Musings

7 Thoughts from 7 Days: Rangers offseason plans are all tied together

For a couple months, I’ve been piggybacking off Elliotte Friedman and our own Brandon Cohen on this weekly thought post. While I’d usually do these ad-hoc, I liked the idea of consistency and a common theme. This week, let’s continue our discussion on the Rangers offseason plans, but focus on how one decision will impact another, and everything is relative.

As an aside: I’ve been toying with the idea of adding this weekly post behind a Patreon for a couple bucks a month. Figure $2 a month for this weekly post. You’d wind up, on average, paying about 50 cents a week for it. Let me know your thoughts on that in the comments.

1. There has been a lot of digital ink spilled on toughness and grit. Makes sense, given how John Davidson and Jeff Gorton were let go. But toughness and grit are very subjective terms. The classic definition is hitting and being a pest. We’ve gone through that a few times already. But there’s also just being tough to play against, and having a team identity. The Rangers did not have an identity at all this season.

In addition, the Rangers did not challenge their opponents at all. They were inconsistent on the forecheck, allowed speed through the neutral zone, and backed off the blue lines. The back check was relatively non-existent as well, although that is partially due to being unable to catch anyone because of speed through the neutral zone.

2. You know what fixes both issues? The right coach. In theory, if the right coach is hired, the team becomes much more difficult to play against. If they are tougher to play against and stifling opponents, do we care how many hits they throw?

Do we have a conversation about grit if the Rangers don’t look so inept in two of three zones? I ask only because it seems we are focused on words and not process. The process is being difficult to play against, which includes being gritty in all three zones. Tenacious on the forecheck, coverage through the neutral zone, and stepping up on the blue line matter. That’s the system and getting buy in from the players.

3. Food for thought. Jesper Fast wasn’t your prototypical gritty kind of player. But he was very hard to play against. Look at a good amount of the big Rangers playoff goals during their runs. Fast was on the ice for a good amount of them. He’s a new-age grit guy not because of his physical “toughness,” but because he makes your life difficult on the ice.

These are the kinds of players that the Rangers should also look into. The Matt Tkachuk’s and Tom Wilson’s of the world are few and far between. But the Jesper Fast’s are out there. Look for good skaters who get in on the forecheck and backcheck regularly.

Elias Lindholm fits that description.

4. Lindholm also fits that need for a cost controlled middle-six center beyond next season. This is where things begin to tie in together. Ryan Strome’s next contract might be a problem, and it’s unlikely the Rangers will keep both him and Mika Zibanejad. Lindholm would fit that tough to play against player need, plus that new-age gritty type player.

But Lindholm likely doesn’t happen if the Rangers land Jack Eichel. You know what else doesn’t happen if the Rangers land Eichel? Keeping Strome.

In fact, no centers may happen this year if the price is wrong. In which the Rangers might change course.

5. The point of the first four thoughts is that they are all linked together. That’s something that I believe is missing from the comments lately. It’s the nuance behind some of the presumed Rangers offseason plans. We can talk until the cows come home about what the Rangers might do or are planning to do. But it is all relative to what the prices are and what the Rangers are willing to part with.

For example, most bets are off when it comes to Connor McDavid. I only bring that up because social media had its fun with the Oilers after they got swept. But the price for McDavid is not the price for Eichel. The price for Eichel is not the price for Lindholm. There’s a plan here.

6. Here’s an unpopular opinion: If the Rangers can’t get what they want for what they want to pay, then dare I say they will still be much improved next season? We saw the glaring system issues and the lack of consistent effort. Does that change with a new coach?

What about the deployments? Does a simple lineup change in the top-nine make all three lines more efficient? What about a swap of the top-four on defense? Or adding another lefty to PP1? These are all minor changes that can be done with the current top-13 in the lineup.

It doesn’t necessarily mean the Rangers will be better off beyond next season, given the expiring contracts, but it is something to consider.

7. Expanding on that, and perhaps the most important thing for the Rangers, is fixing the bottom players on the roster. A stopgap player or two on the blue line and someone who isn’t Brett Howden on the fourth line will go a long way to balancing this roster out.

