Irresponsible Rumormongering

The case for trading another forward to “make room” for Vitali Kravtsov, and others

When Brendan Lemieux was sent to LA after requesting a trade, it met a few needs for the Rangers. First they opened much needed cap space. Second, they opened a roster spot at winger. With such a logjam at wing, Lemieux saw the writing on the wall. The thing is, even with his trade, there is still a logjam at wing. All eyes are on Vitali Kravtsov and when he will get into the lineup. It begs the question: Do the Rangers need to make another trade to make room for the winger?

David Quinn is on record saying he needs to find top-nine ice time for Kravtsov. This checks out, given how the fourth line is usually used by Quinn in defensive situations. But with third line ice time on the forefront of the fans’ minds, it is time to make some changes to his approach. But perhaps that change doesn’t need to be on the coaching front. Perhaps it’s as simple as making another trade.

It seems odd, needing to trade someone just to get Kravtsov in the lineup. It shouldn’t be necessary, in fact it really isn’t needed at all, but sometimes “need” isn’t born from a roster logjam. Sometimes the need, and this might be a stretch, is born from an adjustment that you just won’t make on your own. If that need is to find a spot when you just can’t bench anyone, then that trade need becomes more clear. As an added bonus, a trade frees up a spot to recall Morgan Barron.

There are only two candidates that realistically have a shot at being traded. And those are Phil Di Giuseppe and Julien Gauthier. Sorry folks, Brett Howden isn’t going anywhere. Plus he’s still in COVID protocol.

The case for trading Phil Di Giuseppe

I like Phil Di Giuseppe. He’s a solid fourth liner and depth forward. He’s not spectacular, but he drives shot attempt quantity and limits quantity against. Di Giuseppe is everything you need to round out your roster.

But Di Giuseppe has one thing going against him, and that is his contract status. He’s one of just three pending UFAs on the Rangers, and one that might be able to fetch something at the trade deadline. He’s not going to fetch much, but in the realistic scenario that the Rangers clear room at the trade deadline, he’s a prime candidate to go.

Di Giuseppe won’t get much at the deadline, maybe a late pick or a dart throw on a C prospect. But he’s also someone that doesn’t impact the expansion draft, making his trade easier to facilitate.

In trading Di Giuseppe, the Rangers could feasibly create a fourth line of Blackwell-Rooney-Gauthier, with Howden still in COVID protocol. That fourth line is still good on both sides of the puck, and Gauthier would give it more offensive potential.

The case for trading Julien Gauthier

I *really* like Gauthier. Getting him for Joey Keane was great asset management by Jeff Gorton. The kid has the tools to be a solid NHLer. We’ve seen that in flashes as well.

This is what Gauthier brings to the lineup. He has great wheels and the hands to match it. The question will be whether or not he can put it together. Even if he can – where does he fit in the Rangers future? The Rangers are loaded at wing, and unless they are looking to trade Pavel Buchnevich, Gauthier is the odd man out.

A player like Gauthier can be a nice sweetener in a bigger trade. He would also likely fetch more than Di Giuseppe in a deadline deal. But he would need to be protected in the expansion draft, which adds a wrinkle to any deadline trade. Plus, I don’t think the Rangers would want to pass on him so soon, after seeing what he can do.

That said, if the Rangers believe Gauthier needs to be a top-nine forward, then they need to make a choice between him and Kravtsov. As much as I like Gauthier, the answer there is always going to be Kravtsov. Trading Gauthier now would also make lineup life easier on David Quinn, as it would essentially be a swap for Vitali Kravtsov.

This is a tougher sell at this juncture, but might be an easier sell in the offseason.

Kravtsov needs to play

Even if Vitali Kravtsov isn’t in the long term future plans for the Rangers, they need to get him in the lineup to at least showcase him. I have a hard time believing the kid isn’t in their plans though. Cheap top-nine talent is a key ingredient to a Stanley Cup contender, and Kravtsov checks all those boxes.

David Quinn can easily get Kravtsov into the lineup now. But sometimes old habits are hard to break. He is human, after all. These guys aren’t robots, and they are prone to their own bias. We all are.

