Rangers-Blue Jackets in Review

Rangers 3, Blue jackets 2.

Fellow bonehead goodguyinsports wrote us a hell of a review. Enjoy!

1. I’ll say this for NBC Sports games: they always give me a few extra minutes to run home from work, because I’ve mostly been operating on Pacific Time since leaving Connecticut in my teenage years. During the last meeting in Columbus, the Jackets opted to play backup goalie Curtis McElhinney in a 5-4 Rangers comeback victory. McElhinney has since departed for Toronto, and this time the Rangers got their understudy Antti Raanta some work. It was a well-deserved night of rest for Mr. 400 Henrik Lundqvist.

2. Raanta could have asked for an easier opponent: this was his first full game since December 29 in Arizona, a game I attended in person. He turned in a fine performance against the Jackets anyway, stopping 29 shots in a 3-2 Ranger triumph.

3. Are we worried about playoff seeding yet? Games like these could determine whether the Rangers play Columbus, Montreal, or Pittsburgh. No matter the opponent, I’d like to see the Blueshirts head into the postseason playing with the kind of resilience they’ve shown over the last couple of weeks.

4. John Tortorella wasn’t messing around, throwing out a familiar face in employing Brandon Dubinsky’s shutdown line right off the opening faceoff. He did so to match up with the Rick Nash line. Despite not appearing on the scoresheet, Nash had an active night. He started out alongside Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad, but Buchnevich only saw nine minutes of ice time overall. I was not surprised to see that Nash tied for the team lead in shots on goal with four.

5. With the possible exception of Cam Atkinson, I thought rookie defenseman Zach Werenski was the best Columbus player. Werenski racked up five shots and frequently looked to push the pace. He was not involved in any of the Blue Jackets’ goals, though. Brady Skjei doesn’t have a gaudy goal total, but he seems a little like Werenski’s counterpart on the Rangers. Skjei, who of course is also a rookie, has often been an offensive catalyst due to his skating ability. Both have 23 assists, just one behind rookie leader Matthew Tkachuk.

6. Speaking of Atkinson, he was a deserving All-Star even though he filled in for Evgeni Malkin. One of Raanta’s finest moments involved making consecutive saves on the diminutive winger. He was unable to add to his impressive total of 27 goals in this one.

7. Scott Hartnell was involved in a scary play when he raced toward the Ranger net for a puck pursued by Nick Holden. Instead, he fell hard into the boards and remained on the ice for some time. He returned briefly but was eventually forced out of action.

8. Columbus didn’t come out flying like they did at the outset of the last meeting at Nationwide Arena, but an early delay of game penalty against Buchnevich led to the game’s first goal. With seconds left in the power play, Seth Jones made a long pass to Brandon Saad. Saad skated behind the Ranger net and made a backward pass to Brandon Dubinsky, who banged the puck home. By that point the power play had expired, but the man advantage clearly had an impact on the play as a whole. 1-0, Columbus.

9. The Rangers looked to equalize, but the dice came up snake eyes. Buchnevich made a centering pass for Zibanejad, but the puck just eluded him. Midway through the first, Skjei and Jimmy Vesey had golden scoring chances near the net but were thwarted by Sergei Bobrovsky.

10. Michael Grabner had a four-game point streak snapped, but his speed was on full display. At one point, he forced Bobrovsky to ice the puck on his own team’s power play out of sheer terror as Grabner moved toward his crease.

11. After Josh Anderson was whistled for breaking Holden’s stick with a slash, the Rangers did very little with the opportunity. J.T. Miller whiffed on an attempted one-timer, and the Jackets blocked two more New York shot attempts. Sam Gagner took down Derek Stepan near the end of the frame, and the Rangers spent a considerable time passing the puck on the delayed call. Once the power play began, Columbus penalty killers collapsed around the crease. The Rangers were unable to make them pay from the point despite a shot on goal from Ryan McDonagh. Seth Jones wanted a slashing call against Stepan, but replays showed Jones breaking his own stick.

