Guest blogger: CALlahan (Carl Legg) … The Road Toward Contention


The Road Toward Contention
By Carl Legg (CALlahan)

The NHL is on break due to the Olympics for the next two weeks. As the players are competing in Sochi, the New York Rangers management will be preparing to make the tough roster decisions that will come along with the upcoming trade deadline on March 5. They can use the chaos surrounding it to invest in the future or to gamble on players in hopes of reaching the Stanley Cup this postseason. Glen Sather must be wise in the moves he makes because while the Rangers may struggle to create a playoff run this season, the right moves can make them a contender for years to come.
Despite the Rangers’ success after the 2005 lockout, they have yet to reach the Stanley Cup finals. Their consistency in reaching the playoffs has been tainted by their early round exits. Winning one playoff series is no longer enough for the organization and its loyal fan base. To be satisfied, we need to see them continue to take steps forward instead of stepping back into obscurity. New York needs a champion.
When I look at the NHL, I see five teams that I would consider contenders this year. The Rangers are not one of them but their improved play of late has pushed them into the discussion. Simply put, in a seven-game series I cannot see them beating the Blackhawks, Bruins, Penguins, Ducks, or Blues. The strengths of those teams outweigh the Rangers’ strengths. Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Anaheim have the elite players that can win the game for them on any night. On the other end, Boston and St. Louis have an unrivaled scoring depth backstopped by an elite defense. After an embarrassing playoff defeat to the Bruins last season, the Rangers started to make the changes needed to stand a chance against these powerhouses.
The Rangers’ new direction to become contenders started with a bold move, the firing of John Tortorella. I firmly believe it was the right move to make now, but I hated it at the time because it cost me 20 bucks that I made in a bet to my brother. They needed to move away from the gritty and defensive mentality that Tortorella preached. It was their Achilles heel these past two post-seasons. Worst of all, his playing style wore out the Rangers and cost them the 2012 conference championship against a Devils team that they were better than.
Under Alain Vigneault, the Rangers are not only higher in the standings than Tortorella’s Canucks but are better prepared for the playoffs. New York has progressed throughout the season and has a newfound depth that will pace them for the playoffs. As a result of Vigneault’s patience, the Rangers’ bottom six has been contributing more than they ever could under Tortorella. The dynamic third line, featuring Mats Zuccarello, has contributed as much as the Rangers top two lines. They have even become their top power-play unit. It is the Rangers greatest offensive strength.
The entire bottom six is an important aspect for contending teams. The Devils and Bruins both had fourth lines that were a vital component of defeating the Blueshirts. This season, the Rangers brought in Dominic Moore and traded for Dan Carcillo to create a fourth line crucial to their own success. They wear out the other team, can play on the penalty kill, and have sparked the team with an occasional goal or fight.
The Rangers’ biggest strength is their overall strong defense. It is the reason why they are so close to becoming contenders. Their top pairing defensemen, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi, are capable of shutting down any opponent’s top line. Earlier in the season, teams would take advantage of the exposed flaws of the Rangers’ bottom pairing defensemen. Fortunately, that problem has been fixed and defense is not a concern going into the deadline. The Rangers traded their biggest liability, Michael Del Zaster, for a reliable Kevin Klein. He has provided solid defense and durability for a cap friendly contract. More importantly, Henrik Lundqvist returned to his elite form. When all else fails, Lundqvist can now be counted on to always keep the game close.
There are still other problems in the lineup that the Rangers need to fix. Most importantly, the Rangers need to work on the offensive contributions from their own top six forwards. Their first line has been inconsistent throughout the season. Derek Stepan has struggled taking the full responsibility as the first line center. He is playing next to two power forwards and needs to use their forecheck to create more opportunities. Chris Kreider is a typical rookie who goes on streaks without scoring. It is his other contributions of his size and forecheck that allows him to play out these struggles. When Kreider and Stepan are on they can help complement a formidable first line. Their growing pains will have to stop soon enough.
The biggest problem with the first line is the star scorer next to them. Rick Nash has been the biggest culprit of inconsistent play due to his concussion injuries. He clearly has all-star potential with his offensive prowess. After scoring 11 goals in 11 games between Jan. 3 and Jan. 26 many thought that Nash had overcome his struggles and was finally able to play as the star we traded for. It was not to be as he has been incapable of scoring since then. In the past five games, the Rangers first line has had a total of zero points. That cannot happen in the playoffs where each player has to find a way to create the offensive production that they are capable of.
Meanwhile the second line has been consistently average. They seem to provide the minimal amount of production that is acceptable. At this time, Brad Richards is second on the Rangers with 42 points and is a solid fit as the second line center with the hockey sense that he brings through his experience. Ryan Callahan is known for his strong effort that he brings each game but his production is not as consistent. He has been frequently injured this season and has yet to hit his stride with his lowest points per game average since 2009. Carl Hagelin is young and contributes through his speed and defensive play. He has a respectable 23 points this season but his main contributions remain in other facets of the game. While this second line provides typical production, they are made for their versatility and intangibles.Edmonton Oilers v New York Rangers
However, the NHL is a league of professionals where these intangibles are more than common. If a player is not capable of giving their hardest effort on any given night, he will not last long. That is why I believe Callahan, Hagelin, and Richards are all replaceable. While they are some of my favorite players, trading some of them may be the right move to make in this business. I believe that the Rangers must be prepared to alter their second line to become a contender.
The right deal may not come their way over night. It took them months to trade Del Zotto. The Rangers cannot have as much patience with Callahan because of his contract demands. If he is not traded at the deadline, he will leave for free agency. The way I view it, everyone knows that Callahan is an injury risk, including himself. For his protection, he needs to take the longest contract for as much money that he can get. The Rangers would love to keep him but cannot meet the price that he would get on the open market. Furthermore, they do not have the money to resign Callahan and Giradi, and their top defenseman is more important. This sets up one of three options for the Rangers on the trade deadline:

1. Trade Callahan and more to improve the second line. The names that we hear such as Chris Stewart and Paul Stastny are not good enough to make the Rangers contenders. They need a player with the talent of Andrew Ladd or Cam Atkinson for that, but they will cost more.

2. Trade Callahan for future help. Get his value in draft picks and prospects to protect the long-term future. If the Rangers stay in the playoff picture for years to come, it will eventually open up for them to win it all one year.

3. Keep Callahan and let him leave after the season. He is still their captain and can contribute plenty. The Rangers are on a roll right now and may want to ride it. If they cannot get the right help, then they should get the most they can out of him.

To become a contender, the Rangers have to focus on their long-term success and play to their strengths. The Rangers need to secure their defense by extending Girardi and Marc Staal. They need to continue to infuse youth throughout the line-up. There are plenty of players in Hartford knocking on the door of the NHL. Some of them may need more time in the minors but they cannot be ignored. The Rangers cannot tie up so much money to Richards if J.T. Miller will be able to mirror his production for less.
If the Rangers are smart, they will realize that their best chance to win a cup will be in one of the next three seasons. They will go into next season comfortable with their head coach, the younger players will have more experience, and the top line will be more comfortable with each other. This offseason, there will be more opportunities to find a player to improve the top six forwards and someone to help ease Miller in to replace Richards’ production.
The Rangers need scoring depth and these free agents may be able to help with that: Paul Stastny, Milan Michalek, Radem Vrbata, Marian Gaborik, Matt Moulson, Thomas Vanek, Mike Cammalleri, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, and Mikhail Grabovski. In an ideal world they would be able to sign one or two players to a reasonably priced and short-term contract. However, this is the NHL world where the Rangers have to compete with 29 other teams. If I said the Rangers needed to sign Vrbata for two years and $10 million, then I would be taking a shot in the dark. There are too many factors for the Rangers to be certain about anyone, although it is fun for us fans to predict. To become a contender, the Rangers need to keep on making the decisions that give them the best chances of taking the next step forward. At the same time they must protect the future with prospects and depth because each roster decision is also capable of sending them a few steps back.
Let’s all sit back and enjoy this because there are many great conversations to have around the Rangers. I have several favorite players around the league and I get excited about the idea of watching them play for the Rangers. I would love to keep Callahan for the right amount of money but I would be ecstatic to see Andrew Ladd in a Rangers Jersey. All that matters is enjoying the hockey that our Rangers are providing us. Hopefully they will stick around until June this time around.

