Tag: blueshirt blog

New York Rangers Should Trade Pavel Buchnevich, Adam McQuaid & Mats Zuccarello And Keep Kevin Hayes

The Rangers have about three weeks and 28 days to figure out what they are going to do with Adam McQuaid, Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello and Pavel Buchnevich. The news has told us that the Rangers are going to trade Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello and probably Adam McQuaid. Which really hurts most if not all long-time Rangers fan Zuccarello has been a fan favorite for so many years in New York and Kevin Hayes is becoming a fan favorite as he continues to be a more integral part of this team.

The headline may show that I would like to see Buchnevich and Zuccarello traded over Hayes but in all honesty I would like to see Zuccarello stay but I do understand this is a business and decisions need to be made. I am all in favor of getting rid of Buchnevich though. He is an RFA at the end of his entry-level contract he would cost very little to re-sign for most teams and the Rangers really do not need him.

Mats Zuccarello is 31-years-old yes he is definitely nearing his mid-thirties and we are all aware of that, he is valuable to any top contending playoff team so it makes sense to get rid of him, it sucks to see but it makes sense. The Rangers can probably receive a decent amount for Zuccarello, probably a first rounder and mid-level prospect.

Now, my case to get rid of Buchnevich and keep Hayes. Hayes is 26-years-old he has already gone through his years of “adjusting” to the NHL speed, level, style of play and has solidified himself as a top-six forward in the NHL. If the Rangers are looking to the future why would they not want to keep Hayes? He is the perfect age, in his prime, and for young players that are going to be coming into the Rangers organization by the time they develop and get adjusted to the NHL game Hayes will probably be 29-30 years old, which is again a great age to help teach these young players, be a play-maker for these young guys, and if Hayes re-signs his contract will probably end by the age of 31-32 so we get his best years out if him then he moves on.

Let’s be honest Buchnevich has not panned out to be anything the Rangers imagined, he has been a healthy scratch this year, and previous years and has not quite adjusted to the NHL level yet, therefore why would they continue to give this guy a shot, sign him back and get nothing out of him when they can probably trade him get a 2nd or 3rd round pick and move on from that situation. Buchnevich has played one full season with the Rangers and aside from his 43 point season last year he has been extremely inconsistent when he is in the line up. I know I am not the only one who believes this about Buchnevich but the 23-year-old has not been what the Rangers expected him to be, he may still be developing but I’d rather not take a shot on Buchnevich when the Rangers already have a solidified solid 45-50+ point guy in Kevin Hayes. Trading Hayes may be “best” for the re-build but the Rangers have already chosen five first rounders in the last two years, they have another one this year, two second rounders (maybe a 1st this year if Tampa wins the Cup) so really how much can the Rangers bank on draft picks to make them a legitimate playoff team again.

Call me crazy but I’d rather have a guaranteed top-six winger/center, someone who can be effective with whoever he plays, is a leader, veteran and a good player for young players to play alongside then a player who is 23-years-ole, someone we have a 147 game report on that shows some major flaws and inconsistency in his game, can only play with top guys to be effective and is a question mark as to what he can be int he future.

Say the Rangers trade Zuccarello, Buchnevich, McQuaid, don’t re-sign Cody McLeod or Fredrik Claesson that will leave 9.62 million to re-sign Hayes, Pionk and Deangelo.

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New York Rangers David Quinn’s Report Card

The New York Rangers are coming off a rough three-game stretch, all three games coming on the road and all resulting in a lose. The Rangers most recent road trip does not do David Quinn much justice, therefore looking past these three games but still considering them to some extent. Here is my take on the Rangers new head coach report card up until this point.

The Rangers entered this season with very little, to no intention on making playoffs. I’m sure there was still that one fan named Antonio from Brooklyn, New York who grew up a die hard Ranger fan that still believed the Rangers had a chance of making the playoffs this season. Sorry, Antonio but the Rangers are not going to be a playoff team for a little while. Quinn came into the Rangers organization for a few reasons (1) to help develop young players, he did a great job with players at Boston University (Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy..) (2) The Rangers were heading into a new direction, a younger more patient, looking to the future direction. Which made Quinn perfect role for this job. (3) They needed a new face, some new ideas, a shake up from a coach who never coached professional hockey, someone who can come in and brought new philosophies, attitude and certainly a new voice to that locker room.