12. Grabner, Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast showed good commitment during the final minute but couldn’t quite solve the Russian netminder. A Kevin Klein holding penalty negated any further offense before the horn sounded.

13. Columbus began the second period on the power play, but Miller came away with the puck from the faceoff circle. He centered for Kevin Hayes, who flung the puck behind him to Dan Girardi. The recently hobbled Girardi didn’t hesitate in firing the puck, and it may have nicked Atkinson before finding the net just 12 seconds into the period. It was the first shorthanded goal allowed by Columbus all season, and afterward I could clearly hear a few loud Ranger fans enjoying the shorthanded goal. The game was tied 1-1.

14. A questionable hold against Lindberg was soon negated when Boone Jenner high sticked Grabner while skating away from the Austrian sniper. The penalty parade continued when Miller got a boarding call because his check sent David Savard awkwardly into the wall. Savard would later return the favor in surprising fashion, high sticking Miller even though the second period was two seconds from completion.

15. An aside: why are there commercial breaks with 32 seconds left in a period? Can’t they add a couple of more commercials to the intermission break? P.S. I am not a crackpot.

16. Stephen Valiquette pointed out that both teams had excellent records when tied after two periods. The Rangers’ mark was 11-3-1, while Columbus came in 9-2.

17. Alain Vigneault’s gang could have seized the momentum in the third with an immediate power play goal. Instead, it took nearly five minutes to break the deadlock. Hayes stole the puck from Savard at center ice, who was surprised by the dish from his partner Jack Johnson. Hayes shot five-hole past Bobrovsky on the breakaway for the go-ahead marker. The scoreboard read 2-1, good guys.

18. A little later, I’m pretty sure the NBC Sports announcers called him “Jimmy Hayes.” Hayes has credited summertime workouts alongside McDonagh for his improved play this season. Regarding the goal: “I cheated a little bit and it worked out…got him to open up the five hole.”

19. I wasn’t really surprised when Columbus tied the game, because they had looked dangerous with the puck immediately beforehand. It was a similar formula to the first goal in that the Jackets used the area behind the net. Savard skated past the goal line, sending it to Nick Foligno directly across from him. At first it looked as if Alexander Wennberg had picked a corner, but Foligno actually banked the puck off Miller’s skate in front. Cannon. Raanta had little chance to play that carom, and the game was deadlocked 2-2.

20. Stepan took the puck at his own blue line and made a short pass to Vesey. That’s all that #26 would need. He zoomed into the Columbus zone, did some nifty stickhandling, and seemed to freeze the netminder who might have been worried about Nash in front. The puck had a majestic trajectory as it settled into the left portion of the net. You could sense how good it felt for Vesey to finally hit pay dirt. He has 13 goals for the season but seemed to have been unlucky lately. Holden was credited with the other assist. Tortorella looked nonplussed on the Columbus bench, and it was 3-2 Rangers.

21. Grabner got in nearly alone on Bobrovsky, but he couldn’t make it a two-goal game. At least his activity level drew a Werenski penalty with just six minutes on the clock. After the power play ended, William Karlsson got a head of steam but didn’t manage to reach Raanta.

22. Tortorella managed to pull the goalie, and there were some nervous moments around Raanta as the clock wound down. At one point he had to pin the puck against the goal post. Still, it felt like Columbus was slow to move things along even as they ran out of time. There would be no empty net goal, but more importantly the Blue Jackets didn’t score either.

23. I noticed some physicality to the game in terms of checking, but not as much snarl as I have been seeing lately. My favorite nickname for Zuccarello has become “Scrappy Doo” because he likes to hurl himself at much larger opponents. Those kinds of moments were largely missing from this encounter. It was a quiet game from the normally rugged Chris Kreider, although he has posted several excellent ones recently.

