Tag: new york rangers

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.

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My Top Buyers and Sellers For The NHL Trade Deadline

The NHL Trade Deadline is about seven weeks away, therefore usually around this time, 40+ games, teams making pushes for the playoffs and other teams doing the opposite. A lot of trade talk is about to approach so let’s get you ready for what can be a pretty exciting 2019 NHL trade deadline.

Top Buyers: 

Pittsburgh Penguins: It is no surprise here that the Penguins are again buyers. They continue to be a top-10 team in the NHL that have the tools to be a Stanley Cup team therefore around this time they usually always are involved in trade talks. There most recent trade talk has been with the Carolina Hurricanes for either Michael Ferland or defenseman Justin Faulk or Dougie Hamilton, not all three or two probably just one of the three. Either the Penguins could use another top-six winger but more importantly can certainly use a top-four or even number five defenseman. The Penguins by no surprise can score goals but they struggle to defend consistently, with a defense of Kris Letang (injury issues) Jack Johnson, Brian Dumoulin and Olli Maata they need to add another tool back there.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Much like the Penguins the Leafs are going to be buyers come the deadline, they really do not need any more forward depth due to the fact William Nylander is a third liner almost. The Leafs would have no reason for a forward. The thing the Leafs could use is a top-four defenseman, Ron Hainsey may not cut it much longer for Toronto, Morgan Reilly is proving number one capability and Jake Gardiner is a solid number four but they still another d-man, someone who is a good two-way defenseman. A Dougie Hamilton or Justin Faulk would be perfect but as of now there has not been much from Toronto. The Leafs could also use a potential back-up/fringe starter to help Frederick Anderson before the playoffs come around. Someone who can play at least half the games remaining in the year to get Anderson 100% healthy for the playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers need to make a move for a forward if they want to be a playoff team their current offensive roster is not going to cut it for the playoffs or a playoff run. They need one top-six forward and a borderline top-six/bottom-nine forward soon. The Oilers have tried line scheme after line scheme this season and not much is working consistently. They will probably look to the Rangers for Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, Vladislav Namestikov or the Senators for a few of their bottom-six forwards, the Blues have a slew of forwards, the Hurricanes Michael Ferland. Either way they need to be inquiring about someone.

Colorado Avalanche: With their 11 million in projected cap space the Avalanche should be shopping for a top-six, bottom six forward. They have the two best players in the NHL right now but someone else needs to supplement those two when the playoff run comes around and playoff time comes. The Avalanche have a lot of young potential but they will need some more proven success. Out there is as mentioned above, the Avalanche will be doing some necessary shopping over the next two weeks or so.

Top Sellers:

New York Rangers: Not a shock to many, the Rangers are definitely over performing considering the roster they have but they are still not a great team. Plus it does them no good to win games right now or not consider being big sellers. They have a few players to shed as well but with Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello current UFA’s in 2019-2020 they will more than likely be trading those two. They have 2 million in cap space and with those two gone it will free up about 9.6 million making them a true contender for Artem Panarin this offseason.

Los Angeles Kings: They have no reason to buy and they do have a few names that can be useful elsewhere. I.e. Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, and some bottom six forwards. Not a great year for L.A. but they have around $89,000 in cap space right now with three free agents in 2019 summer and Brown/Carter on unfavorable contracts.

Carolina Hurricanes: I did not expect the Hurricanes to be sellers but it seems their GM is in favor to shed Faulk, Hamilton and Ferland. Therefore making sellers for sure, they have 16 million in cap space and getting rid of two of those three would leave them with a nice dollar amount to sit on in the offseason. Plus they need to free up cap for Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Jordin Martinook, and possibly Justin Williams. The Hurricanes have a ton of UFA/RFA to consider in the offseason and they cannot afford Faulk, Hamilton and Aho therefore we can see these guys selling heavy come the deadline.

St. Louis Blues: I almost want to say why not sell for this team. You have Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, David Perron, Patrick Maroon, Vladimir Tarasenko, Tyler Bozak, etc. At least two of these guys or even one can go and will provide a decent return. The Blues have rumored to be in talks to shed Vladimir Tarasenko, which I mean sounds ridiculous but realistically this team is not going to win anytime soon, get a good return on the guy sooner than later.

