It’s a musings day folks. With little Ranger specific news let’s just get into it and talk about anything and everything, ok?
What side of the CBA war do you side with? It’s hard to link arms with the owners and the league, a league that has come across as incredibly greedy through the media. Are they greedy? Was the last CBA that bad that they had to resort to extreme measures?
Is there a public figure or leader – in sports or entertainment – with as negative a public reputation as Gary Bettman? He’s actually done a solid job over the years. Despite stretching it too far, expansion has been a relative (and necessary) success for the league; he has grown the sport immeasurably and has proven a strong leader in the face of challenges such as the KHL and on matters such as the Olympics. That said, if his reign ended tomorrow he’d be considered greedy, too stubborn and arrogant.
Do you think the public appearance of players such as Crosby, Ovechkin or Lundqvist influences the NHLPA’s position or media and fan bias in the CBA talks?
We discussed how the Flyers may be a competitor for the Rangers for blueliners going forward. Right now the Canadiens cannot get PK Subban to ink a new deal. Well, is there anyone more suited to the Flyers mould than? Cocky yet talented, considered a pretty dirty player but an offensive threat Subban may be more of a target for Flyers than Michael Del Zotto would be.
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On the draft…
My excitement over the selection of Cristoval “Boo” Nieves in the second round of the June draft has been growing steadily. Nieves has always been a great passer and skater; the reports that he was fully engaged and very physical at prospect development camp have only boosted his stock. Nieves is going to the perfect place for his development, the University of Michigan.
Here’s why you can’t really trust what you hear about European prospects. Calle Andersson, the Rangers’ fourth-round selection, has been called both a sublime skater and an awful skater by multiple credible scouting outlets. So which is it? I can’t say, I don’t get to watch much Swedish Elite League hockey, and neither do most scouting services. We’ll just have to wait and see.
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It truly is the low point of the off season. The Rangers are quiet, at least publicly, and attention around the league is primarily focussed on the CBA talks. There are still a few things we can talk about though so welcome to another musings. Jump on in.
The Hockey News wrote an article recently on why the North West division is the league’s worst. It got me thinking again about the Atlantic. It is comfortably the best in the league in my humble opinion. It’s full of depth, big market teams and is stacked with superstar, marquee names including the division worst Islanders if you respect John Tavares’ ability like I do. Given how tough the Atlantic is it really puts the Rangers’ last season performance in greater context.
Just to recap on the Anton Stralman contract; he recently signed a 2 year $3.4m contract. While I think he has a fair bit of room for improvement when you look at what other defensemen signed for this summer, its good value for a player that got better as the year progressed and who is still very young. Stralman could realistically be a 30 point player for the Rangers and if he hits that number then $1.7m/year is a bargain.
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Today is one of those rare offseason musings days where there was a big move that has been rocking the airwaves. That move of course was the Rangers acquisition of Rick Nash for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and a first round pick. We’ve dedicated the past few days discussing Nash, including how John Tortorella might adjust for his arrival, how the Rangers can replace Dubinsky and Anisimov in the lineup, how the powerplay might improve, and how the finances work out to fit Nash under the cap. There are other smaller points, so let’s get to it.
Nash may not have been the perennial 40-goal scorer in Columbus, but it’s tough to score 40 a year when Vinny Prospal and RJ Umberger are your primary linemates. Nash will play with Brad Richards and potentially Marian Gaborik. This line has Dany Heatley-Jason Spezza-Daniel Alfredsson potential to it. All three players might hit 80 points for the next one or two seasons. That’s the high end of potential, but in all likelihood, they will all hit at least 70 points.
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This is a historic musings, as it marks the first time that I have written the musings for two weeks in a row. Chris is still gallivanting around Europe, or wherever he is, so I get to continue writing the musings. Let’s get right into it:
There has been a lot of complaining about the Rangers signings this offseason, but let’s look into this a bit deeper:
- The Rangers lost three bottom-six forwards (Brandon Prust, Ruslan Fedotenko, John Mitchell), so they signed three bottom six forwards (Arron Asham, Taylor Pyatt, Jeff Halpern). It’s a simple matter of replacing the replaceable bodies.
- The same concept applies for Michael Haley, Sean Collins, Brendan Segal, and Logan Pyett. The Connecticut Whale is likely losing five forwards (Sean Avery, Andre Deveaux, Andreas Thuresson, Chris Chappell, Francois Bouchard) and four defensemen (Brendan Bell, Pavel Valentenko, Sam Klassen, Lee Baldwin). These guys need to be replaced.
