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Rangers Mailbag: Trading for a defenseman, the Kreider injury, and is this team for real?

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

This is the first Mailbag of the 2016-17 season, a series of articles I do where I ask my readers to submit questions and I answer them to the best of my ability.

This series is all about you, so I urge you to ask any questions you have, especially about the Rangers, to help this series become full of content.

Thanks to everyone that participated, and be sure to keep your eyes out for my next edition of the Mailbag article. I’m hoping to do this every two or three weeks.

On to the questions!

Do you feel like the Rangers need to add a solid defenseman in order to make a legit Cup run? – Jason Fristensky

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Marc Staal defends against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 19. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

This is a question that has come up often over the last few years, and especially during this offseason. Almost every year I would answer with a resounding yes. But this year, my answer varies depending on your definition of “solid defenseman.”

Two years ago, we saw the Rangers trade for dynamic offensive defenseman Keith Yandle. He was very effective for them, but ultimately was not a difference maker when it came to trying to win a Cup. Most of that has to do with how Alain Vigneault uses defensemen, and how he tends to lean on his shutdown guys.

I am also impressed with how the defense has played to this point. At first, I was expecting this season to look something like how the Rangers played during last season’s winter months, which was a disaster on the backend. But a full season has had a positive effect on Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, as well as for keeping guys like Ryan McDonagh fresh. Nick Holden has improved over the last few weeks and Brady Skjei has been miles better than anticipated, which certainly helps. Read the rest of this entry

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BREAKING: Rangers trade Dylan McIlrath to the Florida Panthers

Bobby Bevilacqua

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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

Rangers battle Vancouver for sixth straight win; Skjei becoming the complete package

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After another five goal game, the Rangers (10-3-0) will aim to make it six consecutive wins tonight when they take on the Vancouver Canucks (4-8-1) at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers are coming off of a 5-2 beat down of the Winnipeg Jets, marking the team’s fifth straight win and their fifth straight game scoring at least five goals. With goal scoring from all over the team and pretty good goaltending as of late, Alain Vigneault and his squad are climbing up the NHL standings.

The Vancouver Canucks are trending in the exact opposite direction. They’ve lost their last nine games after starting the season 4-0-0 and are really struggling right now. The Canucks lost last night against the Islanders and need to turn things around, fast. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers win fifth straight with five goal effort over Winnipeg

Bobby Bevilacqua

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With yet another five goal outburst, the Rangers (10-3-0) won their fifth straight game, beating the Winnipeg Jets (5-7-1) at Madison Square Garden by a final score of 5-2.

This was the fifth consecutive game in which the Rangers have scored five goals, marking the first time since the 1978-79 season that a Rangers team had done that. The 10 wins through 13 games is tied for the best 13 game start to a season, and their plus-26 goal differential over the first 13 games is the best in franchise history.

The Jets’ goal scorers were Patrik Laine, who is tied for the league lead with eight goals, and Mark Scheifele. The Rangers got goals from Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, JT Miller, Jesper Fast, and Pavel Buchnevich. Henrik Lundqvist had a good game, making a few pretty great stops and finishing with 24 saves in his seventh win. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers battle Laine and the Jets at MSG and aim for fifth straight win

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

After another five goal effort against the Bruins last night, the Rangers (9-3-0) take on the Winnipeg Jets (5-6-1) at Madison Square Garden, with the team looking for a season best five game win streak.

The Rangers erased an early deficit yesterday with another five goal game, including Nick Holden’s first as a Ranger, Stepan’s first of the season and Pavel Buchnevich’s first career NHL goal. Antti Raanta had another great performance, turning aside 35 shots for his second win of the season.

The Jets won their last game, beating the Red Wings 5-3. Two rookies shined in the game, with 2016 second overall pick Patrik Laine scoring his seventh goal of the season, and Brandon Tanev scoring his first two NHL goals, including the game winner. Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves. Read the rest of this entry