Be patient, McIlrath still needs some time (Photo: Blueshirts United)
Even though it’s still August, a few questions have rolled in about some of the moves the Rangers made. Since news is slow and we are simply just waiting on Traverse City and the Derek Stepan deal, I figured I would answer them all in a post.
Q: What do you think of Slats’ offseason moves? It looks like he did a good job, but there are still some question-marks about this team and the powerplay that make me nervous.
This is a bit of a loaded question. I think Slats addressed the major needs in the offseason. He needed to fix the depth, specifically injury depth, and he did just that with the additions of Falk, Syvret, Moore, and Pouliot. The Rangers now have one of the deepest teams in the league, and it’s been a while since we’ve seen them this deep with this much skill. As for the powerplay, well only time will tell. The personnel will be the same, but hopefully a full season of Mats Zuccarello will help provide a spark.
The biggest thing about the powerplay was the lack of movement and the lack of an offensive presence from the point. Ulf Samuelsson, who was with Phoenix, was brought in to help the blue liners generate some offense. He worked with guys like Keith Yandle and OEL down in the desert, so his track record is pretty solid. AV ran a solid powerplay in Vancouver as well.
Q: When will Stepan sign? I’m getting nervous that some team is going to give him an offer sheet.
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When the new NHL realignment was announced, the first thing people noticed was the unbalanced nature of the Eastern and Western Conferences. The East had 16 teams, and the West had 14 teams. This led to two different mindsets: 1) The NHL was bound to go through realignment again if/when the Coyotes moved (they aren’t), and 2) The NHL is going to expand to 32 teams.
Without getting into the discussion of whether or not the NHL should expand (Suit laid out possible destinations in two separate posts), it’s still a realistic scenario that could come to fruition should the stars align for the NHL and possible markets. If this scenario occurs, then there will be an expansion draft. It’s a slow summer, so I figured it would be fun to go into a hypothetical “expansion draft at the end of next season” post.
Let’s assume that any future expansion draft will follow the same rules as the 2000 expansion draft. Each team is allowed to protect either one goalie, five defensemen, and nine forwards, or, two goalies, three defensemen, and seven forwards. At least one defenseman left unprotected must have played 40 games last season or 70 games in the last two seasons. Two forwards must meet the same requirements. All first and second year pros (including AHL players) and unsigned rookies are exempt (JT Miller is exempt, Chris Kreider is not). All players on ELCs that will slide (Troy Donnay) are exempt as well.
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MORE FUN! MORE FUN! (Adam Hunger/Reuters)
As we enter the dog-days of summer, there isn’t going to be much news coming up, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have random thoughts that have zero direction whatsoever. This is why we love Musings Day, because our brains work in odd ways.
How weird was it to have an entire free agency opening day pass and not have one major signing made by Slats? I think that’s the first time in a while that we haven’t had to add anything major. A limited budget helps, but some of those contracts were just absurd. Clarkson got how much? Clowe had two concussions and got what? Good God.
What the Rangers did do is address their depth issues, and they did it in a very quiet and shrewd manner. The organization needed to create top-six minutes for the glut of prospects hitting Hartford next season, and they opened up holes while filling in defensive depth. Benn Ferriero and Kris Newbury had no legitimate future with this team, and Justin Falk and Danny Syvret will prevent people like Roman Hamrlik from ever dressing on defense ever again.
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Has Glen made another canny move? (image credit: Gerry Kahrmann, The Province)
Welcome to the musings. It’s the day before free agency and on many occasions it has felt like Christmas Eve to Rangers fans – the day before the presents arrive. This year is likely to be different as the Rangers are set to be more cautious with the little money they have to spend. Or are they?
Scott Arniel seems like a logical choice as assistant coach. He has run his own bench before, has been in charge of multiple Rangers before and will help Alain Vigneault’s transition to New York because of his familiarity with the ex Blue Jackets. You have to assume Arniel is motivated to prove he’s worthy of another shot as a HC too.
Even if it wasn’t the ex-Ranger many hoped for, Ulf Samuelsson is a nice addition to the coaching staff. The Rangers need to be more physically imposing next year and if Samuelsson can get his style as a player across to the Rangers now he’s a coach it could be a smart move.
Scanning the scrap heap:
With the Rangers unlikely to be major buyers July 5th, there are several players who are no longer wanted by their current teams and are either on waivers or due to be bought out. Amongst those on waivers in the last 24 hours are the following guys who could be of interest to the Rangers in some capacity.
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Is Ryane Clowe less likely to re-up with the Rangers because of AV?
As we approach the draft weekend and the Stanley Cup playoffs are over, the Rangers get ready to enter the offseason with a new leader at the helm. We’ve beaten the Alain Vigneault-analysis angle to death so let’s just jump into another musings instead.
Artem Anisimov has turned his move from the Rangers into an almost $10m, 3 year contract. Good for him but it’s another example of a struggling franchise overpaying to keep players happy. Based on production, Anisimov is not worth 3.25m per year. That said, maybe he earns it during the deal.
If Kris Letang goes to the Leafs it would be a huge mistake by the Penguins. Yes, his demands may be out of whack but that club needs balance and he’s arguably the best offensive defenseman in the league after Karlsson.
