Proved us wrong.
Mats Zuccarello has yet to net his first goal of the season, but the diminutive Norwegian has already left his mark in six games since returning to the Blueshirts.
Zuccarello has averaged a healthy 16:49 and has earned high praise from coach John Tortorella for his conditioning, quickness and creativity. Zuccarello has had an immediate impact on the power play, where the Rangers are five-of-15 since his arrival. Zuccarello has just one assist on the man advantage, but he’s been very effective in gaining entry into the offensive zone and setting up the attack. Read more »
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Wednesday was a big day in Rangerland. As we all know by now, the Blueshirts acquired Ryane Clowe for three draft picks and traded oft-maligned sniper Marian Gaborik to the Blue Jackets for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore (with misc. non-prospects and a late draft pick thrown in). Yesterday, Chris did a fantastic job adding some perspective in the musings. Suit broke it down on Twitter. I don’t think it’s fair they get to have all the fun with the new acquisitions, so I’m going to throw my two cents in. Think of it as a supplemental trade musings.
I’m going to do my best not to retread on already discussed ground…
- Obviously, having some time to digest the trade scenario for a day or two in addition to the beat down the Rangers threw Pittsburgh on the eve of the trade makes it look pretty good. I’ll be interested to see how the team looks tonight.
- It’s my feeling that this trade was all about flexibility. After the Nash trade and the departures of Brandon Prust, John Mitchell and Ruslan Fedetenko, the Rangers constructed a roster with a very defined top and bottom six. At the time, I thought this was a good thing. No more mid-level players masquerading as goal scorers and grinders on the power play. However, what ended up happening was a complete loss of versatility when purported top-six players underperformed. Ryane Clowe and Derek Brassard can play in multiple situations, sliding pretty seamlessly from top to bottom six duty depending on performance, situation, etc. Read more »
Ryan Clowe had THE perfect impact.
It’s hard to call the Rangers 6-1 demolition of the Penguins last night anything other than an incredible first impact from the new guys. Wherever you looked, players were making a difference and it’s intriguing the momentum and impetus incoming players give the current roster. On to the musings; dedicated to the trade deadline
You just know the TSN crew were nervous given the lack of activity (to put it politely) going into the final few hours.
Ryane Clowe: I liked Brandon Prust; he overachieved, always gave his all and was perhaps the ultimate team player. There’s a reason however that everyone acknowledged the Canadiens overpaid to get him. He has a ceiling. Then there’s Clowe. Yes he had a poor start to the year but he’s potentially so much more for the Rangers than Prust could ever be. It’s foolish to compare them. Prust was the perfect bottom six player. Clowe can be a legitimate scorer, fighter, physical presence and thinly veiled threat. Whether he does it consistently, only time will tell but if he plays to his old level in SJ the draft picks were well worth it.
The Rangers got a lot younger this week. Wasn’t sure that was entirely possible.
I’m not embarrassed I said – just yesterday – that the Rangers would be better off holding onto Gaborik until the summer. I didn’t think Sather could get an elite (still young) defensive prospect that the Rangers were desperate for, a young 50-70 point potential skill center and another gritty forward at the deadline. He outdid himself. Ridding cap space was the cherry on top. Gaborik will be missed, and may come back to score against the Rangers but the Rangers added a huge dollop of depth, potential and grit in their deals this past few days.
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Clowe? Not at the current price.
It’s that time of year again. That time of the year where everyone begins discussing who the Rangers will target, if they are buyers or sellers, who they are willing to give up, or if any deal will happen at the deadline. Today is one of those days where the hockey gods are laughing, as it is April Fool’s Day, and there are really bad jokes running rampant around the Twitter-sphere.
Instead of trying to sift through the jokes on Twitter, there are a few thoughts in my head that make some sense as to how the organization will approach the deadline. Before we begin, let’s remember that the Rangers are barely above .500, have been inconsistent, and have cap worries for next year with Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh, and Derek Stepan as RFAs.
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Heading into this season, the Rangers were one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference. They just added Rick Nash at the expense of two bottom-six players. They have a top-six that, when producing, is one of the best top-six in the league. They have one of the best young defenses in the league. But most importantly, they have the All-World Vezina goalie capable of stealing games that teams need to make a run at the Cup.
Fast forward to today, and the Rangers are barely clinging to the eighth spot in the East, and a Division title is impossible. At this moment, home ice would be a stretch. In a season where they could afford to have one or two things go wrong, almost everything has gone wrong. Two of their star players aren’t producing. They have been bitten by the injury bug, which exposed the extreme lack of depth. Their bottom-six not only isn’t producing, but isn’t making the team tough to play against. But despite all that, the Rangers are still holding on to that eighth spot, and are still likely to make the playoffs (55.3% chance as of today, per SportsClubStats).
