Rangers-Canucks in Review

  1. It can get quiet at MSG on a good day. On a weekday game against a nonconference opponent with no drawing power, on election night?  Phones were looked at more than what was on the ice.
  2. It’s been often said that a team winning games that they should be losing portends a losing streak. After a stretch of stealing games with mediocre play, the Rangers finally lost, and to a far inferior opponent.  The Rangers gave this game away.
  3. The Rangers got off to a great start with a long stretch in the Vancouver zone, during which they changed lines and defensive pairings. The whole possession started with a good play by McDonagh in the neutral zone, stepping up on his man and dispossessing him, rather than collapsing to the zone as was the plan last year.  It also included a good pinch by Girardi.  Eventually, all of the possession leads to a post by Vesey and a penalty drawn by Nash.
  4. That possession was a better power play than the actual power play that ensued. Too much standing around, too much fancy boy passing.  They have gotten away from the shoot first mentality that made the power play so successful earlier this season.
  5. The book on defending the Rangers seems to have been written. Clog the neutral zone to take away short passes from the defense to the forwards. We don’t have a defense that can carry the puck itself to eliminate this defensive strategy.  Hypothetically Skjei and McDonagh should be capable, but they don’t actually do it.
  6. Instead, they try long passes which often miss, leading to a lot of icings.
  7. Second PP, more of the same fancy boy passing among a group of statues wearing Rangers uniforms. Then, the moment the PP ends, Nash drives hard to the net and forces Markstrom to make a great save. Next shift, the GrAG line comes out and gets a great chance off of skating and crashing the net. Where was all of this on the PP?  The next couple of PPs for the Rangers went very similarly for the Rangers, although in the fourth PP there was a concerted effort to get Pirri in a shooting position.
  8. Second period, Fast intercepts a pass from behind the Rangers goal and immediately turns up ice with Buchnevich. Skjei shows off his wheels in turning the rush into a 3 on 2. He drives hard to the net, drawing the right defenseman with him, leaving Buchnevich alone on the left. Fast finds him and Buchnevich just manages to squeak one through Markstrom, 1-0.
  9. Over the remainder of the period, the Rangers could not establish any consistent pressure, but the Canucks came on. Late in the second, the Sedins and Ericsson get a long shift in the Rangers’ zone. Staal loses track of Ericsson in front of the goal, a Sedin finds him, and he makes no mistake, 1-1.
  10. Third period, fourth PP expires, Henrik Sedin catches a long pass in the jack in the box play out of the box, and he makes no mistake. Rangers were 0-4 on the PP at that point.  What was a source of strength earlier in the season was suddenly hurting them.
  11. At that point, Kreider and Vesey found themselves riding the pine again. I don’t understand the rationale, at all.  Although, Vesey’s attempted pass to Stepan on the 2 on 1 they shared was pretty awful.
  12. Then things got weird. Raanta gets bowled over by Granlund who gets two minutes for goaltender interference.  Another fancy boy PP actually results in a pretty tic-tac-toe PP goal for Rick Nash, the 400th of his career, 2-2.
  13. But shortly thereafter, the NHL concussion spotter called for Raanta to leave the game. Lundqvist has to come in cold, which shouldn’t be that much of an issue, but he was just not mentally ready. 2 goals in 6 shots will not help his save percentage.
  14. I had written “paging Mika Zibanejad,” but then he had an ugly turnover in the defensive zone that ended up as a scramble in front of the goal and eventually put in by Alex Burrows. For Skjei, it was very similar to the Scheifele goal from the game against the Jets, with him on all fours, the puck poked into the goal from underneath him, 3-2.
  15. In the second period, Zibanejad broke in two on one with Kreider, and his nondecision with the puck screams of a guy who is struggling right now. Hopefully his goal in garbage time helps him get his confidence back.
  16. The Canucks come in 2 on 4, work a simple give and go, all of the Rangers stop skating, first McDonagh at the blueline, then Girardi goes down to block a pass and misses (shocker) and Stepan lagged behind Baertschi charging towards goal, 4-2.
  17. The Canucks ice the puck with just over three minutes left. Raanta gets pulled for an extra skater, the Rangers lose the draw, the Canucks come down the ice and quickly score in the empty net, eliminating all drama, 5-2.
  18. In garbage time, the Canucks stop skating, a puck bounces loose to Zibanejad in the slot and he buries it, 5-3. As I said, hopefully that helps him raise his confidence.
  19. I didn’t mention Buchnevich much in this, which is surprising, considering he had 3 points. He is becoming some player. They need to move him up the lineup, ASAP.  If AV is going to keep benching Vesey, perhaps moving Vesey to the 4th line for a couple of games to get Buchnevich more opportunities up lineup would be in order.
  20. The other big piece of news is that Dylan McIlrath was traded to Florida for Steve Kampfer and a conditional 7th round pick in 2018, the condition being that McIlrath appears in 30 NHL games this season. It was clear that McIlrath was finished here.  The only confusing thing is the timing.  Both McIlrath and Kampfer were recently on waivers and did not clear.  Perhaps it was something for finances for Florida, or perhaps it was the need for both players to already be in the AHL.  Certainly, the delay in making the trade on the part of the Rangers was related to Trouba resigning.  In any event, I wish him the best of luck in rebuilding his career.
  21. I also wish our new president-elect, Donald Trump, the best of luck in running the country. On a related note, it is surprisingly difficult for an American lawyer to get licensed in Canada.

