I spent a good amount of the morning trying to figure out what to write about, and I came up with nothing that would be a full length post. Instead I had a bunch of little things that are more statements than posts.
1. We are all very excited about the rebuild and how well it has gone so far. Let’s be patient though. Kaapo Kakko isn’t going to be a star overnight. He’s going to have a learning curve here. He’s not going to dominate from Day One. So, being impatient New Yorkers, let’s cut him some slack and be patient, ok?
2. Ditto Vitali Kravtsov.
3. Lindy Ruff is still a coach, and it looks like he’s not going anywhere this year. There will likely be two new faces on the blue line this year, but it looks like the rest of the group may remain the same. It’s making me wonder if Ruff is just a transitional coach, and when the real youth on the blue line is ready, they will go in a different direction? Maybe it’s just me being optimistic. But it’s not like the Blueshirts had a ton of rookies on defense. Neal Pionk not withstanding, it’s really been just Tony DeAngelo. Adam Fox this year – but there’s still four or five kids that are either in the AHL or other leagues that are projected to make the NHL roster in the next few years. Is that when Ruff goes? We know he has to, but perhaps it’s a timing thing?
4. The feeling I’m getting is that the Rangers will trade Kevin Shattenkirk and bury Brendan Smith in the AHL. Marc Staal is likely staying throughout the end of his contract, so I’d expect him to get significant ice time. It likely won’t be top pairing like last year with Pionk, so that’s good. I’d expect that time to go to Brady Skjei. I can see DeAngelo dragging him around all season, that pairing had minimal success mostly due to DeAngelo being more of a positive than Staal a negative.
5. A lot gets made of taxes in the offseason, and it’s mostly from larger market teams (note: BAD large market teams). Yet I never hear a player citing taxes as a reason for going somewhere. I think the last time it got cited was when Robinson Cano signed in Seattle. Artemi Panarin took less money in his salary and got hit with a higher tax rate to sign in New York. Maybe have a better pitch than “taxes!”. Or don’t be a train wreck of an organization. That helps too.
6. Speaking of pitches, the Rangers have had a good run of years where they had a great pitch to free agents. Until two seasons ago, it was “play for a Stanley Cup contender.” Last year they didn’t sign any big fish. This year it’s “look at how great this rebuild is with all this young skill, you’re going to have a blast and you’ll compete shortly.” Always Be Closing.
7. This is a unique offseason for the Rangers. Usually by now, the roster is more or less set and we have an idea of who is going to break camp. This year, the Rangers need to make moves just to be cap compliant. More is coming, and it’s going to be big moves too. It may not be until September, but something else is coming. Also the roster is not set either, with a lot of positions up for grabs. Makes you wonder how camp will go.