I am not sure many thought Quinn would 17-18-7 with 41 points and 6th in the Metropolitan division. The Rangers were regarded as a team destined to finish last in the division and near 28th to 31st in the NHL. For that reason alone Quinn has, in my eyes exceeded my expectations for the first four months of the season. I cannot speak for every Ranger fan, I am a little less biased and realistic than most Ranger fans therefore the Dancing Larry type Ranger fans probably will disagree with me. Either way looking at three main key takeaways from Quinn’s first four months and 42 games in.

(1) Youth development: B- 

Speaking for myself I’d have to give him a B- in this area. In the beginning of the year it was frustrating to see Filip Chytil on the fourth line for many games. Pavel Buchnevich scratched, not many young defenseman on the roster and still playing Brendan Smith. Vinni Lettieri still in the minors, a glimpse of Lias Andersson, a cup of coffee for Steven Forgarty, no sign of John Gilmour, Rob O’Gara, Ryan Lindgren yet. We have seen Neal Pionk be the Rangers number one defenseman which is due to Quinn trusting the young defenseman in every situation, no matter the game, time, etc. I say a B- because while he did a decent job with Chytil and Buch it was the right move at the time. Buchnevich has not been the player we all expected him to be, he was struggling early on and still is therefore he probably deserved less minutes. Also not playing Chytil a lot early on has helped him see the game a little better. As well O’Gara, Gilmour will and hopefully be up very soon… and unpopular opinion. Either Quinn was not playing Andersson correctly or Andersson really is going to be a bust. My opinion, Rangers wasted that first overall pick in 2017.

(2) Game Management: B

I do like the way Quinn manages the lines and game honestly. Although he does change the lines a decent amount throughout the game and mixes guys up a lot, I think he is still trying to see what works. Plus he does a good job of playing the hot hand, some nights guy are hot and some are not and he does a good job recognizing who is on and who is not. My only concern is his defensive line choices late in games, numerous times I have seen Adam McQuaid or Smith out there on the back end when the Rangers are up by one-goal.

(3) Style of play: B

The Rangers were known to be a pretty gritty, get in the ugly areas, throw pucks on net and hope for the best type of team. While in the d-zone the Rangers D were not responsible, and hoped Hank made the first and second save. I like how Quinn in a sense has made us a better transitional team, a little more responsible in the d-zone and a little hungrier in the offensive zone. He has done a great job trusting Neal Pionk, reviving Marc Staal, not a great job with Kevin Shattenkirk but that is on Shattenkirk as well. He has also done a great job giving Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes the free reign to do things and be creative in all areas of the ice. I like how Quinn allows the players to make mistakes, learn from their mistakes and not play such an old school game backed by an old school philosophy of “get pucks deep and chase”.

Overall: B

The Rangers will more than likely finish with a top-10 pick for the NHL 2019 draft which will really make or break Quinn’s time in New York. They will also probably be trading Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello in the coming weeks. Quinn has done in my opinion a good job, he was not given an easy job, a young team, a crazy hockey market, the big city and bright lights. Quinn has come in and done what he can with what he has. It will be interesting to see the roster moves they make later in the season after the All-Star break in terms of bringing up AHL players so they can see some more NHL time before next season.

A Look At The New York Rangers Upcoming Road Trip

The New York Rangers have touched down in Denver, Colorado to begin their three-game road trip. The Rangers are coming into this road trip having dropped three of their last ten in regulation but another four in overtime/shootout. The Rangers have won just three games in their last ten games and to make matters worse they are not a favorable road team. Posting a 6-10-2 record on the road, and of their last ten games four have come on the road, in which they have lost two and won two (Nashville, St. Louis). Despite a big win in Nashville the other week, the Rangers have not done a great job in terms of scoring. In their last ten they have averaged, 2.3 goals per game, while allowing 3.3 goals per game. Sure, Penguins scoring seven Wednesday night does not help the case but even so they still have allowed 2.89 goals per game.

