Does AV mean a changing of roles for the players?
For several off-seasons running, I’ve been creating these “master plans” that talk about the future rosters of the Rangers. The purpose of these posts is to really come full circle on all of the topics and rumors we’ve been covering over the course of the season. During prior offseasons, creating these plans was pretty easy for me as John Tortorella frequently talked about the Rangers “team concept”. Based on his vision, I just filled in the blanks.
With his team template in mind, these posts were generally unified by three main ingredients for success — roster balance, strong skating ability, and making an effort in all three zones. As trade deadlines and free agency periods came and went, my plans always revolved around the idea that the Rangers should stick to those three ingredients when evaluating their own team and what’s available on the marketplace.
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Spot the righty (AP Photo/Kathy Willens).
With the exception of a few depth signings, it appears Glen Sather will keep the Rangers roster mostly intact for the 2013-14 season. Rather than take a shot at Jarome Iginla, Derek Roy, or Daniel Alfredsson (all of whom signed one year deals), the organization has instead decided to keep Brad Richards around for at least one more season. Barring a trade, it looks as though AV will have to work with what he’s got.
Getting the Rangers back to being one of the best 5-on-5 hockey teams shouldn’t be an issue for this staff. Even if there hadn’t been a coaching change, the underlying numbers suggest even-strength goals scored should theoretically rebound. The Rangers after all were one of the better puck possession teams in the league last season. However, as we’ve learned since the ’05 lockout, solid 5-on-5 hockey can only get you so far.
Ultimately, Alain Vigneault and assistant coach Scott Arniel will have to reconfigure the power play and get the boys clicking at an acceptable rate if we want to go the distance.
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The Rangers made their most important signing of the summer today in re-signing Ryan McDonagh for 6 years at an annual cap hit of $4.7M (per Larry Brooks). With this deal in the books, Rangers fans can breathe a little easier today knowing that our franchise defensemen is now locked up for another six years.
Many figured McDonagh would get a deal similar to that of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, who resigned at 4 years/$3.3M per and 5 years/$3.9M per respectively. However, terms and cap hits are hard to compare across years when team salary caps fluctuate year-to-year, not to mention agents generally use recent signings as benchmarks to set the market.
Last month, Dave used Nashville’s Roman Josi’s new contract (7/$28M) as a starting point to triangulate McDonagh’s next deal. All told, he wasn’t far off. Ryan is currently 24 years old. The UFA age is still set at 27 years old, so this deal bought up three UFA years, which obviously moves the cap hit a bit further north. Overall, this is a very good deal for both sides.
With McD locked up longterm, the Rangers will now shift their emphasis to Derek Stepan. Here’s where Dave thought that contract could net out.
This past week John Tortorella was interviewed on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN NY radio. During the interview Torts was pretty candid about what went down after the season had ended. He discussed his great relationship with Henrik Lundqvist, his frequent disagreements with Glen Sather and how none of the players complained to him about his systems or philosophies during their exit interviews. Torts also discussed what he thought he could have done better as head coach of the Rangers, particularly against the Bruins who he admitted had better depth and an ability to roll four lines.
Although John’s post-game press conferences often left much to be desired, I always found his interviews on The Michael Kay Show to be quite the opposite and often counter to his persona. If anything, it’s an interesting interview and I think it may offer a little bit of closure to those of us who supported Torts during his tenure here.
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Glen Sather doesn’t speak to the press much anymore. Other than his recent quasi compliments/critiques of Tortorella, or his professed love for Sean Avery, I can’t really think of anything he has said in recent seasons that was quite remarkable.
Pre-lockout Sather (the original lockout), had a quite different communication plan. Whether it was referring to Malakhov as a “superstar” or predicting Tom Poti would be “one of the top players in this league,” it seemed every acquisition he made back then was generally followed by some sort of over the top statement.
Perhaps my favorite Sather quote of all time was the one he dropped after acquiring Eric Lindros where he said, “if you don’t make this deal, you’re a mouse forever.” If there was ever any sort of insight into his thought process, that line pretty much gave you all you ever needed to know.
