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View Full Version : Center Depth, Not "True Number One" is Still An Issue



Phil in Absentia
08-07-2014, 12:54 PM
We've been down this road this before at various times, to varying degrees, but the fact remains that the one avenue the Rangers didn't address this summer is the same one that largely cost them the Puncher's Chance they deserved in the Final – better center depth. Don't mistake this for another "Stepan isn't a number one center" thread, either. He's not, but that's not actually the point I'm going to make here.

The reason I'm bringing this up again is because I really feel we're stuck on this "true number one" thing, which is what's actually keeping us from having a realistic discussion over what the team could do to remedy the situation. Once that qualifier — "true" — gets applied, and the top scoring centers in the league often get listed out and pit against the Rangers as to what they need, versus what they have, it's a lose-lose scenario for a couple of reasons. Primarily the fact that those players often come at the very front of the Entry Draft each year — a place the Rangers are rarely in position to make selections at, but also because there are probably only about a dozen (or less) of those players in the league in the first place. It's not as though 29 other teams all have top-scoring centers either. In reality, only about a dozen do, and among them, maybe half have the real league-leaders. So if the Rangers are starved for a "true" number one, then so is more than half the league, and there's just not enough of them to go around. So what's the solution? Easy. Stop qualifying it with "true", or "number one". Qualify it with "better".

There's a failure to launch in having these discussions, because the problem isn't actually that the Rangers need a "number one center". They just need a better 1-2 punch than they've gotten from Stepan and Brassard at the top of the card. "Better" is a far easier qualifier to work with IMO, because it's more wide ranging and doesn't usually come with the baggage "true" does, like specific P/G seasonal totals, or just seasonal scoring totals in general.

Now, I don't think there were many, if any, options available to really upgrade at center this summer outside of Stastny (who I wouldn't have paid to do what he does), so my guess is that with Brassard now locked up, the Rangers are going to have to look long and hard at a not-so-easy decision on Derek Stepan. Young as he may be, he also provides the club with the best trade chip they have, having moved so many other pieces and picks the last three years. With his next contract looming (a deal he's probably going to double his AAV on), and with this season being, in essence, the last bullet in the clip, the center depth/1-2 punch on the team is probably only going to be remedied in a deal near the deadline that might have to include a player a lot of fans won't want to give up. I just don't see any other realistic scenario where they're going to get an upgrade at center without having to pay for it.

I'd imagine the Rangers will have their pulse on a few teams over the course of the season regarding their center situation — particularly Carolina (Eric Staal) and San José (Joe Thornton).

AmericanJesus
08-07-2014, 03:27 PM
The problem the Rangers have is that there is no clear path to a rebuild any time soon. They have too much top and middle of the road talent to hit rock bottom. Those players are at an age where they'll be competitive for the next 4-5 years and they are or will be locked into contracts into their UFA years.

These guys are locked up for years:

Hank
Nash
McDonagh
Girardi
Brassard
Klein

These guys are due UFA eating contracts this year:
Stepan
MZA
Staal
Hagelin

The other young guys:
Kreider
J. Moore
Miller

With that first group, the team will never be a lottery team. That means there will be a push to lock up most if not all of that second group. And the combined salaries of that first group and that second group will mean that we can't do much to improve the club. Unless we can get out from under the Nash deal, we're kind of stuck with this team as is. We don't have the space this year to take on significantly more salary. Next year we'll only be able to fill raises if the cap goes up a decent amount AND MSL retires or takes a bonus filled deal.

There might be an option of packaging Stepan and Klein for a better center, but that better center is going to be older and more expensive while being a threat to do what many late 20's or early 30's star players do when they get move from a team they've become established with for a new club. And it's not often pretty.

I think we stand pat at this point, see how the team shapes up, then address what we can (probably in adding another top 3 center at the deadline) and see what last year's experience has done for the club.

Phil in Absentia
08-07-2014, 03:35 PM
You're probably right. And not just based on salary, but also on the fact that center is the weakest position, depth-wise, league-wide. If you really look at the depth charts of most teams, it's kind of astonishing how poor the quality of centers is from a league perspective, which makes teams like the Kings true exceptions to the rule. I mean, frankly, they're the only team who are/were so deep they could have Mike Richards on their fourth line.

I'd imagine they keep a pulse on Thornton and Staal, but in general, a more realistic option is probably a deadline deal for a player like Antoine Vermette.

MacTruck
08-07-2014, 03:36 PM
Stepan is a top 30 center. He is a true #1 capable of 60-70 points. Thornton and Staal would be great additions and would mean we now have two true #1 centers.

Pete
08-07-2014, 03:38 PM
The writing is on the wall, with the Lundy contract, Girardi contract and Callahan trade (going for veteran player rather than a deal for the future) that the team had to win last year, considering who was going to go UFA. It's a further point now, with MSL and Staal — If they re-sign Staal they are assured to tread water for the next 5-6 year. The simply can't afford to trade the futures it would take to get better now, and it'll take awhile to re-stock the cupboard.

These are dark times. The team is actually on the brink. The players the fans just love, aren't actually good enough to make the team competitive (outside Lundy and McD).

It's really just a replay of the years everyone loved Callahan and Dubinsky. Now everyone loves Stepan and Hagelin. These are good players. But miscast and playing out of the depth that their skill permits.

Pete
08-07-2014, 03:43 PM
You're probably right. And not just based on salary, but also on the fact that center is the weakest position, depth-wise, league-wide. If you really look at the depth charts of most teams, it's kind of astonishing how poor the quality of centers is from a league perspective, which makes teams like the Kings true exceptions to the rule. I mean, frankly, they're the only team who are/were so deep they could have Mike Richards on their fourth line.

I'd imagine they keep a pulse on Thornton and Staal, but in general, a more realistic option is probably a deadline deal for a player like Antoine Vermette.

No, you will find most of the better teams, especially in the west, have center depth. Vancouver had Sedin plus Kesler, now Anaheim has Getzlaf plus Kesler (good luck going head to head with them). Dallas has Seguin and Spezza, and you know Nicushkin is moving to center one day. San Jose has so much C depth with JT and LoCo that they have Marleau and Pavelski at wing. You mentioned LA. Boston, Pittsburgh, same story. Tampa will get there with Stamkos, Filpulla and Johnson with Vladislav Namestnikov coming.

Pete
08-07-2014, 03:46 PM
Stepan is a top 30 center. He is a true #1 capable of 60-70 points. Thornton and Staal would be great additions and would mean we now have two true #1 centers.

From the OP.


The reason I'm bringing this up again is because I really feel we're stuck on this "true number one" thing, which is what's actually keeping us from having a realistic discussion over what the team could do to remedy the situation.