My Three Rangers Stars:

  1. Pavel Buchnevich
  2. Rick Nash
  3. Antti Raanta

Your Three Rangers Stars:

  1. Pavel Buchnevich
  2. Antti Raanta
  3. Rick Nash
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84 thoughts on “Rangers-Canucks in Review”

  1. Thanks for the review, Doodie/ RR2. Well done.

    Didn’t seem as though they played with the same desire and drive as in the previous five games, probably because of the opponent but maybe because it was a Tuesday game.

    Tuesdays have no feel…

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  2. Good morning Boneheads, nice review Doodie thanks. I guess we all saw this coming! Champs or Chumps only time will tell. I’m not convinced our boys are co tenders until they start beating these bottom feeders with ease!

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  3. Nice review doodie. They got away from what wins them games and went back to PP statues. When the neutral zone is clogged like that its up to the skaters without the puck to pull the defense out of the way and create gaps, which means lots of hard work without the puck and they looked like they weren’t up for that last night

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  4. Haze/JT/Grabby line is the only save for some shifts of the Step line where there is extended Ozone time. Places strain on scoring on odd man rushes which didn’t happen.
    .
    Is Step the right center for Nash/VC? Besides missing a WIDE open net to make it 3-2, he has put together the quietest 10 pts in 14 games.
    .
    Need to keep Butch with THE/Zika, the kid might be their best 2way forward the last 4 or 5 games.
    .
    NHL/Toronto pulls Antie Raantaa; Shampoo Boy not ready to play…game over.
    .
    Need Oscar to get some run with 4th. Pirri is looking for his missing slipper

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  5. It was election day, Doodie. now that everyone needs a distraction from reality, numbers should go up…I know I for one would rather sit talking about hockey than to think about how the job market I am trying to break into is going to get pulverized by the time I graduate and how the icing on the cake is going to be my “having a pre existing condition” (sounds a lot less respectable than “cancer survivor”) which will just about guarantee that I won’t be able to get health insurance without paying roughly half of my would be starting salary in order to have it…. So how about this repeated Kreider and Vesey benching eh?

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  6. agreed with your points, SN. I think it’s now time to reunite that Kreider line and perhaps give Pirri a breather from this square peg/round hole 4C spot. Stepan looked snake bitten. def some adjustments coming at least I hope

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  7. I for one like Pirri’s offensive game but he’s not a natural fit at center. Stepan can’t buy a goal and Zibanejad looked terrible on that goal right after Lundqvist came in. Hayes- Miller-Grabner can’t be your unoffical first line.

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  8. Obviously Buchnevich is getting confidence to his game. Obviously the coach doesn’t like what he’s seeing from Kreider since he’s coming back into the lineup and obviously Zibanejad could use a boost. Put them back together let Grabner go back to fourth line and adjust from there. Maybe Vesey can slide into Grabners spot w/ his boy Hayes and you can reunite Step-Nash-Zucc.

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  9. That “coming in cold” thing is BS. What happens if Raanta just stunk up the joint? Or if he stayed out when he got run into? Lundqvist needs to be prepared at all times. He just wasn’t very sharp.

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  10. The NHL needs to revisit the rule of not allowing backup goalies to face a couple of warmup shots if the starter is pulled as a result of the concussion protocol. seems to me the league is asking for two injured goalies instead of one.

    I don’t want to say that was a dog of a game, but they drove me to watch Election analysis – something I swore I would not do. The Rangers are going to have pull their bootstraps up when teams go into a defensive shell. The Canucks should have changed their logo from an orca to a turtle.