Most importantly is that third pair. The Rangers got walked whenever it wasn’t the top-four out there. If there is on important thing in the Rangers offseason plans that few are talking about, it is fixing that third pair. Nils Lundkvist presumably goes a long way to addressing that, but the Rangers will need someone to play on that left side, A viable stopgap is fine.

I’m also all for bringing Brendan Smith back as a 7D. Just keep Libor Hajek off the rotation.

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  • Yes. At a $$s fair to all, Brendan Smith is an asset in every way (on and off ice) if used at the proper D spot in the rotation given age, skill set, etc. As for grit, even that is not one dimensional. Some grit is Fast-like, some is Kocur-like, some is Tikanen-like. Hell, some is even Matteau-Matteau-like! Need a blend throughout the team, plus the dancers, who also have their dimensions…

    • My thoughts are similar. The issue is getting quality bottom 6 players. Guys like Wayne Simmonds, Blake Comeau etc Even possibly bringing back Brassard as a 4C.

      The 3 combined would be no more than $4 million

  • The first thing the rangers need to do is acquire a head coach. That has a good system and will teach the young players how to be a pro. I am not a fan of trading for Eichel. I think he is going to be over priced. The rangers should be working on there depth. Specifically there bottom six. They have some good trade assets for the right price they could get young hungry players for the bottom six. To create a more competitive atmosphere. That in turn we will find out quick who out of the young talent we have wants to be here. If the rangers get the right coach. The day’s of mediocrity will be over.

  • Sign Hartley as coach (demanding coach who has won everywhere). Defense: Sign Alec Martinez for $5M/3 years while Jones and Robertson develop, sign Nils for 3rd pair right side. Forwards: Get Sanford from Stl and sign Cizikas to play with Barron on the 4th line. After that….depends on cost to upgrade center. Plenty of options at all positions with expansion draft. Teams will not want to lose good players for nothing so deals are there to be made.

    • We don’t want to lose good players for nothing either. Better we wait until after the expansion draft, aside from possibly trading with a team for the 3rd defensive protection slot and exposing Hajek. After the draft we could look at Seattle and see what they’ve picked up as 3rd and 4th liners and possibly strike a good deal with them by using some of this year’s draft picks (we’ve picked enough over the last few years not to need all our picks this year) or by using guys like Hajek, Howden or even Gauthier.

  • Despite the firings to jump start this thing to win now mode, the theme still is development. The very best thing that can happen for this team to improve organically is for Kakko and Laffy to take the next step. It’s not a linear situation. Two 19yr olds whose growth curve should take the shape of a hockey stick with its blade facing upward. Both of them have a certain grit in their games, or at least are developing it. You could just see Kakko getting it during the year, realizing how strong he actually is. Laffy has all the tools to be a consistent 30/50 guy who will not get pushed around but will do some pushing.

    That said, I am all for adding a couple pieces. And if it means going big for a Tkachuk then so be it. This year’s 1st rounder + the Goat + Jones or Robertson is something I’d do if it would work. Or maybe Chytl & Jones.

    As for the D, I would not touch it. Within 2 years Schneider will be aboard and along with Trouba and Miller (yup, I said it, he’ll develop a more physical aspect, this year he was trying not to make mistakes, trying to be steady, with experience he’ll do more and think less) they’ll have plenty of physicality. If Robertson is not dealt, he checks that box too.

    As for Strome, he’s the victim of the fact that he was acquired for the trash bag filled old stick tape that was Spooner. Neither Dave nor much of anyone else gives him the credit he deserves for what he has become. A solid #2 and if the Rangers are entering the compete window why not Strome, even in the 5-6 mil. range?

    Yes, they need a faceoff guy. That has to happen. If Chytl is lost in a trade that will be addition by subtraction where faceoffs are concerned. I may be a neanderthal, but I also want someone who can throw ’em. Truth be told I’d have Wilson on this team in a heartbeat.

    But point is, the less they do with this roster the better. The kids (Kakko, Laffy & Kravs) are going to grow like weeds now. There was a reason we went through the last 3 years and that was to build something that, as Dave noted above, can be coached into a contender. Just sculpt around the periphery but keep the DNA and add a real coach.