And frankly, until Stepan scores 70 points, let's not assume he's capable of it. So far he hasn't come close, except in a shortened anomaly year.

Future
08-07-2014, 04:08 PM
If Miller turns out to be a first-round center, this whole argument is moot.

That might be a big IF at this point, but the kid clearly has a lot of talent. Put him with decent wingers and all of a sudden you have three good, young centers.

I think I'm higher on Miller than most, but I'm not nearly as worried about this team having to "tread water" by signing someone like Staal. This team did go to the SCF last year, it's not like they got hammered in the first round.

Pete
08-07-2014, 04:09 PM
If Miller turns out to be a first-round center, this whole argument is moot.

That might be a big IF at this point, but the kid clearly has a lot of talent. Put him with decent wingers and all of a sudden you have three good, young centers.

I think I'm higher on Miller than most, but I'm not nearly as worried about this team having to "tread water" by signing someone like Staal. This team did go to the SCF last year, it's not like they got hammered in the first round.

THIS team did no such thing.

AmericanJesus
08-07-2014, 04:35 PM
The writing is on the wall, with the Lundy contract, Girardi contract and Callahan trade (going for veteran player rather than a deal for the future) that the team had to win last year, considering who was going to go UFA. It's a further point now, with MSL and Staal — If they re-sign Staal they are assured to tread water for the next 5-6 year. The simply can't afford to trade the futures it would take to get better now, and it'll take awhile to re-stock the cupboard.

These are dark times. The team is actually on the brink. The players the fans just love, aren't actually good enough to make the team competitive (outside Lundy and McD).

It's really just a replay of the years everyone loved Callahan and Dubinsky. Now everyone loves Stepan and Hagelin. These are good players. But miscast and playing out of the depth that their skill permits.

Most teams that are contenders have two big time scoring forwards, support scoring forwards and get production out of the third and fourth lines as well. We have MSL and Nash as our two big scoring forwards. MZA, Stepan, Brassard and Kreider provide that support scoring. Assuming those are our top 6, the question becomes what can we get out of a third line with Hagelin, Miller/Lombardi, Stempniak etc. If we can get decent support offense from them, we should be ok.

Quite frankly, like most NHL teams that want to contend for a cup, we need our best players to be our best players. We need our good players to be good. We need our depth players to hold their own. Solid defense. And great goaltending. We have all the pieces to do that. We made a run with some good fortune but also many of our players not performing offensively like we needed them to. We only go so far as Hank, Nash and MSL take us, imo.

Pete
08-07-2014, 04:44 PM
Most teams that are contenders have two big time scoring forwards, support scoring forwards and get production out of the third and fourth lines as well. We have MSL and Nash as our two big scoring forwards. MZA, Stepan, Brassard and Kreider provide that support scoring. Assuming those are our top 6, the question becomes what can we get out of a third line with Hagelin, Miller/Lombardi, Stempniak etc. If we can get decent support offense from them, we should be ok.

Quite frankly, like most NHL teams that want to contend for a cup, we need our best players to be our best players. We need our good players to be good. We need our depth players to hold their own. Solid defense. And great goaltending. We have all the pieces to do that. We made a run with some good fortune but also many of our players not performing offensively like we needed them to. We only go so far as Hank, Nash and MSL take us, imo.

I don't think I can really agree. The holy trinity has been stud center, stud D, stud goalie. We're missing the stud C. Most of the true contenders actually have 3-4 "big time" scoring forwards. Talking goals, really. You really need a high 30's or 40 goal scorer, a 30 goal guy, and some 20 goals guys. We have a bunch of 20 goal guys but what we've seen is that they are 20 goal guys not because they aren't skilled enough to score 30 or 40, but because they are shut down more easily that real "stud" talents.

We really need Nash to be Nash to even think about competing over the long haul, IMO.

momentum
08-07-2014, 07:30 PM
The writing is on the wall, with the Lundy contract, Girardi contract and Callahan trade (going for veteran player rather than a deal for the future) that the team had to win last year, considering who was going to go UFA. It's a further point now, with MSL and Staal — If they re-sign Staal they are assured to tread water for the next 5-6 year. The simply can't afford to trade the futures it would take to get better now, and it'll take awhile to re-stock the cupboard.

These are dark times. The team is actually on the brink. The players the fans just love, aren't actually good enough to make the team competitive (outside Lundy and McD).

It's really just a replay of the years everyone loved Callahan and Dubinsky. Now everyone loves Stepan and Hagelin. These are good players. But miscast and playing out of the depth that their skill permits.

I disagree that these are dark days, I agree though with basically the rest of your post. However I feel the Rangers still have options...yes..if sign Stepan and Staal to long term contracts then we're set for the next 5 years like you said with players playing out of their ideal positions.....but that hasn't happened yet.
With Staal and Stepan both up in the air a lot can be done...we still have a good core with McD and Girardi and Hank and some of the other young players on the team. the return in a trade of Stepan and Staal could be substantial enough to change the team enough that they could be more of a contender.

Personally I think Staal for sure should be looked at as a piece to improve he top 6...but Stepan as well could be considered. We have Brassard now who is a good 2nd line center. We have defensive depth with McD and Girardi locked up and Hank in net, Staal and Stepan together could bring an ELITE topcenter to NY, and we could go with that center and brassard down the middle and our defense would simply insert a youngster and shuffle eveyrone up one step and we might still be ok on D but a better team overall. They could also be traded for highly rated prospects/high picks that in only a few years might deliver great depth and bang for their buck.

This is a very interesting season as far as the Rangers future goes because we're at a cross roads for sure. I hope the managment have the balls to make the right decisions.

LyNX
08-07-2014, 08:38 PM
Stepan is a top 30 center. He is a true #1 capable of 60-70 points. Thornton and Staal would be great additions and would mean we now have two true #1 centers.

As a renowned Stepan fan among the D-Step haters, statistically he is a top 30 center, but he has a lot to be desired FROM HIS OVERALL GAME to be able to call him a steady #1 Center. When considering playmaking, creation of turn overs, reading plays, and moving the puck... Yes he's serviceable. Unfortunately he is not a natural athlete since he essentially lacks all of the following quickness, agility, size, speed, strength, and the ability to win face-offs mildly consistently.

Stepan is a great player to have on the team, but until he... STEPS UP (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAhaha) he is just short of being a true #1.

Future
08-07-2014, 10:43 PM
THIS team did no such thing.
Why? B/c they lost 3rd and 4th liners? B/c Stralman is gone?

