MDZ is the newest Ranger headed overseas.
As you probably will have heard by now, Michael Del Zotto is the next Ranger to head over to Europe to get some game time. As Del Zotto laces up for Rapperswil-Jona of the Swiss league he’ll be going to a league that is better than advertised (despite not having the reputation of the Swedish league or the media power of the KHL), and will be joining a league that has evidenced plenty of financial clout to entice NHL stars to the league during the lockout. Of course, he’ll be lacing up against Rick Nash and Joe Thornton. Monitoring how Del Zotto handles Nash in particular could be both entertaining and interesting.
The lockout has been disastrous timing for Del Zotto for multiple reasons. After an up and down first two years as a pro, Del Zotto really came on last year in leaps and bounds and will have been hoping to continue his solid development and establish himself as a premiere young defenseman in the NHL. Those hopes, for now, have been put on hold, the lockout’s timing has been poor for Del Zotto.
Secondly is Del Zotto’s contractual stalemate. Without a CBA agreement in place Del Zotto finds himself without a contract and playing at greater risk than the ‘average’ NHL player heading overseas. Of course, Del Zotto needs hockey to aid his development so the risk is worth it for the young Ranger but it’s still significant risk.
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Looks like Rick Nash isn’t the addition that HC Davos in the Swiss NLA had hoped for. Despite scoring his second goal in as many games since coming back from a shoulder injury, Davos still lost 6-3. Nash, who injured his shoulder last week, played his second game since his return, and has not been invisible offensively. However, doesn’t matter how many goals you score if you can’t play defense as a team. Davos sits in 10th of 12 teams in the NLA.
Just an aside, if anyone follows Euro hockey closely, let me know. It’s tough to find stats for these games.
Carl Hagelin returning to Sweden to play with his hometown team helps him stay in hockey shape.
Carl Hagelin signing in his hometown for Södertälje SK of HockeyAllsvenskan (second tier league) is some of the best news to have happened in recent weeks for the Rangers. With the end of the lockout not to be seen on the NHL horizon the key thing for the Rangers future right now is likely to be the development of the prospects as well as the younger roster players at the NHL level. With Chris Kreider learning the pro game with the CT Whale in the AHL, perhaps the next brightest young thing on the Rangers roster is Hagelin.
While the SEL – and particularly the second tier where Södertälje currently reside –is not of the calibre of the NHL it does offer Hagelin several opportunities to improve his game. The first opportunity is the added ice time and games at the pro level. While Hagelin has made an excellent, immediate impact with the Rangers he is still a young player who has little pro experience and given the length of a NCAA college season, Hagelin can still benefit from as much game time as possible.
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The Rangers benefited from being patient and allowing Brad Richards to hit free agency.
Think back to the 2011 trade deadline. The New York Rangers were not yet regarded as an elite team; in fact, they were fighting for a playoff berth, a fight that lasted until the final day of the regular season.
Glen Sather had engaged in trade talks with Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk regarding soon-to-be free agent Brad Richards. Sather could have had the coveted center, provided he was willing to part with Marc Staal, Derek Stepan and Brandon Dubinsky, the ransom demanded by Nieuwendyk according to Larry Brooks.*
Sather showed restraint, kept his young pieces and watched as the Blueshirts were dispatched by the Washington Capitals in five games. Richards quickly signed with the Blueshirts on July 2nd.
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Sorry for the late news here. Our personal lives prevented us from a timely update on the Rick Nash injury. In Friday night’s 4-2 loss for HC Davos, the Ranger winger injured his shoulder in the first period. Ironically enough, the injury came from a collision with former Ranger Ilkka Heikkinen. Nash left the game in the first period as a precaution.
An MRI from yesterday showed no structural damage, and Nash is expected to be out for no longer than a week. Safe to say Nash and the Rangers dodged a bullet there.