Getting Vitali Kravtsov into the lineup soon should be a priority for the Rangers. If that means dealing a pending UFA or a kid who might get pushed out, so be it. It’s the cost of doing business in the NHL.

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  • It wouldn’t kill anyone to bench PDG for one game against the Sabres.

    If Kravtsov is horrible, bench him. If he lights it up, well, good problem to have.

    I still think trading Gauthier would be a mistake.

  • The idea that you HAVE to trade a guy who needs Top 9 minutes because you already have an envisioned 9 Top 9 guys is kind of stupid. Injury happens, boom, you’ll need another Top 9 guy.

    If we had a coach who limited his Top 6 a bit instead of trotting them out every 3 shifts then maybe the 3rd and 4th lines would actually get some quality ice time instead of being pinned to the bench.

    The numbers don’t like. Look at the Islanders, their Top 7 forwards all get less than 19 minutes a game, Barzal is at 19, Bailey and Nelson under 18, Eberle, Anders Lee and Pageau about 17, Beauvillier 16 …. for the Rangers Panarin and Mika are 20.5 minutes per game, Buch and Strome about 19, Kreider 18 and then we fall off the cliff — KK 15, Lafreniere 14, Chytil 13.5 … Gauthier gets under 10 minutes, to go along with being scratched 10 times. This is on DQ who seems to lose an awful lot of players on the bench.

      • Don’t stop with Isles. Since everybody here likes recent history, take the last 3 Cup winners. See if you can find Tampa or Caps or Blues having any 20 minutes plus forwards. I would also add Tampa when they had Kucherov last year. No you would not find it. Not you would find third or fourth liners having single digit minutes ever

        You can only conclude that DQ has no confidence in them. One thing for sure they will not develop with such minutes and this coach. Another issue as I have stated is Chytil is not a good center. And that has nothing to do with Covid or his injuries. He is below average center and above average winger. Lafs would not develop with him. So why they keep on fighting it? Because they do not have any centers in their pipeline. Have not seen much of Baron but why they moved him to wing?

        My solution is for the remaining of the year to put Kravtsov in there. This is not a wild shot. He played center and showed promise. He is super talented two way player with great instincts and imagination. Way more worth to give it a shot If it works the time disparity would narrow as well. Reminder Hayes was a winger at BC. Two coaches ago the coach recognized his value and two years later he became a dependable center. Kravtsov is more talented and more capable than Hayes

        PP1 is another issue but doubt DQ would change anything even if it is obvious that it has not been working

        • Ugh, I can’t argue with the try Kravs at Center proposition. 😉
          I find it an interesting possibility. Would have preferred that they had tried it in training camp though (not that they could have this year).

          • For some reason my message with the link getting filtered. Do the search for “vitali kravtsov at junior world hockey playing center” and check other blog like foreverblues that showed the highlights and stats fro WJC

          • from hockey writer. Kravtsov played the center and you could read the assessment. He is certainly more advanced and talented than Hayes was at his age. I am sure he will welcome this switch. So our third line is Laf/Kravs/Chytil. You could switch KK and Chytil around. Would also work

            In his first World Junior Tournament, Kravtsov was told he would center the first line and made the switch from the wing around November. In his first true experience as a center, he answered the bell with two goals and four assists for six points in seven games. He finished fourth on the team in scoring, thanks to two multi-point games, against Denmark and Switzerland, and led his team with 21 shots.

            Ultimately, this Russian team won bronze. Not bad for his first tournament and taste of the center position. Throughout the tournament, Kravtsov buzzed around the net and seemed to get opportunity after opportunity. He looked dominant and by far one of, if not the best player for Team Russia. Most noticeable was his competitive nature. Frustration would flood his face with a missed opportunity. On the flip side, pure energy radiated from his vocal cords when contributions were made. Kravtsov was a beaming presence on the ice and production followed when the puck was on his stick.

            Following the tournament, news surfaced that he had suffered a torn tricep in the playoff round. Kravtsov showed courage through adversity as well as versatility, by playing center. His stock surged after this tournament, especially after seeing his dazzling cross-ice, seam sauces, and thundering one-timers.

