Zuccarello scores pretty goals, will AV get more out of him?
As Glen Sather talked about needing a changing in coaching styles and Alain Vigneault talked about giving his skill players ‘more latitude’, you could get a sense that next season has the potential to be a coming out party for a little Norwegian winger that never seemed to match up with John Tortorella. Could Alain Vigneault’s arrival be a blessing in disguise for Mats Zuccarello?
Known for maximising zone starts for his skill guys, a more puck possession style, and having run teams that have had actual powerplay success, it seems that Mats Zuccarello could be placed in the best situation to succeed with the Rangers that he has ever had. During his time on Broadway, Zuccarello has routinely been the Rangers’ most creative powerplay operator, he’s clearly better with the puck than without, and was never ideal for the grinding, throw the puck deep and chase after it style that was the hallmark of the Tortorella years.
While all the talk may center on what Vigneault can do with Rick Nash, what happens with Brad Richards, and how he’ll be able to get the most out of Chris Kreider the impact the new coaching regime could have on Mats Zuccarello could be huge. The talent has always been there.
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(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Despite a solid first season on Broadway, Rick Nash surely did not reach the heights his talent demands, nor did he become the irresistible force many anticipated. Not over a full season anyway. Some critics will argue that John Tortorella’s system stifled players such as Rick Nash (though the powerplay certainly didn’t help his production) but no one will argue that Alain Vigneault puts his key offensive players in the right situations to produce to their potential.
As has been pointed out over the internet – almost to death – the Sedin twins and Alex Burrows were consistently among league leaders in offensive zone starts under Vigneault. It can be assumed Rick Nash and maybe Derek Stepan will be similar benefactors in New York. Can we therefore assume much better numbers from Rick Nash? Nash is expected to be the leader of this offense and that won’t change with a new coaching staff. However with an improved powerplay, with more offensive zone starts, and with more puck possession and creative license, Nash should produce more.
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What set of players will AV have to cast an eye over next year?
People argue that ‘acts’ such as those employed by John Tortorella eventually wear thin. Abrasive managers such as the former Rangers head coach usually outstay their welcomes. With the pending arrival of Alain Vigneault the Rangers will still have a man with pedigree and a coach with a completely different approach to the game – both tactically and personality wise – than Tortorella. Will it work?
Looking at the Rangers roster, and the personalities scattered throughout it, it’s difficult not to expect better production next season, at least better than what was provided in the abbreviated 2012-13 campaign. If Brad Richards is kept he surely cannot be worse, Michael Del Zotto, Carl Hagelin, and even Ryan Callahan could offer more consistency offensively while Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, and Derick Brassard will be expected to help carry the offense, something that wasn’t asked of them this season.
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Could Raymond make the move to NYC?
Earlier this week we had a look at Maxim Lapierre and whether he might be a player that follows his former coach Alain Vigneault to New York this summer. Another such candidate – and like Lapierre, a pending free agent – is Mason Raymond. The prospect of Raymond may excite fans a little more than the loyal foot soldier that is Lapierre.
Raymond has skill and a scoring touch, although his recent returns haven’t been impressive. This season Raymond had just 22 points (10 goals) in 46 games during the regular season, while playing close to sixteen minutes per game (1.51 P/60). Raymond, who can play both wings, has previously managed a fifty point season during the one season he played a full calendar (82 games, in 09-10). He’s played 55, 70, and 72 games in each of his other seasons.
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The Rangers have announced that they will introduce Alain Vigneault as the new head coach Friday afternoon during a press conference from Radio City Music Hall. Vigneault officially signed his five-year $10 million contract this week. It is assumed that the Rangers may announce the assistant coaches at this press conference. Previous head coach John Tortorella was fired shortly after Memorial Day, and it is likely that assistants Mike Sullivan and Jim Schoenfeld will also be relieved of their coaching positions.
(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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The Rangers have yet to schedule a formal announcement, but it’s all but official that Alain Vigneault will succeed John Tortorella as head coach. The Suit will have more on the pros and cons of the hiring tomorrow, but let’s take a look at some key questions in the immediate aftermath of today’s news.
How does this affect Mark Messier’s future with the organization?
GM Glen Sather deserves credit for using his head, not his heart, in choosing Vigneault over Messier as coach. Many surmised that Sather would be unable to reject Messier given their long history, but in the end Sather made the right decision for the team, perhaps at the expense of his relationship with The Captain. The Fourth Period reported that Messier might join Vigneault as an assistant, but it’d be a little surprising to see Messier agree to play second fiddle to the man that was chosen over him. Not only that, but it would be very unfair to Vigneault to have an apparent coach in waiting, beloved by the New York fanbase, looking over his shoulder. Messier could remain in his current post as special assistant to the president and general manager, but that obviously depends on how stung he feels by Sather’s decision. It’s possible that Messier could be so angry that he chooses to leave the franchise altogether. Read more »
While Mark Messier has revealed he has already interviewed for the Rangers head coaching job, the likelihood all points to Alain Vigneault being awarded the job. In all honesty this would be not only the less risky option, but the right option. First time coaches rarely succeed in major markets such as New York, even if you’re a Mark Messier type character, but especially when you have little to no coaching experience.
That said, could Messier be an option for the Rangers long term? Absolutely. The Rangers could look at an alternative plan. The potential is there for Messier to be an assistant coach. He could learn the coaching side of the game while the incoming head coach could benefit from the leadership, demanding personality, and likely face-off coaching skills Messier could bring. Could Messier be groomed toward a head coaching role? The potential is there.
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Who will replace the temperamental Tortorella?
Here at Blue Seat Blogs we feel that when we bring you Rangers information, particularly our own analysis, you guys benefit from well, our differing of opinions. As a group Dave, Justin, Kevin, the Suit and myself don’t always agree and that can lead to fresh ideas and interesting perspectives. The Rangers vacant head coaching role is no different.
With news of the Rangers approaching Alain Vigneault and Dallas Eakins as they begin their search to replace John Tortorella we have varied opinions on the HC role. We thought we’d share what we think with you.
For me, it is either Vigneault or Eakins. Vigneault has run some very offensive minded schemes in Vancouver, and his personality is the exact opposite of Torts. You don’t follow up Torts with Lindy Ruff. They are the same personality, and you will get the same result. If the Rangers are set on being more creative and less north-south, then Vigneault is their man.
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Per Darren Dreger, the Rangers have been granted permission to talk to Dallas Eakins (Toronto Marlies head coach) and Alain Vigneault (departed Vancouver Canucks head coach) to replace the recently fired John Tortorella. These are just two names that the Rangers will be linked to over the next few weeks, and are two names we covered in scouting the potential head coach replacements.
Expect more news like this to spring up until the Rangers hire a coach.