Here’s Schoeny … finally


Twenty-six days until Opening Night.

26: Dave Maloney.


This is late, but I had a chance to sit down with Rangers assistant GM Jim Schoenfeld a few days ago, and we talked about the Traverse City prospects camp, and about the young players who will vie for jobs when the Rangers’ open camp on Friday.

I asked him if there was an organizational goal, to add a certain number of young players, coming into camp.

“No. 1, our players, we’re looking for improvement from year to year,” he said. “Some of these players participated last year, so we want to see what direction they’re headed. Some players, the first look we had was at the development camp right after the draft, so it gives us an indication of how their summer went. And for others, it’s sort of a jump start. I mean, there’s going to be a few of these players challenging for a job in New York. So, for sure, we want to see how they do in high level competition, but it also gives us a pretty good indication of what they’ll be like coming into camp. But more importantly, it gives them a jump start, because you can only evaluate a player one level at a time. Some might dominate this and still not be ready for New York, but … Dubinsky had a real good tournament at Traverse City; Marc Staal had a real good tournament at Traverse City, and both those kids are Rangers. So it’s a pretty good foundation, I think.”

“The hope every year is that some younger player earns a position because he’s become better than the player in the position. The downside is, he earns the position because someone’s become worse at that position. So we’re looking for a youngster to come and beat someone out. That’s how you get better, because you’ve improved the position with a younger player who’s going to continue to improve. But it’s highly competitive. I mean, not only with youngsters trying to push someone out or earn a position; we have more depth this year than we’ve had in the last in each position. So it’s going to be a highly competitive camp. But someone might look at our roster and say, ‘Well, gee, these young guys might not have a chance.’ Well that’s not true. If the young guys are better, they’re going to be on the team. We don’t have the luxury of saying, ‘He’s better, but this guy’s under contract so he’s going to be here’ … we have to show improvement.

“And so I think there are probably half a dozen players that will fighting for a couple of spots. And if they show more, then someone else might be bumped so it might be three spots being fought for.

“This group (playing at Traverse City), there aren’t many. We know most of these kids are going back to junior. This is just sort of their introduction.

“There are some — and I always hate to name names because you’re going to forget some — but quickly, like, Stepan, Grachev, McDonagh, that are going to come to the big camp and we hope they challenge for a job. Whether they make New York or wind up in Hartford, they’re going to be given an opportunity to earn a spot. If one of them does, coming out of the gate, or if it takes a couple of months of development, because it’s a big gap from college or junior, then we’re an improved organization.”

I asked him if it happens that organizations might take a younger player with equal talent over a 30-year-old veteran because the younger player is the future.

“Yeah, you do that,” he said. “If it comes to all things being equal, the benefit of the doubt always goes to the younger player. But rarely are all things truly equal. There’s usually something that one or the other can provide, whether it’s enthusiasm of the young player, maybe a little physical play, the experience, the moxie — you have to balance it all out. Then the other thing you have to take into consideration is, when you’re putting lines together, every team is comprised of all different components. So you can’t have all A type players, all B type. So what players are going to be better or more effective in this role, on the team right now.

“Like, you might say, ‘This kid’s going to be a better player, but he’s a top-two line center/right wing/left wing. To have him here playing seven, eight minutes as a fourth-line grinder is probably not going to be as productive for his development as playing 22 minutes a game as the power-play guy in Hartford. So that’s always the balancing act. It doesn’t mean a kid has to knock the door down in training camp. It might take two or three months of playing the pro game. We’ve had players like that. Girardi got called up during the season and stayed. Callahan, I think, stayed until he got hurt, then he went back to get recharged. But again, that’s when your organization is getting better. The more players we have, in my estimation, that are home-grown — and that doesn’t mean you don’t make your trades or sign your free agents; they’re extremely valuable — but when that core keeps growing, and these are young kids that have earned their stripes and been brought up Rangers, I think that’s when you’ve got a pretty good chance to start winning consistently.

“And that group, on our team, has expanded. Last year we added Anisimov, Michael Del Zotto, Matty Gilroy. Those are three guys who weren’t on the team, and they’re Rangers. This year, who knows who it will be?”

On Grachev saying he feels the pressure is on him to make his mark this year:

“It’s not only valid, I think it’s valuable. You want him to feel pressure. He should really go (to Traverse City) with the idea of excelling, not just participating, because he’s a guy we think should be challenging for a job in New York. If you’re going to be a Ranger and this is your third prospect tournament, your third kick at it, he should be looking to do what Dubinsky did or what Staal did. … That’s a good springboard coming into camp, because there are players at this prospect camp that are going to be playing for their NHL teams.”

