Morgan Barron is forcing the Rangers hand for a call up

What a season Morgan Barron is having in Hartford. In 13 games this year Barron has eight goals and 12 points, and has been walking all over the competition. Now this has to be taken with a grain of salt, as the competition is just Providence and Bridgeport for this season. However he’s still looked solid and a step ahead of the AHL game. Producing at both wing and center, Morgan Barron is forcing the Rangers hand for a call up.

The Rangers don’t necessarily need to call Barron up, but last year they didn’t necessarily need to call up Igor Shesterkin either. Sometimes, a player just forces their way onto the roster. It’s also no secret that the Rangers really like Barron, having tried to get him out of Cornell earlier than this season. With the trade of Brendan Lemieux, there is no question about the cap space to call him up. The only question is where the Rangers would play him.

Brett Howden is likely to get back into the lineup when he returns from COVID protocol, likely at the expense of Julien Gauthier. Don’t hate me for that statement, it’s just what I predict David Quinn and company will do. If Barron is also getting into the lineup, who comes out? The easy answer is Kevin Rooney, as Colin Blackwell has been a bit of a surprise for the Rangers this season. But that means the Rangers need to replace a top penalty killer. Can Barron help out there? The smart money says yes.

But this assumes Barron will be on the fourth line. If the Rangers want to go the Vitali Kravtsov route with Barron and ensure he gets top-nine minutes, there isn’t a soul in the top-nine that should be coming out of the lineup. The only way to create that space is to make a trade. Given the makeup of the top-nine, I don’t see that kind of trade coming at the deadline. In the offseason, after the expansion draft, sure. But now? Likely not.

Morgan Barron’s play is certainly showing he deserves a call up. But the big question is what would be better for his development. Will fourth line minutes, and maybe some PK time, be better development than 20 minutes a night in Hartford in all situations? If he continues walking all over the AHL, then the answer there might be a resounding ‘yes.’

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  • “But the big question is what would be better for his development. ” There should be no other question, at this point.

  • No, no, a thousand times no.

    Morgan Barron has hardly forced a call-up. 13 points in 12 games looks impressive, but it is only 12 games and it is the AHL. It is less awesome than 10 points in 7 games (Brodzinski) and Brodzinski has hardly forced a call-up. Last year, Chityl was fourth on the team in +/- at +9 — and that was in just nine games.

    One can dig deeper into Barron’s play of course. From the eye test, one can see where he is, but i trust no one is doing that.

    And the comparison to Shesterkin? Shesty dominated the AHL. A bad Hartford team was contending for first place on the strength of his goaltending. Management KNEW that he was already the best tender the Rangers had at any level. He wasn’t squeezed into the line-up; he became #1 goalie.

    Barron’s callup is bad for team structure as the team is already playing too many unready youngsters. Unlike Kakko, Kravtsov, Lafreniere, his ceiling is not unlimited. We are not talking first line forward here. There is a reasonable chance he will never attain the level of a Rooney, although we of course hope he will exceed this.

    Finallly, when you write “The only way to create that space is to make a trade. “, tear up the column. Let me paraphrase.

    The only way you can justify playing bad players is to get rid of all the good players. And this is the course of action that seems to be recommended here. This is sort of what the Rangers did oin 2017, leading to the collapse. They refrained from acquiring players like Rooney and Blackwell in the offseason so that Lias Andersson would have a place to play.

    • First off you are comparing apples to oranges. Brodzinski is 27 and not a realistic prospect in the NHL.Barron has just recently been moved to Center and is a bonafide prospect in the organization.
      You are stating that there are “too many unready youngsters”. Who is unready? The only way to get better is to play, and play a lot.
      Nobody’s ceiling on this team is “unlimited”. Some just have better pedigree and skill than others.
      Barron fills an absolute need on this team. A defensively responsible Center who can score .
      The Rangers should not let players like Rooney retard the growth of the youth in the organization at any cost.
      So, by the trade deadline I expect the Rangers to move players like Rooney , Howden, Smith, and even possibly Blackwell (for the right package)to make room for legitimate prospects. In the end it will be better for our youth and progress for the Rangers organization

      • I am comparing one hockey player to another, not apples and oranges. Brodzinski appears to be better than Barron and age has nothing to do with it. So Barron has hardly proved that he belongs in the NHL today.

