Irresponsible RumormongeringMusings

NHL GMs are boring and risk-averse, and that sucks

It also hinders NYR's ability to keep Chris Kreider

Two days ago, the NBA trade deadline came and went with a characteristic flourish. Star players were involved. Teams battling for playoff spots significantly altered their rosters, and contenders loaded up for title runs. Huge contracts (previously considered unmovable) moved – imagine that! Good players were acquired and then immediately waived or traded again. Several transactions involved more than two teams.

NBA General Managers are masters at manipulating the league’s salary cap/luxury tax system. They are very willing to take risks. Young players with first-round pedigrees are moved frequently. Teams are willing to absorb big contracts and are often incentivized to do so because of much more free and frequent player movement in free agency. Cap space and expiring contracts are prized assets in the NBA.

All of this action is in stark contrast to what will likely happen at the NHL trade deadline on February 24. If history is any indication, teams below the playoff line will be sellers, while “contenders” will either buy to improve their teams at the margins or stand pat. NHL GMs are notoriously risk-averse, and tend to stick to that script. There will likely be no major roster shake-ups, movement of star players, or any three-team trades. And of course, Darren Dreger will tweet the terms of a deal 44 seconds after a team’s official account announces it. The NHL really knows how to entertain, eh?

How does this all apply to the Rangers? It has become increasingly clear that they need to do everything in their power to keep Chris Kreider. In order to do that, they are going to have to shake up their roster somewhat significantly due to the salary cap constraints that loom for next season (thanks, Kevin Shattenkirk buyout, and shout-out to Larry Brooks for initially ignoring the $6M cap charge on next season’s books while pitching fans on why the buyout was such a good idea last summer. Bang-up journalism there, my guy). Don’t count on Kreider re-signing here on July 1 after the Rangers trade him, either. They won’t be able to offer him the best contract and once he gets a taste of hockey outside New York, money will win out over nostalgia.

So what can the Rangers do? Obviously they’ll consider trading restricted free agents instead, namely Ryan Strome and Tony DeAngelo. The counter-argument of course is that both players are enjoying breakout seasons and won’t be easily replaced. Could Joey Keane or Nils Lundkvist fill the void left by DeAngelo, one of the most dynamic offensive-defensemen in the NHL? There’s no proof they could (especially immediately), and hope is not a strategy. In regards to Strome, center depth is hugely important, and his chemistry with Artemi Panarin cannot be ignored. Is there a ready-made Strome replacement in the system currently? I don’t see one.

There are other options, however. I’d imagine there are likely multiple teams that would be interested in Brady Skjei. Could a suddenly improved Marc Staal be moved to a Western Conference team that values playoff experience and a heavy style of play? For those of you screaming about contracts, this is where a third team could potentially enter the fray and take on a big cap hit to make the dollars work. What about including Brett Howden in a trade as a sweetener? Pavel Buchnevich (DISCLAIMER: I’m not arguing he should be traded) is another potential chip. The Rangers currently have cap space which they can use to potentially take on a contract if necessary, not to mention multiple draft picks in rounds 3 and 7 of this June’s draft.

The buyer/seller dichotomy in the NHL is a piece of conventional wisdom that the Rangers would do well to ignore. They can be both at this trade deadline. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, it takes two (in some cases, three) to tango. Even if Jeff Gorton wants to get creative, is there a willing dance partner among the other 30 NHL GMs? More likely, rival executives will keep pitching him picks and prospects because the Rangers look like sellers given their current position in the standings.

The point is this: the Rangers cannot punt on multiple seasons now, not with the clock ticking on Artemi Panarin’s prime and Mika Zibanejad’s cap-friendly contract. Letting Chris Kreider walk significantly jeopardizes the team’s playoff chances for next year, as well as any ability to legitimately compete for a Stanley Cup in two seasons (which Dave has pegged as the year the “window” truly opens; I tend to agree). Pinning too much hope on young players, and thus becoming overly reliant on them, is not a solution either.

Kreider has done his job, making this a very difficult decision for management. Now management needs to get creative in order to keep him. Good luck with that.