  • A new coach who is the right coach is definitely key. Also key are bringing in some tougher players (to play against). I think Zib & Strome are likely to stay, but Chytil needs an upgrade. Not JE, but a drive to the net center.

    I want all the kids to take a step up, but not happy with the bottom 6 at this point, they need vast improvement.

    • This desire to trade Chytil just blows my mind … he did as well as any 3C could do given the circumstances and he’s still just 21. How developed were you at the age of 21? If the answer is “very developed”, I feel sorry for you. This is a normal developmental process.

  • The error in all this is that the laffy pick moved your rebuild timeline up a year.

    We got one more year of this. If we didn’t get the #1 pick would everybody still be singing this tune?

    We talking playoffs? Half the team couldn’t even buy a beer when the season started.

    • Actually, the Laffy pick moved the timeline back a year – not up. Without that pick, the Rangers keep Fast and make a serious effort to compete this past year. There are fewer cap issues without the Lafreniere bonus. With that pick, the Rangers adopted the attitude that they would be really really good when Lafreniere becomes an elite player and so extended the rebuild.

  • Tying your first set of thoughts together, if bigger and grittier always wins, The Capitals wouldn’t have lost in round 1. If they had retained Barry Trotz, I probably wouldn’t be making that statement. The coach matters a lot.

    • Huh? I don’t care who the opponent is. A Boston playoff victory is never evidence against bigger and grittier always wins.

      • Washington was the favorite and had home ice advantage.

        The Bruins also let Chara, there captain of 14 years, and Krug go. Ondrej Kase has been hurt. They had a lot of controversy last year with Rask for leaving the bubble. Remember people were calling to trade him? They added Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar.

        Washington added Chara and gave up a lot for Mantha at the deadline and also added Michael Raffl.

        So no I would not say it was a slam dunk Boston was going to beat them. Let alone take 4 in a row. The last 2 games weren’t even that competitive.

        How many play off series has Washington won since they let Trotz go? How many play off series have The Islanders won since they hired Trotz?

      • Players like Wilson & Dillon on Washington were largely physically invisible against the Bruins. Same was true for Boston’s tough guys like Ritchie. I watched 4 of the 5 games, hoping someone would destroy Wilson. Never came close to happening. Series was a lot less physical overall than I thought it would be.

    • Do you think if we had Trotz, the Islanders and Caps wouldn’t have ragged dolled us?

      A good coach is crucial, so is the right personal and you don’t win in this league without a balance.

      The Bolts were a heavily finesse team and got bounced in round 1 by Jackets, they added more grit, became a more balanced team and won it all.

      The Leafs, heavily finesse team, bounced rather easily, added more grit, should be a harder out.

      The Blues losing to the Av’s, was expected.

      The Caps losing to the Bruins, was also not an upset.

      The two teams that beat both of those heavy teams also have heavy players, in addition to great talent….again it is called balance.

      The Rangers have some bigger players who have not learned how to play bigger yet, with time, they should be able to gain the confidence to throw the body more…but you don’t add a Tanner Glass and then call yourself tough or think because you have one token, it is enough.

      • “Do you think if we had Trotz, the Islanders and Caps wouldn’t have ragged dolled us?”

        I have no idea but, I would imagine if Trotz was The Rangers coach they would have shown up much better prepared on a nightly basis then they did last year under Quinn.

        I am not sure who you extrapolated that comment out of what I said? My point is you can be as big and bad as you can be but without a great coach you still most likely won’t win.

        I’ll ask you the same thing I asked Ray? How many play off series have The Capitals won since they let Trotz go? How many play off series have The Islanders won since they hired Trotz? Think about it.

        • Trotz is an excellent coach for the Islanders. He correctly deploys his personal but he also has a balanced roster.

          The Rangers roster is very flawed at this point. Trotz would definitely have the Rangers better prepared but they still wouldn’t go very far with the current personal.

          Blackwell is a depth forward, Rooney a nice player doesn’t necessarily warrant an everyday start. Howden should be in the ECHL, Hajak s/b in Europe. PDG is another depth/AHL type player.