24. Kevin Klein did not register a shot on goal the game after scoring twice, but he was back to his trademark shot blocking. Girardi and Staal led the team with three blocks each, while Klein had two.

25. Columbus defenseman Markus Nutivaara is from Oulu, Finland. That’s basically the Arctic Circle. And you think you get bad snowstorms.

26. During postgame Tortorella seemed surprisingly upbeat. He couldn’t help but adding: “We gave them some free stuff.” Is that like “free outs” in baseball? Against a team as strong as the Jackets, why not accept them?

27. It’s a six-game winning streak for the Rangers, their longest this season. Given that they trailed by two against Nashville and got behind 2-1 after two periods of play versus lowly Colorado, that feels good to say. Suddenly, they have tied the Jackets’ 75 points with one fewer game played. Next up on Thursday: Doug Weight’s rejuvenated Islanders, whose arena issues remind me a bit of the Tom Hanks character in The Terminal.

28. National Hockey Card Day is this Saturday, February 18! I’m not the hobbyist I once was, but I always hit my local card shop for a free pack, and maybe another that isn’t.

My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Antti Raanta
2. Jimmy Vesey
3. Kevin Hayes

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153 thoughts on “Rangers-Blue Jackets in Review”

  1. Great completive writing. Rare case of total agreement. Thank you. Gutsy win. Mood for more. Surprisingly long winning streak after all this criticism on this, worst blog on the internets.

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  2. I just want to add on the Hayes goal that he was at the Rangers blue line and sprinted at full speed towards Savard the moment the pass was made. He read that play perfectly and made the blue jackets pay for their lazy play.

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  3. Nice review. Oulu really not that far north, at least not compared to Tromsø or Murmansk If you ever meet a hobbit from Tromsø, hide your liquor – those boys can drink!

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  4. Good job with the review, man! I’ll take the win. Nice to see Vesey get a game winner. back in a three way tie for 3rd place though. Did we want that?

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  5. BDL I’d say he can’t handle the responsibilities of Stepan but i’ll take him, BDL 🙂 I kid. great job with your write up btw. In seriousness, one of the best things about this season has been having the question about Hayes’ potential answered. They certainly love the first 5 minutes of the third period lately.

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  6. Six game win streak aside I really don’t feel like seeing them lose Thursday or Sunday. Man do I want these next two games. Inching closer to the deadline I feel like this team could take a big risk at the deadline.

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  7. LOL James,
    Looking at the TOI last night, the center position was exactly the way i think it should be every game. The top 3 center all had 17 minutes or more. Lindberg played about 8. Play your best players. Even Fast had less then 12 last night. That’s right where he should be.

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  8. No big risks James. A depth move if anything. Not saying I would do this, but, the Blues are said to be looking for help up front. Shatenkirk for Zucc? Pure hockey trade.

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  9. Agree. But not sure where he picks up the minutes. He and Veseynaremgoing back and 4th in the top 9. Vesey is playing better right now. The problem for Buvhnevich and Vesey, is that Grabner was supposed to be a 4th liner. Obviously he’s not.

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  10. Great review!

    In reference to #15, I would venture to say that commercials during the periods cost more than those during the intermissions. As a result, the NHL has to get their breaks in at the 14-minute, 10-minute and 6-minute marks at the first play stoppages.

    I loved the post-game presser video that Carp posted. Definitely a kinder and gentler John Tortorella. Hmm, maybe it was those NY media types that caused him to be so caustic (HA HA HA). well, one of them anyway ….

    A lot of credit goes to Raanta for stepping up with a big game given all of his time off. You can practice all you want, but it is not the same as shaking off the in-game rust. The Rangers have been lucky with their backups of late because they have been able to sit for long stretches of time and then step in when called upon.

    Now to get ready for yet another Game 7 against the team from Brooklyn.