(If you enjoyed my article, please check out my blog TriStateSports that I run with several talented friends. We are all college Journalism students who are all trying to gain more experience by writing about our favorite sports teams in an honest and professional fashion. Follow us on our domain:

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  1. good job. you showed quite a bit of hockey knowledge for a college student. I am impressed.

    I agree with most everything too. trade Callahan for draft picks..

    Miller or Fast can almost replace him… we need to draft some more studs.

  2. Hey, this Olympic break may not be so bad after all.

    Nice article, enjoyed it very much, thank you.

    Solid arguments for trading Cally but my heart over rules my head, they need to sign him.

  3. Clark and Gorton on the three third rd picks last draft

    Jim Cerny

    Without a selection in either of the first two rounds of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft this past June in Newark the Rangers had to wait hours before their turn finally arrived–three times–in the third round, but in seeing the early results of the three players the Blueshirts drafted in that third round the wait seems to be well worth it.

    Three highly-skilled forwards who at one time or another were all considered worthy of first or second round selections, were snatched up by the Rangers, and now all three third-rounders are proving the organization fortunate that each dropped in the draft.

    “I think, for sure, that can be used as motivation because they will always look back during their career and say I remember I went in the third round when I thought I was going in the first and that time felt like forever,” Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton said, referring the to the team’s three 2013 third round selections Adam Tambellini, Pavel Buchnevich, and Anthony Duclair. “From that day on they want to prove everyone wrong. From the organization’s side, our guys liked them all. We ended up with three guys who were rated higher by us then where they went (in the draft) which is good. We feel that with our third round picks we, at least, got second-round talents, and maybe firsts.”

    Tambellini, the son of former NHL player and team executive Steve Tambellini and brother of Jeff Tambellini who also played in the NHL, was the Rangers first selection in the third round this past summer, 65th overall. He was followed by Buchnevich, the highly-skilled Russian, who was chosen ten picks later; and then by Duclair, the speedy Quebec native, who was selected at No. 80 overall.

    “There’s no question all three of these players showed signs that they could do the things those other (first-round) kids did, but for whatever reason–and it’s not important now–they didn’t go that high,” explained Gordie Clark, the Rangers Director Player Personnel. “All three of those guys had to, and still have to, mature, but we’re under the philosophy here that if you see the head and the hands and the hockey sense, then let’s be patient and wait for the maturity to happen. And that’s the process we are going through here with all three.”

    To this point all three of the Rangers ’13 third-rounders are excelling in their first post-draft year, in particular Duclair who is lighting up the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Duclair currently leads the league in goals with 49 and ranks second behind Anthony Mantha with 92 points in just 52 games played. Compare that with his draft-year stats in which Duclair totaled 50 points in 55 games, scoring 20 goals, and one can see tremendous improvement in his game.

    What the Rangers organization has loved about Duclair this season, along with his explosiveness and high-end skill, has been the consistency in his game. In calendar year 2014 he has recorded at least one point in 16 of 18 games, and he has been held off the scoresheet only five times since mid-November.

    “You know you’re on to something with a player when you walk into arenas for games and fans and scouts and people from other teams are saying ‘Oh your guy’s on fire’ or ‘Oh your guy is having a great year’, that’s how you know, when you don’t even ask about your player, but others come up to you and offer their comments,” said Clark. “That’s the way it’s been with Duclair this year.”

    Added Gorton, “The biggest thing with Duclair this year has been his consistency. Every night you look at the scoresheet and he’s on it.”

    Duclair registered a career-high seven points on January 30th against Halifax, and has notched three Hat Tricks and 14 games of three points or better, so far–simply surreal statistics.

    Tambellini has not had as smooth a ride as Duclair this season, but a switch from college to Major Junior has certainly done a world of good for his game and confidence. After enrolling at the University of North Dakota, Tambellini saw limited ice time as a third/fourth line center this fall, recording just two goals and four points in 16 games. After some soul searching, Tambellini decided what was best for his hockey career was to play in Major Junior, where he currently plays for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League.

    The move paid immediate dividends for the Hitmen as Tambellini produced a three-point game in his Calgary debut on January 8th against Saskatoon. Tambellini currently has 19 points (8-11-19) in 15 games and is riding a three-game point-scoring streak in which he has totaled six points.