 

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

 

 

Rangers earn 13th win over Ottawa Senators off goals from Andersson, Staal and Kreider

The New York Rangers people, sure it was a win over the Ottawa Senators but it is extremely satisfying to see this team score goals and have it done by people of all different names. As well as seeing this team play as a unit, everyone chip in and never give up or look out of it. 

The Rangers picked up their 13th win of the year vs the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden winning 4-2. It was a back and forth game until the end. The Rangers and Senators combined for 64 shots on net total, Rangers with 33, Senators with 31, neither team scored a power play goal as the Rangers went 0/4 and Senators 0/2. Despite the numerous turnovers between the two, the Rangers managed to pull ahead in this game and take control of third place in the Metropolitan division. 

First period scoring

Tonight’s scoring led off with Marc Staal (1). The play originally starts with a Staal shot that got blocked into the corner, Staal followed his shot kicked it to Mika Zibanejad behind the net, as Zib walked the front, Staal was back door waiting for a one-timer, where he netted the first goal of the game and of the year for him. The second goal of the game and the Senators first to tie it at one a piece was off the only Senator goal scorer of the night. Mark Stone, who led the rush in the zone and made a beautiful saucer pass to Brady Tkachuk coming in late to the zone, Tkachuk just threw it to the net as Stone cleaned up garbage for his 10th of the year. There was nothing in the second period just an even period where both teams registered 9 shots on net. 

Third period scoring

The third opened with nothing in the first 3.5 minutes until the Rangers struck first to make it 2-1 off a Lias Andersson goal and Ryan Strome assist. Music to Rangers fan ears. Andersson scored his first of the year off Strome’s second assist with the Rangers. This was an odd goal as it came off a shot from and just happened to bank off Andersson’s back and just like that the Rangers went up 2-1. Not a pretty way to score your first of the year but a goal is a goal for the young Rangers forward. The next goal was the Rangers to make it 3-1, off a two on one, Filip Chytil with Chris Kreider a simple, saucer pass over the defenseman right on Kreider’s stick made it 3-1 and Kreider’s 13th of the year, as well as the game winning goal. Senators scored late but it would not be enough. Mark Stone scored his second of the night but the Rangers would eventually score an empty netter to seal the deal and make it 4-2. 

Rangers can thank Henrik Lundqvist for his 29 save performance helping the Rangers get their 13th win and Hank’s 9th win of the year. Lundqvist improves to 9-7-2 on the year and a .927 save percentage. The Rangers hit the road to play in Ottawa on Thursday and Montreal on Saturday before returning home to face the Jets on Sunday. 

All around a gritty win for the Rangers getting insurance from Andersson, Staal and having their top performers show up when they need it most is exactly what has made the Rangers successful. The Rangers top players are there when they need them, Lundqvist is playing great and their role players are chipping in when it is needed. Another win, and another Ranger prospect making a mark on the game.

New York Rangers vs New York Islanders; The Islanders have won 12 of last 13

The New York Rangers have not beat the Islanders since the beginning of the 2016-17 season. 

The Rangers head into Brooklyn to play the New York Islanders for the second time in the last week. The bigger head line is the Rangers track record vs the Islanders in the last few years. The Rangers typically never had a hard with the Islanders number, yet now it is the other way around. The Islanders have won 12 of the last 13 meetings.

The Islanders on the season are two points behind the Rangers on the year. The Rangers are 11-8-2 with 24 points the most surprising team in the NHL right now as the Islanders another surprising start are 10-7-2 with 22 points. The two teams have in a sense shifted their roster make up to a little younger style, neither team posses a real super star (Can we call Matt Barzal one yet?), both of them have three solid lines that can score, both are shifting to a younger core on the back end and both have brand new head coaches. These two teams for the first time in probably 20 years are pretty similar on paper yet the Islanders seem to always get in the head of the Rangers. 