Richards sucked, Boyle was a replaceable role player, Stralman played his best hockey in two years at the right time to get a good contract, and Pouliot was a solid 3rd liner, nothing more. All of that can be easily replaced.

Phil in Absentia
08-07-2014, 10:48 PM
Why? B/c they lost 3rd and 4th liners? B/c Stralman is gone?

Richards sucked, Boyle was a replaceable role player, Stralman played his best hockey in two years at the right time to get a good contract, and Pouliot was a solid 3rd liner, nothing more. All of that can be easily replaced.

Similar things were said of Prust, Dubinsky and Mitchell. The team struggled with their entire identity coming out of those losses.

Pete
08-07-2014, 10:52 PM
Why? B/c they lost 3rd and 4th liners? B/c Stralman is gone?

Richards sucked, Boyle was a replaceable role player, Stralman played his best hockey in two years at the right time to get a good contract, and Pouliot was a solid 3rd liner, nothing more. All of that can be easily replaced.

The team lost depth. Depth was their strength. You're attempting to rationalize and downplay significant losses. Good luck with that.

CreaseCrusader91
08-07-2014, 11:30 PM
I think the team has banked on guys like JT Miller and Boo Nieves to become solid centers with skill. Both have average size, good speed and have shown offensive prowess. Ideally they would be good No. 2 and No. 3 guys in a few years. I am OK with Brassard being a No. 2 guy, an eventual No. 3 guy on this team. The problem is that our two top centers are really No. 2 guys that will asked to play an enhanced role, and then there is a huge drop off.

If there was another top-notch center, the drop off to Stepan to Brassard wouldn't be as steep, and it would allow for flexibility in assigning wingers. An interesting option to monitor is David Krejci. Unless the cap goes up, they have a number of guys to retain next summer, and they have prospects like Spooner and Khokhlachev knocking on the door. They have Bergeron as the No. 1, and they could have Soderberg, 48 in 73 last year at 14:15 a game step up.

I could see him getting paid, so it might make sense for them to deal him for a nice return. Just a thought to add to Phil's mention of Staal and Thornton.

Phil in Absentia
08-07-2014, 11:35 PM
I could see them moving him out, but not to the Rangers. They can't take back salary, like Stepan, for the same reason they'd be moving Krejci, and I'd imagine they'd do everything they could to move him to the West.

CreaseCrusader91
08-07-2014, 11:37 PM
I could see them moving him out, but not to the Rangers. They can't take back salary, like Stepan, for the same reason they'd be moving Krejci, and I'd imagine they'd do everything they could to move him to the West.

Right, meaning they move him to a team, and we try and sign via free agency.

Future
08-08-2014, 09:32 AM
Similar things were said of Prust, Dubinsky and Mitchell. The team struggled with their entire identity coming out of those losses.
Dubinsky and Prust were big losses because they were heart and soul guys who helped define the way the team played. Don't think you can say the same about anyone who they lost this year...Mitchell was irrelevant.

The team lost depth. Depth was their strength. You're attempting to rationalize and downplay significant losses. Good luck with that.
I just don't see how any of the losses are significant...other than maybe Boyle on PKs and defensive zone faceoffs. End of the day, would Boyle give you anything that, say Lindbergh, wouldn't? Is Dan Boyle unable to fill Stralman's shoes? Is Brad Richards' ineptitude at the point irreplaceable? Are Pouliot's crippling offensive zone penalties really going to be missed - granted, might be hard to find another guy who puts up 36 pts and plays his role...he'll be the hardest to replace.


Maybe I undervalue those guys. Maybe. I think they are JAGs. They're depth in that they are warm bodies, but its not as if this team was rolling out three 150-point lines every night.

Pete
08-08-2014, 10:01 AM
Dubinsky and Prust were big losses because they were heart and soul guys who helped define the way the team played. Don't think you can say the same about anyone who they lost this year...Mitchell was irrelevant.Boyle was a heart and soul guy, as well.


I just don't see how any of the losses are significant...other than maybe Boyle on PKs and defensive zone faceoffs. End of the day, would Boyle give you anything that, say Lindbergh, wouldn't? Is Dan Boyle unable to fill Stralman's shoes? Is Brad Richards' ineptitude at the point irreplaceable? Are Pouliot's crippling offensive zone penalties really going to be missed - granted, might be hard to find another guy who puts up 36 pts and plays his role...he'll be the hardest to replace.


Maybe I undervalue those guys. Maybe. I think they are JAGs. They're depth in that they are warm bodies, but its not as if this team was rolling out three 150-point lines every night.I think you really are undervaluing them.

I think Boyle gives you way more than Lindberg does, today. Maybe that changes a season or 2 down the line. Lindberg has 0 NHL games played. We don't know what he is. He could be Jere Lehtinen, he could be Greg Moore.

Dan Boyle gives you more on the offensive side of the puck, and less on the defensive side. You might get more chances with him on the ice, but you'll give up more, as well. And there's the unknown of how he'll fit in. Staal had a comfort level with Stralman. That will take time to develop with Boyle.

I don't think we'll miss Richards all that much.

Bringing up one wart on Pouliot's game is just disingenuous. He's another guy that brought size, speed, net front presence and chemistry. We don't know who will fit on that line now. I hope it's Kreider. But he takes O-Zone penalties, too. :)

Future
08-08-2014, 10:07 AM
Boyle was a heart and soul guy, as well.

]I think you really are undervaluing them.

I think Boyle gives you way more than Lindberg does, today. Maybe that changes a season or 2 down the line. Lindberg has 0 NHL games played. We don't know what he is. He could be Jere Lehtinen, he could be Greg Moore.

Dan Boyle gives you more on the offensive side of the puck, and less on the defensive side. You might get more chances with him on the ice, but you'll give up more, as well. And there's the unknown of how he'll fit in. Staal had a comfort level with Stralman. That will take time to develop with Boyle.

I don't think we'll miss Richards all that much.

Bringing up one wart on Pouliot's game is just disingenuous. He's another guy that brought size, speed, net front presence and chemistry. We don't know who will fit on that line now. I hope it's Kreider. But he takes O-Zone penalties, too. :)
Boyle is a heart and soul guy, yes, but he's so invisible on the ice half the time that you don't even know he's out there. Dubi and Prust - even if they weren't scoring or creating chances - were always hitting someone, getting in a scuffle...something. They played with a ton more energy than Boyle does.

I think Boyle will fit fine with Staal. The biggest difference is that, while Stralman was kind of Staal lite in that they were both limited offensively and played the same game, Boyle can play more offensive while Staal handles a defensive role. They should complement each other pretty well.