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  • I was reading the morning Kyle Connor may be a available at the right price. That price being defensive help for Winnepeg and Bowen Byram was mentioned. I’d certainly hope our management is looking into that situation. He’d be a great pick up. And we have plenty of defensive.e assets.

  • Apples and Oranges Rob. NBA drafts players that are virtually PRO ready, usually 22-23 years old, they can have a big impact within a year or two … NHL teams draft 18 year olds and despite all the hype about some 1st rounders they often turn out to be “meh” players and take years to develop. Secondly the money is different, NBA teams can afford to play around with 20-30M. Thirdly, NBA teams need a good 7-8 players … NHL teams need to make sure that aside from a couple of stars that they have real depth to their lineup, your 4th liners need to contribute and at least play 20% of the time — in the NBA those equivalent 4th liners only get in when the game is a blowout and they have no impact on a game.

    In general NHL GMs have to be a bit more cautious, they can’t afford to throw money away and they can’t bounce back as easily from a bad trade.

    • Since when does the NBA draft players that are “usually 22-23 years old”? Of the top 10 picks in the 2019 NBA draft, just TWO were born before 1999, but FOUR were born in 2000, making them 19 years old when drafted. Most of them will be on their NBA team in their first year, as well.

      • Ok Joe, point taken … yeah the NBA is changing …. but suffice to say that these kids that get drafted are “presumed” to be NBA ready or damn close, otherwise they just stick it out a few more years in College and don’t opt into the draft. In the NHL you’re a free agent after 20 and teams are laser focused on 18 year olds since they’re ALL opted in.

        • I think that it primarily reflects a difference in the games. No matter how you cut it, BBall is much more of a one on one game, where pure talent is more valuable, and trumps team chemistry. Yes, there are set plays, and attempts to double team on D, but if it’s a team’s star player, he’s going to try and isolate one defender and go at him. Hockey is a much more team oriented game, where offense is driven through passes (even on breakaways, a two on one with a pass is much more likely to end up in a goal than a one on one), and players try to set each other up on a regular basis (in the case of the Rangers, too much so). It takes much longer to establish the team chemistry that’s needed in hockey, especially when you consider the impact of changes on the fly, where lines can be disrupted so easily.

  • I would jettison, some how, some way: Staal, Smith, Fast, Strome, Skjei, and Georgiev. Try to trade them for young, NHL ready wingers/centers.

    Trades, buyouts, whatever it takes.

    And then re-sign Kreider and DeAngelo.

    • Why Fast and why not Hank instead of Georgiev? Even Strome serves his purpose, but he might be a case of selling high. Re: Skjei. he’s played better the last 15-20 games, still I agree that if you can trade him for something worthwhile, give that money to ADA and let ADA play on the left side.

      • Why Fast? Because he does not need to be paid $3M per. Get him to take $2.5M then he can stay.

        Why Hank instead of Georgiev? Because Hank, even at an advanced age, can play better than Georgiev when playing half the season. Check Georgiev’s stats since the middle of Dec.

        Skjei stinks. I’m done defending him. He’s a turnover machine. And the Rangers could use the cap space.

        • I don’t necessarily agree with your entire plan, but it is generally reasonable. But you do have a blind spot at the goalie position. Igor Shesterkin has won the #1 goalie position. We don’t want either Hank or Georgiev playing half the season next year. We want Shesty in there for 60 games with his backup playing 20.

          So who do we want as the backup. Who is better now and who will be better next year? We can argue about that but I think it is pretty clear that the evidence is inconclusive. Which is the better salary cap decision? That’s a no-brainer. But there is also a third factor – which is maybe why you want him to stay and I want him gone. Shesty WILL take the Rangers to the playoffs. And if Shesty has even a hint of a rocky patch, who comes in to the rescue.

          I do not want our new star looking over his shoulder.

          • But Raymond, if Hank does not waive his NMC, then all other discussion about his departing is null and void.

            Unless they buy him out and I’m pretty sure that they will not do that to him.