Which brings us to today’s exercise…
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Last night the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2 to earn their 5th Stanley Cup Championship and 2nd since the ’05 lockout. Not every team that wins a Cup should be a model that other teams should try to emulate, but it’s hard if not impossible to argue against following the Blackhawks blueprint.
They have a fantastic owner in Rocky Wirtz, who has quickly erased the memory of his father who almost ran that organization into the ground. They have one of the best general managers in the game in Stan Bowman. And they have one of the best coaches in Joel Quenneville. Their roster talent, leadership and depth speaks for itself.
Hockey fans around the globe should take note at how they’ve rebuilt this great franchise. It starts through the draft first and foremost. Trades second. And filling holes via free agency last. Ownership also stuck by their coach when many fans wanted to see Joel get fired last season when they hit a snag. At that time, their powerplay was flat, he was constantly tinkering with lines, and he wanted to stick with his systems when the fans were demanding change. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Anyway, congrats to their organization, their team and their fans. It’s always good to see an original six team hoist hardware.
Alain it is.
Every site you go to, every poll you read, most Rangers fans wanted Alain Vigneault over any other coach on the job market. Some wanted Mark Messier. A few wanted Dave Tippett. Maybe three people wanted Guy Boucher or Lindy Ruff. But for the most part, AV has been the guy from fans and media alike.
I understand the appeal. He’s the most winningest coach available (except for Torts, oddly enough). However, based on comments I’ve read on this site and on Twitter, it’s interesting how little people know about Alain Vigneault other than his win-loss record. Since the whole “Alain would have won a Cup, if it weren’t for Luongo” is pretty much the extent of anyone’s analysis, I figured today would be a good time to break down the positives and negatives of having Vigneault as our new head coach. Personally, I would have preferred an AHL coach, or maybe an assistant NHL coach, instead of the same old hat. Oh well.
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UPDATE: Pat Leonard and various other sources have confirmed that Vigneault has signed to be the Rangers next head coach. There is no word on when a formal announcement will be made.
On the same night news surfaced that Alain Vigneault was in New York today to meet with Jimmy Dolan, news also broke that Vigneault has turned down the head coaching job in Dallas. While there hasn’t been any official word from the organization, many of the usual suspects in the media (e.g., Larry Brooks, John Shannon, Bob McKenzie, etc.) have put two and two together and are expecting Alain to take over.
I normally don’t put much stock in “hockey insiders” who aren’t in my cellphone, but McKenzie is reputable. One of the few in my opinion. If the reports are accurate, the meeting between Alain and Jimmy are likely just a formality. When this will be officially announced is uncertain, but it appears Alain could be offered the job very soon.
We’ll continue to keep everyone updated on this story. For now, it looks like the writers of this website — except for myself — may get their wish.
Oh Bylsma, what could have been…
Keep Boyle or try to trade him?
When Dave and the staff here at Blue Seat Blogs first conjured up the concept of “Stay or Go” posts, they were originally meant to be for current roster players on the verge of free agency. Although Boyle isn’t a free agent this offseason — his deal is up next year — I think it’s worth discussing moving the big fella given our cap issues and some of our roster needs.
By no means am I part of the “Boyle is too soft” crowd, nor do I think we need to acquire players with reputations for taking guys heads off, as some have suggested. No, the bottom 6 help I’m looking for should resemble what you’ve been watching in Boston, LA, Chicago, Pittsburgh, even Ottawa. If you watched those teams closely, there’s a noticeable difference in foot speed between those respective team’s bottom 6 guys and that of our own. We are just too damn slow and Boyle exemplifies that point.
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If he wants it, there are certain things he will need to do (Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images).
Since Tortorella’s firing last week, there’s been a lot of different coaches with different systems/philosophies linked to the Rangers head coaching position. As I said last week in my Tortorella obituary post, Sather left it open as far as what he’s looking for in his next coach. Since Glen gave fans the mushroom treatment again, I figured I would at least tell you all what I’m looking for in the next Rangers coach.
To be clear, this post is not about forecasting. I’m not reading into any beat writer rumors or any of the supposed “scoop” that apparently every Canadian insider has on the position. Sather only reveals nuggets to the press when he wants to. In this instance, he isn’t revealing squat. So please spare me the sourced articles. Glen’s table is smaller than Dolan’s moles would like to believe.
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