(Editor’s note: Jim pointed out that there are multiple Jims who post on the blog. The best way to ID him, then, would be that he’s Jim, the Rangers fan from the Toronto area … and as if to prove it he spelled endeavor with a ‘u’.)
In the spirit of most of your blogs (and Lowell’s recently), here are some of my random thoughts:
1) Is it just me or should we be at least a tad concerned about the Rangers organizational depth? This time last year, it seemed like the backline was overflowing, but with Michael Sauer’s career in jeopardy and the perpetual shorting of the defensive bench throughout the entire playoffs, that area is suddenly somewhat of a question mark. The two primary defensive prospects aren’t guarantees – Tim Erixon showed last year he wasn’t ready for primetime and like it or not, Dylan McIlrath is a project (with a new concern being his health – add to his current dislocated knee a concussion and other knee injury suffered through the ’11-12 season, that’s three non-minor problems he’s had in less than 12 months). After JT Miller, on the forward lines is there a legitimate prospect? Christian Thomas looked like a sure thing this time last summer, but after an up and down final junior season (more down than up), there now should be valid question marks – alas, his size is a significant concern. After that, who’s there? Looks to me like more bottom six prospects.
2) Count me as Rick Nash admirer and one who believes without a doubt he would have been a tremendous addition to the Rangers lineup. That said, I get the concern about giving up too much to get him, especially with the aforementioned concern about organizational depth (so I’m relieved that Glen Sather appears to be unwilling to overpay). BTW, for those not sure about his skill set, just watch that video of his end-to-end goal against the Coyotes. And as you do, try to remember he’s 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. …
3) BTW, perhaps the hold-up on a possible Nash move isn’t the bounty Howson is allegedly demanding, but the fact that Sather is demanding more than Nash (because that bounty is so high). From what I’ve learned about trades of this magnitude, oftentimes it’s the ‘throw-ins’ that delays a deal actually getting completed. Managers frequently agreed quite readily on the principle players, but go back and forth for weeks and sometimes months over the lesser valued players. For example, if Howson is demanding Derek Stepan be included in the Rangers package, could Sather be countering with a request for Derrick Brassard? If so, perhaps Howson then says ‘Fine, but I want Carl Hagelin included, too.’ And so on and so on. …
4) Isn’t it time for Artem Anisimov to decide whether he’s a top six or bottom six forward? This fall will see the 24-year-old begin his fourth NHL season – time to decide what you want to be for the rest of your career AA.
5) IMO, there will be NHL hockey this season. In 2004, many teams stripped down to the bare-bones (including the Rangers) which was clearly an indication the owners had already spent countless hours discussing their collective position and the financial state of game. They were determined to reign in the free spending teams and narrow as significantly as possible the huge gap between the haves and have-nots. This time around, nothing remotely close to this has taken place (in fact, given the contracts handed out to Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, it’s almost the opposite). Furthermore, both the owners and NHLPA surely must recognize that another lost season could seriously harm many teams, especially Gary Bettman’s sunbelt ditties.
6) Speaking of sunbelt teams, well-placed sources indicate up to half of the league loses money annually and at least a half dozen teams are in serious financial jeopardy, led of course, by the Phoenix Coyotes and followed closely by the New Jersey Devils. This despite Gary Bettman’s often bullying and very lawyer-skewed verbal antics he inevitably resorts to when endeavouring to hide the nasty truth.
7) Is Brandon Dubinsky a top six or bottom six forward? Not sure, but one thing is: He’s drawing a paycheque to be the former. …
8) Enjoy Ryan Callahan while you can – it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when he’ll be spending more time in the infirmary than he is plastering defensemen against the boards and throwing his body recklessly in front of 100+ MPH slapshots.
9) Who will receive legitimate Norris Trophy consideration first? Ryan McDonagh or Marc Staal? My money’s on Staal, but what a wonderful debate to be able to have!
10) My jury is still out on Glen Sather. It’s tough to argue against his performance since the lockout, but it’s equally difficult to forget the ridiculous and embarrassing mess he made of the Rangers prior to this refreshing stretch. He drove the franchise so low, not only was it the laughing stock of the NHL, but of North American professional sports in general – I’ve been a fan for a very VERY long time and as such have endured some very dark times, but his pathetic tenure from 2000 to 2004 for me is inky black. His best move appears to be anointing Gordie Clark as the team’s draft guru.
11) Isn’t it time a legitimate goalie prospect was brought into the organization? I figured one would be selected early in this past amateur draft, but that didn’t happen. We shouldn’t forget that while the King is indeed, the King, he’s not 26 years old anymore, either.
12) Is it training camp time yet?