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Rangers Player Grades: Rick Nash, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello

Bobby Bevilacqua

zuccarello and nash 12-23

Mats Zuccarello and Rick Nash made up part of the Rangers top line, a great possession line that was also responsible on defense, and poured on the goals. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

When looking at every NHL team, each one features their top line, meant to contain the most skilled, best scoring forwards on the team that also play well together. Every line has its role, but the first line is where a lot of the scoring comes from.

Due to injury at the start of the season, and some new faces, Alain Vigneault struggled to find chemistry amongst the top three forwards. Rick Nash was always a top line staple, but Martin St. Louis started as the center in the first game of the season, because Derek Stepan was injured. Stepan was expected to be the team’s first center, but injury changed those plans.

At some point during the season, he decided to promote Derick Brassard to the top line, and soon after that, Mats Zuccarello on the right wing, due to how well him and Brass played last year. This line meshed perfectly together, and soon became the Rangers’ most productive line.

Nash, Brassard and Zuccarello could do it all. They play solid defense, maintain the majority of possession, and most importantly, score goals. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers Player Grades; Keith Yandle, Kevin Klein and Matt Hunwick

Yandle, Klein and Hunwick

Keith Yandle, Kevin Klein and Matt Hunwick combined to make up the third pairing for the Rangers throughout the season, each playing a very different role on the team. Photos courtesy of MSG Photos.

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rounding out the Rangers defense is the third pairing, which at times, can be just as important as the other two pairings. For Alain Vigneault and New York, that third pairing was constantly changing. This article will evaluate what it looked like at the end of the season, including the extra defenseman.

As of March 1st, that last pairing consisted of Keith Yandle and Kevin Klein. Yandle had just come over in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes, and Kevin Klein, playing in his first full season with the Rangers and having one of the best seasons of his career.

Matt Hunwick, signed in the offseason as the seventh defenseman, wound up playing 55 regular season games, and became a very important player for the Rangers this season.

When looking at each of these players, Yandle, Klein and Hunwick are all very different. But each one of them were important to the team in their own way. Read the rest of this entry

Will Broadway Brad be headed back to New York this offseason?

Bobby Bevilacqua

Brad Richards

After winning the Stanley Cup in Chicago, could Brad Richards be heading back to New York for next season? Photo courtesy of Nick Laham.

Now that the Stanley Cup Finals are over, with the Chicago Blackhawks crowned as champions for the third time in six years, it’s time for trade rumors, surprise signings and speculations. And today, I’m starting with my own speculation and prediction, something that I have said since before the start of the 2014-15 season.

Brad Richards will be a New York Ranger for the 2015-16 season.

Before I start, this is pure speculation. I don’t have an insider tip, I haven’t talked to Brad Richards or his agent or a family member, and I don’t have contact with any members of the Rangers’ front office. But I do think that I have some fairly strong arguments for my case.

After the Rangers were defeated by the Los Angeles Kings in five games in June of 2014, Glen Sather used his final compliance buy out on Brad Richards, terminating his contract after just three years in New York. It was a foolish contract by Sather, mainly because it kept Richards until he was 40, with a cap hit of $6.67 annually, and it was a contract that realistically never would have been completed. Keeping him at that hit would have handcuffed the Rangers when trying to re-sign younger, core players in the coming years. Read the rest of this entry

Which Rangers rookie/youngster had the biggest impact this season?

Bobby Bevilacqua

New York Rangers' J.T. Miller, right, celebrates his goal with Jesper Fast (19) during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Rangers won 5-2. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

JT Miller and Jesper Fast were two of the bright spots in the Rangers’ lineup, showcasing the future of the organization. Photo courtesy of AP.

This past season, the Rangers saw the growth and emergence of many of their young prospects, with key contributions coming from rookies and second year players. While it’s always great to have experienced players on the roster, whether it be veterans or skilled guys with a few years under their belts, it is extremely important to have youth infused in the lineup, especially one’s that contribute.

There were two rookies on the Rangers’ roster, and both of them were a huge part of the team’s success in both the regular season and the playoffs. Kevin Hayes and Jesper Fast were those two rookies, fulfilling two very different roles for the team.

And while JT Miller technically was not a rookie, but this was his first full season with the Rangers, and he certainly started to blossom into the player that the Rangers thought he would be when taking him 15th overall in the 2011 NHL draft.

Kevin Hayes, JT Miller and Jesper Fast all had important roles on the team, showing glimpses of the bright future that all three players have. Read the rest of this entry

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