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What would you do with the goaltending?

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RUMOR MILL

Thursday - December 5th

Per Elliot Friedman of Sportsnet:

Prior to the December 1st deadline, the Oikers apparently tried again to move Jesse Pujljujarvi, and the Rangers were reportedly one of the teams interested.

The trade would have involved Lias Andersson going the other way, but ultimately they could work out a deal.



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Question Of The Day

September 29th, 2017

How many rostered players were on the ice for opening night 2016-17

Answer...
  BIRTHDAYS

Lou Fontinato - 1932
Maxim Kondratiev - 1983

  SEARCH BIRTHDAYS
  RANDOM RANGER

RICO FATA
(2001-2003)
  Born: Feb 12 - 1980  
  Pos: Right Wing  
  GP: 46  
  G: 2  
  A: 4  
  Pts: 6  
  PIMs: 6  
 

Assessing the Defense
Posted by Daniel Akeson ≡ - August 23, 2007

Throughout the off-season I have blogged about possible defensive options from free-agent signings to trade possibilities in order to upgrade their squad. However, I never sat down and actually assessed the defense that we have. As the season nears, it appears more and more likely that the current Rangers defense is the one that will battle for the top seven spots.

While few defensemen stand out as elite, the Rangers have at least ten defenseman that are capable of making that top seven. Let's make a quick list:

- Marek Malik
- Michael Rosival
- Fedor Tyutin
- Dan Girardi
- Thomas Pock
- Jason Strudwick
- Paul Mara
- Andrew Hutchinson
- Darius Kasparaitis
- Marc Staal

While any of those would be a second or third pairing defenseman on most teams, none are true Norris-consideration material. Not to say that is a bad thing because depth is always important, but is this a Stanley Cup caliber defense? Hardly.

Before we get into individual performances and roles on the team, what is truly and glaringly lacking is a true offensive defenseman. Call me spoiled for all those years of watching Brian Leetch, but there isn't one power play quarterback or consistent 50+ point guy there. How do you compensate?

Well, this has been a forced role for Michael Rosival and Fedor Tyutin still hasn't come into his own offensively. So as any good coach will tell you, defend as a unit. Head Coach Tom Renney has enacted that and had success, but not enough to really push New York over the hump.

The first way to break this squad down is to determine who the top seven will be. It's safe to assume that Rosival and Malik will remain a pairing, as they have been the steadiest ( I say that cringing ) pairing the Rangers have. Next is a little interesting.

Personally, I would love to see a Tyutin and Girardi pairing, it almost reminds me of the Leetch and Beukeboom days. Not to say either Girardi or Tyutin play as them, but it is a young pairing that can grow with both an offensive and defensive presence on the ice. In fact, Girardi was the most steady Rangers defenseman at the end of last season.

Already we have the top spots four gone. Three remaining.

Paul Mara showed some power play abilities and has a solid shot. If he were paired with a solid defensive defenseman, he could be an offensive asset. He's also still relatively young and has some potential. So who should he play with?

Thomas Pock is an offensive minded defenseman. Darius Kasparaitis has shown a tough time keeping up in the quicker paced NHL. Jason Strudwick is a utility guy, but does he warrant nightly ice time? Newly acquired Andrew Hutchinson is a bit of an unknown, but has power play potential and offensive talent.

Now it would almost appear the Rangers have too many offensive defenseman. However, none of them are offensive talents, just offensive-minded.

Let's presume that Kasparaitis is sent down to Hartford again to alleviate salary cap space and save room for the younger defenseman. There now remains two spots and four players to look at.

Of the remaining four, the only true defensive-minded skater is Marc Staal. Though he hasn't seen a game in the NHL and doesn't have much AHL experience, is this a good break-in year for him? With the Rangers having a very specific goal of a Stanley Cup, this isn't time for rookie mistakes.

At the same time, there could be two offensive defensemen on a pairing. Having two offensive defenseman as a pairing could work if the players were defensively responsible. In this case, it just may very well have to work.

If, in the interest of experience, we give one of the final two spots to Andrew Hutchinson we now look like this:

Malik - Rosival
Tyutin - Girardi
Mara - Hutchinson

Kasparaitis - Hartford

Marc Staal, Thomas Pock, and Jason Strudwick remaining.

At this point it would seem that Staal would be best served beginning the season in Hartford. Pock and Strudwick have both earned their stripes and the rookie Staal could use the AHL for transition. He would most likely end up being called up during the season anyway.

What is unique about both Pock and Strudwick is that both are utility players and can play both forward and defense. Chances are the two of them will rotate throughout the season or the Rangers may even choose to carry eight defenseman.

Our final solution looks like this:

Malik - Rosival
Tyutin - Girardi
Mara - Hutchinson

Pock/Strudwick rotate

Kasparaitis and Staal in Hartford.

I still personally feel a move is in the works to alleviate some of these defensive issues and bring in a more quality defenseman. That may also have had something to do with Peca's non-signing.

Time will tell, but for now we have an elite goalie, potent offense, and average defense.


Profile of the Author:
An avid New York Rangers fan, season ticket holder, and New York critic! Feel free to contact me or visit my blog at PucksOnBroadway.blogspot.com!

 Additional stories from Daniel Akeson:


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