“This group (in Traverse City) I think is a better group than last year. It’s deeper at each position, and there’s a couple of guys with pretty good skill level.”

On the idea that Grachev had a disappointing season last year:

“To me, it was a revealing season for him. He’s a big, strong guy who can skate; he’s got a good shot. You know what he package is. And when he was playing Junior A he had 40 goals, 40 assists, a great year. And there were a lot of times in junior when his size and strength and reach won the battle. You know, you spin off and you get your scoring chance. Then it was a great revelation for him to all of a sudden be in a league — and you’ve got to remember, his first year he was an underage; he was 19 — now he’s playing against men that are big and strong and have reach and are smart. So the things that he used to be successful playing against kids, because he was a bigger, stronger guy, he found didn’t work as regularly at the American League level as they did at the junior level. So then you have to find other ways to get it done. That’s what I want to see this year: the growth, the positioning, finding the soft ice. We still want him to be that powerful guy, where he’s going to outmuscle people to the net; he’s going to drop his shoulder; and the big shot. But we’re hoping this year he adds the stealth part to the game, the anticipation, the thinking, the offensive instinct part. I think, until you need to do it, you don’t do it. When your size and strength is enough to do it, well, ‘I don’t have to anticipate; I can just bowl the guy over.’ 

“And often times, and this is an important thing that we have to remind ourselves, and I saw it again with Brandon Dubinsky … when they come to the American League we give them a lot. We teach them how to play away from the puck, how to pick up their man in the neutral zone, breakouts, all this stuff, plus you’re teaching them offensive positioning. It’s a lot of information. It’s necessary, but it’s a lot. The summer comes, and all of a sudden somehow it all makes sense to them. They come back to camp, and it’s not like they were doing these drills all summer, but all that information has a chance to find its way, where it becomes a little more instinctive.

“There’s so much, I think, that it takes a while to all get there. Sometimes it’s when you step back and take a breath and go ‘Ah, yeah.’ It just makes sense to you. But that’s the process. You have to go through it.”

Schoenfeld said it happened to him in his third year; but that he missed most of his second year due to back surgery.

“That’s what I’m hoping with Grach. I’m hoping last year was an eye-opener for him, where you realize, ‘I’ve got to find another way to skin the cat; I can’t always use my size and strength.’ That’s always going to be a great asset for him, but the more he can add to his repertoire, the better he’ll become. SO that’s what I’ll be looking for with him, his anticipation and proper timing — delay your speed then explode. All these little things he’s been taught and told. And even though his numbers weren’t great, we did see progression last year. Most importantly, when we had the exit meetings, what he said to me, his understanding of his season, was very good for a young guy. He knew his shortcomings. He didn’t pull any punches. I know I’ve got to get better here, here and here. That was good.”

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  1. Dos!

    Playing time not directly correlated to the size of one’s contract? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  2. Carp how could you leave it the biggest news of all – the Rangers finally got Parise! Okay, so it is Zach’s brother Jordan (who is a goalie) but we finally got a Parise – who is in camp and probably on the fast track to Greenville and the ECHL if he stays within the organization.

    Once again the Rangers get the short end of the brother stick.

  3. CR9,

    I hope your feeling better today and I REALLY hope your dog gets back to full health quickly.

    But from a fellow jets fan…the jets screwed themselves more than the refs did. Yes, that field goal call was extreme and yes the ravens got a td from the bad call. But cromartie and Wilson were horrible and the calls from the sideline gave sanchez no chance at getting any creativity into the offense. Jets shot themselves in the foot repeatedly. Bad game all around and hopefully they respond better next week.

    Yanks are stumbling into the playoffs but should be ok. You gotta put sports into perspective. They should be a distraction FROM your life, sports should not BE your life.

    Take care buddy!!

    ‘morning, boneheads!

  4. 26 – Rod Woodson, my favourite alltime Steeler.

