Found October 31, 2013 on Blue Seat Blogs:
Brad Richards has looked strong all season. The Rangers faced a ton of adversity, a fierce rival with a new star acquisition and the pressure of facing up to back to back defeats and yet, they found a way to win. Do not underestimate how much the victory on the Island could mean to the season as a whole. Musings time! It’s amazing how perceptions can change after one good win. So many players’ games have improved over the past three games. All of a sudden a previously invisible Mats Zuccarello looks relevant, energetic and back to being difficult to play against. Benoit Pouliot looks like he can play too. Speaking of Pouliot; against the Isles he showed why he was a promising pick up. The dude has serious skill and can finish. It’s a huge season for him as if he can get some traction and find consistency he may finally stick with a team. He has to be much more consistent though. Quality AHL production last night: Danny Kristo 1+2, Conor Allen 1+1, Jesper Fast 2 helpers, Lindberg a goal, McIlrath an assist…. So many prospects are contributing in the AHL right now. The pipeline is definitely still promising. Brad Richards appears determined to give his employers a huge dilemma this coming off-season. You have to love his compete-level right now, his confidence, his willingness to get the puck on net and his general sharpness is probably the best it’s been in a Rangers uniform. The right thing to do is to still buy him out but imagine the angst Sather and co. will feel if they face buying out an 80 point producing player. Carl Hagelin is a huge addition ten games in. So much speed, forechecking, and two way ability. With Callahan and Nash still out, any extra legitimate top six forward back in the line-up is massive. On Hagelin; I think you can be a top six forward without being a strong finisher. Hagelin has fifty point upside long term, coupled with his penalty kill ability. That’s a top six player. Welcome back Ryan McDonagh. McDonagh is getting better with every game, as is the defence generally. When was the last time you saw the Rangers generate so much sustained offensive pressure and have so much pressure around the opposing net? Great signs moving forward. I cannot take anyone seriously who thinks extra rest for Henrik Lundqvist is a bad thing. The Rangers are at their best with a fresh Lundqvist. However, it’s not great for my fantasy team. Chris Kreider is getting all the kudos for his recent play and rightly so. However I really liked JT Miller’s poise and decision making, not to mention his compete level, against the Islanders. Kreider and Miller could make such a difference to the Rangers when everyone is fit and available. Depth wins. Question Time: Are there any circumstances in which the Rangers can seriously entertain keeping Brad Richards beyond this season? Bigger cause for concern: Dan Girardi or Michael Del Zotto? What are your realistic expectations for Carl Hagelin this season? How many starts should Cam Talbot get out of the remaining 71 games? How many points will Chris Kreider score this season and is he here to stay? Tweet
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