Musings

Thoughts heading into the All Star Break

It's going to be a long week

The Rangers last played on Tuesday night and won’t play again until a week from tonight. It’s Day Three of the break and I’m in withdrawal, as I’m sure some of you are as well. The news is probably going to be slow through the weekend for the All Star Game, but I’m sure we will hear some trade rumors heat up before the Rangers take the ice again next Friday. So here are my weekend thoughts.

1. Kudos to Chris Kreider on his first All Star appearance. I know a lot of people expected the honor to go to Mika Zibanejad once Artemi Panarin bowed out, but it’s a winger/winger swap. Kreider, who had a slow start to the season, has been great over the past six weeks. It is no coincidence that his hot play of late has coincided with the Rangers playing better overall hockey. He’s an important cog on this team.

2. I am a little surprised we haven’t heard any Jesper Fast trade rumors. Fast is due a raise on his $1.85 million salary, and at 28 years old, is in a similar spot to Kreider. Sure he will cost a lot less than Kreider, but he also produces less offense on the score sheet. There are cases for and against trading Fast, like there are cases for and against trading Kreider. There’s no wrong answer here, other than letting them walk for nothing at free agency.

3. It was reported that the Rangers and Lias Andersson have been chatting again, with John Davidson personally making the effort on behalf of the Rangers. I don’t know how this ends, and both sides are at fault for how this went down. But the thawing in the relationship, coupled with Andersson playing hockey again, likely helps trade value. That said, with Andersson on record saying there’s hockey in Sweden and he’d be happy at home, he’s not helping his trade value at all.

4. Anthony Stewart on TSN said that Henrik Lundqvist “had too many losses to be a Hall of Famer” before staunchly defending Carey Price and his Hall of Fame resume. Let’s be clear here: Both belong in the Hall. But losses? Really? Let’s review the top goalie loss totals, in order: Brodeur (397), Luongo (392), CuJo (352), Meloche (351), Worsley (348), Beezer (346), Burke (341), Sawchuk (336), Khabibulin (334), Lumley (328), Hall (326), Belfour (320), Roy (315), Hank (308), Espo (306), Kolzig (297), Fuhr (295), Vachon (293), Vokoun (288), Millen (284).

5. That’s the top 20 goalies in career losses. Nine are in the HOF currently. Brodeur will get in, as will Hank. CuJo might. That’s more than half of the top-20 goalies in losses being in the Hall of Fame. There are currently 35 goalies in the Hall, and Brodeur/Hank make it 37, CuJo maybe 38. The key here is longevity, not losses. If you play for 20 years, you’re going to have 300 close to 300 losses. Even the staunchest Hank haters say he’s a Hall of Famer. If anything, Stewart stating that Hank doesn’t belong should put an end to the “play the game, nerd” argument because Stewart did play the game at the NHL level and he still had that stupid take.

6. I was directed to a Twitter thread by @ctmcnelis, and it was an interesting take on Kaapo Kakko’s struggles. He noted that Kakko rarely accepts the puck with his hands in a shooting position, which impacts his ability to shoot the puck off the pass. It’s a great read and it’s little details like this that are hard to see. When the Rangers take the ice again, I’m going to see if I can spot this too. If you guys see any technical analysis like this, send it my way.

7. Elliotte Friedman noted in his 31 Thoughts that the Rangers are among a group of teams “waiting to see” how their playoff hopes play out over the next month. I don’t think the Rangers are stupid, and I think they know the playoffs are a long shot. It looks like 98 points gets you in the playoffs in the Metro, so the Rangers would need 48 points over their next 34 games, an average of 1.4 points in the standings per game. They’d also need to leapfrog five teams, so not all of their 48 points are created equal.

8. I highly doubt the Rangers keep this three goalie rotation for the rest of the year, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility either. There will be far more suitors for Alex Georgiev at the draft than at the trade deadline, and more opportunities to create a package for someone elite. Then again, it looks like Georgiev can fetch a solid forward on his own. I mentioned this on the podcast, but I lean Kevin Labanc.

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  • Anthony Stewart’s remark is down right idiotic, and shows that some talk thru their hind end rather than using their brain, just to be heard. For years Hank didn’t have a decent defense in front of him, yet he succeeded, but that doesn’t count, right Anthony? Moron…..

    I see the team signing Fast, he would be cheap enough, and is of value as a fourth line guy, PK, etc. He is our version of the EverReady Bunny.

    Lias will go to another team, either as a one for one deal, or a package deal, but he’s as good as gone today. It’s good to see that JD is getting involved, and maybe he uncovers the root cause of this fiasco.

