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Thread: Shutdown Center The Root Cause of Many Problems for Rangers

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    Shutdown Center The Root Cause of Many Problems for Rangers

    https://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2017...banejad-stepan

    The Rangers’ 1-3-0 start isn’t particularly bothersome; every team is going to have multiple streaks like that this season, and that record looks very different if Semyon Varlamov and Carter Hutton have ordinary performances. However, out of the gate there are some areas of struggle. The Rangers really only have one line clicking at even strength, and have been overly reliant on getting goals from the top power play unit. They have let in 13 non-empty net goals in four games, and the penalty kill is conceding often. There is still 95 percent of the season left to play, and some of this will definitely self-correct over time. But there are some internal problems that need fixing.

    ...

    This is a convoluted way of saying that the Rangers need to add a shutdown center to the roster. This conversation is usually framed around the loss of Derek Stepan, and no doubt that his absence is a part of this void. But truthfully, this is a problem that originated before his departure.

    ...

    The Rangers had what is pretty much the ideal center structure from 2014 until 2016. Dominic Moore ate a brutal share of defensive minutes; a lot of defensive zone starts against very good players at five-on-five, and first-unit penalty kill minutes. He was very good at it. Derek Stepan took on a true two-way role, often matched against the opposition’s top line. This set things up for Kevin Hayes and Derick Brassard, who could get lots of offensive-zone starts in sheltered minutes and play on the power play. This is equilibrium. Nobody is being asked to do a job he isn’t capable of, and everyone’s minutes are optimized to reflect his skill set.
    Last edited by Morphinity; 10-12-2017 at 02:13 PM.

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    Senior Member Squirt Division Rangers4Life's Avatar
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    Always difficult to win when a team is weak down the middle. This team is currently in transition. One center is not going to make or break them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rangers4Life View Post
    Always difficult to win when a team is weak down the middle. This team is currently in transition. One center is not going to make or break them.
    I think it's too early to say that they are weak down the middle. For all we know, JT will be just as productive as Stepan and Hayes can slide back into that 3C role he owned last year.

    The problem is that AV hasn't figured out deployment yet, and that's making everything more difficult.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    I think it's too early to say that they are weak down the middle. For all we know, JT will be just as productive as Stepan and Hayes can slide back into that 3C role he owned last year.

    The problem is that AV hasn't figured out deployment yet, and that's making everything more difficult.
    For me, I think there were some pretty obvious line combinations for this season. They did require a young center on the team, even if it was someone like Nieves on the fourth line. Unfortunately, they lost the first two and AV got spooked. Now, if the practice lines from today are any indication, he's going back to the try everything and anything to hope to get some chemistry somewhere method.

    @MattCalamia New #NYR lines at practice: 61-13-36, 26-51-10, 40-28-25. Mika line same. D pairs: 27-55, 18-22, 76-42, 47-77.

    Or in other words:

    Kreider - Zib - Buch
    Nash - Hayes - MZA
    Vesey - Desharnais - Miller
    Grabner - Carey - Cracknell

    McDonagh - Holden
    Staal - Shattenkirk
    Skjei - Smith

    DeAngelo, Kampfer


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    Shutdown Center The Root Cause of Many Problems for Rangers

    I know this is about centers but couldn't help but notice Holden on the top pair?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    For me, I think there were some pretty obvious line combinations for this season. They did require a young center on the team, even if it was someone like Nieves on the fourth line. Unfortunately, they lost the first two and AV got spooked. Now, if the practice lines from today are any indication, he's going back to the try everything and anything to hope to get some chemistry somewhere method.

    @MattCalamia New #NYR lines at practice: 61-13-36, 26-51-10, 40-28-25. Mika line same. D pairs: 27-55, 18-22, 76-42, 47-77.

    Or in other words:

    Kreider - Zib - Buch
    Nash - Hayes - MZA
    Vesey - Desharnais - Miller
    Grabner - Carey - Cracknell

    McDonagh - Holden
    Staal - Shattenkirk
    Skjei - Smith

    DeAngelo, Kampfer

    I know AV is getting flamed for it, but I'm actually fine with all of this.

    On D, he's just throwing stuff together to see what works. Nobody - even him - thinks Holden is a long-term top-pair solution, but everyone else has been bad. It's not like there is another player on the roster who Holden would be holdin (heh) back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    I know AV is getting flamed for it, but I'm actually fine with all of this.

    On D, he's just throwing stuff together to see what works. Nobody - even him - thinks Holden is a long-term top-pair solution, but everyone else has been bad. It's not like there is another player on the roster who Holden would be holdin (heh) back.
    If you're going to not worry about handedness, then why not just go:

    McDonagh - Skjei
    Smith - Shattenkirk
    Staal - Holden/Kampfer/DeAngelo

    Or better yet, wait longer than 4 periods at the start of the season to give up on McDonagh/Shattenkirk.

    The forwards are a shit show. There's zero reason to have Carey and Cracknell in the lineup.