          • I saw him … I think he’s cerebral enough, just not sure this would be the moment to throw him to the wolves at Center … maybe on a line with Chytil the two could switch as an experiment that can quickly be adjusted as necessary.

          • There is nothing to adjust. You have to commit to it which this coach is not capable of doing. Chytil is not a center, no matter if he was drafted as one. Kravs is just so talented and creative he could make a transition. Perhaps Baron can play center too. Have not seen him much to judge. But other than that you would have to look for a trade or a free agent.

            Certainly worth testing now with us being a long shot for playoffs and third line not doing much score wise or development which is a bigger problem

    • The Rangers have the most PP’s in the league. Any player who plays on the 1st PP unit will get more minutes (4-5) and players that don’t will have their time reduced (4-5 mins). There is most of your minutes discrepancy.

      • Nobody’s time gets reduced as a result of not being on the power play. In the last game against the Sabres the Rangers had 4 power plays, and that should’ve affected the coach’s time rotation positively for the non-power play guys. But it didn’t, because our chump of a coach decided to treat a regular season game against the worst team in the league like a playoff game instead.

        Look at Brooks’ article today in the Post, chastising Quinn and the entire first PP unit for being slow to change while on the ice. He puts the blame squarely on Quinn’s in-game tactics.

        Among other niceties, Brooks says the 1st unit has played over 78% of the available power play time this year. He compares the whole unit to Phil Esposito, who was known to dog it on PP changes so he could get extra offensive chances.

        The other night against Buffalo, the Chytil/Lafreniere/Gauthier line had Chytil score a goal, and Gauthier and Lafreniere each picked up an assist. They played 14/10/12 shifts, respectively. What a joke. Meanwhile Zibby had 29 shifts.

      • We’re 3rd in PP TIME and it’s TIME that counts, not the number of PPs … and the grand total more than the teams ranked in the very high teens works out to 1 more minute per game. Read Larry Brooks article on the PP — he goes into detail on how our PP time is distributed and it isn’t pretty (he’s just quantifying what many of us have seen, that the first PP unit is staying out way too long). Sorry, there’s no excuse for this other than DQ doesn’t control the Top 5 guys and their ice time. He’s coaching without thought, all he does is trot out the 5 best players without thought to time management — he doesn’t match lines to achieve the optimal result IMO, it’s just simple mindless “let’s play the best players” because I’m desperate to make the playoffs and survive 1 more year as a head coach. Bad priorities will lead to poorer results.

    • I’m not sure that is a fair comparison. If the Rangers had a 4th line like the Islanders, that reduces top players time. Also, the Rangers are 2nd in pp time, almost 1 more per game than the Islanders. Since Mika,Panarin,and Strome play at least 1 minute of pp(and sometimes much more), therefore the imbalance.

      • Our 4th line is just fine … we have depth, we just don’t utilize it properly. Our 3rd and 4th lines may not always be a positive, but more often than not they are neutral — nothing wrong with that.

        Re: the PP time, the first unit is on way too long … absurd that they’ll be on beyond 1:10 — even to the point that if there’s a stoppage in play between 1:00 and 1:20 they’ll be left on the ice — and as Brooks shows in his recent article about PP time, the results are diminishing returns. We can’t sit here and judge the 2nd Unit when they get trotted out for the last 20-25 seconds of a PP, it barely gives them time to set up.

    • Reality: In ES TOI, Artemi Panarin is 27th in the league. He is the only Ranger in the top 100. So when it comes to ES playing time, the Rangers are one of the most balanced teams in the league. The playing time differential is due to special teams.

      OTOH, I strongly agree with your major point. Because of injuries, a team really should have 15 credible forwards. PDG is a good player to have, but he certainly doesn’t have to dress every game (and the same can actually be said of others, definitely Howden and likely even Gauthier).

      If management feels the need to trade players to keep the coach from playing them (but I don’t think they do), they need to get a new coach.

