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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Chris Kreider – NHL Renaissance Man

Luanne Duncan

chris kreider

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Christopher James Kreider is not your average NHL player.  The 25 year old Boxford, Massachusetts native plays guitar, speaks several languages, has an appetite for literature and is a cerebral guy on many levels.  This is in addition to having a full time job as a left winger for the NY Rangers.

Kreider grew up playing ice hockey but like many natural athletes, he played other sports as well – soccer and lacrosse being two he excelled at during his high school years.  Chris was good at the game as a child, but at the high school and college level, he was a virtual hockey prodigy.  Kreider attended Masconomet Regional High School in Boxford, Mass for two years before transferring to the exclusive prep school Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.  He agreed to enter Andover as a repeat sophomore but was able to graduate in 2 years by taking an accelerated summer program at the end of his final year.  During his final season at the school, Kreider had 56 points in just 26 games and earned National Prep Player of the Year.  He was the highest ranked (14th overall for the NHL draft) and most talked about high school player in the US. Read the rest of this entry

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The Resurgence of Mats Zuccarello

Chris Vallely

mats zuccarello full body 10-30

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

“ZUCC” chants can be heard in every arena during the NHL season. Nicknamed “The Hobbit” by Blueshirts fans, Mats Zuccarello has always been a fan favorite. Standing at just 5’7, he’s one of the shortest players in the NHL. Even though size may be a weakness, Mats plays with a ton of heart and grit.

He plays with a certain edge that fans have fell in love with. His journey to the National Hockey League is a success story on its own. Since he played most of his career overseas and was never drafted, he wasn’t on the radar amongst NHL teams. After putting on quite a performance in the Olympics, Zuccarello was ready to make the jump.

On December 8, 2010, the New York Rangers signed him to a NHL contract. The Rangers wanted to see if he could adjust to North American play, so he started his career in the AHL. Despite dominating in the American Hockey League, Tortorella was unconvinced of Zuccarello’s play. The Norwegian winger only played in 67 games in 3 seasons with the New York Rangers, the rest were played with the Hartford Wolfpack. Read the rest of this entry

Potential Depth Signings for the Rangers

Chris Vallely

Jesper Fast full body with numbers 10-18

The Rangers are going to need to build their third and fourth line around guys like Jesper Fast. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

This offseason is going to be a difficult one for Jeff Gorton, GM of the New York Rangers. The Blueshirts have a projected $15,325,000 in cap space, but a multitude of players to re-sign. Restricted free agents Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, and Kevin Hayes, will take a majority of that cap space away, if both parties can agree on terms. Unrestricted free agent, Keith Yandle, is another highly touted player the Rangers would like to sign.

With these players clogging up most of the cap space, if not all, New York is going to have to look for cheap signings in free agency. Dominic Moore and Viktor Stalberg’s future remain uncertain, and Gorton is going to have to find replacement players. The Rangers top 6 is pretty much taken care of.

With New York’s tight budget, it’s going to be key to find inexpensive depth players to fill out the roster. Here is a list of low-risk, depth forwards the Rangers should look at in free agency: Read the rest of this entry

Vegas expansion and expansion draft changes plans for Dan Girardi

Bobby Bevilacqua

dan girardi skating 12-6

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

On Wednesday, the NHL Executive Committee revealed that they came up with a positive recommendation for a one team expansion in the 2017-18 season, which would be awarded to Las Vegas.

Bill Foley, the man at the forefront of the NHL expansion to Vegas, has already gotten a lease in the new T Mobile Arena as well as getting deposits on 14,000 season tickets. The next step is for Foley to sign the expansion contract and return it to the league along with the $500 million fee.

An expansion team also means an expansion draft, which would probably occur before the start of the Vegas team’s inaugural season. Initially, it was believed that teams would not have to protect players with a NTC or a NMC, but that may have changed. Read the rest of this entry

Jeff Gorton’s Legacy Will Be Defined by Difficult 2016 Offseason

John Dundon

jeff gorton

Photo courtesy of Blueshirts United.

The 2016 offseason is shaping up to be one of the wildest periods of personnel movement the NHL has seen in some time.

General managers of cap-strapped teams will be aggressively trying to shed dollars and shakeup the makeups of their respective teams.  With an expansion draft looming, and questions on whether the salary cap will even be as high as it was this past season, make no mistake about it—many GM’s will have no choice in this regard.

The team facing some of the most interesting offseason decisions of the summer? The New York Rangers. Read the rest of this entry