Call Ups/Demotions

It’s time for the Rangers to make their call ups

With last night’s loss, the Rangers are, for all intents and purposes, eliminated from playoff contention. They were out before it, but the loss to the Isles solidified it. The Rangers need a miracle, basically one of Boston or the Isles losing out. Since that won’t happen, it’s time for some changes. It’s time for the Rangers to make their call ups.

Morgan Barron

This is the time for a Morgan Barron call up. He’s dominating Hartford and the AHL, albeit in a very odd season, and has deserved his call up for some time. Quite frankly, they should have used his call up before last night’s game when they knew Chris Kreider was a no-go.

Since Barron can play wing or center, he can be inserted into the lineup anywhere. Given how the fourth line has been targeted by many teams lately, he can help shore that up. Granted, it’s been targeted because Brett Howden is awful, so there’s that to deal with. It’s highly unlikely Howden is coming out of the lineup. Maybe they put in Barron for Kevin Rooney? Or even Colin Blackwell, who has been struggling of late.

What we do know is that Barron is likely already better than Howden. He’s also likely to be better than most of the fourth line options the Rangers have today. What we don’t know is why David Quinn and company insist that the fourth line have zero skill. Two-way guys who can put the puck in the net are more valuable on the fourth line than a bunch of net-negative players because they contribute nothing with the puck.

Tarmo Reunanen

The more ice time Libor Hajek gets, the more we all cringe. Before Jacob Trouba’s injury, Hajek was getting too much ice time. Even Adam Fox, who he’s been paired with the last two games, couldn’t drag him around the ice. That’s how bad he’s been. I’m not pulling punches anymore. Hajek, who was the 9th defenseman on the depth chart, should not be in the lineup anymore.

Given the lack of options with Trouba’s injury, it’s time for Tarmo Reunanen to get a second call up. It’s also time that he gets more than 8 minutes. In his one game, Reunanen was a 50% CF defenseman, but had a 34.7% xGF game. That’s not overly good. But given his skill set and how he’s looked in Hartford, he deserves a longer look. He’s already better than both Hajek and Anthony Bitetto, who is also not good. Highlight reel goal aside, of course.

Reunanen may not be an answer long term. Given who the Rangers have in the pipeline, it’s unlikely he’s even with the organization in the next two years. Why not make an educated decision on him? The only reason I can think of to keep him in the AHL is that the Rangers don’t want to tarnish value with NHL games. Far fetched, but it’s at least somewhat logical, no?

It can’t get worse

Here’s the thing, the Rangers can’t get worse than Hajek and Howden in the lineup. We know this. I’m pretty sure they know it. So what’s the point of keeping Barron and Reunanen in the AHL? The Rangers keep talking about games that matter. But it seems backwards to be talking about that, then not dressing your best lineup.

It’s time for the Rangers to make the proper call ups to end the season. Even if, by some chance, that miracle happens, the Rangers will be a better team with Barron and Reunanen in the lineup. Even if it’s short term. Take the ‘L’ on the McDonagh trade already.

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  • They are likely staying down until they hit their own tragic number; which could be as soon as tomorrow. Down 5 points to Providence with 3 to play(2 against the baby Bs).

  • So let me get this straight, you actually think they are playing Hajek because they don’t want to admit the McDonagh trade was a bad one? Are you serious guy? Gms make trades all the time and they sure know some will not work out, and if you actually believe that, then you really don’t know this sport like you claim. No disrespect intended my friend .

  • Right………the veterans once again disappear in a big game against a REAL team; the coach seemingly learned nothing from the thrashing he got last week from the Fishsticks, and, as a whole, the squad has no idea that stick-checking and pretty little scoring plays ain’t gonna’ get it done when the rubber hits the road. But once again, the sheep chorus responds: “get rid of Howden and get rid of Hajek”!!!! An insignificant 4th liner and a defenseman who, if thay had ANY better options, wouldn’t be in there.
    You’ve hit the wall with this nonsense. The real problem here is that the team is too structured towards non-contact skill based players, and hardly ANY meat and potatoes guys who actually can work consistently in the offensive zone…not just a line rush and some wild shot from the circle. That has to change if they are to take the next step.
    And of course, they need a coach who realizes that…knows what he’s working with, and can devise some sort of strategy to get some sort of production out of a group,that he obviously doesn’t really believe can play the type of hockey he wants them to. Instead, he just keeps trying to push square pegs into round holes..and it all comes crashing down when they play against good teams.
    That last point is for Upper Mgmt. to deal with this summer. Either bring in those north-south players that the coach craves…or bring in a coach who can use what he has and adapt.If they do nothing, and keep Quinn around, while adding more “highly” skilled prospects; then expect the same results again and again.