The Rangers head to Colorado Friday night, a team that is struggling greatly, on a six-game skid, 2-5-3 in their last ten and not playing the Colorado hockey we saw earlier in the year. They then travel to Arizona Sunday for an afternoon game vs a team that is subpar at home (7-12-1 at the moment) and cap the trip with one of the better home teams and best team of the three in this trip, Vegas Tuesday night. Vegas has lost three games at home this season (at the moment 13-3-3) and is starting to become the team we saw go on a immaculate run last season.

The big takeaway for this Rangers team and this road trip is be better than last road trip which they lost 2 of 3 and two of those games lost were to the leagues worst. Point two, how this young team responds to a rather difficult task at hand. This is not bizarre to see a team travel for three-straight away games but they get rest and a day in between each game yet with this young line up we will see how they fair in the thick of the schedule.

I would honestly expect the Rangers to take 2 of 3 this trip, the Avalanche struggling a win Friday is possible, a win in Arizona is more than possible and a loss to Vegas is likely. But at the same time the Rangers could lose all three, get a struggling Colorado team that needs a win badly, an Arizona team that is no cake-walk and the best home team in the NHL in Vegas. It will be interesting, that is why as writers we just sit here, drink a beer, relax and let the players do the playing.

Players to watch…

Kevin Hayes, Hayes is coming off a 8-point streak that was snapped vs St. Louis December 31st but this season Hayes has been one of the Rangers overall best players. He has 10 goals, 23 assists in 39 games and has honestly been the most noticeable and all around best player for the Rangers this season.

Neal Pionk-Marc Staal combination, the Rangers number one d-pairing has been to the test this season and it has been very surprising to see Staal’s game elevated this season and Pionk rise to the occasion. Pionk has 5 goals and 14 assists on the season with a -2 plus/minus rating and 12 power play points While Staal has 3 goals and 7 assists (already surpassed his total of 8 pts from last year) with a +1 plus/minus and zero power play points.

Chris Kreider, the 20 goal scorer has been involved in every Rangers scoring play it seems this year. Kreider has finally started to use his speed and quick shot to his advantage this year and keeping his game a little simpler than he has in years past. It will be interesting to see how Kreider comes out this trip.

Dan Quinn, the Rangers new head coach and former college coach has taken this team above expectations thus far, posting a 17-15-7 (41 points) record, eight points behind the last wild card spot and not dead last in the division or conference. He has head-scratching moments when he constantly shifts lines, dresses Cody McLeod more often than not, plays Filip Chytil on the fourth line, etc. But overall he has done a good job but this road trip will be a nice test for the young head coach and we’ll see how he can rally the troops to play on the road for three-straight.

Rangers upcoming schedule after road trip before All-Star break: 

New York Islanders @ MSG

New York Islanders @ Coliseum

Columbus Blue Jackets @ Nation Wide Arena

Carolina Hurricanes @ MSG

Chicago Blackhawks @ MSG

Boston Bruins @ TD Garden

 

 

Filip Chytil and Brett Howden goals help Henrik Lundqvist make history for 437th win

The Rangers have been off to one of the many surprising starts among some NHL clubs this year. With that said the Rangers are 9-7-2 through their first 18 games. They have won 6 of their last seven games. Many are puzzled by the Rangers success, while it is early it is still a positive sign for the rebuilding, young team.

The Rangers won 2-1 in regulation vs Vancouver, I say regulation because of the Rangers nine wins this season five of them have come past regulation, four in a shootout and one in overtime. Which is also puzzling because for a young team, being able to pull games out in a shootout or overtime is huge, keeping the game that close all the way until the third and into overtime is a great sign.

Canucks vs Rangers short recap

The Rangers won off a Filip Chytil power play goal and Brett Howden late third-period goal. The Canucks struck first, early in the second period, as Nikolay Goldobin came out of the box to a puck on his stick, 2 v 1 vs Neal Poink, Poink laid out to block the pass and Goldobin absolutely roofed a wrister past Lundqvist high blocker side to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead. After that Henrik shut the door and the Rangers scored 10 minutes later on a power play, Poink took a shot from the point as it bounced out in front to Chytil in the high slot and he just banged it home for his first of the year. Later in the third with 8 minutes and change remaining. Jesper Fast won the draw back to Vesey who fumbled the puck off the draw, Howden was right there puck on his stick, and just rifled it past Jacob Markstrom low glove side, for his fourth goal of the year and the game-winning goal.

