Author Archives: Ezra Kwestel

Can the Rangers “March” into the playoffs?

NYR must stand tall in March. (Bruce Bennet/Getty)

NYR must stand tall in March. (Bruce Bennet/Getty)

It’s now March, and the race for the playoffs is heating up. The Rangers (80 points) currently sit in second place behind the Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. Not too far behind them sit the New York Islanders (75 points), who aren’t too far in front of the Pittsburgh Penguins (74 points). Up until now, the Rangers have not played through a stretch of games that featured too many playoff teams, but that changes pretty extremely over the next four weeks.  Read more

Trade Deadline Recap: Winners & Losers

First of all, it’s great to once again be contributing to FullTilt NYR. It’s you, our readers, who make writing all the more worth it.

Once again, another NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone. This year, however was much less active, with only 19 trades being made involving 37 players, down from 24/43 last year. Several of those trades as well involved minor leaguers. One other point of note is that most of the big deals (Laad, Staal, Hudler) went down prior to Monday, which made Monday a little less interesting. We can chalk up the lack of excitement on Trade Deadline day to three issues: A) Too many players dictate where they are allowed to be traded, so GM’s hands are tied B) The contenders are all up against the salary cap. This makes it much harder for them to fit new roster players. C) Teams refusing to trade 1st round picks for rentals. Now that we got the boring analysis out of the way, let’s look at some winners and losers of Trade Deadline day/season.

Winners

Chicago Blackhawks

Acquired F Andrew Laad, F Dale Weise, F Thomas Fleischmann D Christian Ehrhoff

Lost: F Marko Danno, Rob Scuderi

Analysis: Stan Bowman strikes again. He got the party started by bringing back former Blackhawk and 2010 cup winner Andrew Laad. Obviously, giving up the 1st round pick is always difficult, but Laad was one of two highly coveted top-six forwards on the market. This is now two years in a row for Chicago in giving up a 1st rounder (Vermette last year). I love the Weise/Fleischmann trade. As we saw in Montreal, Weise can handle top-six minutes, and will be a great grinder along the boards. Fleischmann is a nice depth acquisition, and can net a few goals in a smaller role. Picking up Ehrhoff is a nice low-risk move for the Blackhawks, considering they gave up only Rob Scuderi, who’s salary they will retain. Ehrhoff obviously isn’t the player he once was, but can be a nice complement on the bottom pairing.

Florida Panthers

Acquired: F Jiri Hudler F Teddy Purcell D Jakub Kindl

Lost: F Brandon Pirri

The orchestrator of the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks team is at it again; this time with Florida. They feel good story of the NHL season is going for it. The acquisition of Jiri Hudler will help their top-six and bring Stanley Cup winning experience to a very young team. Purcell adds nice depth to the bottom-six and his veteran presence will help too.

New York Rangers

Acquired: F Eric Staal

New GM Jeff Gorton did very well in his first major trade. He played his hand very well, atoning for the mistake Glen Sather made two years ago when the player he traded for (St. Louis) had a NMC. It was key for the Rangers that they didn’t give up any major prospect, a 1st round pick or a roster player. Staal’s presence solidifies the Rangers’ Top-nine, which now has the potential to cause opposing coaches matchup nightmares. In his first game on Broadway, Staal showed-off his strength and puck possession skills, as well as a fine showing in the face-off circle. He too, brings veteran leadership and Stanley-Cup winning experience to a locker room that lost two key members from the last two seasons, in Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin.

Eric Staal settles in for a faceoff against the Columbus Blue Jackets on February 29, 2016. (Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Eric Staal settles in for a faceoff against the Columbus Blue Jackets on February 29, 2016. (Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Honorable Mention: Anaheim Ducks- Acquired F Brandon Pirri and F Jamie McGinn

Losers

Vancouver Canucks

In all fairness to Jim Benning, his top trade asset, Dan Hamhuis had a NTC. As Benning even explained, the top teams didn’t come calling for Hamhius, so no deal was able to be made. Benning also struggled to find takers from Radim Vrbata, who many thought was a shoe-inn to be traded. Now they’ll most likely lose him on July 1st for nothing. Besides for their inactivity, they also made a head-scratching trade on February 22, when they sent F Hunter Shinkaruk to Calgary in exchange for F Markus Granlund. 

Tampa Bay Lightning

Not trading Jonathan Drouin is a big mistake, and maybe Steven Stamkos too. For a team that is right there in the playoff mix, I find it hard to believe that Yzerman couldn’t find a suitable deal for Drouin. Now the situation lingers at least until the draft.

And finally, although I can’t dub them a winner of the Trade Deadline, I would be remiss if this blog didn’t give proper credit to the Toronto Maple Leafs and the work of their front office. Not only did they get rid of some horrendous contracts, but they also loaded up on draft picks, and will be a team to look out for in the next few years. Although I am a bit disappointed that they didn’t trade their two most tradeable assets in P.A. Parenteau and Michael Grabner, who would’ve fetched some nice returns, they still did a tremendous job overall.

Follow me on twitter: @ekwestel

 

Let the Rumors Fly: Drouin Watch is On

Drouin and Yandle battle(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

Drouin and Yandle battle(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

As if Rangers fans didn’t have enough of an outburst yesterday after Alain Vigneault’s comments about Henrik Lundqvist’s play as of late, we were treated to some more entertainment, as Larry Brooks now officially reports the Rangers’ interest in Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin.  Read more

Assessing the NYR Defense Situation in 2016

McDonagh needs to lead the D (Getty)

McDonagh needs to lead the D (Getty)

The Rangers have a good (or bad) issue to deal with over the next few months. Since their game on November 25 vs. Montreal, the Rangers were amongst the top teams in the league for Goals Allowed- meaning least amount given up. Since then, the levies have broken and the goals are being scored against the Rangers like free candy giveaways on the street corners of whatever city the Rangers find themselves playing in that night. The play of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal has been much maligned throughout this slump, and sometimes rightfully so. However many times it isn’t warranted. Read more

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