Henrik Lundqvist sat vs Islanders 

The Rangers are not going with Henrik Lundqvist in net, whom has a poor track record vs the Islanders over the last few years. Lundqvist has been pulled three times vs the Islanders, has a 3.24 goals against, .894 save percentage in 10 starts vs Islanders. Tonight Alexander Georgiev will be getting the nod for the Rangers. Georgiev has started in 4 games this season with a 3-2 record, 3.61 goals against (GAA) and .894 save(SV) percentage. 

New York Islander vs New York Rangers key players 

Another key thing to focus on going into tonight is the key players for the Islanders and Rangers. Filip Chytil has scored in the last four straight games, Neal Poink has 10 assists on the year, Chris Kreider leads the team with 11 goals, Mika Zibanejad is second on the team in points with 17. The Islanders top scorers are Josh Bailey(19) and Matt Barzal(18), Anthony Beauvillier has 4 goals in two games, the Islanders bottom guys like Leo Komarov and Vlatteri Filppula have combined for 6 points over the last week. 

This game will be played on the Islanders home ice where they are 5-5 on as the Rangers are 8-3 on the road this season. The Rangers come into tonight’s game winning 8 of their last 10 getting a point in nine of those games as the Islanders are 6-3-1 in their last ten coming off a loss vs Dallas. Tonight’s starters are Robin Lehner 4-4-1, 2.77 GAA and .915 save percentage vs Alexander Georgiev 3-2-0, 3.61 GAA and .894 SV percentage. 

Can the Rangers snap the skid and take a game vs the Islanders for the first time since 2016-17 season?

New York Rangers News: Ryan Strome heads to Broadway in exchange for Ryan Spooner

Yeah, not breaking news here we all know by now, but felt the need to cover it. The coverage will RAMP up once I get NHL.TV but anyways the Rangers welcome the “best” Strome to emerge in the league for Ryan Spooner.

Ryan Strome spent his first 4 years with the New York Islanders was traded for Jordan Eberele in 2017-18 off season.  Strome spent 82 games with the Oilers collecting 34 points (13G, 21A) last season. Strome scored 7 goals in the first half of the season and 6 in the second half. He went 22-games without scoring, then scored in his next four games. This is brought to light because this is Strome’s career in a nutshell, he is either ice cold or on fire. A former 2011 1st round fifth overall pick by the Islanders emerged in the league in 2013-14, he played 258 games with the Islanders collecting 126 points. Strome came in the limelight after his 2014-15 50 point season, since then he has not been the caliber player the Islander nor hockey reporters expected him to be. Strome spent 100 games with Edmonton tallying 36 points (14G, 22A). 

His counter part he was traded for Ryan Spooner has been the down the same path as Strome, spending time with three different clubs now in a matter of three years. Spooner came into the league in 2013-14 playing 23 games assisting on 11 goals, without scoring that season. The following year he played again 29 games for 8 goals and 10 assists this time around. Much like Strome, Spooner broke out in his second full season. Spooner played in 80 games in 2015-16 collecting 49 points (13G, 36A) spending another two years with Boston until he was shipped to New York mid-season in 2018. Spooner was involved in the Rick Nash deal many are aware of but Spooner  quickly made his presence known in New York, playing in 20 games tallying 16 points (4G, 12A) for the remainder of the 2018 season. Again, much like Strome, Spooner has just 1 goal and 1 assist on the year. Spooner has the chance to crack a struggling top-six in a hockey crazed market and possibly play alongside the games best Connor McDavid. 

Who won the trade?

Calling it a push. Spooner has 289 games played (46G, 114A) for 160 points in his career vs Strome’s 358 career games (59G, 103A) for 162 points. Both get young forwards with potential that maybe need a change and kick in the a**. This trade is a head scratchier to some because over the summer the Rangers signed Spooner for 2-years 3.1 million a year plus this was a complete shock to many because there were no rumblings, no releases to the public before this, it just happened and some were caught off guard. Strome still also has 2-years of a 3.1 million dollar deal left to him, therefore this really is a push of a trade, nearly the same production, same price tag and sort of similar type of game. Spooner now plays alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ty Rattie now as Strome plays alongside Lias Andersson and Vinnie Letttier on the fourth line. The Rangers centers are now Strome, Zibanejad, Howden, Hayes as the Oilers left wingers improve to Caggiula, Spooner, Lucic and Khaira

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.