          Mika is a goal scorer, tries to avoid almost everything else.

          Bread is a stud.

          Strome is a nice player…not sure you win with him.

          Then we get very young and a lot of our young players are soft or currently playing soft.

          Caps have always underperformed except the one year they won it…lets not forget that Trotz couldn’t get out of the 2nd round, 3 out of the 4 years he was in Washington. The Caps went with an inexperienced guy after they let Trotz walk and it showed.

          • “Mika is a goal scorer, tries to avoid almost everything else.

            Bread is a stud.”

            Talk about a disconnect. You can’t make those two statements back to back and try to pretend they both make sense. They both have wicked shots, they both have the ability to move the puck around, they both play an undervalued defensive game, they both don’t go to the net or live in the dirty areas, etc. Oh yeah, and Mika is quite a good penalty killer.

  • I realize that with all the drama at the end of the season and missing the playoffs causes calls for changes, but I don’t believe a major overhaul is necessary for the team.

    I agree about coaching and being hard to play against, but you don’t need new players to be hard to play against, especially when you have a bunch of kid forwards learning the game. As you say Dave, installing a coach with a system can change the team greatly and into one that forechecks, back checks, and stands up people at the blue line. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that their young forwards cannot learn to be those kinds of players. They have size and skill and youth. They need direction. They need accountability. Fine, don’t hire Torts, but hire someone who, like Torts, demands his team be hard to play against, or else.

    No, I don’t see a great need to replace Ryan Strome. I believe that Mika, Strome and Chytil are all quite adequate to go to war with as the team’s centers. Why spend for another shiny object?

    It ain’t the middle six that needs some player acquisitions, because the top 9 are quite good with the influx of the young forwards Lafreniere, Kakko and Kravstov and Chytil. It is the fourth line where the overhaul is needed. Maybe Morgan Barron is the center for that line. Then two wingers who can check and defend, and get those garbage goals too while wearing out the other team’s lines some–and who will drop the gloves if the opponents take liberties with the goalie or the young forwards.

    Same for your third pairing on defense. Brendan Smith might even be fine there if you get somebody who is not a stiff for him to play with.

    A couple of gritty players on the fourth line, another gritty defenseman, yes, but also a gritty system and a coach who doesn’t tolerate the team being soft. That’s how they can change things without spending assets on Jack Eichel or whoever. They are real close to being quite good without the wish lists of players people keep throwing out there.

  • You can upgrade the bottom 6 all you want. Still doesn’t address the shocking ease at which the top 2 lines were handled by the better teams in the division. And their total lack of “showing up” and leading the team in the games where their talent MUST come through.
    Now, maybe it is coaching that will help with this…but when their is the talk of a “culture change” needed, then they might think something more is needed.

    • CHEMISTRY
      TENACITY
      FEROCIOUS
      COACHING
      GOALTENDING

      NY Islanders…on the verge of eliminating the Pens as a result of the above………

      • Rocky, cmon—don’t give the Isles that much credit, haha! Jarry has handed the islanders 2 of their 3 wins. Penguins have dominated play in 4 of the 5 games so far.

        • Hot goalie always the bet in the playoffs…Pens are in deep trouble. if Anders Lee wasn’t injured, this series is probably over….Pens are running out of fumes with Crosby and Malkin no longer in there prime…..

    • So then, your suggestion is to trade the top two lines and redo them to players who “show up”. Yea, that would work. ; )

      • No, nobody said trade the top 2 lines. You add some sort of physical, gritty aspect to the top 2 lines so that they aren’t so easily nullified against good, physical teams. You can’t build a lineup to play just against Buffalo and New Jersey.
        Just adding muscle to the 4th line doesn’t address the disappearing act from the top lines. This goes back to the Bubble last year vs. Carolina.
        If you leave the top lines as they are, don’t get so upset next Season when they’re still sitting at home watching the Isles on TV advance their way to the Finals.
        Lets be clear..I’m not talking about just adding some lower tier muscle to those lines. If they could find the likes of a Adam Graves type or a bigger Brendan Gallagher type,,,then that would work! (;

  • I think a new coach will make a big difference. Jacques Martin made a big difference with the defense in just this one partial season alone.