    I have to admit that I was a big mark for McIlrath. I wonder how much that knee injury cost him. Of course, it doesn’t help that AV wants six of the same defensemen – all puck movers with no body movers.

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  11. I was busy playing so I didn’t get to watch the game.

    Were Kreider and Vesey really that bad? Did AV bench Vesey just because he blew a 2-on-1? What about having them work through their problems or were they that bad that it was justified?

    Lundqvist may be one of the elite goaltenders in the league, but when he’s bad he’s really bad. Still, he probably zoned out thinking he was going to watch all night and then had to get in the game cold.

    I knew this was going to happen. They were ripe for a stinker against a lousy team.

    Re: McIlrath. Not every coach thinks he has to have 6 Brian Leetch’s on defense. I hope Florida gives him an honest chance.

    Now it’s on to the west coast and let’s win there.

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  12. You have to think Yandle had a voice in the trade – he was a big McIlrath fan, to that point that his game peaked when he was paired with the big guy.

    I’d imagine after yesterday the Clintonistas and Ranger fans are currently fighting for places on the ledge?

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  13. It wasn’t that he blew the 2 on 1, he wasn’t doing all of the little things that made him so effective to start the season.

    Kreider is being held to a very high standard right now. I think AV saw what he could do in the beginning of the season and won’t accept anything less. He looked like last season’s Kreider.

    Was it justified? I think Zibanejad has been much, much worse, including and especially last night.

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  14. And just to be clear: I am a big Zibanejad guy. I absolutely loved him in his draft class. He has not been good over the past two weeks. His turnover last night that led to the third goal was unforgivable.

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  15. As Ranger fans we are all hoping for a Stanley Cup. Whether this is the year we get one or not we need to look to the future with some patience. I like Grabner on the 3rd line but his best fit is line 4. These are how the lines should look going forward. AV allow some chemistry to develop & exercise some patience through the bumps in the road. Lines 2 & 3 are the future of this team keep them together the results will come!
    Nash-Stepan-Zuccarello
    Kreider-Zibanejad-Buchnevich
    Vesey Hayes Miller
    Grabner-Pirri-Fast

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  16. Terrible turnover by Zika on the 3rd goal, agreed. Also agree that they should try out the line that had so much early-season success (Kreider-Zika-Buch).
    The good problem with this lineup is that we’ll always have a player or two on the 4th line that really should be higher. When AV goes to 3 lines in the 3rd, there will be an excellent player or two nailed to the bench. Such is depth.
    Also – not to poop on Dan Girardi too much (he’s been a hell of a lot better this season) – how many times will he make a good play to come away with the puck, and immediately turn it over? I believe it was the 2nd period where he batted down a puck, and as Sam was telling us what a good play it was, he no-look-chucked it right to a bad guy. The physical limitations I can live with – a limited skater can always play the angles. The decision making snafus? Always troubling.

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  17. Doodie, no disrespect meant but Vesey to the fourth line may be the worst thing you’ve said in analyzing this team. For all the same reasons that Buchnevich doesn’t belong there.

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  18. St Pete, You’re right and really I think we’ll eventually look at this team for what it is. Not a contender but an exciting team to watch. Which is really what Gorton may have been aiming for knowing that he needed to keep it fresh even though they wouldn’t be in a position to contend this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s the worst thing doodie’s ever said, analyzing any team in any sport in any year, past present or future. We know what you meant, James G 🙂

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  20. Calgary and then a rematch with Edmonton on their home turf will tell us a lot more as the dreaded Western Canada road trip takes place. Can’t make a huge deal out of a loss like this after 5 game win streak. Not the first or last team it will happen to

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  21. Mine too. 4 hours of sleep after a night of bitter disappointment (and forgetting to pick up more whiskey) is a killer.

    Anyway – this team played a ton of hockey in the past few days. Good time for a bit of a breather.

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  22. Here are the facts that I’m operating under:

    1) Grabner-Hayes-Miller is still working. They didn’t score last night, but they had a few good chances. I don’t think it’s time to split them just yet.
    2) Buchnevich is playing great. He needs more ice time.
    3) Someone from the other two lines must replace him on the fourth line and it can’t be Stepan or Zibanejad.
    4) Vesey is not as good as Kreider, Nash, and Zuccarello.

    If you accept all of those as true, then Vesey should be the guy to go to the fourth line. I imagine of the four statements, #1 is the one you will disagree with.