    26 – Lance Macklin, saw TV show on him and 1955 Le Mans disaster the other night

  5. AnthonyM – i’m so happy we got Parise, especially after we missed out on Mike Brodeur and Joel Lundqvist!!

    Also, i see a lot of positive comments about our youngsters but the last few days there’s been visibly more talk about them improving in the minors before making the team. With more veteran guys to beat out with these tryouts for a place its goingto be tough for Grachev, Stepan and McD to secure a roster spot. Why cant we do a Souray to Redden and ban him, i know he’s not said anything bad yet but his salary and lack of effort is a big enough insult isnt it?

  6. Thanks Joke. Im feeling a little better today. Today’s a new day and everything will work out the way I want it to :)

    I always feel more rational when Mama is back! MAMA’s back!!!!

  7. Something that many are forgetting about Redden(including Ecklund) is that he has a limited NTC. He can pick eight teams to which he’ll refuse a trade.

    Who wants to bet one of those teams is Edmonton?

    Hey Carp, I thought you said Schoeny had some nice things to say about Grachev…was it just that he’s a serious consideration for a roster spot?

  8. >>Something that many are forgetting about Redden…

    Speaking of Wade Redden, a couple of days ago, I found myself driving behind a car with the licence plate MIZ WADE. I so wanted to run it off the road – until I realised the driver was some little old black lady.

  9. Phil – limited NTC’s are weird though, does he pick the worst places to live, places furthest from Canada or is he strategic and choose the places Slats is most likely to trade with (PHX, STL, EDM).

    I would think Redden would be happy to play for Tom Renney again given tha chance, wouldnt he?

  10. Just finished scrolling through….happy belated birthday nora!

    this made my stomach turn all over again, from 9/11 post:
    That the Rangers were supposed to be staying in the World Trade Center Marriott for the beginning of camp, but a snag had them switch hotels at the last minute.

  11. Mornin’ all!

    Taking a quick break to check in on the rest of the world, lol.

    Interesting that Schoeny mentioned Dubinsky several times. I think that shows how high the organization is on him. I’d love to see McDonagh, Stepan and Grachev make the team, but I think only one of them will make it out of camp, the other 2 will be up later in the season. Which isn’t a bad thing, per se.

    26- Eric Christensen
    26- Rico Brogna

  12. Hey Mama! The lobster up in Maine is sooo good, isn’t it? And really cheap! Hope you had a good time :)

    CR- That’s right! Josh IS 26. How could we forget?

  13. Wow, Mama, your awesomeness never ceases to amaze me! I think I have a little *CR*ush on Mama!

    Dont worry Mess, my heart will always belong to you!

  14. nice job Carp

    doing full transcriptions myself
    i could see why it took some time

    thanks for the extra effort

  15. Origin of WADE(redden)
    Middle English, from Old English- wadan; akin to Old High German watan – to go, wade, Latin vadere – to go.
    So, GO already, please! Doesn’t matter where…

  16. “If the young guys are better, they’re going to be on the team. We don’t have the luxury of saying, ‘He’s better, but this guy’s under contract so he’s going to be here.

    Did I say it right Glen? That’s what you wanted me to say, isn’t it Glen?”

  17. Wicky – Maybe it’s a motivator: Play hard or end up like that cheap-hitting overpaid POS: Bought out in Atlanta.

    UK – I don’t know…Reds grew up in a town three hours away from the Oil…but he only played for Renney for a few months. I guess you could look at it this way too: If Redden was given a choice between skating the season in the AHL or waiving his NTC, wouldn’t you think he’d waive it, even if he was going to a losing franchise on the outskirts of civilization…

  18. I don’t think those gloves stepan is wearing can really be considered “used”. They only saw about 10 minutes of ice time and were only dropped twice HAHA!!!!

  19. we are totally trading Redden + for Souray … or maybe Redden + + for Souray + to make the caps work better, but I think it will happen. And I think Gilroy maybe included in that Redden + + scenario

    There are too many bodies at our camp and I really dont think Redden will go quietly to Hartford, nor will the Rangers want that “disgruntled presence” down there.

    As long as Fedetenko doesnt have a completely horrible camp, I think he makes the team, and unless Valentenko makes the team – one of Exelby and Semenov will make the roster for their “jam”

    too many players – a trade is going down

  20. Listen I have been taken down this primrose path before, I have great respect for Schoeny, but if wade redden sees one minute of ice time all bets are off.

    Young players will play if they are better than vets ? This organization has fooled us before and frankly I don’t think it’s ever gonna change while dolanvision and sather are here.

    The Glen sather quote “No ones guaranteed a spot and positions will be won on merit” schtick is older than his suits.