        Yes, the Rangers should value Barron more as an asset because he may evolve into a better player while Brodzinski is not an NHLer, but that does not mean you want him on your team now. Playing him now is sacrificing the present team for some future gain and it is dishonest to pretend that it is anything else.

        Alexis Lafreniere is terrible and again the Rangers are sacrificing the present for future gain. But there is a huge difference between Laf and Barron. A #1 overall can score 200 goals and still be a disappointment. Barron is likely less than an even chance to be a top six forward and possibly may never exceed Howden. So one can justify twisting the team in knots to play Kakko last year when he was overmatched and this year for Laf and perhaps Kravtsov. But restraint is needed.

        The idea that one can only improve by playing a lot is an opinion, just an opinion, and one I disagree with. Kravtsov can learn a lot just playing against Panarin in practice.

        Finally, the Rangers need players like Rooney and they don’t need Barron. Barron is just one player. OTOH, if you treat guys who are inexpensive but competent bottom six forwards like crap, they won’t sign here – NONE OF THEM. Making Rooney watch a child play ahead of him is disrespectful and leads to ill feeling. Brendan Lemieux has already walked out the door.

        • “Brodzinski appears to be better than Barron and age has nothing to do with it.” Statistically he may be doing better offensively than Barron, does that make him a better player? Ty Ronning has more goals than the Bro-man and just 1 less point in the same number of games, is he better?

      • I’m sorry bro but you’re wrong. Guys like Rooney are important to a team. 4th line players play with that grit and attitude and are needed for that intensity in limited minutes. We don’t need barron to be a fourth liner.

        His pedigree isn’t that of kakko and AL you’re right. Which is exactly why we shouldn’t push him before he’s ready like they did with Howden, who also technically had a higher pedigree than barron. Next year the team will be a lot different. They will have traded players, someone will get expansion drafted. And room will be made by consolidation. You can’t have panarin Mika and kreider and then have a bunch of 22 and unders.

        He’s better off staying put in the ahl and building off of that then getting shuffled around and buried on the big club. It’s only 12 games anyway. We don’t even know if he can be defensively respectable yet which a fourth liner taking Rooney’s spot absolutely will need.

        This whole youth development movement has never worked in the nhl. Go look at buffalo and Edmonton. It took the oilers the greatest player of this generation and Leo to become relevant. You need a mixture of top 6 vets, youngsters and bottom grit guys in order for the team and culture to develop into a winning one.

    • Around a 1ppg pace your rookie season is NHL quality. Being just under 1 projects middle 6.

      At this point, he should come up in order to get him to adversity levels.

    • Raymond, Rooney is not the answer, and what would it hurt to give the kid a few games here?

      • Yeah I don’t really get how Rooney is involved in this. He’s a nice 4th line player, but he’s not a long term answer on this team. Barron should get a recall sooner or later. Need to see what they have in him.

        • Rooney played really well for a while, but then reverted back to why the Rangers were able to sign him for $700K per.

        • “Need to see what they have in him.”

          I don’t see why the Rangers can’t evaluate him at Hartford. We fans don’t get to see him, but it isn’t our judgment that matters. People here seem to think that only what happens in NHL games matters.

      • “Rooney is not the answer,”

        It depends on what the question is. One of the things a successful team needs is inexpensive solid fourth line players. These are players that need not be developed in the system. They can be found in the free agent market, but it is important that you treat these players fairly or they will avoid you like the plague. and the best way to be unfair is to bench these guys in fair of inferior players. And burying these guys under Laf, Krav, and Barron would be the death knell of the Rangers.

        In fact, one of the Ranger shortcomings is that, of the three low level centers, they give pre-eminence to the in-house guy Howden while Rooney and Blackwell are clearly better. As we saw with Lemieux, young 4th liners are actually inferior as they soak up too much money.

        Having twelve Panarins seems attractive but it really isn’t. You can’t afford to pay them and most will leave. You have to work to get inexpensive players as well.

        Note: I believe the Rangers would have made the playoffs this year if they had not won the lottery. They would have kept Fast and Fast was night and day above who Lafreniere is now. in fact, the 2021 Rangers would be better off with you or I than Laf as the coach would be smart enough not to play us.

        He has a bright future and team morale can survive one such player, but a whole host – i don’t think so. Let Krav earn his time and Barron stay in hartford.

        • Morgan is a low cost player as well.

          I have no problem with Rooney, overall, but he’s not the future. Morgan “may” be part of the future, so why not give him some NHL games?

