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Quick Hits: Kevin Shattenkirk rumors, Alain Vigneault contract extension, Rangers scouting the Kings?

Bobby Bevilacqua

Welcome back to Quick Hits, a series where I address some interesting topics about the Rangers and the league all in one article. The NHL is just coming out of the All Star Break and approaching the trade deadline. With a lot of teams competing for playoff spots, things should get pretty interesting very soon.

If there’s anything you want me to talk about in the next edition of Quick Hits, leave suggestions in the comments below.

Rangers one of the teams interested in Kevin Shattenkirk

kevin-shattenkirk

This is a longstanding rumor linking these two teams, but they’ve come back again and it seems like the Rangers are interested in trading for him at the trade deadline. I have a ton of mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, Shattenkirk is a big part of what the Rangers need to fix their defense; a right handed shot who would be an excellent partner on the top pairing with Ryan McDonagh. Once you get someone who can actually play and help out McDonagh, than the rest of the defense can be balanced out a bit.

Supposedly the Blues have been trying to work a sign and trade but nothing has come to fruition. The salary cap isn’t going up and Shattenkirk is rumored to want $7 million, which is scaring some teams off. However the Boston Bruins are supposedly willing to make the trade, and could attempt to lock him down long term.

The Rangers have been a buying team at the trade deadline for a very long time. That has cost them some quality prospects and high draft picks over the years, and it hasn’t resulted in a Stanley Cup just yet. The Rangers defensive issues have been so bad that it makes me wonder if adding just Shattenkirk is enough to fix those problems. Probably not. But the Rangers have a forward group with enough talent and depth to win a Stanley Cup, so Jeff Gorton must decide if he wants to roll the dice and go for it all yet again, or be more conservative and try to land Shattenkirk this offseason.

If he does wait, he risks not having a strong enough team for the playoffs and wasting another year of Henrik Lundqvist’s peak playoff ability. But if he does make the trade and the Rangers don’t reach their ultimate goal, then it’s another year of trade regret. Tough call for Gorton, but I think it’s better to keep the core and the prospects and try to sign Shattenkirk this offseason.

Alain Vigneault signs a two year extension

alain-vigneault-postgame-5-26

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

A few days ago the Rangers signed Alain Vigneault to a contract extension, adding another two years (until 2019-20) and increasing his salary. It seems a bit odd that they extended him already, because he was under contract for next year, and they may have jumped the gun a little bit.

I’m not part of the “Fire AV” squad but I am frustrated with his decision making and stubbornness. He refuses to make changes on the defensive pairings and bench players who deserve it, he plays Jesper Fast on the third line while giving Pavel Buchnevich seven minutes of ice time, and the Rangers have gotten worse in every year.

But he’s done a lot of good for the team. They’ve had a tremendous amount of success in the first two seasons, and he’s helped get the full potential of players. Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, JT Miller, and more are players that have had success under Vigneault. He’s done an excellent job developing the core group of guys plus the young prospects and the team is better in the long run because of it. But with the same problems popping up every season and no changes to fix it, I think the team would have been wise to wait until after this season before making this decision.

Rangers are heavily scouting the Kings?

Rumors broke yesterday that the Rangers are heavily scouting the Kings. They’ve sent a scout over to watch the AHL team and have supposedly been scouting the NHL team as well. Obviously the Rangers are looking for a sight side defenseman, and the Kings need cheap scoring. There’s a way for something to work out.

Jake Muzzin is extremely underrated and a great defenseman, but almost certainly not going anywhere. That would take a lot to get him, as great as that would be. Brayden McNabb is a 6-foot-5 solid but not flashy defenseman, and also young and cheap. The other player is Alec Martinez. Yes, that Alec Martinez.

Martinez has good offensive numbers and also drives scoring at a pretty good rate. However, he does not seem to do a great job of limiting opposing shots and offense, and might be a bit of a liability in his own zone. He’s 29, turning 30 later this season, and is under contract for another four years at $4 million. He’s probably an upgrade over Girardi and Klein, perhaps Holden as well, but his age worries me because a decline might be coming if it hasn’t happened already. The last thing the Rangers need is an aging, declining defenseman on a long term deal. If anything, let’s hope this leads to either Jake Muzzin (pipe dream) or McNabb.

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Posted on February 4, 2017, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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