Lineup Changes

Rangers lines get a shuffle, Tony DeAngelo back in the lineup

After last night’s loss to the Devils, David Quinn shook up the lines at practice. The big change is that Tony DeAngelo is back in the lineup, and that was expected. He was being disciplined internally on Saturday, but the Rangers played so well he sat out last night as well.

It looks like Brendan Smith is the odd man out, which was predictable with Tony DeAngelo back. It is worth noting that Jacques Martin plays a big role in the defense pairs, so this one isn’t solely on Quinn. That said, Johnson is by far the worst defenseman on the team, so let’s see how long this lasts.

As for the forwards, the big change was Pavel Buchnevich was moved to the Artemi Panarin line.

My guess is that Mika Zibanejad gets the Kreider/Lafreniere line. That moves Chytil back to his original line with PDG and Kakko. Lemieux and Howden go back to the fourth line with Gauthier. So the only change is swapping Laf and Buchnevich.

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      • I guess it’s just me, but I have seen Howden working pretty hard out there. I think he’s making a turn in his development.

        • Joseph, Howden plays 12 minutes a night and he’s been on the ice for 5 of the 9 Rangers’ goals against.

          I’m sure that he’s a great kid, but I really don’t care how hard he works, he sucks as a hockey player. He should not be on the team at all, IMO.

          You can disagree, but all the stats, traditional and underlying, say that he is not a good hockey player.

          Neither is JJ, and neither is Trouba (sadly).

          • sorry I’m late to the game here, but I thought we were supposed to let the kids play, mistakes and all.

        • I am typically critical of Howden but thus far I am happy with his and the 4th line performance.

  • Johnson by far is worst defenseman? You make this comment in your cast knowledge aquired through playing and coaching?

      • You can’t call this an opinion. It is a mantra. Dave is responsible for a great blog but probably knows less about evaluating defensemen than an avid soccer fan watching his/her first hockey game. He does not value stay at home defensemen at all, nor hitting, nor experience.

        And while I respect your opinions, telling someone who questions the party line to lighten up is not appropriate.


        For the record, I have not yet seen Johnson in a Ranger uniform and do not have an opinion on the matter, but I do find the views on this subject here so skewed that I am not influenced by the derision.

        • Ray, I didn’t ‘attack’, I merely pointed out that his comment seemed to be rather hostile and, rather inappropriate, because opinions are what are offered on a blog like this and are expected. If one is going to criticize an opinion because it is not written by a hockey coach, then what is the point of being here and reading the blog?

          Your attempt to create a dichotomy between a so-called ‘mantra’ and an opinion also falls flat. It is Dave’s opinion, repeated perhaps, but an opinion nevertheless.

          Lighten up Ray! 🙂

          • “Lighten up Ray!”



            I will defend my dichotomy however. The word opinion is overworked (especially in politics). I have opinions – and they change. I like to think of opinions as something that involves thought, at least occasionally. Perhaps I expect too much.

          • Based on every stat thus far and the eye test, Johnson has been by far the worst defenseman through three games.

            That is objective analysis, using data from Natural Stat Trick. It is less opinion, and more fact.

            Another fact: It’s been three games!

            An educated opinion: His stats over the last number of years have been terrible, thus it is unlikely his performance changes.

            My own opinion: Smith is better, play him.

          • Yes, Smith is better. He is far more mobile and he passes better too. Not perfect, but seems to be decidedly better than JJ. While a small sample, neither are new to the game and they are currently playing in the manner of both their recent past performance. Which means, Smith is better.

    • It’s not even close. But Smith is the one that sits.

      I think Quinn is seeing how far he can go before he gets fired. Because I really don’t think he knows what he is doing.

      Quinn is single-handedly killing Chytil and Kakko. Both are playing great and Quinn gives them disjointed playing minutes.

      Someone wrote that the difference between Hughes and Kakko is that one gets playing time and the other does not.

      But the FO likes him, so…

  • What disturbs me is this teams history of not developing young talent correctly. I don’t understand how Kakko can be taken off the 2nd line after 1 game! How in the hell is Gauthier going to blossom when he’s on the 4th line? This kid has been a scorer in every league he’s played in, he drives to the net, has good hands, is 6’4″ and is 227 so tell me how he gets better playing on the 4th line? Lately I’m not happy with Quinn’s choices! Another year of this and he has to go. What’s with the bromance with Howden?

    • You’re spot on, Johnny….a good coach puts young players in a position to succeed (i.e. shooter next to a passer). Laf has never played RW in his life and now DQ has Laf playing right wing on the 2nd line in the NHL! WTF?? Laf is hesitant paying on his off-wing because he is on the opposite side of the ice so DQ plays the kid minimal minutes. Put the kids in their “natural” spots, let them play and leave them alone!!! If Rangers want to find out what they have in Gauthier, he needs to play next to a passer like Strome (not Howden).

  • I know that it was a short camp with no pre-season games that would have helped solidify lines, but I wonder if all this shuffling makes sense.

    I also question playing JJ over Smith.

  • Unfortunately with this coach, this is a maximum. The coach of Islanders can be very good choice for a new coach.

  • Coaching is as much hands-off as it is hands-on.
    DQ needs to know when to tinker and when to allow players to make some mistakes or to gel. One bad shift for certain guys puts them in the doghouse.

  • Kakko’s and Chytil’s underlying stats have been great the last 2 games, so the answer is to separate them?

    I hope the Rangers’ FO is awake when the game is on, to see what really goes on, on the ice, and behind the bench.