I agree that Pouliot will be the hardest to replace, but its not as if he's the difference between being a contender and struggling to make the playoffs.

momentum
08-08-2014, 10:27 AM
Boyle is a heart and soul guy, yes, but he's so invisible on the ice half the time that you don't even know he's out there. Dubi and Prust - even if they weren't scoring or creating chances - were always hitting someone, getting in a scuffle...something. They played with a ton more energy than Boyle does.

I think Boyle will fit fine with Staal. The biggest difference is that, while Stralman was kind of Staal lite in that they were both limited offensively and played the same game, Boyle can play more offensive while Staal handles a defensive role. They should complement each other pretty well.

I agree that Pouliot will be the hardest to replace, but its not as if he's the difference between being a contender and struggling to make the playoffs.

I agree that the Boyle/Staal pairing might actually be more effective than the Staal/Stralman pairing for the reasons you point out that they have more distinct roles where Boyle goes forward and Staal covers up but can chip in if need be. I personally feel Staal has been at his best when playing as a pure shut down defenseman making sure opponents star forwards doesn't get any room. With this pairing he should be able to focus on that role. Staal and Stralman were too similar were both were expected to chip in offensively.

G1000
08-11-2014, 08:47 AM
Similar things were said of Prust, Dubinsky and Mitchell. The team struggled with their entire identity coming out of those losses.

Past experiences are not signs of future experiences (or in stat terms, correlation does not imply causation).

We lost depth, but this team could be better or worse. It's not like we lost gamebreaking talent here - we lost "nice players"

Pete
08-11-2014, 08:59 AM
Same thing were said of Dubi, AA, Prust, etc.

G1000
08-11-2014, 09:11 AM
Same thing were said of Dubi, AA, Prust, etc.

Yup, and how exactly does that guarantee the same outcome - because that's the argument here.

Phil in Absentia
08-11-2014, 09:25 AM
It doesn't. I'm simply pointing out that it's just as improper to sweep away the possibility that losing depth/role players can negatively impact your team.

Pete
08-11-2014, 09:30 AM
Yup, and how exactly does that guarantee the same outcome - because that's the argument here.

I don't think it foes when you're stating a fact..."we lost nice players, not game breakers" isn't the same as "we'll be ok because we didn't lose game breakers".

G1000
08-11-2014, 01:49 PM
I don't think it foes when you're stating a fact..."we lost nice players, not game breakers" isn't the same as "we'll be ok because we didn't lose game breakers".

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here - is this meant to ask me for clarification or is it meant to assume something over what I'm saying? Are you agreeing or counterpointing?

G1000
08-11-2014, 01:51 PM
It doesn't. I'm simply pointing out that it's just as improper to sweep away the possibility that losing depth/role players can negatively impact your team.

Is it not equally improper to dismiss the possibility that we might be better?

It's a "devil you know" vs "devil you don't" sort of argument. It's entirely possible that we've picked exactly the right guys for the job. It's equally possible we haven't.

Matthew Lombardi might be the solution to our center depth issue. He may not be. It's a total gamble. Stepan and Brassard taking the next step would be nice, and would be part of the solution, but not really guaranteed either.

fletch
08-11-2014, 02:03 PM
The writing is on the wall, with the Lundy contract, Girardi contract and Callahan trade (going for veteran player rather than a deal for the future) that the team had to win last year, considering who was going to go UFA. It's a further point now, with MSL and Staal — If they re-sign Staal they are assured to tread water for the next 5-6 year. The simply can't afford to trade the futures it would take to get better now, and it'll take awhile to re-stock the cupboard.

These are dark times. The team is actually on the brink. The players the fans just love, aren't actually good enough to make the team competitive (outside Lundy and McD).

It's really just a replay of the years everyone loved Callahan and Dubinsky. Now everyone loves Stepan and Hagelin. These are good players. But miscast and playing out of the depth that their skill permits.

Deep down, this is what I fear - the floor for this team could be really bad and we could be at the precipice and not realize it, given the team's age and the quality players we lost in the offseason. We won in the playoffs because Hank was unbelievable, 4 lines were making solid contributions, and we had arguably the best 3 defensive parings in the NHL (does any team have three better defensive pairings?).

I see many more questions on the third and fourth lines this year- some relatively unproven players have to come through, since we do lack a true no. 1 line. Seems like we're pretty good at finding and plugging in players via free agency/trades to keep postponing what seems to be an inevitable dropoff. We just have to be careful that our contracts don't push us to the salary cap where we can no longer acquire what we need. And those Lundqvist/MSL/Nash/Girardi contracts are big chunks of your team, gotta be major contributors.

I'm optimistic that the turnover will be a positive, injecting some hunger so this team will continue to work and not rest on their laurels from last year. And we're in the Eastern Conference, where I don't see any juggernauts like I see in the West. There aren't many teams that don't have a chance to win the Eastern Conference.

Phil in Absentia
08-11-2014, 02:04 PM
Is it not equally improper to dismiss the possibility that we might be better?

It's a "devil you know" vs "devil you don't" sort of argument. It's entirely possible that we've picked exactly the right guys for the job. It's equally possible we haven't.

Matthew Lombardi might be the solution to our center depth issue. He may not be. It's a total gamble. Stepan and Brassard taking the next step would be nice, and would be part of the solution, but not really guaranteed either.

Of course. I'm not dismissing the fact that losing these players could mean nothing, just as I'm not declaring that losing them will mean everything. I pointed out the losses of Dubinsky, etc. as a historical showing of how it could negatively affect the team to combat the theory that "these are just role players". While they are just role players, their role was clearly integral, and meant more in reality than it did on paper. The same could apply again in the losses of Strålman, Boyle and others. Maybe. We won't know until the season is underway.

fletch
08-11-2014, 02:08 PM
Of course. I'm not dismissing the fact that losing these players could mean nothing, just as I'm not declaring that losing them will mean everything. I pointed out the losses of Dubinsky, etc. as a historical showing of how it could negatively affect the team to combat the theory that "these are just role players". While they are just role players, their role was clearly integral, and meant more in reality than it did on paper. The same could apply again in the losses of Strålman, Boyle and others. Maybe. We won't know until the season is underway.

When you see the offseason losses versus the additions, it's hard for me to think that this team is better than the 2013-4 version. Hopefully some youth and new blood will inject enthusiasm like the enthusiasm saw in the playoffs.

Phil in Absentia
08-11-2014, 02:13 PM
When you see the offseason losses versus the additions, it's hard for me to think that this team is better than the 2013-4 version. Hopefully some youth and new blood will inject enthusiasm like the enthusiasm saw in the playoffs.

