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Rangers interested in Czech defenseman Mozik

Bobby Bevilacqua

UPDATE: Vojtěch Mozík has signed an Entry Level Contract with the New Jersey Devils.

vojtech mozic

The Rangers have shown interest in 22-year old Vojtech Mozic, a defensive prospect playing in the Czech League. Photo courtesy of HC Skoda Plzen.

According to IDNES.cz, a Czech newspaper, the New York Rangers have expressed interest in signing Vojtěch Mozík, a defensive prospect playing in the Czech League for HC Plzen. Last year he led the league in goals as a defenseman with 10 goals in 50 games, adding 19 assists as well.

Mozík, 22, is 6-foot-2, 189 pounds, and a right-handed shot, and played 51 games in each of the last two seasons, with a total of 18 goals, 25 assists and 154 penalty minutes in those 102 games.

Mozík has been scouted and watched by the Rangers before, with Jan Dajdosik initially discovering him, and Gordie Clark inviting him to the team’s development camp in 2013 and 2014. After the 2013 camp, Clark told him that he performed well, with his skating ability standing out, but that he needed to get stronger. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers Player Grades: Dan Boyle and Marc Staal

Bobby Bevilacqua

Boyle and Staal

Marc Staal and Dan Boyle spent a majority of the season together on the second pairing, as polar opposite players. Boyle is the offensive specialist, and Staal is tasked as one of the shutdown defenders. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and MSG Photos.

While Ryan and McDonagh and Dan Girardi are viewed as the top defenseman on the Rangers, it’s important to have other depth players to keep a team from being one dimensional. Fortunately, New York is host to plenty of solid defensemen.

Marc Staal, a Ranger draft pick from 2005, and Dan Boyle, a veteran, offensive defenseman acquired in the offseason, made up the second pair for the majority of the season, with each player logging around or over 20 minutes a game.

Staal serves as an alternate captain, and team funny man, and Boyle is another veteran leader in the locker room, while also driving passion and quarterbacking the power play. Both of these players have been the target for a lot of blame, especially Boyle, but some of it is really undeserved. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers Player Grades: Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi

Bobby Bevilacqua

dan girardi and ryan mcdonagh

Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh have been the two top defensemen in New York for a few years now. It was another solid year for the duo, both dealing with adversity throughout the season. Photo courtesy of Bruce Bennet/Getty Images North America.

For quite some time now, the Rangers have had a defense-first mentality, and have built their team from the net out. John Tortorella was a very defensively minded coach, focusing on blocking shots, playing physical, and creating plays from behind the net.

Even with the hiring of Alain Vigneault, who brings a more up-tempo style of play to New York, he did not forget about defense. Instead, the Rangers now have a system where they create offense off of their defense, stopping plays first and then countering on the rush.

That defensive focus came through at the trade deadline as well, when Glen Sather made a move to acquire Keith Yandle, an elite puck moving, offensive defenseman from the Arizona Coyotes, forfeiting top prospect Anthony Duclair, John Moore and two picks. That gave the Rangers one of the best defenses on paper, and that was their strength heading into the playoffs.

Despite dealing with injuries and change throughout the season, the Rangers were pretty strong throughout the season at the blue line. There’s a nice mix of defensive players and guys with a bit of offensive flare, and if they all stay healthy next year, Alain Vigneault should have himself another year of shutdown defensive play. Read the rest of this entry