    I disagree tho about the kind of toughness that’s needed. At the end of the day, you need at least SOME guys who can just bring the right attitude and some meanness to this team. You can’t get too far in the Playoffs without being challenged physically. Teams will try to intimidate each other just to see if they can. In fact, it would be nice to see the NYR as the aggressors and not just trying to get by with a little grit here and there. That’s kind of what we have now and it’s not working.

    Get back to being the Black & Blueshirts. That team was relentless, tough, skilled, and went deep into the Playoffs. That’s probably what Dolan has in mind.

  • Lets look at each of the top 2 lines a little closer.
    Zib/Buch/LaFren – Only Buch plays with some fire. LaFren may learn to, but Zibby is truly a sniper and does not get dirty

    Strome/Panarin/Kakko – Kakko showed some signs of strength, Strome goes to the net a bit but Panarin is strictly a sniper.

    Can you see a little trend with these two lines? Both need to get tougher to play against. If you want to let Zibby and Panarin snipe, then the other two forwards need to get more into the dirty areas. Unclear to me if coaching will change that. Thinking you need to adjust these 2 lines to add a gritty winger to each. Then you take LaFren and Kakko and put a gritty center in between and you have 3 lines tough to play against.

    Drury – go make it happen

    • The passiveness was proven in last years bubble debacle and with all the talk nothing changed. I just can’t see Drury being able to find two forwards with enough grit, toughness and skill that would fit in on either of our top two lines. Who would be moved out? It seems like management loves all these so called skill guys.

  • If “soft as silk”Chytil is traded and Blackwell taken in the draft that leaves spots for a grit wing a center and space on the bottom two lines. The team can use Lafrenier with Panarin and Strome , Zib with Kakko and Kreider, Kratvsov with Baron and a new grit wing then Gauthier with Rooney and another grit wing on the forth.The Rangers then clean house with Deguiseppi, and Howden going elsewhere. This love affair with 1 goal Howden needs to be over.

  • Sorry, but I don’t really see anything new here. What you’re saying Dave is what has been said by many on this blog at one time or another — of course there’s the other side as well, the side that wants to trade everyone for perceived shiny objects on other teams. Add Barkov to the list, we’re not getting him either. In fact, chances are pretty good we get none of the players often mentioned — I mean just the other day Larry “beat up at the bus stop” Brooks added another name to the list, Kadri. Why? I mean why would we want a PROVEN undisciplined a-hole, because some writer thinks it and sets it down in print just to get fans talking and arguing?

    We get linked to everyone in trade, it’s a lot of noise. Yes, there will be some changes, but of the myriad of names tossed out maybe … just maybe … it will be one of those guys.

    No, we already took the first big step in changing the makeup of this team by firing the whole coaching staff — it will be a new voice they hear come the fall. Watch the playoffs, if you have a few guys that always play heavy often times the rest of the team will follow — guys who never threw a hit in the regular season all of a sudden start banging, guys who are just a tad slow skating all of a sudden find some speed, etc. The playoffs are a different animal, it’s about effort and will — and it just takes a few guys stepping up and playing the right way to infect a whole team, even one made up of predominantly “soft” pacifists.

    So temper expectations on the trade front and just hope the next coach is the right coach … tweaks will be made, a few new voices will be added. Let’s all just hope a better song is played.

    • Its not just the coach. Say what we want about DQ but if you take his statements at their word, he wanted go play a grittier game, and seems like that type of guy, but just wasn’t given the right players. You can just appear on the ice and say “I’m gritty”, you have to walk the walk and expect to be challenged and be able to back it up. NYR dancers cannot back it up and have no interest in doing so. And…while we are on that topic, please no one point me to the line brawl in the post-Wilson Caps game. I applaud the try, but losing fights across the board doesn’t do much for team confidence or momentum. Just sayin’…

      • I believe if you reread my comment you’ll note that I didn’t say it was just the coach, I said it was the first big step. There’s a balancing act here between making measured changes, for the most part at the periphery, and creating a chaotic environment by trying to change too much.