People shouldn’t assume Ryane Clowe will be back with the Rangers because he’s been medically cleared. He has had ‘history’ with the Canucks, had an almost public feud with the club up North. Remember who last coached the Canucks?….
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(Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
When a new head coach arrives at a club it’s not just coaching staffs that tend to follow. Players who have built relationships often do the same, and with Maxim Lapierre approaching free agency, the opportunity to join the Rangers seems a logical one for all concerned.
Lapierre is a hard working hockey player that adds depth to the bottom six and is exactly the type of hockey player that the Rangers need when you look at how they were eliminated by the Bruins. He adds size, grit and a solid work ethic. All these traits would help address multiple needs on the Rangers, and this is without considering the relationship he has developed with Alain Vigneault in Vancouver.
Vigneault will surely want a few of his own in New York and the opportunity to grab a player with a solid playoff background such as Lapierre’s, without giving up anything but free agent dollars, seems an ideal situation. At 28, Lapierre is not an aging veteran and, after a relatively modest regular season and a quick exit in the playoffs, it’s not likely he could command big money on the free agent market – no matter how thin it appears this summer.
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Gerry Kahrmann , PNG files
There has been a whole lot of news recently, and Chris was kind enough to be unavailable to write the Musings this week. That means I get to do a brain dump on the offseason so far, which is super.
Starting with the coaching, I am still surprised that the Rangers fired John Tortorella. I don’t believe they intended to do this initially, but something clearly changed on the Memorial Day exit interviews. Everyone points to the comments made by Henrik Lundqvist and/or a player revolt, but I don’t buy it. This is an organization that has never allowed a player to have that much control, and a GM that has been faced with trading the best player in the game. I think there was something else, perhaps a disagreement about direction of the team/coaching staff.
Dan Bylsma re-upped in Pittsburgh, so my personal favorite to take the reins is no longer available. Dallas Eakins went to Edmonton, which means the Rangers are down to internal choices, Alain Vigneault, or Lindy Ruff. I’m a big fan of Vigneault, who will get the best out of this current team. Ruff is just the wrong guy for the moment, since he is a Torts-type when it comes to personality, and the firing of a coach means you need a different voice.
Either way, expect Mike Sullivan to be let go when a new coach is hired.
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Zuccarello scores pretty goals, will he be kept?
Welcome to the musings. It’s not a game day, it’s the offseason and that depresses a lot of us. Let’s see if we can collectively raise some spirits shall we?
The way the Bruins are absolutely controlling the Penguins – probably the most skilled and talent laden team in the league – makes you wonder about the Rangers Bruins series doesn’t it? Maybe Tortorella wasn’t the (main) issue. In terms of execution, the Bruins are the best team in the league.
Here at the site, we’ve already begun to touch on free agency, internal movement and candidates to bring in. Looking at the free agent list, it’s incredibly underwhelming. The Rangers need to move forward and try to win while they have Lundqvist, of course they do. However, they really shouldn’t chase name players and throw money around because they have a sense of urgency. That would be suicide.
Assuming they make it to free agency, here are some players I’d consider under the right circumstances: Clarke MacArthur, Tyler Bozak, Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell. There’s a chance none of them get to free agency but all address needs on the Rangers.
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Mike Sullivan won’t be behind the bench next year either
As the feeling of shock lifts from the Ranger fan community, we’ve begun to examine some possible replacements for coach John Tortorella. The new man behind the bench will be the story of the offseason, but the departure of Tortorella could also have an impact on many other important decisions the franchise will make.
Henrik Lundqvist will sign a contract extension
I still believe that The King’s comments on Monday were harmless, but many Rangers fans panicked over Lundqvist’s hesitation to commit to New York long term. To me, Lundqvist was only being smart before negotiating what should be his final NHL contract, one that will put a massive dent in New York’s payroll going forward. Nevertheless, there have been some clues that Lundqvist was less than thrilled with Tortorella. With the ornery general out of the way, no amount of money or years should be an obstacle in locking up Hank for the next eight years. Firing Tortorella was a strong message to Lundqvist and others that New York recognizes its window won’t be open indefinitely and that there’s a sense of urgency every year to bring home the Cup. Expect Lundqvist to ink a new pact this summer. Read more »
Photo by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily.
As some of you may have noticed, the Rangers were awful on the power play again in 2013.
One of the simple fixes suggested by many has been to bring in a guy with a cannon point shot. That’d be a nice luxury to have, but the truth is that there are very few players in the league as effective at Zdeno Chara at
breaking Ryan Callahan’s limbs calmly holding the blueline in the offensive zone while intermittently directing 100+ mph slappers through traffic at enemy goalies. New York has no one capable of doing that – in fact Dan Girardi probably has the hardest shot on the team, which is likely the sole reason John Tortorella has stubbornly deployed him on the man advantage in recent years – but few teams do.
Give me a puck mover like Boston has apparently found in Torey Krug over that point blast any day. Krug may have just enjoyed the best five-game stretch of his career, but he also single-handedly transformed one of the few power plays in the league worse than the Rangers into a high octane unit that converted 33% of its chances against the world’s best goalie. The Bruins already had Chara’s legendary rocket, but it was Krug’s heat-seeking shot, speed, decisiveness and poise with the puck that gave the Bruins a new dimension. Read more »