Henrik earns 437th win, tied seventh all-time

The big story for tonight was the fact the Rangers had Neal Poink, Filip Chytil, Brett Howden and Jimmy Vesey all chip in on the score sheet and help the Rangers earn their ninth win of the year. Seeing these young guns chip in and be a big part of the Rangers success is something every Ranger wants to see right now. Also Henrik Lundqvist earned his 437th win to tied Jacques Plante on the NHL all-time win’s list. Henrik is now seventh in the NHL among goalies for wins in his career. He is 254 wins away from Martin Brodeur, realistically speaking he will not reach that, but Lundqvist can come close to Ed Belfour’s 484 career wins.

Rangers win vs Vancouver shows a common theme in teams success

This win is just a testament of what has made the Rangers successful this season, they are getting production form an array of guys, the young guys are chipping in and doing their part this year, Lundqvist is off to a great start posting a 2.54 goals against, .923 save percentage and six wins. It has been an adventure for the Rangers this season, the reason they are playing so well is probably because no one is expecting anything from them, they are just going out, enjoying the game, having fun and worrying about one game at a time and not looking too far ahead. The Rangers get ready for their first of four meetings with the local rivalry between the Islanders. The Rangers have not been all that successful vs the Islanders in the last few years but let’s see how these two rosters match up Thursday night in Brooklyn.

What went wrong: New York Rangers 2017-2018

Making the playoffs 11 of the last 12 years to then come back and have the season the Rangers did, is difficult to swallow. While yes the Rangers placed 24th in the NHL and posted a 34-39-9 record and had their first below .500 record in 15 years. The last time the Rangers posted a below .500 average record was in 2003-2004. The Rangers ranked 22nd in goals for(228), 4th in goals against(263), 14th in power play percentage(21.2), 12th in penalty kill percentage(81.4) and while the Rangers did not have an overall terrible looking season a lot has changed for this organization.

The Rangers started off the season on the wrong side of the puck after dropping several games at the beginning of the year and being behind it was difficult for the Rangers to get any momentum going. While they did turn things around for a short period of time, around the trade deadline is when things fell apart for the team. That is when the Rangers decided to shift their outlook and change things up trading away captain Ryan McDonagh, JT Miller, Nick Holden, Rick Nash and Michael Grabner while acquiring two first-round picks, and several other later drafts picks. Whilst at the end of the season firing head coach Alian Vigneault and hiring Boston University storied coach David Quinn.

The Rangers have now three first-round draft picks, two seconds and two third-round picks. Amounting to 7 picks in the first three rounds, the first time the Rangers have had this much to play with in a long time, perhaps the first. Anyways with these picks came a different looking line up as the Rangers now have 4 prospect defenseman playing, a defenseman coming off an injury, with the front end looking a tad different after acquiring Ryan Spooner and Vladislav Namestikov. What went wrong for the Rangers though? A lot did…

What went wrong?

  1. Injuries: The Rangers dealt with injuries to Chris Kreider, Kevin Shattenkirk, Mika Zibanejad, Ryan McDonagh(when he was on the team) these four players are the Rangers top players and players that play a huge role in their team’s success. With Shattenkirk being injured it made the defense a tad unbalanced and shifted things a bit. Kreider being out really left that speedy left winger hole wide open as the Rangers had nobody to fill it and when Shattenkirk and McDonagh are out it is tough to be competitive with two top four d out.
  2. Coach Alain Vigneault was terrible at putting lines together and developing players. This was one of the reasons AV was fired, his relationship with the players was not great and he had a hard time getting to these guys and getting them to do the right things. He was known for his odd line swaps and matchings and being a coach who never gave players the right chances when they would mess up. With a team that was struggling put together with a bad coach, only bad things will happen.
  3. No depth. The Rangers really had no one to fill the void when their top players were out or not producing, Paul Carey, Jesper Fast, Peter Holland, David Desharnias are not players you can substitute for a lack of production from Pavel Buchnevich and Jimmy Vesey or no Kreider, or no Zibanejad. Without depth, this team had some trouble.
  4. The domino effect. When the tough got going, it only got worse. When the Rangers were basically out of the race and trade rumors came up it only got worse from there. And when it finally did happen things continued to get worse, then firing AV came up and Lundqvist was playing poorly it was just one big domino effect of a bad event after bad event. Luckily the offseason is here and things may get better.