          • JFTR, Larry Brooks is writing like the Rangers won’t trade Georgi and the Lundqvist buyout is pretty much a done deal. Obviously he is not always right, but neither is he stupid. Some suspect that the FO gives him things just to see how fans will react and maybe this is one of those times.

            The facts are pretty clear.
            1. The Rangers cannot trade Georgiev for a truly meaningful asset becasue goalies don’t net much in trade and truthfully, Georgi has not proven himself to be a can’t miss starting goaltender.

            2. If you are committed to the rebuild and want to go the buyout route, the Lundqvist buyout nets the most money.

            3. You and Sittoo and a lot of other people are going to be really mad if Hank is bought out.

            With #2 screaming do it and #3 screaming don’t you dare, who knows what JG will do. Well, as soon as I wrote this, I realized this is one decision JG won’t make. This ball is in JD’s court.

            The Rangers did trade Brian Leetch.

    • Kreider is doing Kreider things. This is his hot stretch before he cools down and disappears. It happens every year, just this time at the deadline tricking people into thinking he needs to be resigned. He has to go.

      • I won’t disagree, but CK still does what no other Ranger in the entire org can do. Even when CK is a 50% participant.

    • I’m really having my doubts about Kreider being signed……This leadership is hell-bent on this rebuilding long term from the juniors on up to the NHL level..I don’t know why they signed Panarin and Trouba if JD keeps stressing patience and happiness with current direction…..We are wasting Panarins best years IMO…….I hope I’m wrong, but starting to look a little like Edmonton here……….

      • Understood and I don’t disagree with you.

        I will tell you that as much inside info as I have available to me, no one really knows what the Rangers are going to do with CK. Maybe because the Rangers do not even know what they are going to do. I imagine it depends on the possible trade return out there and available to the Rangers.

        I know that STL and Bos want him bad. Maybe the Avs as well.

  • Your kidding right, your bashing a paid professional journalist with insider information. Buying out Shattenkirk was a absolutely the right thing to do, we wouldn’t have panarin and trouba if not. Why dont you try to do some investigating journalism before you blog. The Rangers cannot afford Krieder they have 10mil in cap space next season with Fast, DeAngelo, Georgiev, Strome, Lemieux, and Di Gussepie all free agents that’s 6 roster spots needing to be filled. Krieder will be demanding 7 mill per. that leaves us with 3 mill, trades need to be made. You want to keep krieder? That means Trouba or skej would have to be traded. Also Marc Staal has a full NTC. That’s why your a blogger and not working for the NY Post

    • Unfortunately your math is entirely correct. It’s kinda puzzling that the buzz is that the Rangers are negotiating with Kreider’s people. If that is happening then Gorton has to be juggling a lot of other stuff if he is going to make this happen. I’m giving the following scenarios a percentage of happening if JD/JG want to keep Kreider:
      Staal buyout. ..98%
      Strome gone… 95%
      Fast gone…….. 85%
      Skeij gone …….60%
      Tony D gone ….30%. … ADA goes in a trade that only nets us a lot.
      Smith gone …… 5% …. he probably would be a demotion candidate

      • CK should be signed but not before he is traded. The negotiations happening now are about informing the negotiations in the summer.

    • Larry Brooks is a clown. Guess what that makes you for defending him, Dominick? Larry Brooks is despised by Ranger players & coaches, and works for a paper where lying is considered journalism.

      If you’re gonna attack the writers here, maybe proofread your own post too.

      • Your calling me a clown? Your a jerkoff, I could care less about Larry Brooks. Figures you would defend a trash article like this.

      • Larry Brooks does not work for New York Times. That is the paper for liars.

        As for the NBA, not watchable. The players are over-the-top arrogant, the GMs are pot smoking fools (see Phil Jackson), the Commish is a manipulated puppet,

        I suggest never compare the NHL to The NBA

        • Larry said Kevin Hayes wouldnt be traded, he’d be signed—just last year. He’s been publicly cursed out by Torts and Dan Boyle. But sure, go ahead and defend that lying schmuck Brooks. Something tells me you’re used to defending losers like Brooks, who lie constantly and are despised by most normal people.

