Offseason

Despite the hype, patience

The Rangers have had one heck of an offseason so far. Even before they added Jacob Trouba, Kaapo Kakko, and Artemi Panarin, they signed Vitali Kravtsov, Yegov Rykov, and Igor Shesterkin, then traded for Adam Fox. It’s been a summer of fun so far for the Blueshirts.

It’s been so fun, in fact, that a good portion of us –myself included– have been talking ourselves into the fact the Rangers could be a playoff team and possibly surprise people. This isn’t necessarily reckless, as the Metro Division is imploding on itself, as only the Canes, Rangers, and Devils are trending up. The Caps/Penguins are aging. The Isles are likely not getting the same goaltending as last year, thus a giant question mark. And the Flyers have AV. Not exactly a Murderer’s Row of teams anymore.

Add that to the infusion of youth and skill to the Blueshirts’ lineup, and you have some lofty hype. But the Rangers are still banking on significant development and progression from Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson, and Brett Howden, currently their 2C, 3C, and 4C, respectively. That’s a tall order for three kids that had their own struggles at times last year.

I know these things aren’t accurate right now because we don’t know what Kakko and Kravtsov will turn into. So they are replacement level players, and let’s be real there’s a solid chance one (Kravtsov) might not even start the year in the NHL. Plus here, look at theblue line, it’s missing Marc Staal and has Kevin Shattenkirk, so that’s not likely to happen either. Yet this team is still just an 81 point team based on projections.

If you assume that the Rangers won’t have the lineup above, and will have other people on the blue line, the point projection goes down.

This is something Kevin from Blueshirt Banter ran with before Sean Tierney ran with his updated model. This has the Rangers with a more realistic blue line –Adam Fox is the replacement player here– and a 71 point projection. Of course this is missing Libor Hajek, who himself is a question mark.

These models, this early into July, are not meant to be 100% accurate. Especially for a rebuilding team like the Rangers that has so many unknowns coming into the lineup next year. What I take from these is –and Sean is one of the best in the business with these models and someone whose work I use regularly– that the Rangers’ success next year is a giant IF statement. A lot needs to go right for them to make the playoffs next year. Heck, they may be a bottom-five team again.

The point of this isn’t necessarily to say the Rangers are making the playoffs or they are going to be a lottery team. It’s that they are trending up, but up may not be immediate. It’s a climb. The urge to win a Cup with Henrik Lundqvist in net is clearly there, but timing may not work out like that. You can’t rush development, and while the newly added skill is exciting, hockey is the ultimate team game that requires other players in a rebuild to develop as well.

The one thing we know for sure is that the Rangers are going to be an exciting offensive team next season.

"Despite the hype, patience", 3 out of 5 based on 18 ratings.
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41 Comments

  1. NYR had 78 points last year. Not saying we are winning the Cup this year but I expect team will add 4-5 wins (10 points)?
    Maybe I am too simplistic.

    1. I like the path we are taking. Very similar to what Toronto has done. Yes we are significantly better on paper.. The team still needs to gel as a unit. Quinn is the right guy to coach this young crew. Patience required we are on the right path. I still feel we should cut the cord with Hank & Staal.

      1. Actually, very true bobby on the Toronto comparison.

        Drafting top players and then adding outside help to hopefully put the team over the top (Tavares, Marleau, etc). Well done.

        But PS, Hank and Marc will die here, get used to the idea. 🙂

  2. Looking at the charts I’m guessing a team with primarily replacement level players will net only about 49 points or so.

    1. I love models that can’t predict anything.

      You can’t plug Kakko in using NHLe? Can’t take a WAG that he’ll be a 50 pt player using Laine as a comp?

      Fox looked really good at worlds, as long as he gets minutes(which he should) he should be at least at 30 points.

      1. George Box: “all models are wrong but some are useful.”

        And then again, stuff may happen: Staal or Panarin may blow a knee at the start of the year: bye bye model!

  3. I think they are a borderline playoff team. The difference In making the playoffs or not lies on the 2c position. If Chytil can ramp it up and turn in to a 50 point player while centering the 2nd line then watch out. That might be a bit of a lofty goal but that’s perfectly fine.

    As long as we see progress in the kids as the season goes on then I will be happy!

  4. If only we could add Ken Hodge.
    We might have to trade Panarin to get him but I think the team would be complete.

    1. Will, definitely the worst trade in Ranger history , may be the worst trade in NHL HISTORY! Rick Middleton for Ken Hodge. A trade forced by Phil Esposito who wanted his OLD pal on his wing. I remember the Ranger hierarchy saying Middleton ( who at the time was already a young all star ) saying he liked the NY night life too much???, which prompted a reply by a beat writer: What THEIR IS NO NIGHT LIFE IN BOSTON????. Hodge lasted 1 season with the Rangers, he retired an bought a mister softie ice cream truck. Middleton became a hall of Famer, score 450 goals in his Bruin career. YIKES!!!!