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  11. Good morning, boneheads!
    Great review, Good Guy. Thanks!
    I expected a little more physical hockey. But I think both teams played really well defensively, with superb goaltending.
    Three goals. One by undrafted player, by by unsigned elsewhere college skaters. Who needs first rounders? 😋

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Doodie, AV made that switch early right? I didn’t see the whole game but read that he flip flopped the youngsters early. Hope this doesn’t equate to either being sent packing ala Duclair.

    BDL, the concept of “play your best players” is a beautiful thing when you have 9 players who can play instead of 6 0r 7. Would the Blues bite at that? it’s a good hockey trade IMO. Idk how the GM feels about it but I doubt St Louis fans would mind seeing Zucc feed Tarasenko the puck for the next few years. It also makes the whole “trading for him instead of waiting until July 1” thing work seeing as how they’d probably have to move a contract over the summer if they signed him depending on what happens with Girardi.

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  13. ILB, they’ve certainly had some good fortune in that regard. Not many teams have their last two first rounders playing as well as Hayes and Vesey have this season.

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  14. Also, I think the thing with Vesey and Buchnevich is a good problem to have. Let them compete with each other and keep things fresh. If there’s an injury, trade or a slump coming things will work themselves out.

    What’s on the depth menu as far as RHD goes? Other than my reserved prediction of Michael Stone of course.

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  15. Great job goodguy!

    I don’t think anybody should jump to conclusions about Buchnevich’s minutes (or Vesey’s). The top eight are playing so well, relatively speaking and as a group (I think some individuals can pick it up) that one of those kids is going to have to play fourth line sometimes.

    That said, would you trade a Buchnevich in a package that brings a relatively young top-four RHD?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I would trade anyone save for THE, JT, Haze, and McD for a RHD 1 and that probably includes Mika. They are going to have to pay him after this season and, while talented, he disappears for long stretches in the game. Need to give to get and JT can play pivot.
    .
    Definitely need to package a top 9 forward to get a decent return, possibly including one of the two young LDs; does anyone know if Graves can play?
    .
    Thought Step had one of his better games last night supporting the D and carrying the puck out of the Dzone.
    .
    Did any Dman win a 50/50 wall battle?

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  17. no way on Buch trade …guy is averaging about point per game in his first year with limited minutes…only gonna get stronger, smarter and better (see Kreider, Miller, Hayes)

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  18. Carp – Depends on who the Top-4 d-man is and what the other parts of the trade are. I do NOT do it for Shattenkirk. I still would rather wait for him to be an UFA and see if he *really* wants to be a Ranger.

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  19. Depends on who the Dman is Carp, but I would probably have to say no. I think Buchnevich is going to be a star in a year or two.

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  20. If I’m gorton, the players I look at trading at the deadline (depending on deal obviously, I give nothing away) are step, zucc, vesey, fast, skjel. There are other players (Klein, Holden, lindberg) that could obviously go, but from a value and depth standpoint those are the “pieces” I consider the most.

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  21. Staal is allergic to not only contact in front of the net, but allergic to the front of the net period. The puck to the eye has changed his game and it will not improve.

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  22. Stating the obvious here, but I think a lot depends on whether the organization feels it’s a piece or two away from being a cup winner or if they think this team is further away from that will have a lot to do with how they approach the deadline.

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  23. If I’m dealing with the blues, I’d also take a look at berglund.

    I have a suspicion burrows might be on the rangers radar as a depth move, if it was 5 years ago I’d be all for it, now…meh

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  24. Just finished watching the DVR’d replay, great win and real good game by Aanti! goodguyinsports thanks for the review great job! Let’s see your boys take the upcoming game 7 against the fishsticks seriously!

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  25. Skjel and staal are the 2 worst ranger D men on the wall by a hinterland mile. They lose the majority of their battles.

    Re buch…not for shattenkirk, not for most of the current D suspects except maybe trouba due to his age, potential, and under contract one more year I think (and no doodie, would not do it for gudbranson and his expiring contract ;))

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  26. Wick, I think it’s safe to say they’re going into the deadline thinking they have a shot to make noise in the playoffs. …

    and IMO, they should.