I tend to agree, but at the same time, I also think it may not matter all that much, as no one else in the East improved a great deal, Tampa included. Generally speaking, most teams stood pat. There were a few signings here and there, but nothing overly concerning, which tells me that while the Rangers themselves may have taken half a step back, not only can they regain that footing by the deadline, but it's not as though the playing field has changed much, if at all either.

Future
08-11-2014, 02:29 PM
This is essentially the crux of it. Depending at how you look at the youth probably dictates whether or not you think this team will be better next year.

I think Miller in a greater role, and the development of Stepan, Kreider, and even McD will make enough of a difference to offset any of the losses. I actually think Richards is addition by subtraction, and don't think we're going to miss Boyle at all if someone like Lindbergh steps up. A full season of MSL, though not a young guy, could make a big difference as well.

Are there question marks? Sure. But if you believe in the young guys at all - and I do - then this team should be faster, more energetic, and just as good as last year.

fletch
08-11-2014, 03:23 PM
I tend to agree, but at the same time, I also think it may not matter all that much, as no one else in the East improved a great deal, Tampa included. Generally speaking, most teams stood pat. There were a few signings here and there, but nothing overly concerning, which tells me that while the Rangers themselves may have taken half a step back, not only can they regain that footing by the deadline, but it's not as though the playing field has changed much, if at all either.

This team has made 2 deep playoff runs in the past three years - I should feel confident, but I have nagging doubts. I can't decide whether I'm being too harsh and overly pessimistic (which is my tendency for my teams) or whether there is legitimate cause for concern.

Of course after the West Coast swing to start last season (and Lundqvist's shaky start) the pessimists and doomsday prognosticators were out in full-force.... so the lesson might be to try and relax and see how this team comes together... and really start looking at the team's progress and where we are in the standings Januaryish. Sure all the games count but how we're playing in April matters more than how we're playing in December.

Phil in Absentia
08-11-2014, 03:29 PM
This team has made 2 deep playoff runs in the past three years - I should feel confident, but I have nagging doubts. I can't decide whether I'm being too harsh and overly pessimistic (which is my tendency for my teams) or whether there is legitimate cause for concern.

Of course after the West Coast swing to start last season (and Lundqvist's shaky start) the pessimists and doomsday prognosticators were out in full-force.... so the lesson might be to try and relax and see how this team comes together... and really start looking at the team's progress and where we are in the standings Januaryish. Sure all the games count but how we're playing in April matters more than how we're playing in December.

Probably a bit of both. They've borrowed from Peter to pay Paul for the last three years, so logic dictates that at some point the other foot has to drop. It's just a matter of how hard.

But with Lundqivst, Girardi, et. all in place, it's unlikely it's ever all that hard, even if the team misses the playoffs a year or two from now.

momentum
08-11-2014, 09:21 PM
When you see the offseason losses versus the additions, it's hard for me to think that this team is better than the 2013-4 version. Hopefully some youth and new blood will inject enthusiasm like the enthusiasm saw in the playoffs.

You could look at it that way in terms of players lost and added but I don't look at only that. That's only part of this team's potential.
I feel the biggest reason for optimism (or at least the reason I think we have a chance to be as good/better than last year) is not what players we lost or what players we added but the fact that so many of our players still on the team who was here last year had subpar or mediocre seasons and we STILL went as far as we did. Many young players who are impact players for us could realistically improve their numbers, (Kreider, MZA, Hags, McD etc) and veterans such as MSL and Nash had at times horrific seasons for us and could very well improve drastically.
This together with having the same coach with a familiar system in place instead of having to learn a new system like last year could mean a very succesful season.
Add the interesting aspect of as what is to happen with Staal and Stepan and the future of this team that is at a crossroads and i'm really looking forward to this coming season.

Pete
08-12-2014, 10:59 AM
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here - is this meant to ask me for clarification or is it meant to assume something over what I'm saying? Are you agreeing or counterpointing?I'm more just trying to figure out the context of the comments "we didn't lose gamebreakers." To follow the evolution of this debate, it began like this:

If Miller turns out to be a first-round center, this whole argument is moot.

That might be a big IF at this point, but the kid clearly has a lot of talent. Put him with decent wingers and all of a sudden you have three good, young centers.

I think I'm higher on Miller than most, but I'm not nearly as worried about this team having to "tread water" by signing someone like Staal. This team did go to the SCF last year, it's not like they got hammered in the first round.Well, THIS team didn't go to the SCF. Thea team that did lost 5 regular players, and Carcillo.

That's why I replied:

THIS team did no such thing.

And the reply to that remark was:

Why? B/c they lost 3rd and 4th liners? B/c Stralman is gone?

Richards sucked, Boyle was a replaceable role player, Stralman played his best hockey in two years at the right time to get a good contract, and Pouliot was a solid 3rd liner, nothing more. All of that can be easily replaced.

And Phil replied:

Similar things were said of Prust, Dubinsky and Mitchell. The team struggled with their entire identity coming out of those losses.
This is where you came in..

Past experiences are not signs of future experiences (or in stat terms, correlation does not imply causation).

We lost depth, but this team could be better or worse. It's not like we lost gamebreaking talent here - we lost "nice players"

While that quote is true, it can be used to describe the off-season moves. However, it really can't be used to quantify a statement...Especially a statement like "We'll be OK, we didn't lose game breakers, just role players." One is an observation I agree with, we did just lose role players...The other is an opinion I don't agree with "We'll be OK because it was just role players.

Simply put, this is NOT the team that went the SCF. In some ways we'll be better (PP?), in a lot of ways we're worse (PK, Faceoffs, ES play, signed the worst possession player in the NHL).

On paper, right now, this team isn't as good as last year. On the ice, who knows what can happen. I just don't think we can assume everything is OK because we didn't lose an MSL or Nash. We lost 5-6 guys. You lose 1-2 guys, it's meh. 5 guys is 25% of your nightly lineup. That's significant, even if you try and convince people that the actual players were marginal. That team last year was more than the sum of it's parts, and they lost a lot of parts.

Phil in Absentia
08-12-2014, 11:17 AM
And that 25% were significant locker room personalities — namely Richards and Boyle. That doesn't just get swept under a rug. From a fan perspective, maybe, but not from the team, who will absolutely feel those losses.

Future
08-12-2014, 11:52 AM
And that 25% were significant locker room personalities — namely Richards and Boyle. That doesn't just get swept under a rug. From a fan perspective, maybe, but not from the team, who will absolutely feel those losses.
MSL will give the players the exact same thing as Richards...and he can actually get the puck on net.