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  23. Pirri is not a 4th line player, but a top 9; Butch a top 6 IMHO. Can they use 4 Offensively focused lines and succeed, Vino Go-Go style tends to fall apart in second season.
    .
    Biggest issue is D. Puck movers? Girardi? Holden? Stall? Puck Movers?? More like Anchors. Klein still looks hurt and Shea is inconsistent.
    .
    Someone check if E3 is in a Prop 64 Purple Haze

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  24. It should also be mentioned that was have a 4th line that is not exactly a prototypical “4th line.” In its most likely long-term iteration (Fast-Pirri-Grabner), it’s still a line that can play. So when some short-term jockeying and tinkering happens, and we get someone like Buch, Vesey, or Hayes spending some time down there, they’re still making stuff happen.

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  25. I just think it’s counter productive to stick him on the fourth line or repeatedly bench him. He’s not playing at the level Buch is now. And obviously those other forwards are all ahead of him. But with that said then scratch him for and play Lindberg or Neives with Pirri moving to the wing. Vesey much like Buchnevich shouldn’t be used as a spare part or an odd man out. I think Stepan’s play has a bit to do with his energy on the ice too. As far as #1- that line is still working because Hayes has been the best center on the team and Miller the best forward overall. That’s where I would personally put a rookie who could benefit from a center who isn’t struggling right now.

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  26. I’m also starting to realize that maybe it wont be much longer before we are talking about this team focusing on the future. Finding a #1 RD and shedding a bad contract or two while getting these guys like Buch Vesey Skeji as much experience as possible while still competing every night. Competing, not contending.

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  27. I just don’t think that “4th line” on our team is as much of a punishment or demotion as it sounds, given the makeup of this team and the depth at forward. We’re getting quality play and production out of our 4th line. That’s a far cry from the days of Orr-Hollweg-Ortmeyer.

    I hear what you’re saying, though. We have options that don’t include burying a guy like Vesey. And there might be something to be said for scratching him for a game.

    But again, this is what depth looks like.

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  28. someone said last night that they couldn’t remember a hit being thrown by NYR. When you don’t punish the puck carrier, the team is just too easy to play against.

    if that doesn’t wake Wicky up, nothing will…

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  29. So now they stink. Zucc does not fit with Kreider and Zibanijad. I agree wth RR2 about Vesey. Move him to the 4th line temporarily. Put Buchnevich back where he belongs.

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  30. While they lost last night, this has been going on for 3 or more games. These are most likely non-playoff or bubble teams as well. Playing down to comp? Maybe. But served up at home, this was an absolute stinker.
    .
    Just glad I didn’t pay money to see it live, which I considered.

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  31. BDL, don’t forget that there’s a gray area too. It’s not “well, either they’re Cup contenders or they stink”. Never that clear cut. I don’t like the way AV has done things historically and I don’t have faith in him handling them now just because of how his team has played the majority of the first 15 games. Good on him for holding Kreider and Vesey accountable but he has to handle things a little better than in years past. Plenty of other guys could have been riding the pine last night.
    Again, we’ll learn more over the next few games the next couple of months etc.

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  32. SN, Key word in that post of yours before is “puck carrier”. The Rangers have that big goal differential and the speed but their possession numbers haven’t improved much if at all from last season. If you don’t have the puck more than the other team over the long season you don’t have long term success. Like I said the other day, if you look at the shooting percentages of guys like Grabner, Vesey, Nash- you know that the goal scoring will slow when their numbers even out a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. RR2 – Sorry about the delayed response, but I got slammed at work. Compared with the seven d-men we have now McIlrath was probably the best body mover – not that is saying all that much. It turned out to be the wrong fit for the wrong coach. That is the same coach who was so stubborn last year that he kept running out incompetent and injured d-men rather than try something different.

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  34. James,
    Its pretty early to tell if they are contenders. History tells us that this is not the team that they have come the playoffs. I have not changed my mind, I still believe they need a significant Dman. And I still believe the player they should use to get this Dman is Zucc.

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  35. Are the rangers a better team if they move Zucc to the Wild for Brodin, or Dumba, and then move Holden for a solid 4th line/ 3rd line type forward?

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  36. Redacted
    Nice review, thanks!

    I bet stores are sold out of juice boxes and colouring books and safe spaces are overcrowded.

    It was going to suck regardless whichever of the 2 won.

    Hockey…pirri has no business being 4th line centre. And I’m not buying him in the line up at all (despite the points so far).

