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Rangers return home to take on the Panthers; Jooris could return tonight

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-panthers

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

 

 

Following a loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets to conclude their four game road trip, the Rangers (13-5-0) are back at MSG to take on the Florida Panthers (9-8-1), last season’s Atlantic Division champions.

The Rangers got goals from Mika Zibanejad and Michael Grabner but that wasn’t enough as the Blue Jackets scored late and secured a win. That was just the Rangers’ second loss in their last 10 games, and they still sit atop the Metropolitan Division Standings.

The Panthers have had a bit of a rough start to the season, tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for fifth in their division. There’s been some injuries, underperforming and integrating new players into the roster, which takes some time. But at the center of the team is the same group of young talent that won the Atlantic last season. Read the rest of this entry

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BREAKING: Rangers trade Dylan McIlrath to the Florida Panthers

Bobby Bevilacqua

dylan-mcilrath-profile-11-3

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Earlier this evening, Bob McKenzie announced via Twitter that the New York Rangers have traded Dylan McIlrath to the Florida Panthers for Steve Kampfer and a conditional seventh round pick.

If McIlrath plays 30 games for Florida this season, the Rangers get a 2018 seventh round pick from the Panthers. If he fails to reach that mark, there is no draft pick involved in the deal.

This announcement is not surprising given what had happened this season. McIlrath was good in training camp and in the preseason, but failed to really ever gain the trust of Alain Vigneault, who preferred playing Nick Holden and keeping Adam Clendening as the team’s seventh defenseman. Read the rest of this entry

Brandon Pirri might end up being the steal of the summer

Bobby Bevilacqua

brandon-pirri-profile-10-4

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

When the Rangers signed Brandon Pirri to a one year, $1.1 million contract this offseason, many fans and blogs covering the team were thrilled. The deal was a bargain and he’s a shifty, smart player with a knack for scoring. Despite bouncing around the league a bit, Pirri has shown flashes of being a really special player.

Initially drafted by Chicago, Pirri really made his mark with the Florida Panthers. In 21 games with them in 2014, he scored seven goals and 14 points. The following season he wound up scoring 22 goals in 49 games, showcasing his elite shooting ability. Prior to the start of this season, Pirri was scoring at a rate of 1.31 goals per 60 minutes, higher than Evgeni Malkin, John Tavares, James Neal, Brad Marchand and Zach Parise over the last three years.

After splitting time between the Panthers and the Ducks last year, Pirri was surprisingly not given a qualifying offer by the Ducks and the Rangers were able to snatch him up. And he’s been a fantastic signing so far. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers should go after Brian Campbell in the offseason to help defensive woes

Bobby Bevilacqua

brian campbell

Brian Campbell with the Panthers. Photo courtesy of Steve Mitchell/US PRESSWIRE.

Just three days ago, the Florida Panthers announced that they had agreed to a one year deal with 24 year old defenseman Erik Gudbranson. On the surface, it didn’t seem like a big deal at all.

But signing Gudbranson means that the Panthers now have seven defensemen under contract (Ekblad, Gudbranson, Kampfer, Kindl, Kulikov, Matheson and Petrovic). The team is fully embracing the youth movement, going with a roster that is full of newer and younger players, and they’re keeping a select few veterans around.

One of the vets that now seems like a lock to leave Sunrise, Florida is defenseman Brian Campbell. “Soupy” has been one of the offensive leaders from the blue line in his five seasons with the Panthers, scoring 27 points or more in each season, and recording a career high 53 points (4-49-53) in the 2011-12 season. This past year Campbell scored six goals and 31 points in 82 games. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers swept in season series verses Islanders (but who cares)

John Dundon

Rangers vs Islanders 4-7

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers won this installment of “epic tank battle” in a slowed down version of NYI-NYR. The Isles took this one by a final score of 4-1. Oh no… what ever will we do?

This makes the Rangers path to the first wild card spot markedly clearer, which is good! Losing to the Islanders sucks, but in this case we could care less. The regular season hasn’t mattered in two years. This team is going to be judged by performances in May and June, not April.

The Rangers had a good first period and controlled play for the most part. There was not a noticeable lack of effort. Although I suspect they missed some open corners of twine intentionally, but that’s just me. Read the rest of this entry