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While I was sitting down this morning to figure out what to write about on my day off, I remembered that today is Thursday. Which means it’s musings day. This actually worked out perfectly, because I’ve honestly been having some writer’s block lately. Everything I could think about was no more than a paragraph or two long. How wonderfully this worked out that today is Thursday….one or two paragraphs per thought is exactly what musings day is!
First things first, it’s great to see that the Minnesota Wild landed the two biggest fish on the free agency market. In the span of five minutes they went from being a perennial cap floor team to the second highest spending team in the league. The fans there are incredibly loyal and they love their team, so it’s good to finally see them rewarded. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter make them legitimate contenders. There aren’t many teams in the Northwest that can contend with them (Vancouver).
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The musings are a day late today, but that’s only because all of the big news happened yesterday. Don’t blame us, blame everyone else for not making all this stuff happen before Thursday. I swear, everyone else is to blame, not us!
So Sidney Crosby gets $104.4 million over 12 years. From a hockey standpoint, that is a very risky contract. Crosby has had significant concussion issues, and could be one poorly placed hit away from early retirement. From a business standpoint, it’s a savvy investment in the face of the franchise. For an average of $8.7 million per season, the Pens get to keep their boy in Pittsburgh and reap the marketing benefits of having him there. They make more off him than he does off them, that’s for sure.
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Fuss about Fogarty?
2011 third-round pick Steven Fogarty didn’t get a whole lot of attention this year because of the rise of Chris Kreider and stunning point total of Michael St. Croix, but the Penticton Vee had a monster season in his own right. Fogarty will attend the University of Notre Dame next year where he’ll be more in the spotlight. I’ll bet he’s the surprise prospect we’re all discussing this time next year and there will be brief discussion of his chances of making the team in 2013. He still needs a couple more seasons of development, but Fogarty may put himself on the fast track sooner than we were led to believe.
Lightning acquire Lindback
I don’t think Tampa Bay’s acquisition of goalie Anders Lindback got enough attention last week. Remember, the Lightning were one win away from the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals before falling apart this season, in large part due to lackluster goaltending. Lindback is relatively unproven, but in a small sample size he has shown the potential to be a solid starter. He could be the difference between a lottery pick and a playoff berth for Tampa.
Nashville will undoubtedly unearth a couple of All-Stars with the draft picks they received from Tampa, but the Lightning did well to hold on to their two first-rounders (#10 and #19 overall). I think the trade also marks the end of Dwayne Roloson’s NHL career and it opens the door for Toronto to get Roberto Luongo.
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Interesting debate on Twitter the other night: who would you rather have: Gabriel Landeskog, Adam Henrique or Chris Kreider? I think I’d take Henrique, but the Twitterverse seemed split between Landeskog and Kreider. I may have a slightly biased audience…
This offseason was wacky even before it officially began. Prior to the Kings victory on Monday: Nicklas Lidstrom retired, Tim Thomas decided to take a hiatus, Edmonton shockingly won the draft lottery (again) and Marian Gaborik was lost for six months.
It would be just like Detroit to replace Lidstrom, Brad Stuart and Brian Rafalski (a year later) with Ryan Suter, Justin Schultz and Brendan Smith. That franchise reloads better than anyone.
It seems like many have soured on Derek Stepan after he failed to break out this season and was again a no-show in the playoffs. It’s perhaps a little unfair to expect a kid to handle such a heavy offensive burden at the tender age of 21, but that’s the pressure Stepan faces in New York. I still fully expect Stepan to blossom into a consistent 50-to-60-point player though.
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Hello everybody. I’ll be in New York in less than two weeks and it will feel odd. It will be the first summer time trip there and the first time outside of hockey season. No Rangers? Not right. I’m sure I’ll cope though. On to the musings
The Montreal Canadiens will be starting next season with Marc Bergevin and Michael Therrien at the helm of the storied franchise. I can’t help feeling that with the return of Therrien that club will be spinning its wheels for a year or two.
Speaking of Canadian teams, good move: the Bob Hartley appointment in Calgary. Bad move: Steve Tambellini getting a new deal in Edmonton. How does a general manager keep his club near the bottom of the league despite lottery pick after lottery pick and get rewarded with a new contract?
So the Rangers are linked heavily to Alexander Radulov. I can’t help thinking about Nikolai Zherdev when I think of Radulov: hugely talented on the ice, hugely problematic off it. If the Rangers get him he’ll cost a lot in dollars because he won’t sign anywhere for pittance. The cost to acquire may be minimal but the commitment to a big (but talented) risk will be significant – for whatever club snag him.
How weak is the free agent class of 2012?
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