Category Archives: Team Features

Rangers Prospects at the Memorial Cup

The Memorial Cup is an annual tournament to decide the winner of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). The tournament includes the winners of the Quebec Major Junior League (QMJHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and the Western Hockey League (WHL). The host city is determined almost a year in advance and that team is guaranteed a spot in the tournament.

The 2017 Memorial Cup featured the:

  • Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL Champions)
  • Erie Otters (OHL Champions)
  • Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL Champions)
  • Windsor Spitfires (OHL Host Team)

So how do the New York Rangers fit into the Memorial Cup? It’s simple; two of the Blueshirts best prospects played in the tournament for the CHL’s biggest prize.

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Fourth Line and “Black Aces” Season Recap and Grades

USA Today

The Rangers fourth line was unique this season for the Blueshirts. The line had constants in Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg, but the third spot saw a constant rotation. The spot was occupied by Russian rookie Pavel Buchnevich, journeymen Brandon Pirri, Tanner Glass and Matt Puempel, and Hartford Wolfpack call-up Nicklas Jensen. No matter who was on the line, the unit played with grit and an unwavering work ethic that was always much appreciated by the coaches and the Blueshirt faithful.
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Third Line Season Recap and Grades

USA Today

The Rangers third line of JT Miller, Kevin Hayes, and Michael Grabner was together for nine percent of the 2016-17 season and was very productive for the majority of the campaign. The trio played with a combination of speed and skill that caused problems for the opposition. With the potential of Grabner being selected by Vegas in the expansion draft, his year on Broadway was one that saw a lot of successes.
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Second Line Season Recap and Grades

USA Today

The line of Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad and Jimmy Vesey was only together for a measly 2.09 percent of the Rangers season. But with Nash and Zibanejad both missing time due to injuries, this line did not have much time to gel during the heart of the regular season. The line performed well together, with Vesey able to “go under the wing” of Nash. All three players should be back on Broadway next season and, hopefully, will continue to get better in the coming years.

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First Line Season Recap and Grades

AP

The line of Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello was together for just 12% of the Rangers 2016-17 campaign, but when they were, they were very effective. The distribution of Stepan, who racked up 38 assists during the regular season, the speed of Kreider and the playmaking and vision of Zuccarello, who himself had 44 helpers, made this line very dynamic. Each player went through their personal hot and cold streaks, but when the Rangers were in need of a goal, this line was almost always on the ice.
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The Rangers Expansion Draft Primer

Benjamin Hager/Review Journal

On June 20, 2017, the expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights will draft 30 players left unprotected by the rest of the teams in the NHL. The next day, the results will be announced during the NHL awards show (unless they are leaked earlier, of course). There promises to be a lot of player movement in two high-stakes games, chess and “chicken”. Golden Knights GM George McPhee could bluff his way into a treasure trove of draft picks and prospects, by claiming to be picking a player he may or may not have any intention of taking. He could tell Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton that he is deciding between Michael Grabner and Anti Raanta. If Gorton feels strongly about keeping one or the other, he may have to pay a price to dissuade McPhee from taking the player he would like to keep.
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Blueshirts at The Worlds

Getty Images

The 2017 IIHF World Championships have come to a close with Sweden ultimately taking the gold in an absolute nail-biter over Canada. It’s not a stretch to say that the World Championships play second fiddle to the Stanley Cup playoffs each spring but with the Rangers getting eliminated earlier than expected this year it gave fans some incentive to watch since four them joined their national teams. Kevin Hayes, Brady Skjei, Oscar Lindberg and last but certainly not least Henrik Lundqvist all participated with two not earning a medal and two taking home the gold.
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Neal Pionk, the Rangers and The Expansion Draft

sny.tv

It’s no secret to any Rangers fan that this summer the Rangers seriously need to upgrade their defense. When you take a look around the league it’s not about having a big hulking defense anymore. It’s about having a mobile defense that can skate, join the rush, and make that crucial pass. Having a great shot doesn’t hurt either. The Rangers need to retool their defense this summer and one key move may have already been a step in the right direction: the signing of UMD defensemen Neal Pionk.
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Changing of The Pack

Getty Images

After missing the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years, the Rangers relieved Ken Gernander of his head coaching duties with the Hartford Wolf Pack. Gernander, who is the only player to have his number retired by the Wolf Pack, has served as the bench boss in Hartford since the 2007-2008 season. Gernander got as far as the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals as head coach but had five seasons of not making the postseason. Gernander helped mold some of the NHL’s finest talents including, Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Mats Zuccarello, and Ryan McDonagh to name a few.
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