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Quick Hits: Derek Stepan trade value, AV’s comments on the team, and Beukeboom getting promoted?

Bobby Bevilacqua

alain vigneault 10-10

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

With the Stanley Cup Finals underway (Game 2 tonight on NBC), there isn’t a lot to talk about with the Rangers until the offseason rolls around. Apart from European and College free agents, not much action has happened and there are just rumors flying around right now.

Everything that can be said about the Rangers has been said. A week or so ago, Larry Brooks surprised everyone by saying that there’s almost nobody that is off limits in a trade, with Lundqvist, Buchnevich and Skjei being the only untouchables. But Alain VIgneault backed that statement, going even further when talking to reporters at a golf tournament in Canada yesterday.

Vigneault said that while it is hard to make trades in the salary cap era, there are “no untouchables” on the team with the point they are at.

“In the past five years, the core of our training has hardly changed,” said Vigneault. “Myself, it’s been three years that I am here. With managers, we look for ways to bring some new blood, some new energy within our group.”

The Rangers could be looking to revamp their core, but signing all of their young RFAs (Kreider, Hayes, Miller and McIlrath). But looking at some of the other supplementary pieces, such as Rick Nash, they could be on the move. With the cap situation the Rangers find themselves in, I think it’s a high possibility that Rick Nash and his $7.8 million cap hit could be on the move. That would allow the team to tap into the free agent market to improve their team.

In Brooks’ article, he mentioned that the Minnesota Wild were very interested in Derek Stepan, and want to add the Minnesota native to their team. Stepan, 25, has been improving, scoring a career high 22 goals this season and climbing steadily towards a point per game pace. He’s an excellent all-around player, more than capable on defense and a big part of the team’s success. Parting with him would have to bring an excellent return despite his $6.5 million cap hit.

matt dumba

Photo courtesy of Al Charest/Calgary Sun.

If the Wild are willing to send young talent to the Rangers, or a mix of good prospects and
draft picks, Gorton might consider it. Throwing 21 year old defenseman Matt Dumba into the mix would make it a very intriguing trade possibility, and Dumba would do wonders for helping to rebuild the Rangers’ blue line.

The defense is in shambles after this season, with serious regression from Dan Girardi and Marc Staal plus the likely possibility of Keith Yandle leaving in the offseason. It was previously reported that there wasn’t a chance of a Girardi buyout or trade, but AV’s comments yesterday shed a different light on the situation.

“He’s a warrior,” Vigneault said of Girardi. “However, when the body has difficulty to follow because many injuries, there are always limits to what an athlete can accomplish.”

That seems like the team, at least the head coach, is starting to realize that G just can’t keep up anymore. His body has taken a beating after many years of playing a tough, physical game, and it’s taken a toll on him and his ability to play. Matt Dumba, combined with using players like McIlrath and Skjei next season, could really help the team improve on the backend.

Another way to improve there is by promoting Jeff Beukeboom as AV’s assistant coach. In case you haven’t heard, Ulf Samuelsson was hired as the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL team, leaving a vacancy on the Rangers coaching staff.

jeff beuk

Photo courtesy of the New York Rangers/Blueshirts United.

Beukeboom is a defensive specialist, and under his guidance, players like McIlrath and Skjei have flourished. At the AHL level, players like Mat Bodie and Ryan Graves have also developed very nicely, all turning into solid defensemen that could factor into the Rangers future. Beukeboom’s knowledge and guidance would translate very well to the NHL level, where he could help the team get back to being a strong, consistent defensive team yet again.

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Posted on June 1, 2016, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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