Regarding the Rangers, I have some questions:
1. Asked this one rhetorically the other day but it bears repeating: If young lefty Zac Jones, coming off an extremely impressive performance on Tuesday against the JV Bruins and a very strong camp, decisively outplays young righty Nils Lundkvist through camp, would management keep Jones and flip him to his off-side while sending the Swede to Hartford for a North American apprenticeship?
Lundkvist, by the way, does not have a European assignment clause in his contract.
2. Asking without an agenda: Will the Rangers truly need Jarred Tinordi, and is keeping the veteran as a seventh defenseman worth losing Libor Hajek for either presumably nothing if the Czech is placed on waivers, or an at-best piddling return on the trade market?
This is not about attempting to salvage a trade from 2018. That ship has sailed. (Again, I would remind you that the market for Ryan McDonagh was mysteriously light).
It is about not losing a young defenseman in Hajek, who without the spotlight trained on him, seems primed to do his best work.
3. These are exhibition games. Teams are often diluted beyond recognition, as was the case Tuesday when Curtis Lazar (or John Moore) might have been the most prominent skater in Boston’s lineup. Veterans tend to go about their business on their own timetable.
So you don’t want to make too much — if anything at all — about the Artemi Panarin-Ryan Strome-Kaapo Kakko line combining to produce three goals in that 3-2 victory on Tuesday.
Just like you don’t want to make too much out of the fact that both Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider were barely visible in Sunday’s 4-0 opening defeat to an Islanders team that did have a few cornerstones in the lineup.
4. Again. It is less than a week into training camp. But it seems to me that Julien Gauthier has done more to earn a spot than Vitaly Kravtsov.
Here, too. Is this a tryout camp? Would the Rangers keep Gauthier, a forward who probably would clear waivers and who thus could be kept in reserve while presumably getting major minutes with the Wolf Pack, instead of Kravtsov, who likely would not take too kindly to an assignment to Hartford?
Because if Gauthier, drafted 21st overall in 2016, is one of those late bloomers and finally gets it at age 23, might he not be more compatible as the right wing with Filip Chytil and Barclay Goodrow?
5. If the Rangers are committed to Chytil as a center then, of course, you wouldn’t move him to the wing a week into camp. That is understood.
But am I the only one who wonders what a Goodrow-Morgan Barron-Chytil combination would look like with No. 72 on the right side?
6. Then again, as much as everyone would like to see a push from Barron, he hasn’t done enough yet, wasn’t able to dominate during development/rookie camp the way a player of his age (22) and pedigree should have.
He needs to find another gear.
7. Sammy Blais, from the looks of it, not only finishes his checks, but finishes them with purpose. Opponents are going to feel it when No. 91 takes a piece of them, just the way the Rangers feel it when Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin take them out.
Indeed, Blais, Ryan Reaves and Dryden Hunt look to be three of a kind the Rangers haven’t had too many of in recent vintage.
8. Must admit, I don’t get why Kreider, who has a lifetime record of 162-224 at the dots for 42 percent, is taking draws in the left circle instead of Zibanejad.
Please don’t tell me it is because Kreider is a lefty.
A few clean wins for Strome in the circle on Tuesday but a damaging clean loss as well. Where was Pierre Racicot when the Rangers needed him?
9. So, first power play: Panarin, Zibanejad, Kreider, Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox.
Question: Who gets the left-circle, off-wing, one-timer assignment: Panarin or Zibanejad?
Second power play: Strome, Alexis Lafreniere, Goodrow and then either Gauthier/Kravtsov and Lundkvist/Jones or Strome, Lafreniere, Goodrow, Lundkvist/Jones and Jacob Trouba.
Not sure you want four forwards on the second unit.
10. A correction here: Reaves’ one-year contract extension through 2022-23 does not qualify as an over-35 deal. It is considered a standalone one-year contract that would not fall under the over-35 rule that applies to multi-year deals.
Beyond that, the over-35 rule has been changed per the MOU (Memo of Understanding) between the NHL and NHLPA, a deal struck over the summer of 2020 in advance of the new CBA.
The over-35 rule now does not apply on multi-year deals in which a player’s compensation is either the same or increases from one year to the next. In other words, only front-loaded deals are now over-35s that would carry cap penalties.
My apologies for the error.
(And the deal makes much more sense now.)
Published on: Article source