    “We didn’t get involved in his decision-making process,” explained Clark. “That’s a personal decision for the player, his family, and his advisors to make and we just support him as best we can, just like we did in the past with (Chris) Kreider, (Ryan) McDonagh, and others. But we are happy for him because he’s a lot happier now. The kid’s happy because he’s playing a lot more.”

    That Tambellini had his father and brother to “lean on”–using the words of Gorton–to make his decision was important, just as is the wisdom and advice imparted on the youngest Tambellini from his family.

    “We are encouraged with him,” Gorton said of Tambellini. “He’s a mature kid, a kid who gets it. He’s got a great shot, got nice hands, great hockey sense. For now it’s only a matter of strength, improving on that, because he really projects as something we need–a big strong centerman with skill.”

    While there could be varying reasons why both Tambellini and Duclair fell to the third round in the draft, the same can be said of Buchnevich, though both Gorton and Clark agree that part of the reason Buchnevich was not selected higher is because there are certain NHL teams that refuse to draft Russian-born players, narrowing the pool of legitimately interested clubs.

    Tht said, the Rangers were thrilled to select Buchnevich, who had a standout performance in the 2014 World Junior Championships and who has more than held his own as an 18 year-old playing in the Kontinental Hockey League. Playing against veterans, and men, in the KHL Buchnevich has 15 points (6-9-15) in 36 games, ranking sixth on his team–Severstal–in points, tied for seventh in goals, tied for third in assists, and tied for second in power play goals with two.

    “We knew he was a first-round talent,” Gorton said flatly. “He’s a highly-skilled player with good hockey sense and he wants to play in the NHL. The thing we like about him is that he’s pretty confident he’s a top level player, even when playing against men as an 18 year-old. He knows he can play. For him it’s just a case of maturing physically and a little bit mentally.”

    At the World Juniors Buchnevich helped Russia capture a Bronze medal. He was tied for second on the team with seven points (2-5-7) in seven games and was tied for eighth among all players in the tournament in assists and tied for 12th in scoring.

    Of course his two-goal outing against the United States in the quarterfinals will be remembered for his over-the-top celebrating in front of Team USA’s bench which sparked a mild altercation and some harsh words flying between the two benches.

    “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wince when that happened, but he paid a price for it–was penalized and understood what he did probably wasn’t the best thing to do–and now he learns from it and moves on,” said Gorton, who was in attendance for that game.

    However Clark adds, “I’d rather see that emotion than have a real bland, vanilla guy. That was a huge win for that team and he played a big part in it. He’s a highly-competitive guy. He’ll learn from it, but you don’t want to see him lose any of that pure emotion.”

    Duclair and Tambellini–and perhaps Buchnevich, depending on his schedule in Russia–will likely be next seen in these parts for the Rangers development camp in July. As for their collective ETAs in New York, time and patience need to be on their side. Tambellini is only 19 years old, Buchnevich does not turn 19 until April, and Duclair only turned 18 last August.

    There will be no rush. As Gorton and Clark both are fond of saying, there is a “process” for these youngsters to take part in before turning pro. However it is quite nice for the organization to know that these three third-rounders are playing with first-round skill level, perhaps able to light up Broadway sometime in the not-so-distant future.

  4. Re those 3 3rd round selections from last year: It’s way too early to get too exciting, but there’s no denying it’s encouraging to see all 3 developing and it’s hard not to assume at least one will eventually make it.

    That, obviously, is a good thing.

    I’ve said it for years and will say it again: It should be a GM’s goal to always add extra draft picks. This is especially crucial in the cap era where a consistent flow of cheap solid talent into the lineup is needed.

    Sather needs to alter his tendency to trade away picks – over the past 4 drafts deals of that nature have actually consumed what amounts to an entire draft.

    Indefensible IMO, especially considering the fact that his team is not exactly a powerhouse/cup contender.

    Add extra picks and you stumble across what the Rangers are enjoying now – 3rd round picks who are excelling. Now imagine if they’d had their first and second round selections last June???

  5. RE: Duclair, this is one of those situations where i wish i knew more about the major junior leagues to put his tear in context.

  6. Gorton and Clarke famously ‘spin’ their draft picks into future top tier players every year. Of the 3 mentioned, be satisfied if at least 1 becomes a top 6 contributor on the big club.

