While many other NHL teams went about making a big splash by signing high-end talent during the current free agent period, the New York Rangers went about making a big splash by signing guys who literally…. make a big splash.
Chris Drury took a look at the Tampa Bay Lighting and the St. Louis Blues and decided that the most recent Stanley Cup winners had something in common. Big defensemen! From there he went about his business finding big guys who can man the blue line and play a tough brand of hockey. Welcome Jarred Tinordi and Patrik Nemeth. The former is 6′ 6″, the later is 6’3″.
Keep in mind that K’Andre Miller is 6’5″ and Jacob Trouba is 6’3″. That leaves Ryan Lindgren at a paltry 6’0″ and Adam Fox the runt at 5’11”. Lindgren is one tough mother in that six-foot frame and Fox is only the reigning Norris trophy winner in his undersized body.
Suddenly the Rangers aren’t just big on the back-end, they are HUGE….and talented.
Drury also added some grit by grabbing Barclay Goodrow and Sammy Blais to the team. It seemed like the new GM had accomplished his goal of making the Rangers a tougher team to play against.
Then Thursday night happened.
Welcome to the Metropolitan Division Mr. Ryan Reaves.
Let me introduce you to this toolbox.
Holy cow! Can the season start soon enough!
Okay, I get what the naysayers will be spouting, and I understand the league is not what it used to be when it comes to fisticuffs, but you can’t tell that there is not joy in the blue seats today.
Will the first game against the Capitals be a three ring circus? It very well may be, but I doubt it. It will be fun to watch to regardless, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the Garden will be sold out and rocking…..WAIT!…..February 24th! Are you kidding me! Who makes these NHL schedules anyway?
The bottom line is this, the Rangers do not need to be playing the Capitals for the Garden to immediately feel the Ryan Reaves effect. Reaves will bring a new buzz to the Garden, and in all honesty, after watching the damn Islander fans during the playoffs, the Garden is in desperate need of buzz.
The Garden has been catatonic compared to the raucous old barn on Long Island. Ryan Reaves may just be the guy who wakes up the Wall Street crowd that sits on their hands all game.
The Player Effect
The addition of Ryan Reaves should make life a whole lot easier for the kids. You have to imagine that Kaapo Kakko, Filip Chytil and Vitali Kravtsov are all feeling just a little bit taller today.
Alexis Lafrenière grew up in the Quebec Major Hockey League, so he’s knows the drill, but what should be really fun to watch is how the affable Canadian relates to Reaves, who himself is a pretty affable guy. They should be quite the pair.
Veterans like Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome and Mike Zibanejad have been around long enough to know what the presence of a guy like Reaves on the bench brings to a team. Quite frankly, they should be feeling really good about their new GM, who clearly made this move with their best interests in mind.
This is not a move Drury made to turn the Rangers into some sort of goon-squad. It was a long overdue move that was done in the same vein as what the Edmonton Oilers did when they signed Milan Lucic to a ridiculous deal in order to have him around while Connor McDavid grew up. This deal, makes a lot more sense than that one.
One has to wonder how Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, Ross Johnson and Scott Mayfield are feeling this morning. These guys have spent the last few years laughing at the Rangers from the bench, and on the ice.
Who is laughing now?