New York Rangers: As the World Turns


In the midst of the lazy days of summer where the breeze turns slightly colder reminding us that autumn is near and the New York Rangers newswire is as redundant and boring as the monotony and peace of the season I have to say all that is currently present for me is meaningless musings about life, love, social awareness, place in the world and the New York Rangers. Because my mood parallels that of the book “Prozac Nation” today, I’ll spare you the life story if you’ll sit by me and listen to me aimlessly spew various thought about our beloved Rangers their upcoming season and a future that is about as dubious as the world’s coming days.

New York Rangers
New York Rangers /

New York Rangers

Will the Rangers sign Derek Stepan? The arbitration is Monday. I cannot possibly imagine Jeff Gorton failing to get this deal done. I’m bored with this topic and I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Seven million per is the coveted number. It will be a testament to genius if Gorton can sign him for 6.5 million per and if he does he should reconsider his career choices from hockey General Manager to a mergers and acquisition deal maker on Wall Street. More money, less public exposure.

Who will the Rangers ultimately off to sign Stepan? The most popular thought is Kevin Klein as his value will never be higher than it is right now. But I really can’t disregard the slight tinge of vomit in my mouth when people so readily suggest Klein (who is slated to earn $2.9 million) and not even utter the most slightest mention of the unproductive, reactionary at left-wing, Tanner Glass at $1.4 million per. The third line winger, whom in spite of always playing with top-tier talent in both New York and Pittsburgh, has managed to only score a lifetime total of 60 points in 443 games, a whopping seven points (Playoffs included) last year on a line that featured Dominic Moore at center. He racked up on the upwards of 90 penalty minutes. Talk about dead weight, dead weight that is so heavy that I’m pretty sure it’s hindering Moore from being all that he can be.

Klein on the other hand as a defenseman managed to net 30 overall points last year and is an overly productive victim of circumstance on a highly talented defense. Yes, the Rangers have to probably trade Klein so you have cap breathing room, but do we have to be so adamant about it? Particularly when the Rangers have a player like Tanner Glass on the books?

The difference between two-goal playoff games and four-goal playoff games, which is what will be necessary this year to win the whole shebang with the wave of talent coming into the Eastern Conference, will be the point production on the third and fourth lines. Gone are the days where those lines are “flow and rest lines,” not when the Lightning puts six on Lundqvist in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final at the Garden. I’m sure Alexander Ovechkin, T.J Oshie and company over in D.C are licking their chops to do the same.

Is it time to part ways with Henrik Lundqvist? No. I asked myself the same thing last year than he had a Playoffs of a lifetime. The problem is goal production; A goalie does not score goals. He stops them. Added to the fact that a viable alternative in Cam Talbot is no longer there. Lundqvist is expensive, as the best often are. He is the one constant that we have had in this frustrating four year chase to the Cup.

Get rid of Lundqvist now? Remember the Harlem Riots? Would I be developing someone behind him. Yes. I believe if he wins the Cup, he will retire, he has nothing left to prove at that point. I believe if he doesn’t win the Cup this year, he will ask to be traded. His frustration at this point has to be at a boiling point.

Mar 14, 2015; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Is Rick Nash worth his large salary? At 41 goals in the regular season last year, yes it is and I don’t want to hear anything different. He struggles in the Playoffs though. At $7.8 million per he’s worth it for what he does. There’s nothing else out there that matches his package of skills and consequential production for $7.8 million dollars or less.

If Nash repeats his past playoff years this year, I’ll reconsider this. At this point I can care less what the Rangers do in the regular season. For all I care they can get the 8th playoff spot and barely slide in. Two years ago they were the most unlikely seed to get to the Cup and they got there. The Playoffs are all I care about and the only way I am measuring the talent on this team.

With all the off-season movement by the Rangers and other divisional teams, is it still reasonable to consider this a win now year? Whether it is “reasonable” or not is irrelevant. For starters this is New York and the expectations are always heightened. The city has waited 21 years for a Cup. It has a very high salary, somewhere in the 70 millions and the talent and coaching staff to do it. What cannot happen this year is another flop. It won’t be tolerated with a 70 million dollar team.

What the players that were brought in this off season (Emerson Etem, Viktor Stalberg etc.) must realize the quicker the better, is they ain’t in Kansas anymore. They are coming onto a team that is expected to and considered a favorite to win it all this year. By and large these players were signed as band aids or fill ins but their longevity with the team will be determined by the result this year.

If the Rangers don’t win the cup this year will they “tear down” the team? I think the salary cap and the amount of talent in the prospect pipeline would demand it. You have a 70 million dollar team in a large market that at that point (not winning the cup) can’t get it done when other 70 million dollar teams in comparatively equitable markets (Chicago and Los Angeles) got it done twice in recent years.

What’s so distinguishable about this group of players is the dynamic of this team is not top tier players supported by mid tier players, it’s the opposite. Nash, Lundquist and Marc Staal etc are supported by Keith Yandle, Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, J.T Miller and Kevin Hayes et. al. I think by and large the so-called mid tier players would be judged by their individual performance with only a few of them going afloat next year but those higher paid first-tier players will be gone to save money.

On Jeff Gorton: I think he’s done great so far, but for me the jury is still out on him. He still hasn’t signed Stepan. I think a failure to do that could have underestimated hazards. He’s signed Jesper Fast, Emerson Etem and J.T Miller all to contracts under a million per. But I’m more interested in what he will do next year as opposed to this year, particularly if the Rangers do win the cup this year.

Keeping a team together when heads are big, salary demands are bigger and a cap is gasping for air is a bigger accomplishment than winning a Cup with a roster that one has inherited from his predecessor. By the way, and I mean no disrespect to you Jeffery because this part of the article is devoted to you, but congratulations Glen Sather on your banner. I’m sure it will be as fancy as you are.

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How hot of a seat is Alain Vigneault in if they don’t win next year? That depends. If the Rangers don’t win the Cup next year but he takes them deep into the playoffs, even takes them to the finals, I think it’s lukewarm. He keeps an orderly locker room, he’s liked by his players and he’s a breathe of fresh air to the media compared to former coach John Tortorella. The only way I see his butt getting warm is if the Rangers don’t qualify for the playoffs or they go one and done in the playoffs. He’s been on broadway for two years and each year they have at least made the conference finals, winning it once. As a coach he has never finished out of the top five in 14 years in the NHL. Lest we forget, however, he’s never won the Cup either and that’s why he was brought here (Tortorella’s peachy personality helped matters).

Prospect I’m most bullish on: Boo Nieves. I’m just busting at the seams to get a look at this guy. Forecasted as an eventual top six winger, they say he’s got a year to go to beef up a little bit, but if the Rangers dump Glass I think they should pull Boo up this year.

For one: I’m requesting they do. For two: Tanner Glass (and I can’t overemphasize this enough) HAS TO KICK ROCKS. Boo could benefit from being called up this year and playing alongside Dominic Moore since Moore is a great role model. And according to many of my readers, apparently teams pay for that in the NHL. Plus, him and I share the same nickname, “Boo,” so I just like him for that. I don’t know how he got the nickname but that’s what many of my lady friends call me.

Next: Lundqvist Upgrades His Mask

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