Originally written August 02, 2012 on Blue Seat Blogs:
It truly is the low point of the off season. The Rangers are quiet, at least publicly, and attention around the league is primarily focussed on the CBA talks. There are still a few things we can talk about though so welcome to another musings. Jump on in. The Hockey News wrote an article recently on why the North West division is the league’s worst. It got me thinking again about the Atlantic. It is comfortably the best in the league in my humble opinion. It’s full of depth, big market teams and is stacked with superstar, marquee names including the division worst Islanders if you respect John Tavares’ ability like I do. Given how tough the Atlantic is it really puts the Rangers’ last season performance in greater context. Just to recap on the Anton Stralman contract; he recently signed a 2 year $3.4m contract. While I think he has a fair bit of room for improvement when you look at what other defensemen signed for this summer, its good value for a player that got better as the year progressed and who is still very young. Stralman could realistically be a 30 point player for the Rangers and if he hits that number then 1.7m/year is a bargain. Dubi watch: I think he hits 25 goals as a Blue Jacket next year. He’ll rebound and make himself a valuable commodity once again. The Rangers will still have won the trade however and I don’t think Dubinsky will be a Jacket long term. Tim Erixon on the other hand, has it tough. He’s clearly a big talent but Columbus actually has quite a bit of talent on the back end and it’s by no means certain he starts on opening night (whenever that may be). If Erixon struggles to establish himself next year the Nash trade looks even better for the Rangers. First Rangers prediction for next year: they’ll have two 30 goal scorers: Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan. I’d pencil Gaborik in too if he was healthy to start the year. (Side note: who can tell me the last time the Rangers had 3 30 goal scorers in one year?) We’ve seen several coaches get new contracts this past few months with the latest being Peter Laviolette in Philly. I wonder if Tortorella gets a new deal. I know he signed a three year deal in April 2011 but after the brilliant season the team just enjoyed I’m sure they don’t want him reaching the end of the upcoming season with just one year left on his deal. No unnecessary distractions. Given the additional depth up front for the Rangers (the regular season with Kreider, adding Nash et al) I wonder if Carl Hagelin can even ‘just’ replicate his 38 point, 14 goal rookie season, achieved in 64 games. I think it will be tough for the Swede but he is a player that shouldn’t solely be judged on numbers. His speed is a game changing dynamic and he can play up and down the line up giving the team great flexibility. If I were Glen Sather I’d have an eye toward the future and be looking to move Mats Zuccarello for a draft pick. Clubs like Detroit who aren’t afraid to use small forwards, who missed out on several targets this offseason and who are looking to add offense would probably throw a conditional pick to the Rangers for the talented winger who clearly has no future with the Rangers. Even a mid-round pick would be worth it given the Rangers draft success in recent times. Question Time:
  • Who scores more goals for their new team: Brandon Prust or Aaron Asham
  • Michael Sauer: over or under 50 games played this coming season?
  • Who scores more points on the blueline, McDonagh, Del Zotto or another?
  • Will Chris Kreider break the twenty goal barrier as a rookie?
  • How many Rangers will break the 70 point barrier?
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