      • See, that’s the problem on this site, whenever anyone suggests that the team is just too soft to compete against the elite…right away resort to Slapshot nonsense, and the whole idea of goon hockey. If you can’t understand exactly what “meat and potatoes” players is referring to, just watch the team next game, when they get knocked on their asses in the corner, while trying to feebly stick check their way around the zone. They just have no consistent physical aspect to their game…the team is just too soft to compete consistently against the better teams. As currently constructed, this team is just way too easy to play against; and cannot be taken as a serious threat to anyone.

        • Well not everyone has your expertise as evidenced by repeating these unwritten rules of hockey. Reality check for everyone who thought this team was a playoff contender they’re not. As far as being a Stanley Cup contender next season even if they get these meat and potatoes players you talk about they’re still not there. As far as losing to the islanders it’s a good thing in the long run because the future of this team is in guys like Kravstov 21 Kakko 20 Lafreniere 19 & Chytil 21 skill guys 6’2/6’3” 200lbs who will have to learn to create their own offense not 3rd & 4th liners who are gritty tough guys or the Jesper Fast or Colin Blackwells of the NHl. So spare me your “ everyone but me is a moron when comes to hockey”.

          • AW…struck a nerve, huh? Do you understand that I’m not talking about just 3rd and 4th liners. There’s a significant lack of grit and desire among the top lines too. Just rewatch last night’s game if you need evidence.
            As for the young talent, of course they’ll need to learn to create their own offense. With the aid of a coach who can help them do that….not just ask them to do things that they can’t.
            And please…don’t give me the Blackwells and Fasts as examples of the kind of gritty players I’m talking about. I aiming bigger than that…I want a Graves-type…a Larmer type…yes…even a bigger version of Gallagher from up in Montreal. That’s what they need…and its gonna’ cost them in terms of sacrificing some of the young talent to get it.That, plus a coach who has some sort of clue as to how to manage the squad he has; something that,IMO, DQ is woefully weak at!
            Sorry I made you feel like a moron…but I doubt its the first time you’ve felt that judging by your post.

          • I’m sure you wax poetic when Brooks brings up the black & blue Rangers. Talent wins cups that’s why the Rangers should’ve traded Krieder,Strome & Fast at last year’s deadline to get as much talent as possible to develop. The mission statement said the goal was to win multiple cups. Do agree with you when it comes to Quinn. As far as being insulted by you I realize a parrot only repeats what he heard because he can’t think for himself.

    • Totally agree with your first point of course, but i am not sure about the need for roster change. With young players like Lafreniere, Kakko, Kravtsov and Chityl, it is hard to know exactly what you will have down the road. Last year, Kakko did not know what he was doing, but this year he seems to be developing into the sort of player who goes to the net, who fights in the trench. I think Kravtsov will be such a player, but it is too early to tell. In his first year or two, Chityl only showed up for some shifts, but that has changed somewhat.

      Certainly Kreider and Buchnevich can play a complete game.

      Years ago, Mike Keenan said he did not want a team of goons and dancers – and dumped 700 goal scorer Mike Gartner. He liked well-rounded guys like Messier and Graves. Presently you are right that the Rangers have too many dancers. But i think that some of the young players can become grittier, especially if they get to spend some time on the fourth line – as Buchnevich did. I’d be more patient with the roster changes.

      • Laff and Kakko aren’t going anywhere! Chityl is another story.As for Buch,,,so much better than in the past, but he might have to be sacrificed to get what they need. Kreider is the most inconsistent player in terms of physical play on the team. And Strome…well, if they can get a bona fide centerman…hes gone!

    • Thanks…I’ve been saying this for a long meat and potatoe guys…bangers,take the body stop sticks in play…

  • By all means call them up and give them a chance. They may surprise us. At one time Adam Fox was just another call up and many fans like myself didn’t expect much. He’s an amazing player and today he looks like the next Brian Leetch. Now the Rangers need to get the next Beukeboom in line to play with Fox. That guy was as rough and tough as they come.

  • I think Barron is going to be a pleasant surprise. He’s been able to succeed at every level so far, let’s see what he brings to the table.

    As for it can’t get worse. Marc Staal traded and replaced with Jack Johnson? It can always get worse. Let’s just hope it gets better.

  • Leadership is on the clock. We have a surplus of talented players, and more waves on the way…..Not all of these players will stick, and also not enough ice time for the log jam of our top players, so as painful as this might be, we will have to trade some of our younger and talented players for forceful tough to play against forwards….Some might not want to accept this but, we are a very soft vanilla type team that will not beat the TB, Bees, Canes, of the league with this type of team…..It’s time for JD and company to make it happen. If we do not become a tougher team to play against….regardless of all the talent that we have, we will not get past the tougher to play against teams…..

    Stronger board work
    Clearing the front of our net

    The difference between a top contender or an exciting team that will fizzle against the tougher teams.

  • We’ve gotten to the point I think that someone could successfully coach the Rangers simply buy reading what you are writing Dave and do the opposite of what you recommend.

