The Rangers have had to make a few changes due to injuries, and it has been for the better. As I predicted in the Jan. 18th blog "Changes Have To Come", the Rangers went 6-2 over the last 8 games and the lineup has been changed up mostly due to the coach being forced to make the moves that always seemed the way things should be to people outside the organization, if not also inside the top brass. When the Rangers President Glen Sather made the trade for Keith Yandle, it clearly wasn't to be a 3rd pairing defenseman and 2nd powerplay quarterback since what they gave up seemed like an overpay for a top 4 dman and powerplay quarterback. When Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh went down with a concussion from a sucker punch from Flyers forward Simmonds, the Rangers coach was forced to put Yandle into the role he should have been in since he was acquired.
J.T. Miler is finaly being used the right way also. I understand that when coaches and G.M.'s have big priced players that they feel the need to play them despite how much it may hurt the team. J.T. Miller has always showed a solid skill set but as soon as he seemed to become a top 6 forward, he would do something that moved him out of the top 6 forwards. Well it finally seems that J.T. Miller has found his game and how to sustain his game at the NHL level. He no longer defers to other players on the ice to make things happen and makes the plays himself and is not the "go-to guy" when on the ice. Miller is now carrying the Rangers offense as the organization thought he could when he was drafted in the 1st round. The reason why he was given this chance was because Rick Nash has been banged up and the coach had to let Miller play through whatever he was doing.
Posted by RRanger ≡ 10:03:06 AM - February 7, 2016
For Rangers fans it has truly been a glass half empty, or has it been a glass half full season so far? On the full side, third in the conference and five points back of the Florida Panthers for second overall, and home ice advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs. Catching the scorching Washington Capitals won't happen, the second place Florida Panthers are another matter. The Rangers now have a identifiable goal to play for in the season ending sprint. And they better take it serious because on the half empty side, 10 teams are within 9 points of catching them. They control their own destiny, and they have to take advantage of that, if they have any hopes of a playoff run more
Posted by Michael M. Ramos ≡ 10:45:20 AM - February 5, 2016
This season has been unlike any of the 2 previous under coach Alain Vigneault mainly because the product on the ice is not only inconsistent from game to game, but from shift ot shift most games. In the past 2 years, it seemed that the players held each other accountable and it was methodical how they worked the puck in the offensive zone and the way they coveredthe opposition in the defensive zone. This season the defensive zone seems confused and the Rangers seem to be chasing the opposing players and Rangers sticks never seem to be in the passing lane leading to goals against on a regular basis. The urgency and fire in the eyes of the Ranger players that has been there for the last 2 years seems to have been replaced by a comfortable and tired look. Is it that this team has just played to much in the last 2 offseasons and are worn out. That would be acceptable to the Garden Faithful if they would have won the Stanley Cup, but the long runs and very good last 2 seasons have landed short of the ultimate prize. Question for the coach and Garden brass is play the season out and hope for everything to click in or make the change needed to wake up this sleeping giant?
New General Manager was said to be at the Rangers practice before the Rangers / Wild game along with MSG President and ex-GM Glen Sather who were also joined by coach Vigneault in the stands. Were they just watching or talking about the move everyone outside the organization thinks they need to make? The first move made after the injuries to Rick Nash and Kevin Klein was the promotion of Jayson Megna who was put on the 2nd powerplay unit his first game back. Megna seems like a perfect fit on this Rangers team looking for speed and the fire in the eyes needed from the bottom 6 forwards. The biggest question comes when dealing with Kevin Hayes. Hayes had a pretty successful rookie year where he had 17 goals-28assists for 45 points and a +15 in 79 games. This season he has looked lost at times and in 49 games only has 7 goals-15 assists for 22 points and only a +1. Granted last season he played mainly with Carl Hagelin and Martin St. Louis and this year it has been a mish mosh of players but he has seem alot of tome with rookie Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast who play very different roles. The coach has even showed a lack of faith in the younf center by putting him at wing during one stretch of the season. It would seem that Hayes in at his best when he is in the middle of two speed players and at least one that can finish off a goal. If the Rangers don't choose to make a bigtime move in the top 9 forwards, once Nash gets back and is 100%, The Rangers would seem to have a solid top 9 in Miller-Brassard-Fast/Nash-Stepan-Zuccarello/ Kreider-Hayes-Stalberg. A fourth line of Lindberg-Moore-Megna-Glass mix should work also.
