Defense

Trusting the process

The Jacob Trouba trade caught most of us by surprise I’m guessing, after a long, long while of assurances by sources legitimate and otherwise that he absolutely, totally, definitely, seriously wanted to come to the Rangers. It also took place the Monday before the Rangers are set to draft Kaapo Kakko, which I’m also going to go ahead and say was what we thought would be the big news this week. It still is, but the implications of the Trouba trade are far greater than the simple significance of using the 2nd overall pick to select the best player in the draft (did I say that?). You see for the longest time we heard (and maybe even said, although I don’t care to go back through my entire post history on this site and see exactly what I did and didn’t say over the past several years) that the Rangers big problem was evaluating defense, handing out defensive contracts, understanding that the big need was defense, and on and on. Basically, to really put a pin in it: they don’t get defense.

Or so we thought. I mean after all, it was a nice touch that the Rangers took two most-likely-good-probably-very-good-potentially-really-great defensemen last year in the draft, but the question lingered: were they aware that Marc Staal’s play was not worth his contract? Was waiving Brendan Smith just sending a message, or was the internal consensus that he really actually was just smoke and mirrors in that post-deadline run we had where he played so well with Brady Skjei? Could they all grasp that, hopes and dreams aside, Kevin Shattenkirk was not going to be our 1D? There was a compelling case to be made, that’s for sure, that there was some huge disconnect within management as to what exactly good defense meant in the modern NHL.

Wonder no more, because the Rangers just brought in one of the best transition defensemen in the league, a guy who can produce points, eat minutes, and shut down opponents. Coupled with say, K’Andre Miller, Nils Lundkvist, Libor Hajek, Adam Fox, Yegor Rykov, or even, yes, Kevin Shattenkirk, and we’ve suddenly got a legitimate top pairing. No longer will we be thinking to ourselves, “gosh, we need to put somebody out against the Ovechkin line, but who will that be exactly?” We now have a very good answer to that.

And it means something more too, because for more or less the entirety of the Henrik Lundqvist era, the theory behind the Rangers’s game plan seemed to be that stacking the forwards and leaning on a future Hall of Fame goalie would mask poor defense (or worse, that wasn’t the theory, Glen Sather and his braintrust really thought there were no defensive issues, see above). Now we’re seeing something different. This lineup is going to be balanced, even – the kind of qualities one might find in a Stanley Cup contending team.

Wait! A Stanley Cup contending team? Yeah duh, that’s the whole point of a rebuild, which means of course that they actually know what they’re doing in Penn Plaza. Maybe we should’ve trusted them all along. The sky never was falling in the first place, the house was not on fire, and the Rangers were not being steered ahead

All of this leads me to one conclusion, and I will double or triple down on this as necessary: Jeff Gorton is a good GM, and, OH BABY! John Davidson knows how to get there too. I regret to inform you that if the Rangers land Artemi Panarin this summer in free agency, then yes, playoff hockey is back in New York City. A bolder take? We’ll be in that elite group of favored teams within three years (parenthetically, you should all know by now that I don’t by any means think you need to be an elite squad to win it all, just good enough to win it all – see, e.g.: St Louis).

"Trusting the process", 5 out of 5 based on 22 ratings.
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36 Comments

  1. Very simply, for the first time in a long time, I can sleep like a baby knowing our Rangers are in good hands.

      1. Rock, potential for one of the bigger boys in the league coming to the Rangers to watch the kids… Contracts must be moved to get Panarian.

  2. We are better than last week and next week better still. Let’s see how the roster takes shape. We still have Stall, Shatty and Smith. I am in controlled enthusiasm.

    This team needs to gel and needs our youngest players to step up. There are still some questions, but some answers too. We need scoring from more than the first line. Good times ahead.

  3. Understanding that we live in a salary controlled environment, and that we need to build from the ground up, we are going in the right direction. This group of kids will grow up together, will bond like the Gretzky era Oiler’s, and or the Fishsticks of the 80’s, and be a force to deal with for years down the road.

    The deal for Jake yesterday was something that had to be done, and is also a part of the rebuild. We should let the management team do their thing, trust in their ability to run, and build a team. Just look at the fingerprints of both Cup finalists, guys drafted by Gorton, and JD. They can, and will replicate this given time, and resources to do so. I’m in the easy pass on the Breadman, too much tied up for one players who may, or may not deliver us to the promised land. Keep drafting kids, build where we will have a steady supply of talent to replace the likes of Staal, Shitty pants, Smith.

    The deal signed by Hayes is nuts, they will be sorry when the Filthadelphia fans start booing him for his soft play, and realize that they are stuck for years to come. Better them than us that’s for sure. If Kreider has demands that are out of this world, well as much as I hate saying this, trade him for picks, and assets, and thank him for his service.

    Did I mention that I believe in the management team, something I never said while the terd smoking Sather was here!!!!!!!!

  4. Management under Gorton seems to have a good plan. I hope that the plan includes draft day trades and selections, as we still need a strong draft day to compete in the future. After the 2nd pick in the draft, we may have to watch many players get taken before we step up to the podium again.

    If Krieder looks at the Hayes contract and thinks he should get nearly the same, then you move him out ASAP. Looking forward to an exciting draft day. IMO, Krieder at his best is better than Hayes at his best, but we only see his best in spurts.

    Still cannot decide if Panarin is the right thing to do. He is a high quality player, but do we need to lock up so much money for so many years?