Boyle will be missed, sure, but so was Prust. It took us exactly one year after he left to get to the Cup Finals...It took the players about a week to move on from Cally I hardly expect the ghost of Brian freaking Boyle to haunt this team.

Drew a Penalty
08-12-2014, 12:08 PM
MSL will give the players the exact same thing as Richards...and he can actually get the puck on net.

St. Louis isn't replacing the leadership Richards brought. It's not like he's come in to replace Richards. Saying he will give the players exactly what Richards gave might not be true. We had both of them lead the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. As much as there were reports of St. Louis's mother death rallying the team, there were reports of Richards being the de facto captain. I don't think that can be so easily be replaced.

Pete
08-12-2014, 12:10 PM
MSL will give the players the exact same thing as Richards...and he can actually get the puck on net.

Boyle will be missed, sure, but so was Prust. It took us exactly one year after he left to get to the Cup Finals...It took the players about a week to move on from Cally I hardly expect the ghost of Brian freaking Boyle to haunt this team.

But just because YOU look at him that way doesn't mean the rest of the team does. YOU think players are marginal and replaceable, but they look at each other in the locker room and I don't think they feel that way, at all.

On this ice...Show me a guy who can win a draw besides Moore, and then I'll concede Boyle won't be missed as much as you say.

Phil in Absentia
08-12-2014, 12:10 PM
MSL will give the players the exact same thing as Richards...and he can actually get the puck on net.

Boyle will be missed, sure, but so was Prust. It took us exactly one year after he left to get to the Cup Finals...It took the players about a week to move on from Cally I hardly expect the ghost of Brian freaking Boyle to haunt this team.

You/we know exactly none of this as truth. This is conjecture.

Again, the same things, or similar things, were said when the team lost players like Dubinsky, Mitchell and Prust years ago. You can mitigate those losses as much as you like, but we have no idea how it will affect the team until the season is under way. All I know is that they absolutely felt the loss of "just role players" then, so there is merit to the theory that they would feel a similar sense of loss to "just role players" next year too.

NYR2711
08-12-2014, 12:19 PM
MSL will give the players the exact same thing as Richards...and he can actually get the puck on net.

Boyle will be missed, sure, but so was Prust. It took us exactly one year after he left to get to the Cup Finals...It took the players about a week to move on from Cally I hardly expect the ghost of Brian freaking Boyle to haunt this team.

What Boyle did on the ice for this team will be greatly missed. He was our top PKer, top guy on face-offs, and was the go to guy on big defensive zone face-offs. Plus he was a huge locker room guy. He will be missed a lot more than Cally or Prust were.

Future
08-12-2014, 12:30 PM
But just because YOU look at him that way doesn't mean the rest of the team does. YOU think players are marginal and replaceable, but they look at each other in the locker room and I don't think they feel that way, at all.

On this ice...Show me a guy who can win a draw besides Moore, and then I'll concede Boyle won't be missed as much as you say.
I'm not saying they won't miss him in the locker room. But these are grown ass men. Every team loses Brian Boyles every year, it's just the way it is. They all know that. You move on. I think Cally last year is a perfect example of that.

Statistically Boyle wasn't that much better than Brassard on draws...I think it was 52-48%. and considering how important wing play is on draws and other factors, I think that difference is pretty negligible. It's not like he was some elite faceoff guy winning over 60% and he didn't have the highest % on the Rangers. And, not for nothing, Brad Richards won like 200 more faceoffs last year than Boyle.

Did Boyle have a role? Sure. Can you win without him? Absolutely. Is he replaceable? Yep.

Same can be said for Richards, Stralman, and Pouliot.

Future
08-12-2014, 12:35 PM
You/we know exactly none of this as truth. This is conjecture.

Again, the same things, or similar things, were said when the team lost players like Dubinsky, Mitchell and Prust years ago. You can mitigate those losses as much as you like, but we have no idea how it will affect the team until the season is under way. All I know is that they absolutely felt the loss of "just role players" then, so there is merit to the theory that they would feel a similar sense of loss to "just role players" next year too.
Felt the loss so bad that they won a playoff series immediately after losing them and then went to the cup finals just two years later? I'll take that return. I actually miss Dubi, but it's not like those guys were cup winners.

It seems like Ranger fans are so jaded by the drought and signings of guys like Lindros, Bure, Fleury, Nedved, Kovalev, etc. that there is a preference given to heart and soul rather than talent. You can't win a cup just by trying hard...2012 should be evidence enough of that.

Pete
08-12-2014, 12:38 PM
I'm not saying they won't miss him in the locker room. But these are grown ass men. Every team loses Brian Boyles every year, it's just the way it is. They all know that. You move on. I think Cally last year is a perfect example of that.

Statistically Boyle wasn't that much better than Brassard on draws...I think it was 52-48%. and considering how important wing play is on draws and other factors, I think that difference is pretty negligible. It's not like he was some elite faceoff guy winning over 60% and he didn't have the highest % on the Rangers. And, not for nothing, Brad Richards won like 200 more faceoffs last year than Boyle.

Did Boyle have a role? Sure. Can you win without him? Absolutely. Is he replaceable? Yep.

Same can be said for Richards, Stralman, and Pouliot.53% for Boyle to 48% is a huge swing in faceoffs. Right off the bat it's the difference between losing more than you win, and winning more than you lose. I won't get into the rankings difference 4% makes.

Boyle took key draws, D-Zone draws. I don't care how many more draws Richards won. We now have 1 options for D zone starts: Dom Moore. You don't think that's a problem? But it is. If he gets tossed, welcome Tanner Glass to the circle.

Can you win without Brian Boyle the man? Sure. Did we replace him as a player? No. We got a guy to wear a sweater as a 4th line wing in Lombardi or Stempniak. That's not even close to being the same.

It seems you think everyone we lost was easily replaceable...yet we didn't replace any of them but maybe Richards adequately. Funny how that works.

Again, we had tremendous depth last year. Our depth is not what it was last year, on paper.

Felt the loss so bad that they won a playoff series immediately after losing them and then went to the cup finals just two years later? I'll take that return. I actually miss Dubi, but it's not like those guys were cup winners.

It seems like Ranger fans are so jaded by the drought and signings of guys like Lindros, Bure, Fleury, Nedved, Kovalev, etc. that there is a preference given to heart and soul rather than talent. You can't win a cup just by trying hard...2012 should be evidence enough of that.

Felt the loss of Dubi, AA and Prust so bad that they had to trade Gaborik for the poor-man's version in Brassard and Dorsett...Then get Clowe.

