How good can Ryan McDonagh be?
Best case: Johnson is an adequate depth defender and is significantly better than Stu Bickel in spot duty.
Worst case: Johnson is no better than Bickel and the Rangers are back where they were last year if top-six blueliners get hurt.
Best case: Stralman continues to be an unsung hero for the Blueshirts and finally earns the attention he deserves with a standout campaign, including some gaudy power play numbers.
Worst case: Stralman’s hold on the #6 job loosens and Justin Falk pushes him for playing time. Read more »
Defense was a hallmark of the 2011-2012 New York Rangers. It was arguably the key ingredient in their run to the Eastern Conference Finals. They had an unwavering commitment to shot-blocking and solid play in their own end. Even without a ton of roster turnover, the unit was not as proficient as they were last season, but still had a solid campaign overall. Let’s look at the individual contributions of each blue liner…
McDonagh experienced a slight drop off from his 2011-2012 form, but overall showed off a much more well-rounded game. Although his point totals remained very similar to last season, he showed an increased willingness to jump up into the play and be more involved in the offense. He still plays a top-notch, shutdown defensive game and can eat workhorse minutes. As his offensive game improves, he could develop into a Norris level defenseman. Let’s not forget, he’s only 24. A-
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During the Game Three loss, the NBCSN announcers noted that Anton Stralman did not return to the game after a vicious (and clean) hit by Milan Lucic in the first period. Stralman was noted to possibly have a concussion.
Stralman’s had an interesting statistical season.
Anton Stralman has solidified himself as a great option for defense, especially when he slides into the bottom pairing. He has proven to be worth the contract he has been signed to ($1.7 million through next season), and provides the Rangers with an incredibly deep blue line when everyone is healthy. In the salary cap era, clubs need to find cheap talent, and the Rangers have found that in Stralman.
That said, Stralman’s 2013 campaign has been very interesting. He’s not lighting the lamp, though he’s not really that type of defenseman, but he’s been playing a fairly solid two-way game. When looking at his metrics, he leads all Ranger defensemen with a whopping 17.0 RCorsi, which is absolutely absurd. That 17.0 RCorsi is better than puck possession monster Carl Hagelin and superstar Rick Nash. It’s actually mind-boggling good.
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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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According to Kevin Allen of USA Today, the Rangers have re-signed RFA defenseman Anton Stralman to a 2-year deal, avoiding arbitration. The deal totals 3.4 million, 1.6 and 1.8 million per season respectively. More info to come as it becomes available.
The conversations this summer have mainly focused on the Rangers forwards. With three forwards departing, three (four if you include the AHL-bound Michael Haley) coming on board, and the never-ending discussions about Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan, Alex Semin, and Shane Doan, it’s easy to see why the focus is on scoring and depth.
However some of the biggest concerns during the postseason were about the depth on defense. Stu Bickel was barely playing, and the five other defensemen were struggling to keep their legs under them while playing shorthanded throughout the playoffs. The Rangers need depth or growth. With Michael Sauer out, and no major signings pending, the answers appear to have to come from within.
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Following up on the Rangers RFAs, who received their qualifying offers last month, defenseman Anton Stralman –the only RFA eligible for artbitraion– filed for arbitration by yesterday’s deadline. Stralman’s qualifying offer was $945,000, a 5% increase on his $900,000 salary from last season.
Stralman is now a big piece for the Rangers to sign, and it’s something they are at least attempting to do. At the moment, Dan Girardi is the only defenseman that is guaranteed a roster spot that is a right handed shot. Stu Bickel is also a right handed shot, but there are no guarantees that he receives substantial playing time.
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Although it has been widely reported that Anton Stralman will return to Europe for family reasons, Larry Brooks is reporting that isn’t stopping the Rangers from attempting to keep Stralman on Broadway for a few more seasons:
It appears as if restricted free-agent defenseman Anton Stralman, whom the Rangers qualified at $945,000, is leaning toward remaining in the NHL rather than returning home to pursue a career in Sweden…It’s far more plausible the Rangers will attempt to negotiate a multi-year deal with Stralman…
Stralman, who is arbitration eligible, is a much needed right-handed defenseman who proved himself capable of playing top-four minutes last season and during the playoffs.
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The RFA paperwork has been submitted. And after the smoke cleared, the Rangers made qualifying offers to Anton Stralman, Michael Del Zotto, and Mats Zuccarello. Stralman, MDZ, and Zuccarello were the only three RFAs at the NHL level.
NHL qualifying offer rules dictate that players earning under $660,000 in base salary be qualified at a 10% increase in base salary, players earning between $660,000 and $1 million (where all three Rangers RFAs fall) in base salary be qualified at a 5% increase, and players earning greater than $1 million be qualified at their original salary.
With that said, the final qualifying offers for the RFAs stands at the following (assuming my math is correct):
- Stralman – $945,000
- Del Zotto –
- Zuccarello –
By qualifying these players, the Rangers guarantee themselves draft pick compensation if one signs an offer sheet with another club.
In regards to Zuccarello, yes he signed a deal with the KHL. But the deal has an out clause for the NHL should he receive what he wants. None of the remaining RFAs in the Rangers organization (all with Connecticut) were qualified.