    As someone countered when I mentioned DUClaire and his Crosby like Junior Stats,,,,,Pavel Brendl also had great Junior League Stats.

  7. Nice job. I agree about Cally, my heart is definitely in the “got to sign him” mode, but realistically, his talent is probably replaceable. His heart and leadership probably not. If Richards was going to stay, he could captain the team for the rest of this year, but since he’s not, you’d have to give it to someone else. I’m not sure who on the team is “captain worthy”. I’d say McD, but he’s not ready. Girardi, he might be gone too, Staal I think would be my choice, but giving it to Nash intrigues me in that he’s been Captain before (probably by default) and he seems like the type that needs something to motivate him. That might do it.

    As for their Cup chances, it all rides on Lundqvist. I disagree with everyone here who don’t think they are ready to contend. Are you going to tell me that this team isn’t better than the Devils were 2 years ago? If they get on a roll like they are on now, at the end of the year, and if they can get one of the top two lines hot and keep the Brassard line going, they certainly have enough defense to contend. We’ve beeen good for the most part against the West, and maybe we’ll get lucky and Fleury has his usual playoff choke, and someone upsets Boston (Toronto came within a few minutes of doing just that). There’s nobody else in the East that we couldn’t beat in a 7 game series.

  8. With Hank playing at his best, he can steal a series from anyone. The question is can he do it against Pittsburgh, Boston, and some other powerhouse from the West in a row? Probably not. They need more size on the wing, and probably on defense too.

  9. draxen559: FWIW, IMO, Duclair is evolving into a legitimate prospect. That isn’t to say he’s a guarantee or a blue-chipper, but I’ve seen him a play a couple of times and he looked good. Interestingly enough, it was the CHL/Russian ‘super-series’, where the competition was higher (basically an all-star game where the players actually cared and played with some passion).

    The biggest knock on him going into last June’s draft was his commitment to getting better and playing with passion and consistency on a nightly basis. It resulted in him slipping from being a 2nd rounder to a 3rd.

    Given how he’s fared this year, it looks like he’s embraced that short-coming because outside of the numbers in general (especially goals), what stands out is the fact that he’s being scoring regularly from the very beginning of the year.

    It will be very interesting to see how he fares in next July’s rookie camp and then the Traverse City Tournament in September.

    I don’t know nearly as much about the other 2 kids, although I saw the Russian play a couple of times in the WJC – he can skate, that’s for sure.

  10. Papa Bear: Legitimate points, but I would say this to counter: Duclair’s potential is as a top 6 forward so obviously, it’s much more encouraging to see him putting up the numbers he is to date vs the opposition.

    He’s supposed to generate offense and that’s exactly what he’s doing.

  11. The Rangers have 5 forwards under contract for next year (including Brad Richards who almost for sure will be bought out) and 3 defensemen. This means there’s a chance over 1/2 the roster will be turned over this summer.


    Is this by design Mr Sather? Or is this another screw-up?

    I vote for the latter….

  12. I’ll preface this by saying I like Ryan Callahan and hope management finds a way to sign him to a reasonable contract but am I totally off base to think that a big part his selection to the USA Olympic team is because he plays in high profile New York?

    Part of me thinks if he were a good penalty killing captain in someplace like Florida, Columbus, Phoenix, etc. he doesn’t get the look.

  13. Stranger Nation on

    Nice write up. Replacing half of your top 6 is no easy task. Presuming our top performing line now with Bros-hard and Steps line are our top six next year, we need a two way line with some playable toughness to lead our “bottom 6”.

    Hags is a reasonable option at LW, would look at a Stewart for RW and possibly Miller in the pivot. I dont see Miller coming anywhere near Mr Ed’s production, but in a different role, he can be productive.

    Bigger question is whether Elaine Vino wants to continue with 3 offensive lines or learn the hard way in the second season

    Do not like the idea of bringing older rentals to fill the gaps.

  14. Rob in Beantown on

    You’re right, it just doesn’t seem like he’s had nearly as much PK time this year as the last few years. I could be wrong.

  15. That’s a great point. I don’t remember Callahan killing penalties much. But honestly, with his injury history, and the way he dives in front of pucks, if someone else can do it at the same level, the team is probably better off keeping Callahan off the PK

  16. You’re actually spot on Rob in your observation, I just checked. Last year Callahan was getting 2:33/game of PK time, Stephan 2:06/game which totally makes sense in the context of Tortorella’s strategy to ride his best players.