  5. I think the hype is pretty reasonable and tame, after all Kakko and Kravtsov are not Chytil and Andersson type rookies …. and Panarin isn’t Vesey or Zucc … and and and Trouba isn’t Pionk. IF Hank is managed properly (Staal as well) we could certainly compete for and make the playoffs. Really the only downgrade is the 2nd line center slot.

    When you stop and consider how we hung in there for quite a while until the specter of Hayes and Zucc being traded brought the whole team down, when you consider all those 1 goal games, who is to say that Panarin alone can’t add 10 points to this team? Those WAR charts are bullsh!t.

    1. No stats are BS, the flaw is depending on any ONE set of stats to come to a conclusion. That’s where fans go wrong.

      But in any case, the talent level has been raised exponentially since last year. That fact alone will make the Rangers a better team, and I do think that they make the playoffs this year, barring bad injuries of course.

        1. Basically all stats are flawed in some way.

          Starting with whether they are properly recorded to begin with.

  6. The Islanders came out of nowhere last year. You never know for sure how the Rangers will pan out this year. Trouba will make Skjei as well as the the rest of the young defense better. Chytil, Anderson, and Howden have a year in the NHL under their belt and should mature quickly. Kakko has already proved he could play with the big boys. Panarin is a superstar that will influence and inspire the entire team. Hajek didn’t look out of place at all last year on defense in the few games he played before he got hurt. Adam Fox is a proven talent in college and could blossom this year. Ryan Lindgren looked decent last year in the few games he played as a stay at home, hitting defenseman, as well as other young defenseman that have potential. Staal if used right, can blend in and not be as bad (case in point, Girardi on Tampa). Shatty must go, but Smith may stay. He played better last year and is a decent veteran presence. Igor Shesterkin really dominated in the top league in Russia the last couple of years and has all the goods. He will probably be a mid-season callup after he gets his feet wet. Alexandar Georgiev seems to be getting better and better and don’t be surprised if he ends up being the Rangers number 1 goaltender over the rest The Rangers lost a bunch of close one goal games last year and under Quine, overall, they hustled and played good. Panarin will bring that extra goal when needed for more victories. I am optimistic that I am being realistic in believing the team will get near 90 points and make the play-offs! I can’t wait for this season to begin. Thank God for J.D. as president!

    1. In general yeah I agree with what you’re saying. In the west 90 points got you in last year, but in the east it took 98 points. I don’t think 90 points gets us in the playoffs, not even 94 points but it will be closer — I see teams like Pitt, the Isles and Columbus potentially taking a step or two back … and I see no reason for the Devs surpassing us. Philly could improve slightly … bottom line it’s going to be ultra-competitive in the division and with Florida and Montreal improving to go along with Boston, TO, Tampa (what a mess on RD though) it might take us nailing down the 3rd spot in the division to make the playoffs. So no I don’t think we make the playoffs just yet but it sure is possible — I mean does Carolina get the same goaltending this season? Do the Islanders? Columbus won’t …

  7. Looks like a 10 point uptick in the standings. Is that enough for the playoffs? – Maybe not. We are counting on guys maturing and rookies to put in 30 points. Not impossible, but not a sure thing.

    I think the defense HAS to be better. I think we may go at least 2 lines deep in offense and the combo of Hank & Georgi should be a little better, if their defense is better.

    DQ can manage these guys, and keep their heads on straight. Hoping he can gel the team very quickly. My fear is that there will be a bit of heart and soul missing unless someone takes on a leadership role. This is where Krieder can fit the bill if he stays.

    Tempered enthusiasm is the name of my game.

  8. Come on guy really? They ran a model on how the season will go. When will you people stop thinking this is a video game. Someone develops analytics and now you guys want to start playing playing the season an a computer! Talk about taking things too far.

    1. Why even play the games for real, just insert everything into the NHL video game and watch that. Think of all the money that could be saved. 😉

  9. Anyone who thinks this team is going anywhere with Lundqvist in net is delusional. The only way this team makes any noise is if they wake up to the fact that Hank is done.

      1. Things go wrong. There are probably several years that the Rangers could have won the Cup if only the GM had pulled the trigger at the right time. But no one is going to say for example that the reason the Kings didn’t win the 2022 Cup was because they wouldn’t give Panarin $14M. People don’t notice what you don’t do. The Rangers did not go all in on Erik Karlsson and that was important — but at this point no one cares.

