Rangers Post Mortem: Start the moving trucks because these folks gotta go!

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The true Rangers showed up for round two and lost embarrassingly in 6 games to the Ottawa Senators. Unfortunately the Blueshirts fooled even me with their round 1 win against Montreal, but the team that was just 1 game over .500 since February 13th finally revealed themselves.

Now we are left with trying to breakdown what went wrong. Lucky bounces for Ottawa? Sure! Bad breaks for the Rangers? Yeah, that too. Still, this was a winnable series that was blown by the coaching staff and several top level guys who were basically no shows.

This team needs an overhaul at the top, not tinkering on the bottom 2 lines or buying out 1 defenseman. No, this team needs a major shakeup because if they go into next season with just a minor tweak here and there, the results will be same as we’ve seen the last two seasons.

FIRE THE ENTIRE COACHING STAFF

AV

I have defended Alain Vigneault since the masses called for his head just 2 months into his tenure as head coach. However, his inexplicable over reliance on Marc Staal and Nick Holden in these playoffs warrant dismissal. How many goals were they on for? How many in the final 2 minutes? Let’s just say, it was more than a few.

Furthermore, his inability to correct the issues on the PP since basically the middle of this season add more evidence to the case against. Three power play goals in 12 playoff games? What adjustments did he make? None! What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

No matter what the Rangers do with personnel this offseason, it could be rendered meaningless without a key change in philosophy and direction. If they don’t, this team will go nowhere.

TRADE STEPAN

The pain game. Stepan out indefinitely.

Six points! That is what the team’s so called #1 center mustered this post season. His inability to win face-offs just dumps salt onto a gaping wound. His 6.5M AAV against the cap is too much for my liking, but could be just right for a team like Minnesota or Winnipeg. And if the NYR want to change this team, he is their best trading chip!

This is the summer to move him because come July 1 he has a no move clause that kicks in. That can’t happen! The Rangers need to use Stepan to revamp the defense in a meaningful way. There is a match out there, I assure you and the Rangers need to find it and make it happen.

MARC STAAL NEEDS TO GO

Marc Staal (Getty Images)

Moving Marc Staal is problematic to say the least. You can’t expose him to the expansion draft, and you can’t buy him out due to the hit to your cap. Trading him is also tough due his no trade clause, but Jeff Gorton needs to tell him we want you off the team.

Yes, it’s harsh and it’s unfair but the reality is that he is hurting us. Ask him to waive, pay half his salary and get what you can for him. His game has fallen off the side of a cliff this season and there just doesn’t appear to me any uptick left.

MOVING DAN GIRARDI

I am on the fence with this one. Dan Girardi played some of his best hockey in years for the Rangers this post season. If a new coach who understands how to utilize Girardi is hired and Marc Staal is off the books, I think the Rangers need to keep him.

However, should the Rangers be unable to move Marc Staal then Jeff Gorton will be forced to buy him out. On the positive side, his play these last few weeks could make him a trade candidate which would help the Rangers tremendously from a cap perspective.

RICK NASH SHOULD NEVER SEE ANOTHER POSTSEASON IN A RANGERS SWEATER

Nash (Getty)

Oh! You think that a bit harsh? I’m sorry for you.

In 73 playoff games with the Rangers, Nash has amassed 38 points! What’s the matter “new age hockey fans” that seem to pride yourselves on the understanding of advanced analytics? Is that not a BIG ENOUGH SAMPLE SIZE FOR YOU?!!!

Here’s the problem…at 7.8M AAV he represents over 10% of our cap hit. He has also become a 20 goal scorer in the regular season. Sorry, but that isn’t worth the price tag. The issue is that this is the last year of his contract so if you do trade him, you won’t get much and may even have to eat half his salary.

DO IT! I don’t care when, but he can’t be on this team past the NHL trade deadline. Enough is enough.

NICK HOLDEN AND KEVIN KLEIN…”PACK YOUR S#!T”

Do I really need to explain this one?

TANNER GLASS, THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK

I love the game Tanner Glass brings. His play this post season should earn him an NHL job next year for sure. The Rangers need to find a younger, faster, and slightly more skilled version of Glass for the 4th line next season.

CHANGE IS HARD, BUT CHANGE IS GOOD

It’s time to make these changes. No, none of what I posted is easy and comes with peril. Who replaces AV? Daryl Sutter is available but is he the right answer. Is trading Stepan the right move? That’s another tough one to answer since he’s been a solid player for the most part.

The bottom line is that there is something fundamentally wrong with this team. They do well in the regular season but struggle in the playoffs. At the end of the day, no one cares about regular season accolades. It’s all about the Cup.

A trophy the Rangers have only won ONCE since WWII!

31 comments

  • Where is JT Miller’s name? You call out Nash and Step for their lack of offense during their playoff careers. Yet Miller and his 1 goal in 40 playoff games continues to get a pass?

    And while we are at guys who lack offense in the playoffs where is Kevin Hayes on this list? Do you really need to see more of Hayes skating into the zone only to curl back and lose the puck?