    This year Boyle is getting 2:06/game, followed by Moore at 1:51 then Hagelin at 1:36 with Callahan 1:17 and Stephan at 1:02. Essentially one less shift a game for Callahan and Stephan.

  17. I’m fine with older rentals come playoff time if the fill SPECIFIC gaps that are lacking and are acquired at a low cost in terms of prospects / players / draft picks.

  18. CARL – GREAT guest blog! Top shelf!

    Rangers need to build from with in for long term success. Richards contract will be a cancer if he isn’t bought out, we all know that.

    Nash HAS to pick up his game, if this team is going to win in the playoffs. If he disappears in the playoffs again this team has no chance.

    Cally – I love the guy, but if someone is going to pay him $45M for 7 years let them. I will forever be a fan of him personally, and his style of play. But lets face it he’s not putting up 80pts a year to demand that kind of money.

  19. Good read on the 3rd rounders.

    Duclair – is dominating at his level. He is truly ready for the next step.

    Buchnevich – is already playing PRO hockey against the Kovie’s and Radalov’s of the Russian league. So he could really be the diamond in the ruff.

  20. Great job, Carl!

    Good crack of noon, Sally!

    Callahan has a SHG and had at least two other great SHG chances recently.

    Duclair … better hope he’s not Dube or Brendl. Both of those kids tore it up at that level, too.

  21. Carp – don’t forget St. Clair, Grachev, the last couple of years. Dubi stood heads and shoulders above them, and he is looking good this year. Right?

  22. Sioux, my team made a late charge on Saturday, but couldn’t make up for the one goal they scored the previous 5 days. Very disappointing showing. Do you like Salisbury steak, fried chicken??

  23. Rob – I think you have the winner in your town this year. Johnny Hockey will be the winner this year. Johnny Graudreau is heads and shoulders ahead of the field this year. With 58 points in 29 games, he is truly having a special year.

  24. USA open up at 6:30 a.m. Thursday against Slovakia.

    The full lines look like, according to those in Sochi:

    Dustin Brown–Ryan Kesler–Patrick Kane
    Zach Parise–David Backes–T.J. Oshie
    James vanRiemsdyk–Joe Pavelski–Phil Kessel
    Ryan Callahan–Paul Stastny–Max Pacioretty
    Extras: Blake Wheeler, Derek Stepan

    Ryan Suter–Cam Fowler
    Ryan McDonagh–John Carlson
    Kevin Shattenkirk–Paul Martin
    Extras: Brooks Orpik–Justin Faulk

    Jonathan Quick
    Ryan Miller
    Jimmy Howard

    Still don’t have a clue who our #1 Goalie is.

    What’s your pick?

  25. Rob in Beantown on

    I agree with what Manny said yesterday. Miller with a short leash. But I’d give one of the preliminaries to Quick and see who looks better.

  26. Thanks for all the positive feedback on the blog! It’s great to hear all of your insight.

    I just finished an Olympic post and I am in the mood to give my thoughts on the topics you guys brought up before class:

    – From what I’ve heard of Duclair and Buchenvich, they seem to be solid third round picks. They both have a decent chance on making an impact and that’s what you look for in the third round, but until they show progress in the AHL it doesn’t mean much. I view these guys as similar to Christian Thomas and Evgeny Grachev, talented but we cannot be sure if they will translate. Hopefully, they will be luckier than those two.

    – As for the bottom 6, we do have a good amount of cap space to use. Brassard and Zucc are RFAs which means one thing, bridge contracts. Pouliot may leave but he won’t be hard to replace. Can’t see Dom Moore leaving. But if Cally leaves, the Rangers have to keep Boyle. He will take too long to replace.

    – I’m on the thought process that Girardi must be resigned. Too important and is asking for a reasonable price. Stralman’s expendable, Allen or McIlrath can come up.

    – For USA goalies, I’ve read a lot of people saying that Miller will start because Quick may be too aggressive for international ice. I agree and want to see what Miller can do with a good team.

  27. Callahan will be 29 and Girardi will be 30 in the first year of their next deals, so term could be the largest sticking point, especially for two players who tend to block a lot of shots and throw their bodies around.