      • … and you and I have been through this before Ray, the PP time management is TERRIBLE. The 1st unit is out too long and this results in diminishing returns. DQ gives NO thought to it whatsoever, he just does the simplest thing, trot out the best 5 — God forbid he should pay attention to right shot left shot or balancing the PP units to SOME extent. Sure, if it’s the last 5 minutes in a game and you desperately need a PP goal I can see putting out your best of the best, but we have enough talent on this team to create two good PP units.

  • Certainly, a trade needs to be made at some point.
    Casting off PDG for a pick isn’t going to hurt, but the deadline is not the right time to IMPROVE the club though.

    Someone has to go and they are going to have to give up some good youngsters to get what they need for the long-term.

    It’s a new world and the Cap is the name of the game. It will be an interesting summer.

  • April 15 is the trade deadline. Depending where the Rangers are in the playoff picture, management needs to decide if they want to sell, buy or stand pat.

    With Shesterkin between the pipes, with the club’s best players coming back into form and steady improvement by the young Rangers, I believe they have a legitimate chance of passing the Bruins and Flyers in the standings.

    Changes will come to the Rangers roster and it will happen at the trade deadline.

    • Boston has 3 games in hand on the Rangers, and 6 left against the Sabres. The Rangers will not catch them.

      • Perkele-So what should they do? Give up and throw in the towel? I don’t think that’s the best way to move forward (rebuild or not). This is year 3 of the rebuild. It’s very good for the kids and vets to be playing for something and trying to be in a playoff race/or actually make the playoffs. You can argue it’s a great way to develop the young players as it exposes them to a whole new mental aspect. Development isn’t just playing time, honing raw talent and playing 18 minutes/game. I don’t think any player on the team would want to kiss the season goodbye at this point.

        • Yeah, another first round playoff shellacking is just what the team needs. Let’s see if they can take a team to maybe five games this year. No wonder you like this coach, you each have the same pointless goals for this franchise.

          • You come across as a very angry or spiteful person on these threads. Why is that? You can’t just debate hockey without tossing labels on people who disagree with your points? It’s ridiculous.

            That Canes team last year happens to be a very good team that flew under the radar last season. Their coach is a perineal coach of the year candidate in my opinion.

            For the record, I’m not a big fan of DQ or everything he does. I actually think if a better option comes up after this season it’s time for him to move on.

            As far as your schdict on these threads, give it a rest and lighten up Francis. Stop acting like a petulant 10 yr old.

          • Not spiteful in the least, man—just find a lot to disagree with in your posts. And you post a lot, so….you should be prepared to debate.

          • Not nearly as much as you.
            I’m all for debates. If you wanna get into insulting monikers and insults do that with someone else. I come here to discuss my favorite team with others for fun. You? Not so sure…

          • I’m a fun guy. Or is it fungi? Sorry that you’re so delicate. I’ll try to remember that going forward.

          • What insult or label did he throw at you? Maybe I missed it? I saw this: “No wonder you like this coach, you each have the same pointless goals for this franchise.” That strikes me as neither an insult or a “label” — although I do understand why you might be upset about someone suggesting you like DQ. 😉

          • You should go back and check 3 games against the Canes. Rangers did not have Igor. That was their biggest issue starting besides from the coach who had no game plans.

            This team is certainly different as long as Igor is in the net. They need to get Lafs going and get Kravs in the lineup.

            Every team in this division is beatable. Rangers record does not indicate how much better they can be versus last year team. They have talent that has been greatly underutilized

          • Igor played game 3 in that series, and played the same as Lundqvist did, in terms of save percentage and minimal impact on the series. Shesty was injured and not dressed for games 1 and 2.

          • Right. He played after hamstring injury which impacted his game 3. Being down 2:0 they needed much better effort. The series was over by game 3. That was not the same team as prior to the break. Why Canes were better prepared to play this series is a question.

          • Do I think Igor might have made a difference in the Carolina series? Yes to an extent … but we had a lot of trouble scoring against the Canes, with either of their goalies … but yeah, it could have ended up a slightly closer series and one can never dismiss the effect of winning an early game in a series.