        Side note on DQ though, he may have asked players to be grittier but he was constantly outcoached, even on home ice; he created an atmosphere of tension by punishing the younger prospects every time they made a mistake, while letting the vets slide … I don’t want to overstate this, I think DQ had some good runs here, but he isn’t the coach we need for the next step.

        • JFTR, Jacob Trouba had 639 hits in 408 games in six Winnipeg seasons. He had 284 hits in 108 games in two Ranger seasons under Quinn. I looked at hits/60 in the last year of AV and first year of Quinn. Compared Skjei, Staal, Mika, Buch Zucc, Fast, Kreider. Fast declined a little under Quinn but the other six went up, some markedly.

          To a certain extent, he got the veterans to play the game he wanted them to play. One thing the new coach is unlikely to do is to get a more physical game from the same veteran players.

  • Oh crap…just read Nils Lundkvist suffered a leg injury in yesterday’s game and has been sent home. Done for the tournament. Let’s hope it’s not serious.

  • I think the management change sends one clear message. There is an attitude “Let Lafreniere, Kakko, Kravtsov, Chityl, Barron, Miller, Lundqvist, Robertson, Jones, Schneider develop and let’s see what happens and what we actually need.”

    I am not taking sides on this attitude in this particular comment, but I think it is clear that this is an attitude that Dolan has rejected. He wants the Rangers to make the playoffs in 2022 and expects Drury to take some kind of aggressive action to make that happen. I don’t expect them to deal Laf, Jones, and a first rounder for Sidney Crosby. They are not going to abort the youth movement to win now, but they are not going to stand pat either. Then ten players I named are a big part of the future and I expect at least seven to be in the organization next year. But I think there is essentially no chance all ten will be back and I expect two or three to depart – not because the Rangers want to be rid of them, but because most of the Ranger trade value is tied up there.

    As for grit, in hits per 60, Mika isn’t great but his rate this year was higher than the combined rates of Strome, Panarin, Kakko. I don’t think that is a line that the Rangers want going forward. JFTR, while Kakko seemed more physical, his hit rate actually went down a tad.

    • Some of the titty bumps that Zib and Miller threw that were construed as “hits” were debatable.

    • You may be right Ray, but none of us really know what Dolan’s thinking was here. Perhaps he blamed the coach to a large degree, as many people here do as well … or JG. We might never know the truth, but I think JD/JG/DQ wanted to come back next year as some sort of triumvirate and Dolan wanted at least one of them gone (DQ or JG), when the other members of triad bucked them they all went down — but that’s just a personal opinion not based on any actual facts, just an interpretation of the circumstances as I see them.

      • I don’t think it is so hard to figure out. Clearly Dolan was unhappy with the way things were going and he did not have confidence that the current regime was going to be able to right the ship. Certainly the public statements (which may of course be intentionally misleading) told us that the current regime did not think that the ship needed to be righted.

        If I’m Dolan and I want a coaching change, I fault JG for not figuring out that a change is needed on his own. So I just might fire Gorton even though I see Quinn as the obvious problem. OTOH, I see no way that Quinn’s loyalty to JG would affect the situation.

        As for JD, there is an alternate theory which has not been discussed but is actually quite simple. Dolan wants to replace JG with Drury. I might just ask Drury whether he wants to be under JD or president himself.

        • I think there are a number of reasonable interpretations — again I think Dolan wanted DQ fired, JG said no, then Dolan wanted both JG and DQ fired, JD said no … so *poof*, the whole lot of them got fired by one guy who could. There were a number of statements regarding everybody in the org being on the same page, clearly the philosophical differences were big enough to require a housecleaning — right or wrong.

          • Maybe you are right, but I have one advantage on you. I am really happy about this and most here are not.

            Occam’s Razor suggests Dolan got what he wanted, one thing, as opposed to having a small objective which spiraled out of control, two things.

            You are fitting Dolan’s basic objective to be your basic wish. I am doing the same of course, but my path is less convoluted. Consider:

            Do you really think Gorton would give up his job to avoid firing Quinn? I don’t. There are GMs who would of course, but I don’t think Gorton belongs to that group.