    Ranger Prospects Land Of Gargantuans or Lollipop Guild ? Video

  21. That better be his ice time in HFD CCCP, after every single other defenseman gets lost on their way to the game.

  22. Great point Mouth, they have been saying that for years!!


    JB… 3 doors down
    3 is the magic number

  23. From ESPN insider

    What a weekend. This time of year, after Labor Day, there’s just a lot of everything going on. Kids go back to school. Schedules change. Football is everywhere you turn.

    The post-Labor Day changes can be abrupt, but when it comes to pucks, those changes can be quite informative as well. Right now, rookie tournaments are in full swing in different corners of North America. Once upon a time, these were hidden events. Now with our amazing technology, we can find some of these games streaming online. Believe me, that’s some good change.

    As I work on preview content for various ESPN platforms, here’s a look at the Atlantic Division for 2010-11. As always, check out the “Summer Skate” series I worked on with Puck Prospectus for even more detail on what to look for this year.

    New Jersey Devils

    Best development: The additions of C Jason Arnott, Ds Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder — and veteran backup G Johan Hedberg — fill specific needs. I think those guys will be more important to winning than the club’s other, more expensive, summer signing (Ilya Kovalchuk).

    Worst development: The free-agent departure of Paul Martin was unexpected. It would have been nice to keep him in addition to adding Volchenkov and Tallinder. I think the Devils’ issues on the blue line are that significant.

    New York Islanders

    Best development: While neither is a star, Ds James Wisniewski and Mark Eaton both bring experience and a level of professionalism to a young dressing room. That can’t hurt, right?

    Worst development: The seemingly arbitrary offseason dismissals of assistant GM/amateur scouting director Ryan Jankowski and TV analyst Billy Jaffe continue to leave me scratching my head about the club’s internal decision-making process. As in, do they even have a process?

    New York Rangers

    Best development: I’m really looking forward to seeing what rookie C Derek Stepan can show during training camp. The Rangers have a need up the middle and this kid has impressed during his time at the University of Wisconsin and as a member of the 2010 gold medal-winning U.S. World Junior team.

    Worst development: Other than overpaying for slugger Derek Boogaard (four years, $6.5M), I didn’t have a problem with anything they did during the offseason. I like that they’re trying to draft and develop players. That’s a good thing. And while they did overpay, Boogaard is one nasty dude.

    Philadelphia Flyers

    Best development: GM Paul Holmgren really strengthened the back end of his blue line by acquiring experienced Ds Andrej Meszaros, Matt Walker and Sean O’Donnell. Those guys figure to work behind their already terrific top four guys; Philly’s fifth and sixth defenders were exposed by opponents during the playoffs.

    Getty ImagesThe addition of Matt Walker should shore up the Flyers’ defensive depth.

    Worst development: I didn’t really get the signing of Nikolai Zherdev (one year, $2M), who spent this past season in the KHL. He’s young (he’ll turn 26 in November) and skilled, but he wore out his welcome with both the Blue Jackets and Rangers. In Philly, he’ll be surrounded by talent. Maybe that will make a difference. Maybe he’s matured. Maybe …

    Pittsburgh Penguins

    Best development: The free-agent additions of Ds Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek solidify the club’s blue line long-term. Martin is a puck-mover, while Michalek is more of a shot-blocking, stay-at-home type. Also, the inexpensive decision to add F Mike Comrie (one year, $500K) might prove helpful.

    Worst development: There isn’t much to complain about here. The team is terrific and they’re moving into a state-of-the-art arena. It’s sad to see key veterans D Sergei Gonchar and RW Bill Guerin go, but tough decisions are part of life in the salary-cap age.

  24. Wow Hradek with some praise for the Rangers.

    Finally recognizing that the Devils D was thinning and it might take an even bigger hit depending on who they move to clear up cap space in wake of the Kovalchuk signing.

  25. Redden has a no trade clause, but if he wants to play in the NHL he better waive it. He will be sent to Hartford. And if he becomes sour grapes, he will just get scratched from that lineup. Why play him and take a spot from a kid? In a kid’s league? I see Redden getting traded as a long shot, but hid NTC is as worthless as his game. He will waive it if ANY trade can be made.