    1. I”m afraid Panarin is more like a Marian Gaborik than a tough winger. I haven’t seen enough of him to really pass judgment but I don’t think he has gotten hurt too often. Is he a player you can build a team around?

  5. Thanks Pat, what a pleasure to read a good upbeat piece about the Rangers and the course to success they are on.

    Walt, I never wanted to lose Kreider, I like him a lot, but it appears, given the Hayes signing, that he will be way beyond what I believe to be fair value. I agree, let’s trade him and get more assets.

    On the subject of Hayes, What the hell is wrong with management in the NHL? 7 years and 50 million? That’s just pure and utter mismanagement. I like Hayes and believe him to be a valuable resource, but not at that level! How does the league protect itself from itself? Something needs to be done. I do have a theory that they like it like this, because allowing idiots to run the numbers, helps keep them in the area of parity they want to be. Which is every team is ok, but almost impossible to build a long time contender that can dominate. Hopefully our new mgmt. has figured out a cure for this sickness. I know I believe!

    Let’s go Rangers!!

    1. Joe

      Sorry to say, but I suspect that Chris is going to be gone at the draft due to demands. I always liked Kreider, and had hoped we could sign him to a reasonable contract extension. As for Hayes, there are idiots in management positions throughout the NHL, obviously Filthadelphia is run by one!!!!!!!!

  6. Hi all,

    Does anyone know if the Rangers sign Panarin at 11 million a season for the next 7yrs or 8yrs how much money would the rangers have left over? Just asking cause Kreider needs to be resigned, and yes some contracts do come off the books next season or 2yrs from now but I feel with panarin we are really close to the cap.

    Not sure if panarin is worth that, if he is was 25 I could see the argument for that, but he is almost 30, if he is signed he will be a nyr thru 36/37. It is too much of a risk, aren’t there other players out there that can be had for less? Also, rangers need to fix up their 2nd line 3rd line 4th line and also get another defensemen.

    I am optimistic that JD and JG know what they are doing, not like Sather and his spend big on veteran players (won the cup years ago). I think they can assess the teams needs and see what they are missing at the end of this season. Also, something that I truly appreciate is that Harford’s team will be fixed. It will be exciting to see a good young farm team with soon to be nhl players on it. Replenishing the youth is also a good way to show that your organization is nurturing the youth letting the kids grow. Also, if igor is ahl ready he can help them win a lot of games, thus improving wolfpack’s overall play.

    Furthermore, it will be nice to see rangers players drafted and stay with this team for years to come. Don’t trade youth away anymore.

    1. A back of an envelope calculation gives us about $8.1mil in cap space after the following rough assumptions:

      1) 3 S’s salary cut in half by trade or buyout; Belesky as well
      2) Vesey traded
      3) Lemieux, Buch, and DA getting $1.75, $3.5, and $3.5 respectively (all guess-estimates)
      4) Claesson released NOTE: two more D will need to be added to roster.
      5) Panarin $11mil

      Trading Strome could add additional room of $1.5-3mil depending whether we eat some of that salary. PEropsnally, I don’t seem them trading Namestnikov.

      You guys who know the buyout calcs and have a better idea on RFA likely salaries can help adjust these numbers up or down for you/us. Hopefully I didn’t miss anything.

      1. What is this obsession people have with buyouts? Buyouts are the last resort, use only when necessary.

      2. Oops, plus Kratsov and Kakko/Hughes at $925k each as well. So closer to $6mil.

        I don’t think there is room for both Kreider new contract and Panarin unless they fleece someone on the Shatt and/or Smith contract.

        Only differences following year would be Namestnikov and Fast contracts expiring $5.85mil total.

  7. One player alone cannot elevate a team to championship status. Examples: Conor McDavid, and Auston Matthews. Panarin will make the Rangers a better team, for sure, but I don’t think that he, alone, will make them a true contender. Trouba is a true first pair defender, but not a superstar. I’m just reluctant to put the team in cap hell for 7 years for one player at this point.

  8. Panarin is tempting now and that’s the PROBLEM. I understand the urge, but we need to resist the urge. PATIENCE PATIENCE PATIENCE … oh, ah, ugh, it’s hard, 😉

    1. Hope you’re wrong, though it’s harder to find great centers than great wingers and for that reason I think the Devils go with Hughes … either way, we’re winners.

  9. I love Kakko’s game and would be stoked to have him on the Rangers–but if I had the #1 pick–I’d take Huges. In 2-3 years he’ll be able to make Fast a 40 goal scorer and AV will post the following on every Rangers blog on the net: “See I told you Quikie should be on the first line, you dummies!”

  10. “And it means something more too, because for more or less the entirety of the Henrik Lundqvist era, the theory behind the Rangers’s game plan seemed to be that stacking the forwards and leaning on a future Hall of Fame goalie would mask poor defense”

    This trikes me as inaccurate. In 2012, we had Staal-Girardi (at their peak, considered top shutdown D), McDonough-Sauer (among the best young D) and MDZ-Stralman. That was a team built from the net out.

    1. The real shame is Staal, he was so good back then … but the severity of the injuries just mounted and the eye injury really diminished his capacity … the second real shame was Sauer, he was so steady.

    1. It would appear the way these GMs are negotiating, 7 million isn’t a stretch for Kreds…seems to be the going rate. Gorton by putting his club in a position with plenty of cap room, he has given himself a strong hand when making player deals with GMs who are in cap hell. Well done Mr. Gorton, brilliant.

    2. There are a lot of important intangibles with Kreider and he has the drive to keep himself in beast shape. I would go 6 years on an American Russian Speaking Beast.

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