Phil in Absentia
08-12-2014, 12:45 PM
Felt the loss so bad that they won a playoff series immediately after losing them and then went to the cup finals just two years later? I'll take that return. I actually miss Dubi, but it's not like those guys were cup winners.

It seems like Ranger fans are so jaded by the drought and signings of guys like Lindros, Bure, Fleury, Nedved, Kovalev, etc. that there is a preference given to heart and soul rather than talent. You can't win a cup just by trying hard...2012 should be evidence enough of that.

There was much more context to it than that, and you're barking up the wrong tree regarding talent versus intangibles. I'm the guy who wanted to trade Callahan for the last four, five years. Same with Dubinsky. Same with a lot of heart-and-soul guys. In fact, I supported the teams' decision to walk away from Prust (and still do) based on the deal he got from the Habs, etc.

I'm all for adding more talent, but this isn't about talent versus lack of it. It's about the fact that role players are still players, and often have important, relatively irreplaceable positions on the club. You saw that with the loss of Prust, for example, where the team went out and signed Asham to no avail, traded a hefty price for Clowe to replace what they lost in Dubisnky, etc.

Every action has a reaction, and sometimes, it's violent and negative. That's all I'm trying to say. You are mitigating these losses by talking about how unimportant the players are from a talent perspective. Fine, but that doesn't really matter. We're not arguing whether talent was lost. We're arguing that "intangibles" were, and that those losses can negatively impact the team despite the lack of talent in the players lost.

Slobberknocker
08-12-2014, 12:52 PM
i really hope some of the youth on our team look at this camp as a very important forum for taking the next step in their development. there are jobs to be won on this team this year for sure.

i'm not down playing what boyle meant to the team but essentially boyle was looking at top 6 minutes and if not top 6 than a more expanded role than what he was going to get here. debate it all you want but i'd rather have a young guy come in and take that role. this is called keeping yourself out of cap hell in the modern nhl salary structure.

Future
08-12-2014, 01:12 PM
53% for Boyle to 48% is a huge swing in faceoffs. Right off the bat it's the difference between losing more than you win, and winning more than you lose. I won't get into the rankings difference 4% makes.

Boyle took key draws, D-Zone draws. I don't care how many more draws Richards won. We now have 1 options for D zone starts: Dom Moore. You don't think that's a problem? But it is. If he gets tossed, welcome Tanner Glass to the circle.

Can you win without Brian Boyle the man? Sure. Did we replace him as a player? No. We got a guy to wear a sweater as a 4th line wing in Lombardi or Stempniak. That's not even close to being the same.

It seems you think everyone we lost was easily replaceable...yet we didn't replace any of them but maybe Richards adequately. Funny how that works.

Again, we had tremendous depth last year. Our depth is not what it was last year, on paper.

Felt the loss of Dubi, AA and Prust so bad that they had to trade Gaborik for the poor-man's version in Brassard and Dorsett...Then get Clowe.
That 4% doesn't take into account wing play though, that's why FO win percentages are so unreliable. It's probably a little bit easier to win a FO when Dorsett and Moore are your wings than Zucc and Pouliot.

You don't replace Boyle with one guy, I'm not saying that. You find a way as a team to do it. That can be done...While I don't expect much out of him...Lombo is an over 50% career faceoff guy I think, was 49% his last full year in the NHL. He'd be the guy to step in on big FOs, not Glass. And Lindbergh is a guy known for being good on faceoffs as well.

In terms of one-for-one replacements, none of the guys we are losing are really being replaced exactly. But getting rid of Richards makes room for someone - hopefully Miller - who plays a faster game. You lose Stralman's defensive abilities for Boyle who gives you more offense and a better PP. You lose Boyle and Lombardi/Stempniak/Lindbergh/Fast/whoever either give you more skill or more youth. That makes this team better. If every team simply "replaced" the guys they lost, nobody would ever move up in the standings.

I don't think you can look at any game in the last two seasons and say, wow, thank god we had Boyle. He never dictates play, he's never physical, he's got some of the worst hands in hockey, horrible skater, and despite his size can't win a fight. But he's a solid defensive faceoff man so we are supposed to lament losing him? No thanks. That's like saying we miss Darrol Powe b/c he was good on PKs and a smart player.

Dubi and AA were far better/more important players than Boyle. Boyle compares to Prust and Mitchell, not those two.

Pete
08-12-2014, 01:22 PM
That 4% doesn't take into account wing play though, that's why FO win percentages are so unreliable. It's probably a little bit easier to win a FO when Dorsett and Moore are your wings than Zucc and Pouliot. I'm not buying this.


You don't replace Boyle with one guy, I'm not saying that. You find a way as a team to do it. That can be done...While I don't expect much out of him...Lombo is an over 50% career faceoff guy I think, was 49% his last full year in the NHL. He'd be the guy to step in on big FOs, not Glass. And Lindbergh is a guy known for being good on faceoffs as well.

In terms of one-for-one replacements, none of the guys we are losing are really being replaced exactly. But getting rid of Richards makes room for someone - hopefully Miller - who plays a faster game. You lose Stralman's defensive abilities for Boyle who gives you more offense and a better PP. You lose Boyle and Lombardi/Stempniak/Lindbergh/Fast/whoever either give you more skill or more youth.Fair enough, and this is a good point.


That makes this team better. If every team simply "replaced" the guys they lost, nobody would ever move up in the standings. That is TBD.


I don't think you can look at any game in the last two seasons and say, wow, thank god we had Boyle. He never dictates play, he's never physical, he's got some of the worst hands in hockey, horrible skater, and despite his size can't win a fight. But he's a solid defensive faceoff man so we are supposed to lament losing him? No thanks. That's like saying we miss Darrol Powe b/c he was good on PKs and a smart player.

Dubi and AA were far better/more important players than Boyle. Boyle compares to Prust and Mitchell, not those two.I can look at any playoff series and thank god we had Boyle, because he's one of the few players who raises their game in the playoffs. He doesn't have the worst hands in hockey, and he's not a horrible skater. Your personal bias against Boyle doesn't make him a bad player. He didn't use his size the way people wanted him to, but that doesn't make him a bad player either. The Darrol Powe stuff isn't even worth addressing.

fletch
08-12-2014, 01:48 PM
You could look at it that way in terms of players lost and added but I don't look at only that. That's only part of this team's potential.
I feel the biggest reason for optimism (or at least the reason I think we have a chance to be as good/better than last year) is not what players we lost or what players we added but the fact that so many of our players still on the team who was here last year had subpar or mediocre seasons and we STILL went as far as we did. Many young players who are impact players for us could realistically improve their numbers, (Kreider, MZA, Hags, McD etc) and veterans such as MSL and Nash had at times horrific seasons for us and could very well improve drastically.
This together with having the same coach with a familiar system in place instead of having to learn a new system like last year could mean a very succesful season.
Add the interesting aspect of as what is to happen with Staal and Stepan and the future of this team that is at a crossroads and i'm really looking forward to this coming season.