            I don’t think that JD really contributed anything. The president has a number of responsibilities, sort of. He deals with management and assets, promoting the team locally, oversees the general manager. In Columbus and St. Louis, promoting community involvement was a big deal – as was the financial health of the organization. In New York, all that takes care of itself and all that is left is being the interface between the general manager and the owner. JD didn’t even hire his own GM in NY. Am I wrong in thinking that all JD did was to trust Gorton to make the decisions publicly and perhaps to advise him in private. As for the interface part, it seems to me that if part of JD’s job is to convince Dolan to support JG’s decisions, once Dolan turns on JG, JD’s raison d’être falls apart.

            In hindsight for me, letting Jesper Fast go was critical. it was a poor decision. Its impact was far less than the signings of Holik and Redden to be sure – or the new contract for DeAngelo. However, there was a rational thought process in which those signings made sense. The Fast departure was just plain stupid. I tried to force sense into it at the time, but the bottom line is that Gorton simply does not know what makes a winning hockey team.

            There is a big management thing here. At BSB, there was a perception by many that Quinn was good at developing but didn’t seem like the guy who could coach a team to the Cup. Let’s assume that is true. Then do we choose (A) let the guy keep his job until he actually comes up short, or (B) pro-actively replace him now. Whether the GM chooses (A) or (B) says a lot about him. In Dolan’s shoes, I don’t want to overrule a guy who makes decisions by faulty reasoning. I want a new guy.

  • Jesper Fast hit everybody and I think led the Rangers one season in that department so grit, hitting, forechecking are all kind of one in the same to me and not mutually exclusive.

  • Good points, Dave. I believe a new coach changes a lot regarding the ability of this team to compete, to be fair i did, and still do, think Quinn was a good coach. However, when you fire the bosses, you have to fire the coach as well. I hope they don’t make rash decisions just because of the firings. I think Eichel would be a huge mistake, just too risky given the injury. In fact, I think this team is closer then most think, if you are willing to be patient and watch the development of the youth. Not saying some good adds will not help, but just don’t make a move to make a move.

    • i think quinn was terrible. panarin on the right side during powerplays.. 11/2 minutes for first team on power play.
      no clue how to play last two minutes of period/game.
      crazy line combos. he even had a frazzled look most of the time
      just not upper echelon coaching stuff

  • why was libor hyjak so bad.
    i really did not see him make that many mistakes. true he was a no highlight guy but was he really that bad?

  • Lundkvist does not bring any grit or toughness on the Blueline. He is a skilled PP specialist and it is yet to be determined is he can defend against the Tom Wilson’s of the league. Fast was a hard worker but he never intimidated anyone. The Rangers need a nuclear option, to neutralize the others teams goon.

  • Management after picking a coach has to decide which kids are going to be part of the future core while at the same time who can go in a deal if it means changing/improving the top six. IMO instead of overpaying for the $10mil a year Eichel maybe it’s better dealing less for a solid 3rd line C Lindholm/Kadri type, hold on to Strome and beef up the wings on the bottom six. Players such as Reaves, Goodrow, Coleman, maybe Simmonds if anything left along with a gritty defenseman on a short term deal to go with Barron and Nils can all serve important roles and not cost us any top prospects. We would have a blend of skill, grit and toughness throughout the lineup.

  • I never mentioned him because I did not think that he would be available, but if the Pens do something stupid and cut Sullivan loose, then he immediately goes to the top of my list for Ranger coach.

    Even more than Gallant, easily. That would be a boon for the Rangers. Sullivan would implement the proper system, forechecking and pressuring the puck, that the Rangers need to take the next step forward.

    I read that Sully is the statistically the most impactful coach in the league. We can only hope. And I believe that this is the situation that the Rangers are waiting to see how it plays out.

    Otherwise, stay the course, get a little sandpaper in the bottom 6 and 3rd D pairing, and they are goo to go.

  • Okay, I Like Bringing Back Smith on a Low Ball Contract (He owes us that after that first year after signing) I feel for Howden, poor kid leaves it all on the ice every shift…sadly it just isn’t enough…and with Quinn gone I am afraid Howden is too…probably not protected but with the injury I don’t see Seattle risking it….

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