Welcome to the final installment of the annual Top 30. It’s been a fun ride over the long summer months, but with hockey season upon us, let’s take a gander at the Top 10. In case you missed it, here are parts one and two. Before we get to the best tenders in the land, let’s take a look at the final two tenders who were relieved from their Top 30 duties of a year ago…
Miikka Kiprusoff- Retired: The reason Kipper is no longer on the list is pretty obvious: he chose to retire at the end of last season, even vetoing a trade to the Maple Leafs prior to calling it quits. The Finnish keeper was #15 on the list last season, and surely would have made another appearance had he not decided to hang ‘em up.
Nikolai Khabibulin- Chicago Blackhawks: The Bulin Wall checked in at #26 last season, when he was getting fairly consistent reps in Edmonton. However, since he decided to take on the role of veteran backup behind the newly extended Corey Crawford, he is sure to see his playing time significantly reduced. While I believe Khabby is still a solid keeper, the role change really forced my hand.
With that out of the way, ladies and gentlemen, rankings 10-1… Read more »
Could be better, could be worse.
As Olympic orientation camps get under way this week, many of the new unis that the teams will wear are being unveiled. On Tuesday, Nike revealed the uniforms for the 2014 American Squad, to mixed results.
The jerseys continue the trend of Edge® style moisture wick design, however, these two have something of a euro influence, perhaps more common on the football pitch than in the hockey rink. The two-tone design of the white jersey clearly displays this quality more prominently, but both are seemingly soccer influenced.
The patch is evocative of the 1932 USA jersey, used in Lake Placid. This is where it starts to get weird, however. The cheap, screen-printed look of both the navy-on-navy stars and the faux-lace neck area leave much to be desired, in my opinion. Why not just have a real tie on the neck? Read more »
The other day, I was reading one of my favorite goalie-related publications, InGoal Magazine. There was a fantastic article about some NHL tendys giving their thoughts on the new equipment sizing and some of the difficulties the changes pose. After reading the article and seeing some of the drastic reductions in size, I started thinking about the involvement of the Union and the type of representation that goalies are receiving during this type of transition.
There has been talk of allowing goalies up until the Olympic break to comply with the new rules, and further talk of revisiting the measurements in the off-season (not to see if they are effective, mind you, but to take another crack at reductions). After examining all the information from the article and investigating further into the compromise made with regard to the reduction formula, I arrived at the conclusion that goalies are not being advocated for properly in the new-NHL. Read more »
Remember hockey? I miss it too.
As a hockey fan, August is by far the worst month of the year. Free agency, the major trades, the Draft, they have all long passed by and the dog days of summer have set in. Traverse City is still a few weeks away. The major headlines are the remaining few contract situations (Stepan and to some extent, Lundqvist), but the season still seems worlds away.
In the life of a hockey blogger, August represents dredging the deepest recesses of your brain for something to write about. Everything with AV, re-signing McDonagh, Hagelin and Zuccarello, speculating on Stepan and Hank’s extensions, assessing the cap situation, etc. have been beaten to death over the past two months. Nothing really left to do but wait (and read the final installment of the Top 30, of course).
In deference to our final hockey-less month, I thought I would just muse a little on some hockey related topics. Read more »
Welcome to Part II of Justin’s Preseason Top 30 Goaltenders list. In case you missed rankings 30-21, here they are. Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at a couple more tendys that didn’t make the cut this year after gracing the list in 2012…
Ilya Bryzgalov, Free Agent: I caught a lot of flack for ranking Mr. Universe at #20 last season. Bryz is a very strange case. He is still a pretty decent goalie, but he is a massive headcase and the circus following him out of Philadelphia contributed to his omission from the list. It will be interesting to see if he is able to catch on with an NHL club at some point this season.
Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues: Halak actually ranked #12 last season, but recurring injuries and generally poor play pushed the Slovakian out. If he comes back healthy and has a strong, full campaign this year, don’t be surprised to see him back on the list next season. He is still only 28, but his lower-body injuries are starting to pile up, which is very concerning.
With that out of the way, rankings 20-11. Read more »
Things are a little slow here in Rangerland as we count down to the pre-season, so I thought I’d tackle a more global topic.
Not withstanding the (now completely predictable) labor squabbles of recent years, the NHL has consistently investigated and implemented ways to improve its overall on-ice product. They aren’t plagued with the constant felony arrests of the NFL and NBA, nor the drunk driving and steroid issues of MLB. Most of the athletes are humble professionals who respect the game and the fans. Now, the NHL is not without its problems. There have been several nagging issues that have persisted through rule changes, new committees, summer R&D camps and beta tests in lower leagues. The most demonstrative examples include not enough goal scoring, concussions and obstruction-type penalties.