        • It is refreshing that not every Ranger blogger is a negative Nancy. The Rangers play the Sabres today then back to backs against the Fishsticks and Penguins. The outcome of these games will be a good indication of how far the Rangers have improved and whether or not they are a playoff team.

    • It may be legitimate, but it’s unlikely.

      We need to “limited” sell or stand pat — buying would only happen if they’re buying for the FUTURE, not the present.

      • What was the likelihood of “Miracle on Ice”? I doubt if they played 100 times more US would come close. But they were playing probably one of the best team ever. Their talent was underestimated. They had great team and chemistry which is the main concern with the Rangers.

        They surely can win. Their chances are not great. But they do not need to make a trade to give away any of their talent at trade deadline unless they could get something hard to pass

        • The Bruins have three games in hand on the Rangers. And six left with Buffalo. Don’t you see how difficult it’ll be for the Rangers to pass them? Boston will bank at least 8 of 12 points against the Sabres. At the very least.

          • “Boston will bank at least 8 of 12 points against the Sabres. At the very least.” At best they could get more than 12 points?

            Boston could get less than 8 points and also they have other teams on the schedule to play against. There is a big difference between “not likely” and “impossible”. Not sure why you want to dwell on the negativity? Rangers can win and should strive for it. This coach makes it difficult though

          • I’m not dwelling on negativity. Rather on probability. Just because something or someone does not agree with you, it does not mean they are being negative.

            I strongly believe making the playoffs for NYR is a total waste of time this year. In the unlikely event they make it, they’ll get smoked. Two years in a row with quick exits does little that’s positive for a team. Just look at how fragile Toronto is. I don’t want that to happen to this group on the Rangers. That’s not being negative, that’s trying to stay positive, for crying out loud.

          • Well. Then we have also a difference in opinion in meaning “negativity”. Seems like you are rooting for the team to lose. There is no benefit from your perspectives to even try making the playoffs (more money for ownership, coach gets the credit and not get fired) and even if they make it they will be embarrassed by Caps. I believe you made an analogy with Tampa and Blue Jackets? Right?

            I come from a different perspective. I understand that making the playoffs is a long shot, unlikely, improbable. But nnot impossible. And here is the main difference between us if they will make the playoffs they will be much harder to beat by any teams in the division than you give them any credit for.

            I root for the team, for great hockey display. You root for next year or whatever number of years in the future you think this team can possibly have a chance to even advance to the next round.

            So I guess we agree to disagree with each other respectfully

  • I don’t know why I hear Howden isn’t going anywhere. The guy has produced nothing, two goals, one of which was an empty net gift from Strome. We heard some of the same on how it was terrible that Lias Anderson went to LA. Lias has two goals this season and is just taking up bench space. The trouble with getting Kratsov into a top nine role is who sits?

      • Or perhaps DQ destroyed the guy’s confidence? He did not look bad playing for Team Sweden before joining the Rangers. In any case the blame if any either should go to GM or the coach or both. They mismanaged entire situation. Feel bad for a player. Good that he got traded and hopefully will rediscover his game

  • The player that needs to be moved is Buch… I love the guy but realistically he is our most valuable asset with another year of control… Him and Strome should be moved to slot Baron and Kravtsov… Let’s be honest with ourselves – this team does not have player who can win a faceoff when it counts and has no business talking about playoff… Also Quinn’s coaching this year and particularly after COVID has been detrimental to the long-term future of the Rangers…

    • why would you want to move your top LW in his mid 20s? He is 20 goal scorer and could be 30 goal scorer if he ever gets PP minutes. Do not understand the rationale

    • Nobody NEEDS to be moved … unless there’s a GREAT deal out there, but that deal has to be a virtual no-brainer, otherwise you’re risking the loss of a valuable asset.

      • Let me put it differently. If Rangers found a way to keep Kreider they must find a way to keep Butch. He has become one of the best and complete wing. Everyone is tradable but doubt they could get any equal value back for him

        • Hey you’re preaching to the choir. I love Buch, he’s finally developed into the player we all wanted him to be (and more so with the beastly way he’s killing penalties this year) … so of course you’ll hear some fans want to trade him — you know, we’re in the business of developing players for other teams when it comes time to pony up a few $s. No problem though when another team develops a player, then we open the bank vault.