Nash took some criticism from Ranger fans when he decided to head to Switzerland during the lockout. It’s likely that he’s still going to get some criticism from this injury. It’s worth noting that injuries, especially injuries stemming from collisions, can happen in team practices as well.
It was going to be tough for Rick Nash to repeat his performance in his 2012 Davos debut, where he scored a hat trick and added an assist in a 9-2 win. Nash didn’t score in regulation, being held to a -1 rating and seven shots on goal, but he did net the shootout winner. His shootout goal gave Davos a 3-2 win, and makes the club 2-0 since inking Nash and Joe Thornton.
Remember, make sure you keep checking back for updates on the Rangers playing overseas, the Rangers prospects, and news on where players may be headed.
The lockout is now real and some New York Rangers have begun to make commitments to other teams for the 2012 season.
Already Rick Nash has inked a deal with HC Davos to reunite with Ranger hater Joe Thornton, where they both played in the last lockout.
The Fourth Period also reports that Carl Hagelin is in talks with Sodertalje SK of the Swedish Div II League.
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The news yesterday was that newly acquired winger Rick Nash will be headed to Switzerland to play with Davos in the Swiss leagues. Nash will re-join Joe Thornton with the club, as they both played there during the 2004-2005 lockout.
Nash is the first –and likely only– Ranger to head oversea, but he is not the first player to announce he is heading to Europe. Several players have already announced their intentions to play in the KHL and Czech league, and now the Swiss leagues are becoming a league of refuge.
There seems to be some sort of outrage over this, which is something that is extremely puzzling. The argument being made is that since the rest of the team is staying here, then Nash should remain with the team to develop chemistry. The chemistry argument is a generally a valid argument, but not in this case. In this case, considering Nash has never played under John Tortorella, staying in hockey shape is more important than running practice drills.
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No question, the Rangers made a huge splash this summer with the acquisition of Rick Nash. Thanks to the move the Rangers find themselves with more (legitimate) elite talent than they have had in well over a decade but at some stage even top line players need offensive support. Even the dominant Edmonton Oilers of the 1980’s had role players step up when needed.
With the loss of Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov the Rangers lost two core role players. They lost two home grown Rangers that proved they had offensive ability, even if they lacked consistency. Unfortunately you have to give to receive. With those two gone however, it offers a bigger chance for another player or two to step up. Forget Callahan, Stepan and Kreider. All three could be needed in the top six and will be counted on to various degrees.
The opportunity that presents itself is a perfect chance for Brian Boyle to reassert himself as a critical piece in the Rangers line up. Boyle needs a good season. While he came on toward the end of last year, offensively he wasn’t as effective as he was during his breakout season a year prior.
Despite continuing in his role as a defensively reliable player Boyle will need to offer more up the other end of the ice given the Rangers’ up and coming array of centers in the system such as Steven Fogarty, Mike St Croix and Oscar Lindberg. Each offers legitimate NHL potential either as an offensive player or as a checking center while offering the benefit of significant cap savings as opposed to Boyle.
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When the Rangers acquired Rick Nash last month, they did so knowing they were solidifying their primary offensive line, and compensating for the Marian Gaborik injury. However, many have been setting the bar for Nash very high, to the point where fans may be setting themselves up for disappointment.
First things first, let’s get Nash’s career averages out of the way. Sticking with post-lockout hockey (which omits a 17 goal season and a 41 goal season), Nash has averaged 33 goals and 64 points in the seven seasons since the work stoppage. He has done this while spending the majority of his time with second line talent at best. The natural inclination is that Nash, playing on a line with Brad Richards, will be able to produce much more than that.
However, how much more can Nash produce? He’s already in the top-ten in post-lockout scorers, and at 28 years old is already at his peak. Plus, there’s no guarantee he plays with Richards, as they have very similar styles and may not mesh the way people are hoping. If he and Richards don’t mesh, then Nash will likely be playing with Derek Stepan. Stepan is no slouch, but he’s no Richards yet.
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