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    Holden being on the top pair HAS to be for showcasing him for a trade. Well thats what I want to believe b/c if its not then AV is already panicking after the first week of the season. If he's panicking this early and it doesnt start to work for the NYR then we'll probably see Lindy Ruff as HC sooner rather than later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    If you're going to not worry about handedness, then why not just go:

    McDonagh - Skjei
    Smith - Shattenkirk
    Staal - Holden/Kampfer/DeAngelo

    Or better yet, wait longer than 4 periods at the start of the season to give up on McDonagh/Shattenkirk.

    The forwards are a shit show. There's zero reason to have Carey and Cracknell in the lineup.
    I think it's pretty clear that AV does care about handedness - or at least which side guys can play. He doesn't want Mac or Skjei on the right, otherwise, I don't see a good reason for him not to play Staal with Mac.

    Again, I don't think he's given up on Mac/Shatt, but it's not as if he has 4 games to work with. He has Shatt's entire career and there are certain things that he's just not good at defensively.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    I think it's pretty clear that AV does care about handedness - or at least which side guys can play. He doesn't want Mac or Skjei on the right, otherwise, I don't see a good reason for him not to play Staal with Mac.

    Again, I don't think he's given up on Mac/Shatt, but it's not as if he has 4 games to work with. He has Shatt's entire career and there are certain things that he's just not good at defensively.
    If DeAngelo and Kampfer for now are the scatches, he has Shattenkirk as the lone right handed shot in the top 6. Yes, Holden and Smith have played the right side, but...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    I know AV is getting flamed for it, but I'm actually fine with all of this.

    On D, he's just throwing stuff together to see what works. Nobody - even him - thinks Holden is a long-term top-pair solution, but everyone else has been bad. It's not like there is another player on the roster who Holden would be holdin (heh) back.
    If you're fine with Hayes/Desharnais/Carey after Zibanejad I'll assume you're rooting for a lottery pick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    If you're fine with Hayes/Desharnais/Carey after Zibanejad I'll assume you're rooting for a lottery pick.
    I mean I'm fine with AV playing with the lines like this, considering the roster he has. No, I'm not really fine with the center depth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    If you're fine with Hayes/Desharnais/Carey after Zibanejad I'll assume you're rooting for a lottery pick.
    I'd imagine this changes when Fast gets back. I'd also have to wonder if they're waiting for Hartford to get a few more games in so they can see what other center options they might have. Whether that's Chytil getting the nerves out and getting into a groove or one of the other centers showing something (Nieves, Lettieri, Fontaine). Then of course there's the trade route (Shipachyov, Duchene, Galchenyuk, Turris, etc).

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    I'd imagine this changes when Fast gets back. I'd also have to wonder if they're waiting for Hartford to get a few games in so they can see what other center options they might have. Whether that's Chytil getting the nerves out and getting into a groove or one of the other centers showing something (Nieves, Lettieri, Fontaine).
    Yea, I get the sense of panic, but I think this roster is going to look very different in November, and even more different in February.

    This is similar to the 14-15 season when Stepan was out and MSL had to play center. For now, AV is just trying to make due with what he has. We'll have a much better idea of how this team is going to look in a few months.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    I'd imagine this changes when Fast gets back. I'd also have to wonder if they're waiting for Hartford to get a few more games in so they can see what other center options they might have. Whether that's Chytil getting the nerves out and getting into a groove or one of the other centers showing something (Nieves, Lettieri, Fontaine). Then of course there's the trade route (Shipachyov, Duchene, Galchenyuk, Turris, etc).
    Thornton
    But yes this roster has to be short term, gotta figure Carey/Cracknell will be sent to the minors when Fast comes back. You'd think Nieves should have been ready for the big club this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    Yea, I get the sense of panic, but I think this roster is going to look very different in November, and even more different in February.

    This is similar to the 14-15 season when Stepan was out and MSL had to play center. For now, AV is just trying to make due with what he has. We'll have a much better idea of how this team is going to look in a few months.
    It's not so much panic as...if the goal is to get to November more situated as to what you have and what you might need, then why not stick with some things for a little while that you know should work at least in theory? The panic is less to do with the fans (and they are) but rather in the coaching, specifically in AV, already seeming to shuffle the deck over such a small sample size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Heaven View Post
    Thornton
    But yes this roster has to be short term, gotta figure Carey/Cracknell will be sent to the minors when Fast comes back. You'd think Nieves should have been ready for the big club this year.
    I think it's probably time to do a swap where Nieves goes somewhere else for a team's prospect center that has also failed to pan out so far. Try to find another Linderberg for Werek situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    I mean I'm fine with AV playing with the lines like this, considering the roster he has. No, I'm not really fine with the center depth.
    We don't know how much, if any, input he's had on roster construction so you're right in saying he can't be blamed for the current state.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    We don't know how much, if any, input he's had on roster construction so you're right in saying he can't be blamed for the current state.
    I can't believe that an NHL head coach, especially one who's as tenured as AV is and was just extended, wouldn't be consulted on roster construction. That's not to say Gorton has been able to just pluck whomever AV wanted or shipped off anyone he didn't, but you would have to think there is a group effort in assessing needs and weaknesses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    We don't know how much, if any, input he's had on roster construction so you're right in saying he can't be blamed for the current state.
    Well, that's not exactly what I'm saying - he deserves some of the blame. DeAngelo, for example, is 100% an AV addition.

    I'm just saying that, in this specific contest, he's working with what he has.

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