Three questions for the mailbag this week. As always, use the widget on the right to submit your questions to be answered as part of this post.
I guess this is more of a statement than a question, but there was a good amount of frustration when the Rangers bought out Kevin Shattenkirk instead of Marc Staal. The cap implications for next year aside, Staal has struggled for quite some time while Shattenkirk –overpaid as he was– was still somewhat useful, even on one knee. I get why the team did it, they needed the immediate cap space and kicked the can down the road, but it certainly didn’t lead to them dressing their best possible defense.
As for pairing Shattenkirk with Jacob Trouba, I doubt that would have happened. David Quinn never even budged off his top pairing of Trouba with Brady Skjei. That leaves any combination of Shattenkirk, Tony DeAngelo, Libor Hajek, and Adam Fox. Don’t know how that would have played out.
Red asks: If Kreider is dealt, how would you rank the contenders to move to 2LW between Chytil, Andersson, and Kravtsov, regardless of impact to other positions?
This was submitted before the roster cuts, so there’s a bit of a bias here now. If I’m ranking the prospects as you put here, I’d put Vitali Kravtsov first, then Filip Chytil, then Lias Andersson. I ranked them based purely on offensive ceiling, without any other factors impacting my decision.
However I wouldn’t change the rankings even if I were to factor in position and team impact. The Rangers need Chytil and Andersson to develop as centers, as they were drafted. Kravtsov is the pure winger. Since he had a strong camp, I’d have no problem inserting him into the lineup right away while letting Chytil work on rounding out his game as a center.
Wild card: Brett Howden should be a winger, not a center.
Ray from NJ asks: Thank you for the writeup on Girardi. He was my all time favorite Ranger, and while he did not have the success of a Leetch or Messier or Lundqvist, Girardi has always been my guy.
As Justin wrote in his ode, Girardi was a complicated Ranger. He was a true warrior, playing through any injury or bruise or whatever came his way. It symbolizes his strength in getting to the NHL as an undrafted free agent, then to the ECHL, then the AHL, then finally the Rangers. He’s a blue collar guy that just worked to get to where he was.
What made Girardi’s career as a Ranger complicated had nothing to do with him as a player or person. It was all beyond his control. The game changed rapidly and immediately after he signed his big contract extension. Then as he kept getting caved in, Alain Vigneault kept trotting him out there on the top pair, blind to the obvious deficiencies. Girardi did what he was paid to do – he showed up, he played to the best of his ability, and he rarely missed a shift. That’s all you can ask of the player. The rest was beyond his control."Mailbag: Trouba and Shattenkirk; LW ranks beyond Kreider; Girardi",