    Can Burrows skate well enough to play for AV?

    I wonder if they’d want to add a forward at all, unless they have to move a forward or two to add on D.

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  27. No to Shatty; $7M+ for past his prime one dimensional Dman
    .
    Butch will be very good; worry about back and grit. Amazing vision and hands. Only give up young talent for young talent.
    .
    This team is not winning the cup with the current D. They stink even though they are the best top 6.

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  28. Would definitely get a 4th liner or 2 and have VC/Butch run tandem on top 9. Need some grinders on the 4th line and to get Grabber to stay on 3rd.

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  29. Carp
    I agree, I think the window is open and you need to go into it with the thought process of winning it all. Problem is good value pieces cost good things, so I’ll be curious to see the approach by gorton but I think there are definite upgrades out there at forward and D.

    Re burrows and his wheels, in a limited role probably, but nothing like his younger years.

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  30. Hank is very pretty.

    Bulldog – great report the other day.

    Good guy: nice write up. Game reviews are fun to write when our sexy sexy boys win.

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  31. Buchnevich might become one of the top set up players in this league. So trading him now only makes sense if a trading partner believes the same. Otherwise the return may not be worth it. I also think his shot is underrated.

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  32. Carp, Fowler has been hands-down the best defenseman on the Ducks this season. He’s gone from trade bait to nigh untouchable over the course of the season.

    I think Nashville’s 1-5 is really solid, too.

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  33. The trouble with Fowler from the Ducks’ perspective is that he’s a UFA after next season, compounded with the fact that they must protect Bieksa in expansion unless they buy him out. Presumably Anaheim won’t let Lindholm or Vatanen slip away, so 3 slots don’t go very far.

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  34. other blogs feel Ranger D is bottom 5 in the league which is kind of ridiculous. Staal hate continues but think overall he has been solid this year and probably only one who clears crease with any consistency. Klein has been the most inconsistent. Would still explore getting another RH depth defenseman for right price (lower round draft pick or spare forward) For forwards they should try to bring Boyle back- some more size and grit that would strengthen them more at center and help with penalty kill. Specifically would help in those moments like the last few minutes of last night’s game

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  35. The latest from Elliotte Friedman’s 30 thoughts puts the Ducks as being heavily interested in making a big push to extend Fowler the moment he is eligible to be extended on 7/1.

    I expect Vatanen to be moved or Bieksa bought out.

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  36. In this hard Cap era, we must keep developing and bringing up inexpensive talent in order to pay and keep the established talent. Especially as D is concerned, I don’t see it down there in Connecticut.

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  37. Funny you mention trading a first rounder Carp. Just finished Elliotte Friedman’s column and really dumped on the 2017 Draft. How bad is it? Friedman wrote that it could be possible that Brian Boyle could fetch a first rounder under the right circumstances.

    One executive told Friedman: “If one executive ever hears me getting wishy-washy on the topic, he texts a reminder: ‘How many times do I have to tell you that teams are going to trade their firsts? This draft is terrible!’”

    I don’t think the Rangers will trade their 2017 first because that would mean they wouldn’t pick until the third round because Carolina has this year’s second rounder as part of the Eric Staal deal. I am guessing they could swap one of the their two second rounders in 2018 (have Ottawa’s in the Ziba deal) to get into the second round, but I have no idea how strong the 2018 Draft is supposed to be).

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  38. While this draft is not as heralded as the past, there are some really good players near the top. It’s just that the drop off is pretty steep.

    And while I’ve been banging the Nolan Patrick drum pretty hard, injuries have derailed him a bit. I still think he is the next Kopitar, but more injuries could affect that.

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  39. RR – I am wondering if Patrick’s injuries cost him the first overall pick. He won’t fall that far even if he does – unlike Maxime Comtois who has been falling like a rock.