  26. Most everyone here believes that Redden is a lock for Hartford. I’ll bet that Redden doesn’t think so. This will be an interesting state of affairs as this preseason works it’s way thru the gifted and not so gifted, and it will no doubt separate the the poseurs from the truly gifted…even tho some of the truly gifted never make it to the garden ice. But they always seem to find room for at least one really veteran player whose best days have long since past, and is hanging on by his fingernails, and reputation, whose only effect will be the displacement of a fine younger prospect. I do not trust this administrative staff at all. Redden to Hartford? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  27. Somerset – I think you overestimate the value of Souray. Mind you, even a decent NHLer’s value takes a major hit when the team all but announces he’s no longer welcome with the big club. That’s the one thing I’ve got to praise Sather for doing with Redden, which is not make him a toxic asset(even though he is).

    Souray, if I’m not mistaken, has already been through waivers. Now he’s been told he ain’t coming back. I could see a straight-up trade: Redden for Souray. But Redden plus? I don’t think Sather is that stupid. I sure hope he isn’t stupid enough to trade Gilroy and Redden for a guy whose best days are behind him.

    CT – I don’t agree with much Hradek said in that piece, save for his comment about the Rangers and that the Devils’ defense is in trouble. IMO, that whole franchise is in trouble…they mortgaged everything to bring in a player that doesn’t even remotely fit into the team-first system that has made the Devils such a force in the modern NHL. I could see them taking a marked step down from last season.

  28. Frolov stands out during scrimmage

    Newcomer Alexander Frolov provided a glimpse of things to come this season during Monday’s scrimmage. Camped out by the right goal post, he accepted a cross-crease pass and quickly deposited the puck high into the net past goaltender Chad Johnson.

    “He has such fast hands and is so good in front of the net,” said fellow Russian Artem Anisimov. “The pass is on his stick and then it’s in the top of the net.”

    Anisimov, who met Frolov while the two were teammates playing for Russia at the 2010 World Championships, said that he is very happy the two-time 30-goal scorer is with the Rangers this season.

    “It’s another Russian on the team,” Anisimov said with a laugh. “He’s a really good guy, and he’s going to score goals for us. He knows exactly where to go to score goals. Get out in front of the net, screen the goalie. It’s simple really because that’s where almost all goals are scored in this league. But it’s not easy to do. He does it.”

  29. Phil,

    Yeah, I was just saying that Hradek rarely has anything good to say about the Rangers (seeing as he’s an Islanders fan). Not that the team has done anything to necessarily garner a lot of praise, but he does seem to give credit where credit was due in that the off-season didn’t really bring more franchise damaging moves.

    As for the Devils, I always entrench myself in the camp that this is the year they fall off. And so far they’ve proven all the naysayers wrong. However there is the growing consensus that they’re no longer part of the NHL elite based on their failures in the playoffs ever since their last Cup win. I think the years of drafting low has started to catch up with them and unlike Detroit they haven’t been able to really unearth a lot of late round gems to offset picking the in the latter half of each round. Combine that with your aforementioned bounty that they gave up to procure Kovalchuk and they’re putting all their “win now” eggs in one basket and will probably have to deal with some painful consequences in the not so distant future. Next season they get some cap relief as Arnott and Langenbrunner are off the books but half of that savings is getting plowed back into Parise’s extension. The other half is going to have to get spread over 5 or 6 players they’ll need to bring up in order to replace expected departures.

  30. You know those “I am a Ranger” ads at MSG?

    How about showing a bunch of people saying “I’m the Rangers’ #1 Center”

  31. I gotta say, Im actually rather excited for the Rangers season. A lot of young talent with a roster and a coach that have a lot to prove. I believe we are in for a very good season. I personally cant wait to hear the fans light up MSG!

    >>JB… 3 doors down

    Fun Boy Three

    Berlin – Count Three & Pray
    Dream Academy – Three Steps Past The Edge of Forever

    Roger Waters – Three Wishes
    Yelworc – Lord of The Three
    INXS – Three Sisters

  33. Ha, lots of amusing posts above. Thanks for insider post CR. Wow, when was the last time your heard this: “I didn’t have a problem with anything they did during the offseason.”

    This One, oy! how could I have forgotten that!

  34. Like I said about writing on the wall yesterday….Kris Jenkins, out for season and now Antonio Valencia, out for season. 2 season ending injuries in less than 18 hours. :(

  35. I cannot believe I forgot Joey Kocur … but it’s completely unacceptable that it took so long for somebody, self included, to come up with Josh. Byfuglien.

    Johnny, is that the first time you’ve commented without a Seinfeld reference?

    Good afternoon, Sally!

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