    Alex Georgiev should be traded before the deadline. Toronto will be desperate, and could give us a huge return for him. Nylander anyone? They are top heavy with forwards, need cap space, and we could help them with a d-man as well to get the deal done.

    The idea that the Rangers are waiting to see what direction they will go is a no brainer, there still is a chance to make the
    PO’s, as slim as it is, but never show your hand before you have to in order to maximize the returns on any proposed deals.

    The All-Star game will be show time for Chris Kreider, and here is where the interest for his services will start to peak. There are a few teams that can give us a #1, and a good young NHL ready prospect in return. I like Chris, and he will be missed, but I suspect he wants out of here, or he would have signed a new contract by now!!!!! Time will answer a few of these questions soon enough…….

    • Good morning Walt!!!!!

      I would say that Kreider doesn’t want out of here as much as he might want to make the most of what might be his last chance at a big contract. The Rangers might not be in a position to do that which is a shame, but so it goes in the cap era.

      • Peter

        Hi pal, hope all is well with you today. You may be right about Chris, and this is the very reason why I’m so adamantly opposed to buying people out. Shatty as an example, $6 million worth of dead cap space that could have put a huge dent in the cost to retain Kreider. Not to put anyone down, but there are plenty on this site that want to buy out this man, and that man, without thinking of the long term implications, and making it difficult to conduct business, and losing assets. This mind set has got to stop, ASAP, because it’s killing us now, and will in the future as well!!!!!!

        • People who do not understand the merit of the buyout are the ones who are not thinking long term.
          once you signed Panarin the team had to go down the buyout route. You have Trouba, Fox, ADA, and Shittykirk on the right side, what else would you have them do? Keep Pionk?
          You sign CK20 to a 7 yr deal @ $ 7mil you will be buying out the end of that contract as well.
          You have one more year of buyouts, Hank, Staal and Smith are prime candidates this year and after that you should be pretty much clear of them. If you buyout all three you can sign CK20 to that contract and then bitch about it 7 years from now lol. Yeah you will have $ 16 mil in dead space but so what, REBUILD remember? And you rid yourself of the 3 worst players at their positions and replace them with younger better cheaper options.

        • Yo little Pete.

          Maybe Kreider wants to stay, that might be true… But so far the reports since the summer up until now show that JG and the Rangers arent interested in trying to negotiate a contract.

          • Little Pete? Are you feeling okay? Have the doctor re-check your meds.

            Kreider has actually said in interviews that he has been talking to the Rangers about that and that the two parties have been open and transparent with each other. Your ‘reports’ are apparently not credible.

          • Hey Avery—are those the same reports that said Hayes would stay over Kreider last year?

    • Walt, TSN has more propaganda for the Canadian teams than China and Russia have for their people in power, combined. They’re a rag and they even were blustering how great their Canadian teams were in the years that no Canadian teams made the playoffs.

      In other words, nothing to see or read here, from them. The only legit writer there is Travis Yost who does some great analytics articles. Mackenzie and Dreger are great for rumors. Otherwise, it’s pro Canadian trash.

    • Super… Toronto is trading a kid on the brink of stardom possibly super-stardom for a back-up goalie and an overpaid defenseman? If you substituted DeAngelo for Skjei you MIGHT get them to stop laughing.

      • Toronto’s in a similar situation to the Rangers. They need cap relief, and everyone knows it. They also need goaltending, and Georgiev’s cheaper, and probably better, than either Andersen or Hutchinson.

  • lebrun wrote this morning they are in wait and see mode , although ten points out. probably just mark making speak. anyway the only way I will be livid here is if they keep Kreider around for merely 34 games.

  • Was it necessary to buyout Shatty? Leadership will tell you yes because they wanted to sign Panarin and fit Trouba….I would have kept Shatty and bought out Staal……..but leadership is enamored with Staal and it’s quite possible that Staal could still be with the club next season.

    • You can’t. A Kreider contract in length and value will severely handcuff us in 2022/23. Doubt he will take a discount to the point where its doable for the Rangers.

  • I am surprised everyone has given up on the Lundqvist trade rumor. For Henry to be so calm and respectful of his playing time while all 3 have been on the roster tells me he has has let management know he is open to a team or two. I think Roy and Bourgue were seen having coffee with him in Tribeca yesterday morning. Even it that happens, it doesn’t significantly change JD/JG’s approach to the Kreider/DeNAgelo/Skeij situation. Ideally they swap out Skeij contract (eh trade) for DeAngelo. Then the Kreider decision gets a little tougher. If they can’t trade Skeij, then my guess is both Kreider and DeAngelo get traded. A lot of moving parts as they do their best to incorporate Anderson and perhaps Smith in one or two of the trades. A broadcaster the other night alluding to Staal perhaps being united with his brother in Carolina almost made me choke with laughter. Wishful but never happening.