    Kind of like D Conor Timmins from Sault Ste. Marie for the Rangers. He’s 6-1/182 and plays bigger. Had 13 points in his first OHL season and has 46 now. NHL Central Scouting has him at #26 in their Midterm rankings.

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  40. Carp
    I don’t believe in the philosophy that doodie and some others do re put out the best/most talented roster gives you the best team…that’s a baseball philosophy imo. That doesn’t apply to hockey imo. Bringing this to bear on your reference to some of the D players on the 3 teams I mentioned…I would say those 3 teams have the best “mix” of players top to bottom. Is their #6 leaps and bounds better than our #6 (who ever our #6 is)? No. But I think the way their D corps is constituted makes them better than ours.

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  41. Two other players I like, strictly for their names, are RW D’Artagnan Joly (Baie-Comeau, QMJHL) and C Nicholas Deakin-Poot (Guelph, OHL).

    Truth be told, Joly (6-3/181) has decent numbers this year: 51-15-24-39 as a 17-year-old. Deakin-Poot (6-4/210), not so much with the numbers: 36-3-7-10 as 17/18-year-old.

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  42. Anthony, in some scouts/GM’s minds, coupled with Hischier’s huge world junior tournament, it may have. It’s also a case of over-analysis, like when Tavares was up for his draft. Scouts have seen so much of him that they know all of his weaknesses so much better than other players’ weaknesses. Tavares still went first, but there was a pretty significant swell for Hedman.

    Speaking of Swedish defensemen, Liljegren is supposed to be the real deal this year, and Rasmus Dahlin next year is the likely 1st overall pick. It’s a factory of elite defensemen.

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  43. At the beginning of the year he was traded to the Windsor Spitrfires (host of the Memorial Cup this year). He was being heavily relied upon in the early going and doing pretty well. Then the team unexpectedly had Mikhail Sergachev returned to them, so it put him on the second pairing. He’s been playing more consistently this year and his fitness is supposedly improved.

    As I said when I stumped hard for his selection: he’s a homerun swing. The skating ability is undeniably supreme. It’s the other stuff that is questionable.

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  44. I still don’t get how a legit critique of a player means you hate a player, I just don’t. Staal I rarely overtly physical (including clearing the crease) and doesn’t exhibit a lot of “bite” in his wall battles (neither does skjel). He isn’t a horrible D man, but he isn’t as good as some here think he is. If it’s not a hard cap era, he’s fine…if he makes Klein $$$$, he’s fine. But, in a hard cap era, you have to look at the “value” a player brings to the table of his cap hit vs on ice contributions…there is where staal is lacking imo.

    If the D corps had an NHL righty…say stone from Arizona at 2 mil less than staal and the other 5 ranger d men are the same, is this d corps leaps and bounds worse? Not at all. Might it be marginally worse, maybe just a bit but the value is better and the 2 extra mil helps somewhere else.

    No, not saying trade stone for staal, just a hypothetical example. Yes, I know staal can not be moved.

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  45. Tampa talking about trading Boyle. Are they packing it in? Or just smart asset management. I say smart asset management. Like how the Rangers should have traded Yandle at the deadline last year. That would have been smart asset management.

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  46. Boyle becomes an UFA at the end of the year so they probably want to get something for him. The habs are looking to add size and are talking to Arizona for Hanzal. Might view Boyle as cheaper to get.

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  47. I also don’t get the keeping the first round pick fetish. I mean do you give a first round pick to get iginla now? Of course not. But, if you can use that puck to get a younger established top level NHL player under contract like landeskog, seems silly not to because you’re not going to get a player like him where you pick in the first round.

    Do you trade the first or second pick in the first round last year to get landeskog? Absolutely not, because you are getting a better NHL ready player (imo) at that draft spot than landeskog.

