Welp, the stick finally hit the proverbial (Ranger) fan as Coach Alain Vigneault and GM Jeff Gorton apparently had enough of their own lip service as well as that spewing from their players ad nauseum. That’s right. None other than discussion-lightning-rod and AHL-banished forward Tanner Glass was recalled from the Hartford Wolfpack yesterday, along with defenseman Steve Kampfer.
Now, say what you want about Glass – and virtually everyone in Rangerland has – the current state of affairs for this team with only a month left to go in the regular season and the trade deadline in the rearview mirror is indisputable:
1) The team’s forte, its scoring prowess, has all but disappeared, case in point they’ve scored fewer than 2 goals per game over the last 9 while only playing wildcard worthy, .500 hockey. Read the rest of this entry
The Rangers have been fortunate to have quite a few talented young players blossoming at the NHL level recently. Kevin Hayes is emerging as a top six quality center, racking up primary points and playing a much better two-way game. Chris Kreider set a new career high in goals and is emerging as a fantastic power forward. And Brady Skjei is far outperforming offensive expectations while playing a very solid defensive game.
But JT Miller’s steady development and consistency over the last three seasons has been the most exciting, and he might be evolving into a franchise player.
Miller, 23, has played parts of five seasons with the Rangers and has improved in each and every one of them. In the 2012-13 season under John Tortorella, Miller was largely a fourth line player, not earning the trust of the former head coach and tallying four points (2-2-4) in 26 games. It was much of the same in Alain Vigneault’s first season as well, recording six points (3-3-6) in 30 games and playing just four playoff games in the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Read the rest of this entry
Last season saw the emergence of many good rookies, such as Jack Eichel, Filip Forsberg, Artemi Panarin and Connor McDavid. But Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers was one of the most exciting and promising players to emerge from last year.
Gostisbehere was coming off of a 2014-15 season where he tore his ACL and played just five AHL games. The Union College grad played in a full-time role for the first time last season, featuring in 64 games and scoring 17 goals and 29 assists (46 points). The 17 goals was a Flyers record for goals by a rookie defenseman. He also had a 15-game scoring streak, which was the longest by a defenseman in the last 20 years, and also was the first rookie to score four overtime goals.
He played on the top pairing against some of the top players in the league and was certainly a strong and effective defender. He was lauded for his ability to transition quickly, easily able to recover from a turnover and get back on defense. A great skater, an excellent passer and scorer, and a power play quarter back (8-14-22 on the power play last season), Gostisbehere had the look of an elite defenseman. Read the rest of this entry
Quick Hits: Kevin Shattenkirk rumors, Alain Vigneault contract extension, Rangers scouting the Kings?
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
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. Read the rest of this entry
It’s no secret that for a large portion of the season, the defense has been the biggest issue for the Rangers. Sure, it’s been better over the last week or two, but the defensive deficiencies and inability to make three balanced pairings has been the biggest source of problems so far.
To recap: Dan Girardi hasn’t been much better than last season, Kevin Klein has been far worse than last season, and the other players haven’t been spectacular either. Ryan McDonagh has done his best to carry this team, but has had some bad games and is often dragged down when partnered with Girardi and Klein. Holden has been a steadying force, Staal is okay and Skjei has had an encouraging rookie season with the expected rookie mistakes and growing pains.
Regardless of what you think about the defensive corps, which also includes Adam Clendening, the bottom line is that they haven’t been able to get the job done on a consistent basis and have cost the Rangers more games than they’ve won. With Marc Staal out, the Rangers have been able to test out Clendening and while we’ve seen some good things from him, he’s not the solution to their problems. Read the rest of this entry