State of the Rangers

During a rebuild, not all patience is created equal

The NY Rangers need to be patient with prospects

There is a saying when it comes to rebuild. It’s a one word saying, and it’s just “patience.” Patience leads to good things. Patience with the prospects is perhaps the second most critical aspect of a rebuild to scouting/drafting. But patience is an interesting phrase, and not all patience is created equal in a rebuild.

Let me pose a question.

Who is it more important to be patient with?

  • The 26 year old former first round pick on his third team that has one good season?
  • The 20 year old top-ten round pick playing in his first full NHL season?

The answer is pretty clear. The 26 year old likely is what he is at this point, meanwhile the 20 year old is a blank slate and an unknown. Patience with the former in a role that does not fit him may stunt the development and growth of the latter.

Now none of this necessarily matters after two games, especially with a week off in between. But it is clear I’m talking about Ryan Strome, who has been bad since camp opened, and Lias Andersson, who has been quite good. The leash on Strome as the 2C should be significantly shorter than Andersson if/when Andersson is given a shot in that role.

Let me pose the same question, but with two different players:

  • The 25 year old with a big contract
  • The 21 year old rookie

The answer here is again the same. The 21 year old rookie should have the longer leash. Even if the 25 year old is Brady Skjei. Skjei hasn’t had the benefit of playing with anyone good for basically his entire career, so there is some room for improvement, but he’s developed some bad snow angel habits that need to be broken. Meanwhile Libor Hajek is a blank slate and, quite honestly, an unknown quantity.

These are two examples that impact the Rangers right now. However there are other scenarios in which scaled patience will play a role. Andersson (or Strome, depending on how that first patience exercise goes) vs. Filip Chytil as the 2C is the next big debate. Assuming Andersson eventually gets a shot, he’s not as skilled as Chytil. Thus the leash for Andersson should be shorter than it is for Chytil.

This is an exercise in grey areas and understanding context. In the social media era, we are prone to black-and-white arguments, but that is not the case here or in real life. The development track for the prospects tagged as the future is the most important part of this rebuild, and that requires flexibility and adjustments. It also requires a certain amount of patience for the right players. Not all patience is created equal in a rebuild.

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  • Lias would’ve been caved against Winnipeg(and was, all corsi aside), will have matchup problems against Edmonton top 9. Just size/skill matchups.

    Patience is also about not rushing your youth into battle just to make them cannon fodder.

    • Excellent point that seems to be missing from the discourse. Most prospects are not well served by advancing to NHL before they’re ready. Most successful teams have their high draft picks play in the minors first. Here, too many want to see the top guys start on Rangers. Understandable, but misguided.

  • The value you put on players also varies depending on where you are in the phase of a rebuild or if you are fighting for a playoff spot. Strome, at a wing, may be more valuable than Lias as a center if we are in a playoff race. I think as we are in the last year of a rebuild (my vision), we need to see what we have on the roster and in the AHL. Is Chytil a legit center? Can Kraftsov or Lettieri be a scoring winger? Is the AHL defense good enough to play regular shifts at the NHL level? To me, these are questions that need to be answered over whether Strome is a good enough 2C or if Skjei is a keeper.

    • “we need to see what we have on the roster and in the AHL.”

      IMO, we don’t need to see anything. We are just fans. Nor frankly should this be a high priority in the organization. The primary focus of the the next two months should be making Kakko, Chityl, Kravtsov, Howden, Andersson, Hajek, Fox, DeAngelo, Lindgren, Shesterkin, Day, Keane the best players they can be. As you develop them, you naturally discover how far they will go.

      And development is complicated. You develop attitude, discipline, and skills.

  • Actually, your blueprint is all black and white. Patience should be used situationally with each player treated differently. Obviously, taking the long view, you realize that how you handle Kakko, Kravtsov, Chityl is more important than how you handle Andersson, Howden because of the talent differential, but that doesn’t mean cutting those players more slack. Sometimes maximizing the value of a player requires patience and sometimes it requires a kick in the teeth – though the latter rarely works with older players.

    Where patience is really needed though is among fans. Stop insisting that young players are better than veterans because you want them to be. And, as for the 2C role, if the Rangers truly lack a 2C, then whoever plays that role is going to be a failure. The best choice to be that failure is likely Ryan Strome. We do not want that failure to be a kid.

    • Since Dave has put up two articles in the last 4 days about Lias’ ice-time, I’d say patience from the internet bloggers is lacking right now. That’s the bigger issue IMHO. You all have it down to a science on how to whip up people’s emotions over nonsense.

      They’ll get there, don’t worry. Give it some time (cough…patience). None of the three were spectacular in pre-season, so not sure why you think it would all be better now. That’s not developing players at all, to just throw them out there like that. That’s actually how you ruin prospects.

      No doubt that one of the three will be centering the 2nd line consistently at some point in the season. No doubt you’ll also disagree with whichever one DQ chooses based on a small sample size…

    • “Stop insisting that young players are better than veterans”

      I don’t think anyone is saying that Raymond.

      What I am saying, is that playing younger players is in line with the direction of the team and better for the team in the long-term. So “winning” is not supposed to be the priority at this moment. Basically allowing young players to “play into their intended roles.”

      The Rangers could load up on vets and make the playoffs as a 7 or 8 seed. Been there, done that. But making the playoffs as a 7 or 8 seed with young players is an infinitely better scenario even though it is the same result.

      • With the lottery, winning is always a priority, but #2 is knowing whether to fish or cut bait.

        They handled it well last year, not a lot of fat to cut right now beyond Strome and they need to get him going to up that value.

        • The Rangers may not make the playoffs this year but they should not get a lottery pick either.

          I hear that this is a very deep draft so getting a middle round pick may not hurt as much.

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