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  48. Wicky – The problem is that i don’t see the Rangers need as bringing in Landeskog. They need to bring in a Top-4 d-man. If you can get one (no idea of who is available) in a reasonable package that includes the Rangers first rounder, I do it. Am I going to do the same thing for Landeskog – no, unless the perception is that I am getting back more than i am giving.

    As i have said, I don’t deal the first pick for Shattenkirk because despite all that has been written about him wanting to play in NY what happens if doesn’t sign with the Rangers? Given all of the cap and expansion gymnastic that have to play out, I am willing to gamble and wait on Shattenkirk until July 1.

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  49. Gotcha. Now if the Oilers want to send us Connor McDavid, I’ll gladly give up the first round pick. Heck, they could have the whole bunch in 2017! 🙂 🙂

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  50. Carp that was a great read. Love seeing your articles again! I thought it was odd Hank didn’t get an NHL star of the week. From 2/5 to 2/11 he went 4-0-0 with .936/2.25. Not to mention 400th win – missed opportunity by them IMO.

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  51. Carp
    Who said they were bottom 10?

    Coos
    Because just making the playoffs isn’t good enough, it’s about championships…as it should be

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  52. Carp – Great article (as always). You got me thinking about both questions you posed. The Lundqvist-Richter question is definitely a 15-round heavyweight title bout/Stanley Cup Final Game 7 triple OT sports argument. Depending on the mood, I could go either way. Richter has the Cup, but that 1994 team was better than any that Hank played on.

    The discussion on the greatest home-grown Ranger might be easier. Leetch has the pedigree (a Stanley Cup, two Norris Trophies, the Canada Cup), but I am going yo go with Lundqvist. Leetch was a first round draft pick that has eight teams (especially the two that drafted Zarley Zalapski and Shawn Anderson ahead of Leetch) begging for a do-over.

    However, given where Lundqvist came from I gotta give him the split decision. Not only was LQ a 7yj round draft pick, he wasn’t even the first goalie the Rangers took in that draft. They deemed Brandon Snee to be a better prospect since he was drafted in the fifth round. Odds are Hank doesn’t get drafted in not for the tenacity and reputation of Christer Rockstrom (who gets overlooked for his work in Detroit and NY).

    Liked by 2 people

  53. You can’t win a Cup in December, you can’t win a Cup in February, you can’t win a Cup in April and you can’t win a Cup in the off-season… all you can do is put together the best team possible, win enough to get into the tournament and hope you get better, and stay healthy, as the season goes along.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. I’d take Boyle for the Machine straight up. Still can’t believe how down you guys are on Skjei. Your rookie has 25 pts! Yandle? Remember Mr. Puck Mover Magical Playmaker that so many were bonkers about? 28 pts. Do you guys really think that he is going to get worse defensively? You trade him now two or three years from now you are going to be crying.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. MSG showed a graphic during the last game that had Skjei being 3rd or 4th in the league in even strength assists. The other guys were Karlsson, Doughty, Hedman and Keith. Decent company for a rookie Dman.

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  56. Shea will be fine; just needs to get some experience, has all the skills; only question is smarts now.
    The need to trade him is only is a young RD1/2 is coming back as we have McDonut and The Shuffle Board Champ on the left side along with Graves.
    Would obviously prefer to trade Staal but he is unmovable which speaks to his value.

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  57. Bobby Ryan and Rick Nash seem to be in similar situations…high $$$$ “offensive” players playing on their respective teams 3rd line in a defencive role

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  58. I fail to see why a few here are really down on Staal. He is fine as a 2nd pair defenseman. Like most vets there is some overpayment but that’s a league wide issue the way the salary structure is set up. Yes some exceptions like Grabner exist but the norm is the kids get underpaid and catch up later in career.

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  59. Given what Staal’s been through I always cut him some slack. Yeah, I see him as a perfectly fine 2D today (nobody had a problem with his contract the day he signed), but of course I recognize what could have been.

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