          A lot of fans talk about his moodiness, all I see is a guy who knows he can do more and it bothers him when he doesn’t … when he isn’t producing. He’s integral IMO and will age like a fine wine for the next few years — he has chemistry with Mika and everybody in the dressing room seems to love him.

          • He also has chemistry with Igor and Kreider. He has grown into an excellent player and yet is best still to come.He is very humble too. No idea why would anyone would want to trade him? He just need to get rid of his goatee 😀

  • Can’t trade Gauthier or Kravtsov until they resolve what package is needed for Eichel. Trade one now and one in a package and you’ll need another RW.

    • Enough with the eichel trade talk please. The guy is not the answer to our problem and would only make us worse of a team.

      If we trade for eichel we are giving up good solid prospects and players. He won’t be cheap. Then we also won’t be able to resign Mika. Which essentially includes Mika in any trade. Considering Mika is the better player, how does this help us?

      Mika is 10% better on fsceoffs. Onky center on the Rangers who is worse than eichel is chytil. And not by much. Mika kills penalties and is a solid 2 way guy.. He’s the #1 guy on a top 5 PK unit. Mika is LOVED by his teammates. Eichel is a pouting overhyped baby.. Rumors out of Buffalo are the only reason he is out right now is hurt feelings.

      A huge no on eichel. He’s not an improvement for us

        • Agree. He is also over rated. He has not won anything quite yet. Not sure about his leadership qualities either. He is not Mark Messier but Sabres will demand much bigger ransom. I would certainly rather take my chances with Barkov but doubt Panthers will trade him.

  • Sure Gauthier likely to fetch more than Di Giuseppe in a deal, but Di Giuseppe ceiling is lower than Gauthier’s, and he is four years older.

    • Trading Gauthier would be stupid. I’m not saying he’ll reach his potential, but a smart team with room in their Top 9 or Top 6 would be very smart to take a chance on him. There’s risk, but the reward could be very good. The League is littered with guys who didn’t reach their potential until they hit their mid-20s.

  • As mentioned already, special teams eats up a lot of the TOI. Panarin is tied for 1st with McDavid in pp minutes per game. Zib, Buch, and Strome also get time on the pk. Imagine a world where blog writers traded players away just because they wanted to see another player in lineup. Imagine every team in league helping out by taking said players off your hands, while agreeing to give us draft picks. I wonder if LA fans are hammering coaches and GM for taking Lias and Lemieux while their top prospects like Byfeld and Turcotte havnt seen nhl minutes yet.

  • I do not know whether Kravtsov is ready for the NHL – and neither does anyone else here. But if he is, I do not see a problem with a Kravtsov-Rooney-Blackwell line. Blackwell and Rooney have 14 goals between them, so it is not like they can’t put the puck in the net. They can convert Kravtsov assists. It will give Krav a chance to learn defensive discipline with a pair of seasoned forwards – and he can play without expectations he may not meet.

    There is no law saying that the fourth line cannot be dangerous. In fact, some of the best teams have one.

    Giving a young player a role he can succeed in is not the same as giving him a role in which he can score.

    • If the 4th line actually plays enough minutes, sure that’s fine … some players need to skate in order to be effective, not sit on the bench for 10 minutes straight because the coach “lost” him.

  • It doesn’t matter who we trade or give away as long as we keep a spot open for the almighty Brett (the pet) Howden!

  • Well, I heard the funniest comment yet on this thread and it was due to a spell check failure. Stoobie’s reference to a perineal coach had me laughing even in the midst of two great Ranger fans mid tiff. I guess Stoobie wanted to say perennial coach which is very different from a perineal coach (look it up). As far as the tiff, I agree with the original article: the coach needs to limit the time of the first pp and that balances the ice time a bit. I’d like to see the 3rd 4th lines get more ice time but Quinn is playing as though we are Cup contenders and although better, we are not. Keep smiling and LGR

    • I responded to Stoobie about that, but it’s still awaiting moderation. 😉 I mean who likes a taint(ed) coach. lol

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