    Is lindberg the next mcilrath? I get that he came back too soon (imo he did) from injury, no reason in the world when he is healthy he should not be playing over fast or pirri.

    This D needs a righty upgrade and it’s probably going to cost skjel to get it (unless they wait until offseason). I don’t see them being able (or wanting to) move any of the 3 lefties ahead of him…this is of course speculating they move D for D in some deal

    Team still needs a legit faceoff winning centre for every situation. Also think it could use a bit of an energy/pest player.

    So at this point, need 3 roster adjustments…most important centre/draw winner…next, an energy type player…least crucial of the 3, D upgrade.

    This is not due to one game folks so don’t freak out. I’ve been saying this for quite a while. Just talking hockey hypotheticals for poops and laughs because I can.

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  37. The one thing I thought skjel was very good at was puck carrying and he seems to be adverse to doing that lately. He obviously skates well but is an average passer and still needs time to learn the D zone because he isn’t very good there.

    When lindberg is 100% they need to move him if they aren’t going to play him regularly, we have a glut of #12-14 fwds

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  38. Wick I think you’re getting your anti playerisms messed up today. We need you to hate on Opie after a game like that and leave alone one of the only reliable dmen thus far 🙂

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  39. Don’t know about a “pest” per say, but certainly a two way center who can win faceoffs and not be a deterant to the speed or offense we’ve seen from the 4th line. Maybe they can gives Nieves another look. Still say Oscar needs time to heal/go down for conditioning

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  40. We think alike James G think future and show some patience I’m right about the lines I suggested. Right now it’s our best option. Gorton k Owsley what he’s doing, but I’m not sure AV does

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  41. If I were to pick a dman to go after from Minnesota, it would be Dumba. We need a righty, and though I think Spurgeon is the stronger player right now, Dumba has more upside.

    However – trading for Dumba necessitates a Girardi buyout, due to Staal and DG being auto-protects the summer. Gimme Wideman as a deadline rental. He’ll probably cost us a prospect like Halverson and a pick. Franson would be cheaper.

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  42. i don’t quite get the benchings from AV this year… i feel like he went three years without benching anyone in game and made no lineup adjustments in game and now this year he’s turned into torts nailing guys to the bench.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. tf – agreed. All for accountability but it is never for anyone over the age of 24 unless you are Fast.
    .
    VC was their best forward in the 1st but THE was a stinker through out. Looks lost compared to the power forward we saw in pre-season and pre-injury.
    .
    The D is a mess and as long as the forwards have to play 200 feet of the rink, the scoring will start to suffer.

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  44. Right now, I’d go after gudbranson (he is the D man I wanted that draft year). Expiring contract, on à not so good team…righty, good skills across the board. Can play in all situations.

    Franson is not a bad option though

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  45. I was listening to NHL Network Radio the other day and a guy (I can’t remember who it was) was talking about his first couple of years in the league. He said that as a rookie and then 2nd year player he was always afraid of getting benched if he made a mistake so it took away his aggressiveness. When he was allowed to make mistakes without fear of being benched is when he started to play better. I don’t know what Vesey has done lately to ride the pine, but I’m not sure benching the kid is the thing to do.

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  46. There’s an element that exists on the fringes of the Trump supporters who…well, if Trump were the one who lost, I fear those groups would’ve done a lot worse than protest.
    Not trying to paint all those on the right in that light – I happen to think that the vast majority of this country are reasonable, non-violent people who have a fundamental break in how to best achieve greatness.

    That’s my political statement for this season.

    Anyway – I wouldn’t go after Gudbransson. All the issues this organization had with McIlrath’s skill set – Gudbransson is just a more-polished version. Not that I think he wouldn’t have a use – I just don’t think AV/Gorton would feel like they had a good fit there. Franson at least would fill a need as a righty with some offensive ability.

    Though, if we grab a guy like Franson for a pick (I’d say R3 would be the ceiling for me…I don’t want to lose an R2 for a rental of his caliber), who sits? Girardi sits out on back-to-backs, but AV isn’t dipping below that. Staal’s a fixture. Skjei is going nowhere. Not going to mention McD or Klein. So you have Holden…who AV gushes over, and is a Gorton acquisition.

    Not saying we don’t have a need for a guy like Franson, but I’m just wondering who pays the price in AV’s eyes.

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  47. And speaking of Gorton, I’m not sure what he was doing, but I sent mcilrath to the panthers for kampfer AND got a 4th, 5th, and 7th Rd picks (in NHL 17). Rookie 😉

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