        The Lundqvist contract may well be the single worst contract ever given out by the Rangers — and I have been critical of him for almost the entire length of it. HOWEVER, in Sather’s position, I would have done exactly the same thing. Goaltenders are unpredictable because mental fatigue is such an issue. So many goalies give out in a just a few years. Some last until they are 40. I would not be surprised if someone with an eight year resume of success is not a better bet to last than one with a four year resume because he is still not that old and has a more proven record of resistance to demons.

      2. I have my issues with Sather, but signing him to that contract wasn’t one of them.

  10. If Hank can play just over half the games, he could be “handled” to supply some good goaltending. DQ cannot read the history and think that Hank is what he once was. Georgi can be a great #2.

    I do not think making the playoffs is out of reach, but they need to play the games and see who they are. I am really excited to see what we look like at the Traverse City tourny. If we read and believe the hype, we have some great youth. Let’s see them perform like winners at the tournament.

    1. If you give Hank 2 nights off between starts, he can get 43 starts this season.

      He’ll have to change his training routine; but if he wants to be fresh down the stretch, that’s the number.

      O/U should be 50.

  11. Granted, Hank has slowed down some, but remember the pathetic defense in front of him last year. Many times, they couldn’t get the puck out of their own end, and there was a barrage of shots on goal just about every night! Give Georgiev credit for playing tough despite the shooting gallery in front of him. If Hank is rested, and not overused, he can still be a very effective goaltender.The defense should be better with Pionk gone, Trouba in, and other changes in the works. Again, also remember that the Rangers lost a ton of one run games last year because they couldn’t put the puck in the net. Pararin and Kaako will help the offense tremendously, as well as last years young talent maturing. Keeping Krieder if possible, will be a big factor also.

    1. Chicken or the egg? Hank has played behind a pathetic defense for years because any defense in front of Hank is going to be pathetic. Clearing the zone is a six man job, not a two man job. Hank makes it a 5 man job. If you watched any of the San Jose-St. Loui series, you saw how important Binnington was in blunting the might Sharks attack. You can stand up at the blue line far more effectively if the goalie is taking away the dump and chase.

      When a goaltender is statistically not the best goalie on his team for six years in a row, the time has long come to acknowledge that it is not a sample size fluke.

      Yes, Hank is still capable of a good game, but in the worlds we saw he is no longer capable of a good week. I project a January retirement (assuming Shesty is ready to come to NY to join Georgiev).

      1. Good post Raymond.

        I think that the Rangers use Hank and Georgie in a 60%/40% ratio, so Hank will not be run into the ground.

        1. I am hoping for something on the order of a 50/50 split. Georgiev needs to play regularly to stay sharp too. You are likely correct though to expect 60/40.

          1. I would not mind 50/50, but I think the Rangers go 60/40, to start.

            Of course, things can change in a hurry.

        2. One thing that I have not seen anyone point out is that, on balance, Georgiev faced tougher opponents than Hank last year. I don’t know if this was by design or the effect of traditional rivals having bad teams. For example, Hank pretty much always played against the Devils and Flyers, two teams that missed the playoffs. That may be due more to rivalry than getting Hank softer games. And Quinn gave Hank lots of time off after the team was weakened by the deadline deals. Effectively, at the end of the season, Georgiev was the #1 goalie but of course who is the #1 goalie on a team playing out the string is meaningless.

          You may have inside information but I don’t have a clue what Quinn is thinking. He may be planning to phase Georgiev in as the primary tender – or he may be committed Hank is the starter no matter what. Or of course anywhere in between.

          Nor do I know if management will put pressure on Quinn if he does the wrong thing here.

          Oh – I think your 60-40 is best guess to start the season, but I don’t think the pattern will hold.

          1. After his performance last season and in the worlds, I think it would be logical to think that Hank is no longer a consistent NHL goalie who can be the number one netminder for a team that aspires to make the playoffs. I’d like to be proven wrong, but I don’t expect to be.

            With the team depending on kid centers, making the playoffs might be pretty hard to do. If Hank is done but is still treated like the number one goal tender it will be even harder.

          2. No inside info on Quinn’s thinking, other than he’s not afraid to play who he thinks should be playing. Other than Staal that is, lol.

            The Hank “decline watch” is on for sure, even for his biggest supporters like me. The bottom line is wins and to make the playoffs, and if that means that Georgie is now the starting goalie, and Shesty is his back up, then so be it. And I would be all for it.

            I love Henrik and I appreciate everything that he has done for the franchise and fans, but if this turns into an “Eli Manning” situation, then the resentment and anger from the fans will flow even more than what it is now.

            But, the saving grace is, I don’t think that Quinn rolls that way. I think that he will put Hank on the shelf if the situation requires it, IMO.

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