  28. That’s a good point, CALlahan. If The Capt. is gone it makes Boyle that much more important. Especially for PK.

    Stralman Sundae is awful. Replace him with a kid.

  29. Rob in Beantown on

    If I knew we were getting Playoff Quick and not Regular Season Quick it would change my vote. But I don’t think you ever know with him.

  30. Fantastic analysis. I think you nailed every point. Now let’s see what Slats is able to do.

  31. I love the idiotic Stralman comments. Two NHL coaches think Klein is a 3rd pairing D-man yet the guy makes 50% more than Stralman but Stralman needs to go.

    McIlrath from what he’s shown to date is unlikely to ever stay in the NHL even as a 3rd pair guy. Allen might be okay but he’s still two-three years away from being a top four defenseman at best and that’s if he can even get a solid look at the NHL level – which isn’t guaranteed if they resign Girardi and Stralman.

  32. I’m over the top on Stralman, I know. It’s mostly just a jest in exaggeration. But I actually really don’t like the guy. He should be playing 3rd pair.

    Coach Klein played 2nd pairing in Nashville.

  33. In one more year Skjei could be ready to make the jump to pro hockey, just imagine if he turns out to be a Mini Mac.

    Poor McIlrath will never see the MSG ice.

  34. Skej didn’t impress me much (to quote Shania Twain) in that Juniors tournament. Looked more like Coach Klein than Ryan McDonagh.

  35. I noticed Lindberg is tied with the MonteKristo in points.

    That has to be a good sign, after you consider his MVP season in Sweden last year.

    Miller, Kristo, & Lindberg could all be ready for a blueshirt next year.

  36. I think Miller is ready for a Blueshirt now. There just isn’t room. Also, I’m pretty much wrong about everything.

  37. Miller is at a point per game in the AHL, playing key minutes. Better there playing 20+ minutes, than 10 on the 4th line? Right?

    Does he replace Cally’s spot if he gets traded for picks?

  38. I don’t think Brassard and MZA necessarily get just bridge contracts because they have arbitration rights.

  39. Bridge meaning 2- 2.5 for 2 or 3 years right?

    Zucc would get much more coming from a $1.2 contract this year.

    Brassard will be middle of the road $3 something ish, I can’t see him getting any more if he went to arbitration.

  40. Pittsburgh gave up a first and prospects for Iginla last year. The Rangers gave up three picks for Clowe.

  41. the deadline is going to be interesting for the Rangers. putting Cally aside for now, do you sacrifice a Miller to take a shot this season? if an Andrew Ladd were to become available (doubtful I know), would you go for it and give Miller. 2 teams in the east are clearly better. one of those teams has goalie issues. I really would have to consider taking a shot this year. I think the east is more open than most believe.

  42. Both Brassard and MZA will be UFA eligible after next season. So unless you’re talking 1-year deals, bridge contracts wouldn’t work. Conor Allen is L handed, iirc, he doesn’t replace Stralman even he was ready next year.

  43. Stralman is better than most of us thought he would be, but do you really think he will hard to replace? he is playing top 4 with the Rangers because the player they really wanted to be top 4 failed. you can, and should do better than Stralman.

  44. Ladd is 28, and has a modified NTC( usually means he can list a limited amount of teams he can’t be traded to, 8-10). Short answer, yes, i’d go after him if he’s available. Not sure they have enough size on defense though, still.

  45. unless you can replace him from within, ilb.
    you already traded for Klein. he bumps up to 2nd pair, and Allen become 3rd pair.

  46. They’ve already shown a preference for having R-L on every pair, so I’m not sure where Allen fits. Which makes you wonder, why was he signed in the first place?

  47. I don’t think players are signed with the intention of trading them. Maybe he was insurance against Staal not being the same, or Moore not being able to handle 6D.

  48. I did not say they signed him to trade him. I said they signed him because he is an asset. assets can be traded. you sign, or draft the best players possible. they become assets to do with what you please. some play for the big club. some get traded to help the big club.

  49. Stranger Nation on

    Bull Dog – yes; would make that trade yesterday and I like both cally and Miller, though both may have limited offensive upside and not conducive to the AV way.