  • “both sides are at fault for how this went down.”

    Not at all, the only mistake the Rangers made was in not trading Lias as soon as they saw he would never be very good.

    On Lundqvist: Counting losses is silly, but so is counting wins, another mark of longevity. It is interesting that you assumed Brodeur (slam dunk of course) and Hank were sure HOFers, but did not credit Luongo, who had a better career than Hank.

    Goalies in the HOF are a strange mix. Compare Eddie Giacomin, John Vanbiesbrouck, Henrik Lundqvist. Surely anyone who looks at this trio fairly can see that Eddie G was a distant third. But he played in a low scoring era in which pretty much every goalie got into the Hall. After Billy Smith, HOF goalies became quite rare – rare to the point that you doubt Luongo and no one gives the Beeser a shot at all. Had Hank played for the Winnipeg Jets, he would not get in either by recent standards.

    I agree that of Vanbiesbrouck, Luongo, Lundqvist, Hank is most likely to get in. While Luongo is the best of the trio and the other two are roughly equal, the King is a media phenom and that means so much. Ironically, the Beeser has to be discredited because his team didn’t think he could win the Cup, while Hank gets more credit for actually failing to win the Cup.

    My personal take BTW. If Hank had retired immediately after losing to LA, would he have gotten into the Hall? That to me is a hard question, though I think the answer may well be yes – a short but spectacular career. I believe though that to an unbiased observer, nothing he has done since that game should have strengthened the case. Fortunately for Hank, there are no unbiased observers in the voting pool.

    • re lias, they knew that after the first traverse city tournament in 2017 when gordie chewed them out to MSG. by then its too late, the scouts know.

    • Take out Luongo’s Vancouver years and how good is that win/loss record?

      Luongo had one of the best teams of his era and had zero Cups.

      Hank had by far one of the worst talented playoff teams year in and year out and almost won the Cup.

    • Seriously, both goalies won an Olympic gold. Both got to the Stanley Cup finals exactly once. Luongo’s team scored seven goals for him in 7 games and he managed to get to Game 7. Hank’s team scored ten goals for him in 5 games and he got crushed. If one looks up GSAA for career, one sees Luongo has more. Save percentages, Luongo wins regular season .919 to .918 while Hank wins playoffs .922 to .918. Both have losing playoff records, 61-65 and 34-35 with Hank benefiting from playing with better teams as Luongo spent most of his career with Florida. Luongo has more shutouts of course.

      Sure, an argument can be made that Hank was the better goalie, but if you think the point is not even debatable, thinking is not actually what you are doing.

      • I think they were both some of the absolute best of their era. Why debate which was better? That’s literally irrelevant. Besides, Hank’s career isn’t even over yet.

  • I’d like to see the Leafs and Rangers pull off a deal. I don’t know much about the Leafs except:
    -They have a bunch scoring forwards
    -They need a good backup goalie
    -They need a defensive defenseman or 2
    -Their current forwards don’t help out their defense because they’re too busy trying to score.
    -As it stands now they’re a playoff bubble team.

    It seems like the Rangers could be able to help out Toronto
    With a goalie (Georgie) and/or a defensive forward like Fast. I don’t know what the return would be, but what do you all think? Or what about trading Fast and Kreider (who’s defensively responsible) for a bigger return? What sort of returns could the Rangers get from the Leafs?

    • I think Toronto could only take J+Kreider as a rental, because they can’t afford the cap space to re-sign him, unless they trade someone making equal or higher bucks in return (Nylander?), but then, what the point? Maybe Georgiev. Skjei. Howden, and Andersson for Nylander?

      • Joe, I see your point. I was thinking they might part with their 1st rnd pick (if they have one) and that might not be so bad since they might not even make the playoffs. So it would be in high teens instead of mid-high 20’s. Just thinking out loud…

        I don’t think Leafs would do ur proposed trade for Nylander, plus I don’t think the Rangers could afford him under the cap.

  • I refuse to really think about it … what happens will happen and 4 times out of 5 all the pundits are wrong about the details of any trade possibility. I mean we don’t even know how seriously they’re talking to Chris, how seriously they’re trying to sell Hank on accepting a trade or flat out are looking to move Georgi … we don’t really know if they’re trying to shop Skjei, or ADA or Strome for that matter. What about Fast? Not a peep — and I think he’s the most under the radar potential get at the trade deadline. At least with fast you know what you’re getting, he’s consistent and if you expect him to shore up your 3rd or 4th line he’s almost guaranteed to do that.