    • It makes you wonder what David Oliver is looking at too. After all, he’s the offensive coach on this team. As a former NHL player, DO should be in a good position to help Kakko, Laf, Gauthier, LeM find their games.

      • The last good coach we had was AV in his first year. He deployed his players perfectly.

        Then he went rogue when he got power (off the 2014 SCF appearance) and then started playing his faves over the best players.

        Put Trotz or even Torts as coach of this current Rangers’ team and we are a contender, IMO.

  • From an article from another blog:

    Inside the numbers for Jack Johnson

    In three games, Jack Johnson is a -2 in 16:49 of ice time. Now that isn’t a fair assessment. There’s many things that can happen on the ice that may have nothing to do with the 34 year-old rearguard.

    How about those advanced statistics? You know, the ones that tell a story your eyes don’t always see. Johnson’s CF% (shot attempts for/against) is dead last on the Blueshirts defense at 46.4%. Not terrible, but certainly not helping the Rangers in the possession game.

    Tony DeAngelo, who was scratched for “discipline reasons” has a CF% of 58.8%. And he played in the Rangers 4-0 loss to the Islanders in game one. Even rookie, K’Andre Miller has a CF% of 51.5%. Pretty impressive for the young man.

    Ok, so Jack Johnson wasn’t brought in to drive possession 5v5, he was brought in to improve the PK. Well, after three games the Rangers are a hair below the league average on it.

    The other NHL teams are killing at a rate of 78.83%, while the Rangers are at 78.57%. Last night, the Rangers gave the Devils only two PP’s but they scored on one and it was Jack Johnson who was behind his check when it was tapped home. You can clearly see that Johnson left Miles Wood alone at the post for the easy goal. To add insult to injury, that turned out to be the game-winner.

    On the season, New York has killed 11 of 14 opposition power play chances. Jack Johnson has been on the ice for two of the three goals against. Yes, it is early and he’s not the only player responsible for the goals scored. It’s just when you are brought in to help the PK, this isn’t a exactly going to quiet the detractors.

    It’s only been three games, and the coaches see things we may not during the game. There is also the locker-room presence that none of us are privy too. However, if Johnson doesn’t help on the PK when he’s on the ice it’s going to be a problem. Johnson playing in favor of players like Tony DeAngelo, Brendan Smith, or Libor Hajek while the PK struggles is going to draw the ire of fans. And when it does they’ll be calling for more than just taking Jack out of the lineup.

    • What’s worse – being on the ice for all three PP goals against (Howden) or only catching two of them because you were in the box for the third (Johnson).

      I shouldn’t say this to you but I think DQ is missing something here. Over the last couple of years, Johnson has averaged nearly 3 hits/game, but maybe is doing little else. Meanwhile, Rooney has averaged about 1.5 hits per game compared to Howden’s less than 1. As Lemieux is close to 3 and Gauthier has picked up his hitting, the Rangers can maybe get more hitting with Smith at 1.5 and a fourth line of Lemieux-Rooney-Gauthier than they get with Johnson and Howden on a sparingly used fourth line.

      I believe Mike Keenan was right that you don’t a team of goons and dancers AND if Johnson is just there to hit, he qualifies as a goon.

      • “I shouldn’t say this to you but I think DQ is missing something here.”

        Why Raymond, because I’ve known this for over a year? lol.

        Look, you have to give new coaches a chance, and Quinn has had a couple years. The Canes’ series should have been an eye opener for the FO. They think that it was all on not having the “right players.” But the fact of the matter is that there is zero structure or system for this team.

        You watch well coached teams like the Isles and the CBJs, and they may not win every game, but their players play in a structure. They know their jobs. The Rangers look like the Keystone cops, sometimes.

        So, last year was blamed on Ruff. Well, he’s not here now. He’s got the Devils playing as well as they can, with the players that they have.

        And you may not want to hear this :), but when you don’t have one of the greatest goalies of all time in your nets, then the play outside of the goalie is exposed. When the Rangers’ goalie does not stand on their heads on most nights, the team struggles.

        Blackwood played well, against 50 SOG, but did he really stand on his head? Forgetting about the # of shots he faced? The quality was not there and Blackwood saw substantially all the shots fired at him. I would rather have 25 SOG with half of them being high danger chances.

        Quinn will continue to play Trouba, Howden, and JJ, while restricting Chytil, Kakko, Smith, and ADA. makes zero sense. Maybe Quinn is trying to get fired and go back to college hockey. I think that the Rangers should accommodate him.

        • “Why Raymond, because I’ve known this for over a year? lol.”


          We disagree on goaltending and there is where I was inclined to cut DQ more slack. Regardless of one’s assessment of Hank, he wanted things a certain way and the Ranger defense has largely been tailored to suit his needs. Standing up at the blue line was dangerous. But now a more traditional defense is in order and we are not seeing it.

          It really doesn’t matter whether we blame Ruff or Lundqvist for the poor defensive configuration. They are both gone and now it is up to Quinn.

          Snarkily I add we do have one of the greatest goalies of all time (if Quinn will play him).

  • Try this DQ…top forward lines:
    Laf – Zib – Buch
    Panarin – Chytil – Kappo
    Kreid – Strome – Gaut

  • Smitty has played well and Miller looks comfortable beside him. Why not reunite Fox and Lindgren and pair ADA with Trouba. DeAngelo will come back will fire in his belly and that may be the spark to wake up Trouba.

  • Quinn seems to be setting upTony D to fail Friday night. How can you take Smith out? Are you kidding me? I am so disappointed in this coach. I can’t figure what is going on. It is so bad, I am not even looking forward to watching and I have been a fan since 1959. Sad!

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