Musings

Thoughts after a slow week, waiting for arbitration

It’s been a slow week here with the NY Rangers. The next step here is arbitration with both Brendan Lemieux and Ryan Strome. Until then, there won’t be much going on. So let’s dive right into my brain, shall we?

1. Larry Brooks mentioned that he sees Lemieux getting up to $2 million in arbitration. I find that to be a little high. If he gets two years in arbitration, I think it comes in under $1.5 million. He just doesn’t have the scoring numbers yet. It’s unfortunate for Lemieux, but for the Rangers this works out because it keeps his cost down. Even if it’s just by $500k.

2. I don’t think the Rangers walk away from Strome. His arbitration reward is only one year no matter what. It’s unlikely he gets more than $4.7 million. They can make it work. Having him walk for nothing is poor asset management.

3. However I do think they look to trade him. I wouldn’t be shocked if they sign and trade him. It’s now public knowledge that they don’t think Strome is the answer long term at 2C. All signs are pointing to Filip Chytil getting a long look next season. They will need to make a decision on Chytil sooner rather than later, and this is the season to test it out.

4. I am very intrigued to see how LD plays out. The only set player there is Ryan Lindgren. Options: Tony DeAngelo, Jack Johnson, Brendan Smith, K’Andre Miller, and Tarmo Reunanen. If we take the Rangers at face value, then the kids are going to get a chance, and they will keep Jack Johnson out of the lineup if the kids force them

5. That said, expect the Rangers to be conservative with the kids. Expect Miller to get a year in the AHL. Expect Reunanen to start in the AHL. Let them get used to the faster pace of play. This means you’re looking at an LD of Lindgren, Johnson, and one of Smith/DeAngelo, with the other getting 3RD duties.

6. To clarify, expect your opening night six defensemen to be Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox, Smith, DeAngelo, Johnson, Lindgren.

7. Ending with a question: If the Rangers keep Strome, do they still put Chytil as the 2C?

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    • This. I fully expect him to make the Rangers out of camp. He looked a bit shaky/jumpy in his short time in the NHL but I think we’ll see a motivated player determined to prove the doubters wrong this year as he has had a lot of time to marinade on his debut.

        • A proven mediocre asset?
          Hajek is MORE proven, not that I’m saying much there … and if you observed Robertson in camp last year, you could see he’s already a better d’man overall.

  • i think Filip will have a great year. he will be bigger and stronger on a line with better players around him. he is part of the future if not a c then at wing. LGR

  • I’d be shocked if they switch Chytil and Strome (2C vs. 3C) unless Chytil forces the issue with his play in preseason. Let Chytil thrive at 3C, perhaps with LAF & Gauthier as linemates. If he looks like he is ready they are still better off keeping Strome at 2C, scoring close to PPG and trading him as a rental at the TD, if they still don’t see him as a long term solution.

    Miller, Robertson et al are not ready to the NHL. They are not going to jump past Hartford and succeed in the NHL. We should have learned that lesson already with Lias & Chytil, perhaps even Kakko. A little seasoning, and success, at the Hartford level is much better than trying to jump to the NHL as a teenager or 20 year old. Few can do it. The battle for LHD in preseason will be very interesting. Libor and Tarmo will be trying to unseat the veterans.

    • Agreed Orland. I think a good year with Lafrenière and Gauthier as his wingers is the perfect place for Chytil next season. If he excels and looks ready at some point during the season, maybe you try him at 2C. But, grooming a young line like that together might be the way to go.

      Agreed on Miller and Robertson too. They both need AHL time. Their time will come, but defensemen take a while. Hajek might get a shot again.

      • We’ll see about Gauthier, I still think he needs to play a more assertive game if he hopes to be productive.

        • Agree about Gauthier, I’m not convinced from the what I’ve seen (small sample size). But he seems highly touted by almost everyone, including the Rangers management and every indication is that he will have a great opportunity this season. And he’s not a 4th liner so it looks like 3rd line is his if he can produce. I think that was in the mix re: moving on from Jesper.

          • He’s got skills no doubt, but he needs to play a middle 6 game — get into the dirty areas, play harder along the board, etc. He needs to drive the net and use his size. I like him, but he was completely misused on that abomination we called a 4th line … so yeah I welcome to see what he can do with 13-14 minutes a night and some talent.

  • If they keep strome I can’t see a reason to separate him from panarin. His history suggests he plays well with elite talent but can’t drive play on his own. So let him keep posting numbers and trade him at the deadline at peak value.

    I think chytil could fill that 2C roll but why push it? The team didn’t make any significant strides this off-season other than the draft and I think they will be a fringe playoff team again. Let him possibly build chemistry with laf which will only add some clarity going forward.

    Don’t forget the team dumps a boat load of dead cap space after this season and will have a better handle on their young talent to make a better team in 2022.

    • The reason to separate Strome from Panarin is that Strome is not the long-term solution there, while Chytil might be, so better to give Chytil a fair look as a top 6 and see what he and Panarin can do together. That’s my preference, though your point about possibly increasing Strome’s trade value by leaving him with Panarin is valid as well.

  • I think the list of defense contenders will include Bitetto and Hajek. Bitetto is hardly exceptional, but he is a proven NHL defenseman and is younger than the fading Johnson. My inclination is that Hajek won’t ever stick in the NHL, but he is close and he is about as ready as he ever will be. At least at the season’s start, I view both as better options than the kids. And it would be malpractice to just run Smith and Johnson out there without giving these two guys a fair look.

    Hopefully though, come midseason, one or two young guys will force their way into the lineup. Like others here, I take Robertson seriously.

  • IMO, Strome will play 2C to start, as the Rangers will absolutely not walk away from him, even if he comes in at $5M for one year.

    While having Chytil at 2C appears to be the long-term solution there (unless the Rangers make a trade), having a Lafren-Chytil-Gauthier 3rd line is a pretty strong one, and would be considered a “2B” line, instead of a 3rd line.

  • I actually see them trying Chytl at 2c to start the season. They already know what they have in Strome at 2c and so it makes sense to see if Chtyl can cut it at 2c. Its still a development year so making the playoffs is less important the seeing what some of these young guys can do with an increased roll.

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