Will things get better?

We’d sure hope so with the picks and prospects they have coming up. As Ranger fans are probably also screaming for a better season they can’t deal with being bad New York fans so the Rangers need to get better. They have their two first round picks in 2017 coming up next year who have displayed excellent play in World Juniors, the IIHF and their respected leagues overseas and with Hartford. Filip Chytil and Liass Andersson will probably be in the Rangers line up full-time next season so that is a plus as it helps balance out the top six. They also have picks 9, 26 and 28. With the #9 they will probably land Noah Dobson the 6’3 defenseman from the QMJHL who just played in the Memorial Cup, this is a maybe though anyways they will land a top end prospect. With 26, 28 they can either trade one of these picks or draft a potential top-9, top-6 forward.

They also have 24.9 million in cap space but have to sign 4 RFA forwards, 3 RFA defenseman and 1 UFA defenseman and these players are must sign, well at least 6/8 are. To say things will be a tad better in New York is understandable, much better, who knows. A new coach, new players, different lineup, aging goaltender. It will be difficult especially playing in the toughest division in hockey. Expecting a 5th place finish from the Rangers in the Metropolitan and possibly a wild card spot but would not be surprised if they miss the playoffs again next season.

Rangers look to put frustrations behind them in home tilt vs Calgary

Ok, the Rangers came out with a press release Thursday afternoon addressing the fans the rebuild, bad. The post-game conferences of Ryan McDonagh, saying that was the worst loss of his career, bad. Henrik Lundqvist, basically repeating himself for the third time in a row now, bad. The Flames have a 15-5-4 road record coming off a road win Thursday night vs New Jersey, bad. The Rangers have lost seven of their last ten, on a four-game losing streak, bad. Calgary on a three-game win streak, bad.

The Rangers waiving Brendon Smith, good. The Rangers calling up and finally playing prospects, good. The Rangers admitting their failures this year and transitioning towards the future and youth, good. The Rangers probably not going to win again tonight, good and bad.

Ok, so things are not going well for the Rangers, and they have been terrible as of late, if you do not keep up with this intellectual and thrill-seeking Rangers coverage, then you should really follow along, starting now. Subscribe, follow, whatever, join along.

The Rangers come into tonight against a team that is second in the Pacific division, playing solid hockey as of late, have Johnny Gaudreau coming off his 69th career multi-point game(nice), Sean Monohan who has totaled, 5 goals and 1 assists over his last four games and a goaltender Mike Smith who did not play last night which means he is fresh. On top of the fact, the Flames have lost on the road one time over the last month of play and have a total of five losses on the road this season. Not great news.

Good news though is that the Rangers have called up Neal Pionk and he will be running him alongside Ryan McDonagh on the first line tonight. Which is good news, because one, the kid is finally seeing some NHL time, two the Rangers are ok with playing their youth a little more to give them some experience and three we may see Vinni Lettieri in the lineup more regularly and guys of that nature this season.

Anyways, if you are the Rangers do you just give Hank a night off and start Ondrej Pavelec, what do you have to lose, Hank has been pulled in three games over the last two weeks and is extremely frustrated, maybe giving the guy a mental and physical break won’t hurt. How many more times can he answer reporters questions without going insane now?

Tonight,  we should not expect to see much out of the Rangers, they should compete and play with some pride but a win is not something we should be expecting tonight. If they do win, great so be it but as Ranger fans, we have to be at that point where ok, we are rebuilding, let’s grab a middle of the pack first-round pick, look towards the future and be ok with not making the playoffs this season.

