MEN. Bottom line, we have no control as to who we get, NJ is in the drivers seat!

    As for Fox, I wouldn’t give away the shop to get him, he will come our way without giving up anything. It would be nice to see Fox compete with Rykov for that right d-man position, but time is on our side here………….Lastly if Shatty can’t be moved, so be it, move Pionk, we have enough right handed defense men who are offensively gifted!!!!!!!

    1. I bet that a 2nd rounder gets Fox, as there is a limited market for him, and the Canes know it.

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