    The Rangers do NOT have a fourth line problem. Brett Howden has been on the ice for 15 goals against even strength all season, basically 2 goals per 60. Kevin Rooney for 18 (more playing time because Howden missed some games, slightly higher average). The GF are 13 and 18 respectively. DQ does not hesitate to use them against good opposing players and they do exactly what you should want from a fourth line – let the game be decided when your best players are on the ice.

    Mind you, I am not asserting these are great players. You don’t get great players for less than $1M per year. They aren’t even the best fourth liners in the world. But they are better hockey players than you are – in fact they are easily among the top thousand players in the world – and the idea that some alternative couldn’t possibly be worse is just ridiculous. Barron might be better, but it is far from a sure thing (certainly #13 isn’t).

    To win the Cup, the Rangers need team chemistry and they need a credible fourth line. For the former, you need to treat everyone on the team with respect (not the fans, the fellow players and coach). For the latter, you must treat your bottom six with respect. If DQ is thinking about recalling Barron and using him instead of Howden or Rooney, he should talk to them about it first. They might be enthusiastic about getting to see a future teammate, but it should not be framed as Dave frames it.


    On defense, the big screw-up in my opinion was not trying Darren Raddysh. He is a good veteran AHL defenseman. He does not have a great pedigree (nor does Reuanen btw) and almost certainly he should never be top four. But he looked better in the AHL than Hajek (who does have a good pedigree). It seemed worth a shot for a somewhat desperate team. Anton Stralman was going nowhere when the Rangers signed him in desperation. Raddysh is certainly not likely to be another Stralman, but you will never find anything under a rock unless you turn it over.

  • I don’t understand this train of thought. The consensus is that the younger players have to go and the vets are doing a good job? What am I missing that you guys see? I mean in every statistical category that matters Mika is at the bottom in these type of games. Am I wrong?

    I understand the point that Mika is a rare talent. But in 10 years of playing he has never once fought anyone. I mean make me understand what you guys see in him. It can’t just be the coach. At a certain point it has to be the player’s fault. And while I do think mika doesn’t like playing for Quinn. That is no reason to be this bad.

    Career Splits
    Boston 35 games 12 goals 7 assists ( -1) 8 even strength points
    Buffalo 32 games 8 goals 16 assists ( +11) 5 even strength points
    Devils 31 Games 11 goal 19 assists (+9 ) 5 even strength points
    Islanders 34 games 7 goals 16 assists ( -3) 5 even strength points
    Philly 34 games 13 goals 13 assists ( -9 ) 4 even strength points
    Pitt 26 games 7 goals 8 assists ( -14) 5 even strength points
    Caps 31 games 12 goals 11 assists (-4) 7 even strength points

    Anyone else notice a trend here? This isn’t a yearly record… this is his career splits against these opponents. It doesn’t fair any better this year. I have already put those numbers up. I understand the love. But at what point do you realize he is not the 1C and you need a cut your losses?

    To be fair I will give you a career splits for Strome.

    Boston 24 games 5 goals 8 assists (-5) 5 even strength points
    Buffalo 23 games 6 goals 7 assists (+17) 6 even strength points
    Devils 32 games 13 goals 14 assists (+7) 10 even strength points
    Islanders 16 games 1 goal 4 assists (-1) 0 even strength points
    Philly 28 games 2 goals 13 assists (-4) 2 even strength points
    Pitt 28 games 8 goals 7 assists (-6) 6 even strength points
    Caps 30 games 8 goals 16 assists (-1) 7 even strength points

    See how similar their overall stats are? Now let’s look at Barkov. A very defensively sound physical player.

    Boston 21 games 6 goals 9 assists (+6) 4 even strength points
    Buffalo 21 Games 8 goals 12 assists (+8) 6 even strength points.
    Devils 17 games 7 goals 7 assists (+1) 5 even strength points
    Isles 17 games 6 goals 9 assists (+3) 3 even strength points
    Philly 19 games 6 goals 10 assists (+4) 4 even strength points
    Pitt 20 games 4 goals 11 assists (+2) 2 even strength points
    Caps 17 games 4 goals 12 assists (+3) 2 even strength points
    Tampa 32 Games 5 goals 21 assists (-2) 4 even strength points
    Carolina 28 games 10 goals 17 assists (0) 8 even strength points

    What stands out to you? The last guy is consistent. And really florida hasn’t fared any better over the last 5 years then we have. And over that time has had to play one of the toughest teams in the league way more often than us. I don’t agree that mika’s numbers back up a 9 million dollar cap hit long term. I agree he is a good player, and for that matter so is strome. But no way are they the guys to win a cup for this franchise. Especially with the glaring effortless games like this past one. There just is no heart. No compete.

    • “The consensus is that the younger players have to go and the vets are doing a good job?”

      Where did this come from? According to the consensus here, the kids can do no wrong.

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