This has been a rough week. We are all excited for hockey to start, we get two Rangers wins, and then we sit around for a week. Then we get a game today, then we sit around for a week. Who thought of this schedule? I certainly didn’t, but I have other thoughts.
1. The Blueshirts gave us something to talk about with the Vlad Namestnikov trade. Rob had pointed out that this was eventually coming, and Jeff Gorton admitted as such. They had been trying to move him since the summer, but Gorton wasn’t comfortable with the deal until this week. The trade was less about trying to compete and more about shedding a $4 million fourth liner to create cap and roster flexibility. We won’t see any additional moves just yet, but rest assured they will come.
2. There’s a lot of talk about patience, but as mentioned not all patience is created equal in a rebuild. The biggest note here is on Ryan Strome, who has played poorly to start the season. It’s only been two games, so I’m not overly concerned that 1) he’s struggling or, 2) that he hasn’t been moved down the lineup yet. It’s been over a week into the season but only two games. He won’t finish the season as the 2C.
3. I’m more concerned that Lias Andersson, who has been the best non-Mika Zibanejad center so far, both by eyes and by stats, can’t seem to get more ice time. David Quinn even said he wants to see more, and my question is what else does he need to do? His skating is vastly improved, he’s clearly doing the defensive things right since he’s on PK1. What else is there? Or perhaps that was just a push for the kid? I don’t think he will finish the season as the 4C, but this is something I keep my eye on more than Strome’s spot in the roster.
4. The revamped blue line came into the season with a lot of hype, but in reality we should be tempering those expectations. Tony DeAngelo is the seasoned veteran with the Rangers on the right side with a whole one year of experience with DQ. Jacob Trouba is learning a new system and Adam Fox is a rookie. They will get better as the season progresses, but there is a major learning curve there. Plus the left side is a giant ball of unknown at the moment, which will impact the overall performance of the blue liners.
5. I see this a lot in the comments that the Rangers lack back checking forwards. I just wonder what this is based on. It seems that people see the name on a jersey and assume there is no back checking. Give me specific examples and I’ll lend credence to this point. I haven’t seen it, and I’m looking for it. Even in the example I gave yesterday about conceding the blue line, there were two forwards back. Both examples from last year too. Give me video proof please of multiple instances. You know – back up your argument with facts and not opinions.
6. Who made up this schedule? Yeesh.