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Will Sather make deadline deals?
As the Rangers bask in the glow of an impressive win over the Flyers on Tuesday and prepare for tonight’s game against the Senators, it all comes back to Ryan Callahan’s comment a few weeks back; ‘We have to back it up’. The Rangers need two points tonight just as much as they did on Tuesday. On to the musings
Derek Stepan. It is only fitting that this week’s musings begins with Stepan. He was immense on Tuesday, beyond ‘just’ the points. His back checking to break up plays, his stick work and positional sense were all great examples of his sky high hockey IQ and growing confidence. When a player is on top form he always seems to find a way to be on or around the puck. Stepan’s shown great development this year. Especially after his so-so start to the season
As a loyal commenter pointed out yesterday, Rick Nash would be on course for 82 points in a full season. However, where I disagree is that’s his ceiling. If Stepan’s development curve continues and Nash has a training camp under his legs I think he has 100 point potential as a Ranger. His skill set is definitely 100 point calibre.
Statistical quirk: The Rangers sit 4th in the league in goals against per game (all the more impressive given the injuries on D and the overall team record) yet despite that lofty ranking they don’t have a shutout this season, yet.
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(Scott Levy/NHLI/Getty Images)
Acting GM Jeff Gorton is on record as saying the Rangers plan to be aggressive on the trade market to try to improve the club by the April 3rd trade deadline. Marian Gaborik is obviously the biggest name being floated in rumors, but it’s difficult to find a good fit and it’s probably more likely than not that Gabby finishes the season with the Blueshirts. That said, it’s common knowledge that New York would like to add a top-four defenseman and a top-nine forward to help replenish the depth that was lost during the offseason and has crippled the team all season.
With so many teams still in playoff contention in this lockout-shortened season, trade prices appear to be sky high, even for rentals. So who could New York offer in trade packages over the coming weeks outside of Gaborik?
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Can Kreider’s recent good form translate to the NHL this year?
It’s rather a sombre beginning to a Musings post today as the unfortunate news of Glen Sather receiving treatment for prostate cancer reached us all. Whether you’re a Sather fan or not, I’m sure everyone joins me in repeating the wishes from this morning’s post here at the site in wishing a full and quick recovery.
One more thing regarding Sather; following an abysmal start as Rangers general manager he’s done a terrific job over the past several seasons. Wherever you look the Rangers have a bright future. Prospects dominating in Europe, a young farm team full of prospects and a young, growing contender in New York. Eventually, Sather has restocked the franchise and fleeced several of his colleagues along the way. It’s that last aspect why I’m not nervous heading toward the trade deadline.
Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh have truly developed into integral parts of this roster. That isn’t going to be a cheap summer for Sather and co. Further down the line I can see problems for the Rangers; with the cap coming down after this year and Del Zotto, Girardi and Stralman with expiring contracts after the 13/14 season the management may have to part with one or several players for financial reasons.
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Though he was last year’s playoff hero, Chris Kreider got off to a tough start with the CT Whale during the NHL lockout, and his confidence was at an all-time low when he joined the Rangers for the start of the NHL season. Kreider had been asked to round out his game in the AHL and the learning process was more difficult than he may have expected. As a result, his offensive numbers took a nosedive.
Still, the Rangers saw just how valuable Kreider could be last spring and handed him a job to start the season despite his struggles. One highlight reel goal against Martin Brodeur notwithstanding, Kreider failed to generate much of anything offensively in third line duty, so the Blueshirts made the difficult decision to return Kreider to the Whale two weeks ago while keeping 20-year-old JT Miller with the big club. Read more »
Plenty of goal celebrations tonight please.
If you think the Rangers media/fan base is bad, you should have seen the stink kicked up by Jake Gardiner’s agent in Toronto. One naughty tweet (“free Jake Gardiner”) created a storm of speculation. Rangers’ prospects should relax knowing they don’t need to deal with the overzealous Toronto market.
Following on from his recent upturn in form, Michael Del Zotto is averaging a point per game against the Jets franchise. The Buffalo game aside (almost everyone stank), it will be interesting to see MDZ on the puck tonight and see whether he can continue to bring the level of poise and confidence he’s had recently. He’s an important part of this team, and when he’s on can make other players around him more dangerous.
Something about tonight’s match up; if the team can’t enter this game motivated, hungry, and with serious energy I’ll be slightly concerned. The Rangers and Jets are 8th and 9th in the standings, with the same points. There is a lot riding on this game. This is the kind of game where the Rangers better players need to step up.
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