I hope you're right.

Or maybe the team rallied around MSL, played to their maximum potential before running out of steam in the Stanley Cup finals, and we can't recapture the magic of the run. You mention Kreider and Hags (among others)... I hope that a switch did flip and they are able to continue to elevate their game to the levels they found in the playoffs. But they could regress to their previous performance levels.

It'll be an entertaining season, one that we can look forward to with eager anticipation. Selfishly, I just hope that this group has got at least one more deep playoff run in them.

Slobberknocker
08-12-2014, 01:52 PM
not to derail this thread but this team didn't run out of gas in the final. they were the under dog and gave LA a very competitive series despite it only going 5 games. Their lack of ability to finish is really what cost them. If it wasn't your team you'd say it was one hell of a run and that they had a lot to be proud of.

fletch
08-12-2014, 02:22 PM
I was proud of our performance in the Final... but I didn't see the same attitude against LA as I saw against Pitt and Montreal. We could (and did) outwork Pitt and Montreal - but were faced with a whole different beast with the 4 solid lines LA rolled. Agree to disagree if you saw something different.

Future
08-12-2014, 02:34 PM
That is TBD.

I can look at any playoff series and thank god we had Boyle, because he's one of the few players who raises their game in the playoffs. He doesn't have the worst hands in hockey, and he's not a horrible skater. Your personal bias against Boyle doesn't make him a bad player. He didn't use his size the way people wanted him to, but that doesn't make him a bad player either. The Darrol Powe stuff isn't even worth addressing.
I mean the whole debate is TBD lol, we don't know that changes are going to make the team worse or better...everythign is speculative.

The Powe comment was tongue-in-cheek, but my take on Boyle has nothing to do with bias. I actually like him and would have liked to keep him around. But relative to the talent in the league, he is a bad player. I dare you to find someone with worse hands...the guy fanned on opportunities, missed the net, and just blundered his way through offensive zone touches constantly. The fact that he's a solid faceoff guy and good on the PK doesn't make him good, imo, it makes him a role player. He's a guy who couldn't crack the top 9 on a team that scored fewer goals than the Islanders. Did anyone think, "you know what, giving Brian Boyle more ice time might help us out!"? That's the difference between he and AA, Dubi, Sean Avery, and Even Carcillo. Those guys can make a difference playing in greater roles, he simply can't. He's a bigger Blair Betts. For someone so great defensively, he's a -14 in his time with the Rangers.

I'll give you that he does elevate his game in the playoffs and late in the year, but the only time that amounted to anything tangible was the run he had in 2010-11 when he scored a bunch of big goals. If someone elevates their play in the playoffs and totals 8 points in 25 games while going -3, something is missing. He's more noticeable on the ice in the playoffs, especially with physical play, but it doesn't really result in much. Plus, it begs the question of why he can't play that way during the regular season. I'd be much more concerned about losing him if he was a physical presence at all throughout the year.

Future
08-12-2014, 02:40 PM
I hope you're right.

Or maybe the team rallied around MSL, played to their maximum potential before running out of steam in the Stanley Cup finals, and we can't recapture the magic of the run. You mention Kreider and Hags (among others)... I hope that a switch did flip and they are able to continue to elevate their game to the levels they found in the playoffs. But they could regress to their previous performance levels.

It'll be an entertaining season, one that we can look forward to with eager anticipation. Selfishly, I just hope that this group has got at least one more deep playoff run in them.
This team didn't run out of gas. For the most part, I thought they outplayed LA in all but 2 of the games...one of which they happened to win. The bigger concern going forward should be that they aren't going to get such a soft team in the ECF ever again. The Habs have to be the worst team to go that far in NHL history lol

I'm with you in that I think this group can make another run. If you think about it, Nash can't get any worse and MSL probably will give you more in the playoffs next year. Hank is going to be Hank and steal a game or two, and maybe they'll figure out how to actually run a PP with Boyle leading it. There is a ton to be optimistic for.

Pete
08-12-2014, 02:41 PM
I mean the whole debate is TBD lol, we don't know that changes are going to make the team worse or better...everythign is speculative.

The Powe comment was tongue-in-cheek, but my take on Boyle has nothing to do with bias. I actually like him and would have liked to keep him around. But relative to the talent in the league, he is a bad player. I dare you to find someone with worse hands...the guy fanned on opportunities, missed the net, and just blundered his way through offensive zone touches constantly. The fact that he's a solid faceoff guy and good on the PK doesn't make him good, imo, it makes him a role player. He's a guy who couldn't crack the top 9 on a team that scored fewer goals than the Islanders. Did anyone think, "you know what, giving Brian Boyle more ice time might help us out!"? That's the difference between he and AA, Dubi, Sean Avery, and Even Carcillo. Those guys can make a difference playing in greater roles, he simply can't. He's a bigger Blair Betts. For someone so great defensively, he's a -14 in his time with the Rangers.

I'll give you that he does elevate his game in the playoffs and late in the year, but the only time that amounted to anything tangible was the run he had in 2010-11 when he scored a bunch of big goals. If someone elevates their play in the playoffs and totals 8 points in 25 games while going -3, something is missing. He's more noticeable on the ice in the playoffs, especially with physical play, but it doesn't really result in much. Plus, it begs the question of why he can't play that way during the regular season. I'd be much more concerned about losing him if he was a physical presence at all throughout the year.

They did: Tanner Glass. ;)

fletch
08-12-2014, 03:42 PM
This team didn't run out of gas. For the most part, I thought they outplayed LA in all but 2 of the games...one of which they happened to win. The bigger concern going forward should be that they aren't going to get such a soft team in the ECF ever again. The Habs have to be the worst team to go that far in NHL history lol

I'm with you in that I think this group can make another run. If you think about it, Nash can't get any worse and MSL probably will give you more in the playoffs next year. Hank is going to be Hank and steal a game or two, and maybe they'll figure out how to actually run a PP with Boyle leading it. There is a ton to be optimistic for.

It was a 1-1 series, with 3 overtime losses. The Kings outplayed us for large stretches of the overtime periods, but Lundqvist kept us alive - nothing to be ashamed of, playoffs are grueling and bodies get worn down.

New year, new team. Will be interested in all the games, but won't worry about the standings until about January. Slow start to last season (and Hank's struggles) were forgotten because of how well the year ended.