  50. Stranger Nation on

    Better off letting young D develop in AHL then learn on the job with the big club. Allen is out of college only 1 yr (but is 24), McIlbeast is 21?
    It takes time…

  51. Re: Replacing Stralman:

    no, it’s not a monumental task.

    yes, there is every chance his replacement will be worse, and/or more expensive.

  52. Brassard has to get more than $4M I would assume after we qualify him and he elects for arbitration.

  53. Klein moves up. Allen (Left Handed) or McLlrath (Right Handed) can come up and play 3rd pair in Stralman’s honor.

  54. Stralsie is here to stay. Probably sign him to a max term deal (kidding) but I think it’s one of slats better pick ups in the last few years. As much as I want Mcilrath’s bite on the team he seems to suffer from pylonitis. Maybe that will change.
    The D seems pretty well balanced now, I’m not so anxious to move Klein up to second pair just yet. It’s working well and at least McD doesn’t have to play thirty minutes a night.

  55. Is McIlrath a bust? Is he slotted in next year?

    Stralman, while not very exciting to watch, is a relative bargain for what he is. Rangers essentially got him for nothing. He was cut by the Devils on a tryout 3 years ago and has been a decent Ranger since…Will I cry if he leaves? No way. But, the Rangers will have a hard time replacing that type of experience at a reasonable price…Rangers definitely don’t have any D prospects that can make the jump yet…Unless you think The Wrath of the AHL is ready

  56. Those who hate Strallman, perhaps you have trouble Finding the value Stralman brings to this team paired with Staal because you are looking for him to be a player he will never be? Maybe you place greater value on flashy dynamic players but have a blind spot when it comes to steady, reliable, heady players who understand the subtle nuances of the game but aren’t specifically great at any one facet of play? i agree, his game is not mistake free, but so what? He and Staal have been playing lights out for a month now.

    And as for the argument that he’s not good because the Devils cut him? …… Please, that’s borderline silly.

  57. Second pair when contract was signed and likely second pair for the Rangers beyond this season.

  58. “likely second pair for the Rangers beyond this season.”

    Is that based on your tarot cards, palm reading or crystal ball?

  59. It is based on logic. Would the Rangers have traded for a player making 2.9 mill per season if they planned on continuing forward with him as a third pair?

  60. OK, just saying, personally I think Stralman is much better than Klein based on what I’ve seen so far, especially on the second PK. And, IMO, the Rangers are a better team if Klein-J. Moops is the third pair, than Klein-Staal on the No. 2 pair and Moops with somebody off another team’s scrap heap or a rookie.

  61. Though it would be nice if we could land Shea Weber, pair him with Staal and push McDonuts and Girardi back to 2nd pair. :)

  62. boxcareddiehospodar on

    Enough with Hagelin and Stephan. Their contribution is minimal and I still cannot believe we have no one better than Hagelin in the minors.

    Would be surprised if Stephan plays in the olympics.

    Dump both of these guys and try to get something in return.

  63. usa trades the ex planet pluto for the last known location and aid in capturing the superspy known as “boris” and his accomplice aka”natasha”

  64. Love Cally but Cally for Ladd would be a trade I would take. Cally for Stewart and a 2nd okay but Cally for Stewart straight up is tough.

  65. The big problem with this organization is the constant over-participation in the FA market, rather than promoting organizational kids in timely fashion. Connor Allen and J.T. Miller showed enough up here to deserve to stay, but the skittish G.M. cannot commit to taking a couple steps backward, to afford the kids learning curve time, prior to taking a quantum leap forward – called seriously competing for the Stanley Cup. Bringing in older journeyman types, Klein being the most recent in a long line of last-stop, gap-pluggers Sather loves so much, has made a spinning top out of this organization since the late 90’s. “Just make the playoffs Baby” is as hollow a mantra as it gets.

    So tired of Sather’s myopic vision and these endless, gutless spin your wheels moves. I wish he would just retire ungracefully. We know he can stay until he is 80 if he wants to, given that the owner seems to enjoy being an enabler of Sather’s recklessness with OPM. How crazy is that?

    This organization is stuck in a rut so that it really doesn’t matter whether Callahan or anyone else goes or stays. The physical dynamic of this team is built right out of 1980’s hockey. If this ship without a rudder wins one more playoff series during Sather’s tenure here it will shock the living hell out of me.

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