          The playoffs this year was a less than 50/50 chance IMO and this year should be more about the kids’ playing time. there are 19 games left, they need to play more than 10 minutes per night.

  • Barron is playing very well, but it isn’t a dominating performance. He’s forcing nothing aside from making the Rangers think that an EVENTUAL call up at the END of the season would be a good thing — to baptize him in the NHL and prepare him for next year.

    • Tanto,
      If you take a look at AHL rookie scoring leaders you will see that Barron is right up there with Kaliyev and Byfield. The only reason he is behind is that he has played far fewer games.
      I get that Barron is a little older, but he is progressing quite nicely

      • Rich — Riley Damiani, Jack Dugan and Seth Jarvis are all younger and have a better PPG than Barron … and Barron plays the same 2 teams over and over again, with Bridgeport being a pretty bad team. Again, he’s doing very very well, but he isn’t dominating the League (yes he’s one of the best rookies, not one of the best players) and he isn’t forcing a call up.

  • Spare the kid the waste of time that’ll result from “playing” for David Quinn. Let him get 18 mins a night for now, instead of being scratched for Brett Howden.

    And while we are at it, how has Quinn not been fired? Buffalo just lost 18 games in a row, and the Rangers needed OT in both games to merely split the two games.

    • JD has too much class and professionalism to fire “DQ’d from winning” in the middle of this season. He will be replaced with an NHL coach after the offseason evaluations. I thought it was good hire, but he’s proven he reached his ceiling at BU. He is overmatched, stubborn and is not equipped to get the most of the talent they have. Just look at who gets minutes – including overusing top 6 and Fox.

    • Ty Ronning has 9 points in 7 games (6 goals), he’s super dominating. lol

      In all seriousness though, at least he’s finally producing and stands a shot at getting a new deal this summer.

    • DQ is a college level talent only. He cannot assess NHL elite players and does not command the necessary respect to win consistently at the highest level. Go back to college where you can wow a team of 20 year olds please.

      • Amen … he’s no Jack Parker, who also had a lot to work with but at least produced good results. He’s no Jerry York either, no Shawn Walsh … Oh hell he isn’t even a Norm Bazin. 😉

  • Between now and the trade deadline the Ranger front office will need to decide what direction to go with the organization. Likely scenario (after the Buffalo stinker) a small scale sell off, which will open roster spots for Morgan and others.

    • If DQ is coming back I would trade Howden for a bakers’ dozen sticks. lol

      Who you trade is dependent on demand, they should be open to trading PDG, one of Rooney or Blackwell, and lastly Smith — if there’s a market. Not a grand sell off, but a small amount of bloodletting.

      • The bloodletting is more for next year, but IF (probably) we’re realistically out of playoff contention by the time the trade deadline approaches it just makes sense to clear the deck some. Penciling in guys like Lundkvist and Barron for next year seems like a no-brainer — maybe even Robertson. By realistically I mean if we’re within 5-6 points of a playoff spot and it won’t take us winning 75-80% of our games and the 4th place team having to lose more games than they they win. If making the playoffs is dependent on us having guys like Howden, Rooney and Smith, then we’re in trouble.

        • We don’t have to trade much, just another forward and a D. Seattle is going to select someone so that’s 1 more slot. Since we can dress 12 forwards and carry 13, I have no real worries — aside from Quinn who has his favorites. He should like Barron though, he’s more straight-line than most of our forwards. It comes down to time management and in that regard Quinn kind of sucks. I hold out a small amount of hope that he’ll adjust with the maturation of our younger players.

    • If I was in Gorton shoes come trade deadline and the Rangers hope for the playoffs was bleak, the players I would have on my sell list,:

      ADA..Willing to take back salary
      Blackwell who fits under any contentors salary cap would get decent return
      Smitty be willing to take back salary
      Di Geseppie
      Georgie…To unload his salary

    • Take Panarin out of that total and you’ll have your answer. Very few wingers drive play.

  • I think you call up this kid at the end of the season. There is no reason to shorten his education in the AHL at this juncture. The Rangers are not crying out for his presence. Bring him up at the end and let him get a taste of playing with the big boys. Then, lets see if he makes the cut out of training camp next year.

  • Remove Howard and Dairy Queen. Callup Baron to play. Hold onto Blackwell and Rooney. Keep playing Koko, Laf, and Kravy. Let this team experience playoff fever (maybe). The Rangers are ready to develop, push them out of the nest.

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