    One thing I do think about though is the fact the Rangers don’t seem to negotiate during the season, unless they’re extremely great at hiding it … but I doubt it. If I were a player I would have some strong feelings that the team doesn’t really want me back … I may be in favor of selling off assets, but some veteran leadership is required.

    • Certainly your idea of avoiding speculation is quite reasonable, but some comments on your remarks.

      I think Larry Brooks has the Lundqvist situation exactly right. He says the Rangers won’t ask Hank to waive him NMC without an “offer” in hand and they won’t solicit offers unless Hank says he is ok with it. So, if there is to be a trade, the first move must be made by either Hank or some team that wants him. Until one of those things happens, Gorton sits on his hands.

      The Rangers are reported to be talking to Kreider. Hank, Girardi, Staal, even Talbot got extensions during the season. I don’t think the Rangers have problems with in-season negotiations. Sure, if they know that they will part company, they won’t negotiate – and sometimes they may wait on one player while another situation is resolved, but I think like everyone, they would prefer not to let it get to free agency.

      I really want to keep Fast. In my book, five of the nine best forwards on the Rangers are free agents (though Strome and Lemieux are at least restricted). I expect that two guys not on my list (Kakko, Kravtsov) will emerge as top six forwards – and some may include Howden in the top nine, but otherwise the cupboard is bare. So disposing of Kreider, Strome, Fast, McKegg would be devastating unless one was acquiring a new set of forwards. I expect Fast to be signed for a relatively small raise. He simply doesn’t command a lot and frankly a player like him is more valuable in a system he knows.

      Reality is that if you move forwards at the deadline, you need warm bodies to replace them next year and the Rangers have not been able to find enough warm bodies up front for three years running now.

      • #1: Larry Brooks? You mean Mr. I make stuff up if it suits me?
        #2: Dreger just reported they haven’t talked to Kreider and/or his agent … so who knows?
        #3: Hank, Girardi, Staal, even Talbot? Ancient history when compared to post letter to the fans deals.
        #4: I agree about Fast, would have done the deal over the summer. I think he’s the type of guy that won’t go off in FA for an extra 500k or an extra year … but the Rangers need to ask him. The fact he isn’t talked about makes me think they might actually be talking.
        #5: The only warm bodies I see are Kravtsov and maybe maybe maybe Barron … and Andersson if they don’t do a deal. If that’s the case we’re in trouble because we would be taking a step back, at least for the foreseeable future. So clearly they will be trading forwards for forwards, maybe even goalie for forwards. I actually hope they leave the D’ alone unless Staal can be traded (which he won’t be). Re: Skjei: I’m on the fence … but in part because of Trouba I think they hold him.

    • I guess if I had Crosby, Igor, Latang, and the rest of that team that won three cups with Crosby already in front of me, it would make me a NHL-HOF goalie as well!!!!!
      All this is non-sense to me………….

  • These last 2 losses really hurt the playoff chances, as the Rangers were already 6 pts behind before those losses. Losing to the CBJs and the Isles makes it seem like they lost 8 pts, not just 4, since those teams are the teams the Rangers have to leap frog over.

    Traded: IMO Kreider and Georgiev.
    50/50 traded: IMO Strome. He’s got RFA with arb status so trading him at the draft is not out of the realm of possibility.
    At first traded but now staying: IMO Fast. Especially of both Kreider and Strome go at the deadline. They keep Jesper for vet leadership.
    I just don’t know: IMO Buch. He should stay but you never know.

    • I agree with your playoff assessment regarding the last two losses. They hurt. But I think they’re playing better and more consistent ever since the Vancouver game. There are no more stinker games like they had early in the year.

      Agree with you regarding Georgie and Kreids getting moved. What kind of return are you envisioning for them?

      • They are playing better, no question. They have to learn how to win the 2-1/3-2 games on a regular basis.

        This is where the youth issue comes into play.

    • Agree with all your predictions except the Fast one. I think he gets traded. He had an expiring contract and it’s better to get something then potentially losing him for nothing

      • I originally had Fast on my trade list as well, but I believe that if both Kreider and Strome are traded then I think that Fast stays.

  • Funny how the hof debate on New York players revolves around losses. That analyst jumped on the Eli Manning debate points for hank. Except Eli has two mvps and two rings.

    But does that argument hold water because hank has no cups.

    Man if zucc was 6” taller he would have gotten hit on the shoulder and. It in the head.

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