    • Actually we’ll have $16.5M in cap space, so it would be $9.5M left … and that’s before the salary cap increase of circa $2M … so $11.5M to sign ADA, Strome, Lemieux, Georgiev, DiGiussepe and Fast (assuming NO trades). Lemieux, Georgiev and DiGiussepe (assuming they resign him) might command in total between $4-4.5M at most — leaves us with $7M. I would assume both ADA and Strome will get bridge deals of between 2-4 years, without NTCs, say about $9-10M total which puts us over by about $2-3M … Fast would probably be looking at $3M, so we should be over by $5-6M. Of course MOST of that can be made up by buying out Staal ($2M+ savings) and trading Smith $4.35M (after the signing bonus is paid his salary is around $2M next year) — of course that necessitates replacing them with 2 ELCs. So it will be tight, but they could be in the ballpark.

  • Let me add one other thing. this is what a rebuild looks like. We didnt trade away our eastern conference championship team for picks and prospects to add them as sweeteners. Stop playing GM

  • Frankie

    Seems to me nobody is talking about how a team stays relevant over a number of years. In this time, we can keep a few players long term but you need a constant supply of young talent who are on their entry level contracts. Some people talk about keeping Kreider and Strome and D’Angelo and dumping a bunch of others that other teams probably are not interested in. Trying to keep Kreider, as much as I love his skill and speed handicaps you when you need to sign Chytil, Kakko, Shesterkin, Fox, and others as they reach the end of their ELC. This means you need to maximize the value of player and move on from them before they want big dollars and long term contracts with no movement clauses. I don’t envy the job of a GM trying to juggle the numbers and needs of the team. So I am left with the need to move Kreider, D’ Angelo, Fast, maybe Strome and Skjei, and bringing up several young defensemen, maximize the return and adding several high draft picks and NHL ready players. If you can grab a young player that turns into a Zibanajad, home run! If you draft a young player that turns into a Panarin, Grand Slam. The high draft picks you get for some of these players may not be ready for several years, but hopefully will be fully ripened and ready for the NHL when others are ready to trade. Trading, bridging or a long term contract is a tough decision. You need to take a chance on your scouting system and your coaches to pick the right players and develop them. I feel that AV and DQ and almost certainly Lindy Ruff have misused players like Miller, Buchnevich, Anderson, Kakko, Yandle, Shattenkirk, Pionk, and even Girardi and Stahl by not finding the right fit for them and putting them in situations that didn’t help them succeed. If Girardi can’t play for the Rangers but can play two more years with the Lightning, a much better team, it may be reasonable that they were looking at his skills in the wrong way. The same is true of Pionk, Yandle and Shattenkirk. Hopefully DQ will get better at using players and those in charge in Hartford will do a good job with the better players they have now. I mentioned trading D’Angelo who I like a lot but his contract demands will be sky high for a third pair defenseman. Bitterness in arbitration is not going to help his trade value. You need to bet that one of your right D like Lundkwist (?) or Rykov can do the job.
    We need frequent turnover if we are to keep Panarin and Trouba and the next players we will reward with a long term contract in this salary cap era. These are my thoughts, hopefully looking at the situation in a slightly different way. It’s not a matter of exactly who you keep but understanding that you can’t keep everyone even when they get to be pretty good.

    • “Seems to me nobody is talking about how a team stays relevant over a number of years.”

      Then you do not read my posts. Again, for the record:

      Keepers on the current team: Kreider, Zib, Buch, Panarin, Chytil, Kakko, Lemiuex, Trouba, Fox, DeAngelo, Lindgren, Shesty.

      Coming soon: Krav, Keane, Rykov, Hajek, K Miller, Lundqvist.

      Targets for trade: Nobody specific in mind, but in concept, young NHL ready forwards (wingers and centers).

      The rest: Fill in with FAs.

      It may not be a perfect plan, but it’s better than the Rangers have now, which is no plan.