Now, all three of these major problems could be solved by one simple solution, and it’s not one anyone around the league wants to consider, myself included: moving the NHL to olympic sized rinks. I know what you’re thinking, I don’t like it either. It seems borderline sacrilegious. The NHL has always played on North American sized rinks. It’s what has differentiated the NHL from the Olympics and the inferior European leagues. We like the physicality, the fighting, the hard-nosed style of play that comes along with the smaller rink, but consider each league problem…
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Welcome to Justin’s 2nd Annual Top 30 Goaltenders List. If this is the first time you are reading the list, last year’s entries can be found here, here and here. The methodology of the list is the same as last year: taking into account present ability, future projection, durability, consistency and technique, this is the order in which I would advise my hypothetical “team” to seek out a goaltending solution. This “team” is an amalgamation of every roster construction circumstance throughout the league. In other words, my “team” has no short or long-term priorities, cap restrictions or player loyalties.
Since there was no comparable archive to last year’s list, I’m going to add in last year’s rankings to each tender this year, and since I’m a comprehensive guy (or just like to hear myself talk; yup, definitely one of those) in each of the three posts comprising the list, I will highlight the players left off the list from last season and explain my rationale for their omission. This will be the “Dropped” section.
Before we get going here are this year’s honorable mentions: Read more »
Happy Friday BSB’ers! It is my pleasure to reveal the identities of our three finalists for the off-season plan contest. Drum roll please…
In Third-place, the Bronze Medal goes to: Robin Grau
In Second-place, the Silver Medal goes to: Michael Seidell (commenting handle Seahorse)
And our winner and Gold Medalist is, with over 50% of the total community vote: Tommy Tabasco (Tommy T, around these parts) Throw him a follow on Twitter- @ttabasco13
Be on the look out for a guest-post from Tommy T in the near future, and thanks again to everyone who participated in the contest. It was a lot of fun. If you guys and gals have any other ideas like this and our Best Ranger Post-Lockout Contest, drop us a line and let us know.
NY RANGERS OFFSEASON
RFA’s - The most important thing to me this offseason is to get Stepan and McDonagh signed, so I would start the offseason with resigning my RFA’s.
Derek Stepan - I really like this kid, he is young, has skillful hands, and has a good hockey sense on top of the fact that he is already a very reliable player. He was second in points (on the Rangers) only to Rick Nash with a break out season and was part of the reason we made it to the playoffs. I would give him a 3 year 3.5M deal but if he was willing to sign a longer term I would give him a 4-5 year deal for 4M. I think he will continue to be a smart, successful player for us for many years to come and getting him locked up early would be nice.
Ryan McDonagh - He’s probably our best Defense-man as of right now, like Stepan, McDonagh is an integral part of our team. He lays down heavy hits, he knows how to move the puck, his pinches are well timed and I think he has some offensive upsides that seem to come through when you need them the most. Not to mention that he is amazing at covering top offensive players and getting back into position if a mistake is made. I would give him a similar deal as Staal got. 3-4 years for 3.97M but like Step if he was willing to take a longer deal (5-6) I would give him max 4.25M. I know this is a lot but I think McDonagh is just a really smart good hockey player that deserves this kind of deal.
Having said that I would like to get both McD and Step as cheaply as possible so that I don’t get to close to the cap celling. If they took my max offer we would have 5.9M left to work with. That’s already cutting it close given the amount of contracts we need to sign. So lets hope they sign for less.
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I. Compliance Buyout (To Buy out or Not to Buy out)
Easily the first decision made has to be whether to buy out Richards or not. Currently there is $14 mil in cap space with, in my case, 5 necessary players that need to be signed; Stepan, Hagelin, Zuccarello, McDonagh and Clowe as well as options for additional depth. Richards is not fast, nor overly physical, but he can distribute the puck which sounds a lot like Henrik Sedin. If Torterella wasn’t fired this would be an easy decision and Richards would have a house on the market, but AV is the coach for him to bring Richards back to form. Richards still has nine 60 point seasons since entering the league in 2000-2001 and when he didn’t it was due to injury or a lockout and last year was still third on the team in points. However, depending on the cap next year and his 2013-2014 I would have no hesitation in pulling the plug because his cap hit gets scarier as he approaches 40.
Side Note: I acknowledge the injury concerns with him, if he’s hurt the Rangers can never buy him out, but his game isn’t based on his athleticism or his checking it’s his intelligence and hands. The world didn’t end when Drury couldn’t keep up with a snail, instead he mentored Callahan into the player we see today.
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