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.
9. Have you subscribed to the podcast yet? You should!