    • To stay relevant over a period of years (say like the Rangers from 2005 to 2017, in the playoffs 11 out of 12 years), yes, a team needs a steady influx of new, young, talent, but that influx must be controlled, so that there is always a core of established player around which the youngsters can develop. If it’s not monitored carefully, the attempt to stay young can result in repeated gutting of the team, necessitating starting over again with each iteration. Personally, at this point I feel that Kreider will bring more to the team over the next 2 or 3 years than we could reasonably expect to gain by trading him. (Unless we somehow hit the jackpot and get LaFreniere this year. Then again, last year I heard that Hughes and Kappo were going to be battling for the Calder trophy).

  • Seems to me few are talking about how a team stays relevant over the years. In this time, we can keep a few players long term but you need a constant supply of young talent who are on their entry level contracts. Some people talk about keeping Kreider and Strome and D’Angelo and dumping a bunch of others that other teams probably are not interested in. Trying to keep Kreider, as much as I love his skill and speed handicaps you when you need to sign Chytil, Kakko, Shesterkin, Fox, and others as they reach the end of their ELC. This means you need to maximize the value of player and move on from them before they want big dollars and long term contracts with no movement clauses. I don’t envy the job of a GM trying to juggle the numbers and needs of the team. So I am left with the need to move Kreider, D’ Angelo, Fast, maybe Strome and Skjei, and bringing up several young defensemen, maximize the return and adding several high draft picks and NHL ready players. If you can grab a young player that turns into a Zibanajad, home run! If you draft a young player that turns into a Panarin, Grand Slam. The high draft picks you get for some of these players may not be ready for several years, but hopefully will be fully ripened and ready for the NHL when others are ready to be traded.
    Trading, bridging or a long term contract is a tough decision. You need to take a chance on your scouting system and your coaches to pick the right players and develop them. I feel that AV and DQ and almost certainly Lindy Ruff have misused players like Miller, Buchnevich, Anderson, Kakko, Yandle, Shattenkirk, Pionk, and even Girardi and Stahl by not finding the right fit for them and putting them in situations that didn’t help them succeed. If Girardi can’t play for the Rangers but can play two more years with the Lightning, a much better team, it may be reasonable that they were looking at his skills in the wrong way. The same is true of Pionk, Yandle and Shattenkirk. Hopefully DQ will get better at using players and those in charge in Hartford will do a good job with the better players they have now. I mentioned trading D’Angelo who I like a lot but his contract demands will be sky high for a third pair defenseman. Bitterness in arbitration is not going to help his trade value. You need to bet that one of your right D like Lundkwist (?) or Rykov can do the job.
    We need frequent turnover if we are to keep Panarin and Trouba and the next players we will reward with a long term contract in this salary cap era. These are my thoughts, hopefully looking at the situation in a slightly different way. It’s not a matter of exactly who you keep but understanding that you can’t keep everyone even when they get to be pretty good.

  • Looks like Haley might done for the season,having core body surgery.Sydney Crosby missed 28 games after having the same surgery.

  • As much as I like Krieder, the cost will be to high and by the time the Rangers contend for the cup, Krieder may not be needed as much and will be older.. Tony DeAngelo will develop into a beast in a year or two. DON’T TRADE HIM, SIGN HIM! He has the potential to possibly be as good as Brian Leetch. Get rid of Brady Skei for sure, and Strome (Panarin makes anyone good). Sit Lundqvist until he desires a trade, enough! Hank has been fantastic and a great guy, but business in business.. His salary is killing us! To trade Georgiev at this point, makes little sense unless somehow we get a kings ransom. We have some good young defensemen waiting in Keane and Lundkvist. I would wave Trouba out there and see if there is someone stupid enough to bite. He is a solid player, but not worth the eight million a year he gets, in my opinion.

    • BRIAN LEETCH, GET A GRIP ON YOURSELF, LEETCH ALL TIME BEST RANGER IN HISTORY, NORMALLY DO NOT COMMENT, FIRST GAME 1948 MSG IE GRAY ICE

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