The biggest question for the G.M. is play the season out, resign the restricted free agents in Kreider, Miller, Hayes and let the unrestricted free agents walk in mainly Keith Yandle while "going for it" this season. This is one of those seasons that no matter what the Rangers are doing wrong, they are still in a playoff position which makes it hard for anyone to want to see the team sell off pieces. The smart thing to do would be to trade away Yandle and recoup a #1 pick and a solid top end prospect if not a bottom 6 roster player also. Yandle might not fit exactly into this Rangers team, but he is still the Rangers 5th highest scorer netting 3 goals-24 assists for 27 points and a +6 while helping Dylan McIlrath adjust to the NHL. Can you imagine what his numbers would be if he was used correctly by this Rangers coaching staff and put on the 1st powerplay unit and teamed with either Dan Girardi or Marc Staal? Either use him or lose him Rangers.
The Rangers brass knows more than anyone in what their plan is for this season and going forward. In this Cap Era, any move made affects the team for years. Are the Rangers positioning for a run at Stamkos this summer? Of course they are hoping for $10 mil a year for the max of 7 years that would fit in next seasons cap with only minimum change to this Rangers roster. Do they expect Pavel Buchnevich to come over this year and add to this seasons playoff run? Do they expect future Notre Dame grad Fogarty to fill next seasons 4th center role which he has done well doing in college? It's expected Brady Skjei will be a regular in the Rangers top 6 defense next season more
Posted by Michael M. Ramos ≡ 11:04:34 AM - January 18, 2016
The Rangers have been one of the elite teams over the last 4 years but just haven't had enough to get over the hump and bring home the Stanley Cup to Manhattan. It cost John Tortorella a job and had some players moved out of town, including Captain Callahan trying to get to that last step with no avail. Since coach Alain Vigneault has been behind the bench the Rangers have been to the Stanley Cup Final and last season won the regular season President's Trophy for best reglar season team but fell short in the conference finals, those are two very good seasons but just not enough to win it all. This season has seen many injuries and there were more heart and soul players lost this past summer and the Rangers seem like most of the other run of the mil teams. Yes they still have one of the best goalies in the league, they have a group of fast young forwards, and the core of the defense. Problem is, the forwards aren't working with the defense in all 3 zones and after a great start our all-world goalie looks human. Changes need to happen for the Rangers to get to where they have been the last few years more
Posted by Michael M. Ramos ≡ 2:10:27 PM - January 3, 2016
Rangers coach has been quaoted in the New York local players as saying that as a coach he has made it clear many times of what is expected of him to be a vital part of the Rangers team, but he has been a healthy scratch the last few games and has the coach saying he is at a "tipping point". We all saw what happened the last time a player from Tampa wanted to be traded, the Rangers overpayed for a player that was supposed to bring the Cup to New York but fell short in his 2 seasons played before he retired this summer. That trade happened under Glen Sather, so don't expect new G.M. Gorton to overpay this time around. When Glen Sather stepped aside, the new G.M. said that the main difference between him and Sather would be that he would take alot more time to make a deal and not rush into one. In a statement that came out today from Jonathan Droiun's agent Allan Walsh per Bob McKenzie of TSN...".Drouin's agen Allan Walsh wanted to make it known publicly that he had formally requested a trade on Drouin's behalf in NOVEMBER. The player wants out." Drouin was assigned to the Tampa AHL club earlier today which forced Walsh to go public more
Posted by Michael M. Ramos ≡ 3:07:19 PM - January 1, 2016
The Rangers website tweeted today that the Rangers staff is giving Dan Girardi the day off of practice because swelling has happened again in his cracked kneecap. Why does coach Alain Vigneault feel he has to play an injured Girardi over putting Dylan McIlrath in the lineup and getting him more experience. McIlrath won't take Girardi's spot in the lineup but he would be solid on the 3rd pairing as he has shown so far this season. With Dan Boyle playing better, he should move up to a 2nd pairing with Marc Staal and put Kevin Klein with Captain Ryan McDonagh. A 3rd pairing of McIlrath and Keith Yandle would be a mix of offense and defense and see if it would be worth pursuing this summer with both being free agents this summer more