Yes, the Rangers are still only three points out of a playoff spot, and getting hot at the right time may give this team a chance for the playoffs, but think about what Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton just addressed the team about, the future. A playoff run is not beneficial it does not help this team now or in the future. Be real people. It’s ok if the Rangers go through a two to three rebuild if you are a real fan you accept this if you are a fan that just found about the Rangers cause you moved to New York City last year than as a fan base we are totally ok with losing you.

Starters are unknown right now, expecting Lundqvist to go for the Rangers and Smith for the Flames but we won’t know until about 1:00 p.m. (est) probably. The line up looks about the same as last game just substitute, Poink for Holden and take Smith out, the forward line up is the same and this shall be an interesting game.

Lineups:

New York Rangers

Nash- Zibanejad-Zuccarello

Miller-Desharnais-Fast 

Grabner-Hayes-Lettieri

McLeod-Holland-Carey

McDonagh-Poink 

Skjei-Kampfer

Holden-D’Angelo 

Calgary Flames

Gaudreau-Monohan-Ferland 

Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik 

Bennett-Jankowski-Brouwer

Lomberg-Stajan-Hathaway 

Giordano-Hamilton 

Brodie-Hamonic

Kulak-Stone 

 

NHL: Troubles in the Big Apple? Rangers slow start

The New York Rangers are off to an atrocious start, dropping five of their first six games, and only scoring eight goals in 18 periods, that’s 360 minutes, from the start of the season many if not all New York Ranger fans knew they were going to struggle offensively, but no one imagined this kind of offensive struggle. In the offseason, they focused on strengthening their blueline while getting a reliable back up option. While there have not been many positives to take away from the Rangers start, some optimism is needed.

Starts from the backend up…

Coming into the season Ranger fans were confident that Ryan McDonagh was going to be paired with Kevin Shattenkirk, and it was going to be Brady Skeji-Brandon Smith, Marc Staal-Nick Holden, well unfortunately coach Alain Vigneault had different plans after one game the lines were swapped and since then each player has played with a new defensive partner each game. Actually, Smith has been a healthy scratch ever since his performance in Toronto, Steve Kampfer has been seeing time and AV had Shattenkirk slotted on the third line with Nick Holden to start the game last night. Apparently Ranger fans do not know much about this team as they thought they did, but one thing I am confident in and positive about is that Kevin Shattenkirk was not brought here to play a third line pairing and switching and swapping lines every game, and saying “we are still trying to see who fits where” is not going to help anything.

Rangers offensive struggles… 

NHL New York RangersAside from that though, the Rangers offense has been a disappointment, in crucial situations the players Ranger fans expect to rise to the occasion are nowhere to be found, and a matter of fact the same three players constantly keep disappearing more and more each game. When are Ranger fans are going to stop settling for mediocrity in Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, and J.T. Miller, these players are “franchise” players that combine for nine points in eight games right now. The Rangers do not have a breakout, superstar player and it is quite evident when the Rangers best scorer is Rick Nash and the last time Nash has tallied 40 goals was four years ago and besides Nash, the last Ranger to touch the 40 goal surface was Marian Gaborik in 2011-12. Since then Nash has not tallied over 27 goals since being at the Rangers and Hayes, Kreider, Miller have tallied 55 plus points one time in their career. The Rangers settle for mediocrity and that’s what they get, mediocre results.

Staying Optimistic

Now the positives, the Rangers top scorers have thrown a ton of shots towards the net, Mika Zibanejad has 23 shots on goal (SOG), Nash 25 SOG, Vesey 14 SOG, Kreider 17 SOG, Shattenkirk 16 SOG, Skeji 16 SOG, and they have shown signs of dominating the puck down low in the offensive zone, the Ranger trouble starts from their back end all through the line up. Also it is only six games into the season and there’s plenty of time to bounce back and wake their season up but the Rangers face Pittsburgh, Islanders, Nashville, San Jose, Arizona, Montreal, Vegas to close out October, which with high hopes the Rangers could take five of the seven games remaining in October and bring their record to 5-7-0 rolling into November.