    3 combined goals in 74 playoff games between Hayes and Miller and you honestly have no problem with them playing more playoff games for the Rangers?

    • JT Miller hasnt been paid yet so (most) fans give him a pass, that and hes a NYR draft pick. This teams regular season success was 3 scoring lines, most disappeared or only poked their heads up once in a while.

      Its funny when you lose to a team most look past there is a different feeling then losing to an expected cup winner.

      This pp sucks, when you get more quality chances on the pk then the pp theres a problem. To bad there wasnt an expiring contract that was being moved at the deadline for picks that is a pp specialist that wanted to come to NY. Cant wait to watch them back up the truck for Shattenkirk now, would have been great to make sure he fits first but precious draft picks.

      The fact that they lost to a one footed Karlson, should show that they are still pretenders not a contender. Its gonna take some major shaking up to become a contender.

      • Who cares if Miller’s been paid or not. 40 playoff game with 1 goal isn’t cutting it regardless if your paid 100k or 8.5 mil. It’s 5 years with Miller doing nothing in the playoffs. Enough is enough so why wait till he’s paid to hold him accountable because the s it’s too late.

        Step is a nyr draft pick too so does that mean he shouldn’t be held accountable too? Holding on to draft picks that under perform just for the sake of keeping him because you drafted him proves what?

        • Have you watched the caps in the playoffs this year? If you have you wouldn’t want to pick up Shattenkirk even if he were free. He’s been one of the worst defenseman in his zone. What’s he going to do to help this team defensively? Nothing. His scoring on 5 on 5 is minimal and gets most of his points on the power play. I’ve read this book enough times to know he will be another power play specialist that comes here that fails to improve this power play.

          • By no means do I give Miller a pass, Im talking about the fan base in general. Personally Ive always thought hes over rated by the fan base. But if you go back to anytime trades are talked about he is deemed untouchable and part of the future by most of the fans.

            There was a point where the same things were said about Stepan, because he was a NYR draft pick. Whats changed that now hes expendable, his paycheck that it.

            As for Shattenkirk, Ive always been a trade someone like Miller and picks and get a younger better defenseman. However I still stand by if he is Gortons offseason plan should have rented him to make sure he fits with Mac, can play 1rst line minutes, can play under AV and play under the NY spotlight. Has he been bad in his own zone in Washington sure, but there system and team is different from ours. However if he was brought here, hed probably have a positive effect on our powerplay. Girardi (who played fine) would have been moved to the second pair and would have been better than the Staal/Holden mess. After watching the pp continuely fail in the post season, I expect them to throw money at him (like most said why trade for him when you can get him for just cash in the offseason) and hope that he works in all the ways I pointed out above on why if he was their target for the offseason to trade for him. Id still prefer them to trade someone for that person but NYR history says big fish free agent, will “fix” the pp, wont be shocked if they find away to sign him.

      • Well said

        • Shattenkirk didn’t fit in w Hitchcock’s defensive plan and hasn’t fit in with the Caps but will automatically fit in with the Rangers?

          Shattenkirk hasn’t played first line minutes in years, was on 2nd line while on St. Louis and on 3rd pairing with the caps.

          At the price Shattenkirk wants, its asinine to give him big bucks and term for a 2nd line dman who is just as horrific as Staal and Holden defensively. The Rangers have been looking for a dman to help the power play since the mistake of trading Sergei Zubov, Shattenkirk will just be added to the ever growing list of players like Derrick Morris, Sandis Ozolinsh, Tom Poti and Keith Yandle who came here and failed to help the pp. I rather sure up the d by getting players a la Brendan Smith and let Skjei play the point. Will get the same production power play wise and have better cap space to shore up the defensive front.

          • Mike,

            Shattenkirk fit in St Louis, he chose to leave they tried to resign him. Never did I say he would fit although many assuume he will. The reason he never played first line d in St Louis is because Petroangelo is a better right handed dman. That is why I was all for renting him if he was their choice, to see if he could. To say hes as bad as Staal and Holden in the dzone is wrong though he may not be great but not as bad as they are.

            First step to fixing the defense is getting someone to play on the first pair. I am a Girardi fan but he is no longer a first line guy, he wasnt exposed in the playoffs because he didnt have to go against true top line guys. Sure Smith could help fix the bottom pair but if the first pair isnt addressed doesnt matter who the top pair is.

      • All I can say is I chringed everytime Miller was on the ice.

  • Glass is a UFA so its kinda easy to get rid of him.

  • Yup….its easy to say get rid of this…get rid of that. What’s real difficult is to say who you’re gonna get in replacement….who’s available, and at what price??!! When you come up with real solutions, then feel free to write a column. Otherwise, go get a shoulder to cry on, like the rest of us !!!!

  • Yes fire AV. Bring in Roy or Sutter. Players on NMC you have to give them something to give it up. #5,#18 you may have to buy out .With Glass gone you need a younger bigger tuffguy(fighter) Chris StewartUFA ,Evander Kane,Roussel Dallas UFA .

  • I agree with everything you say and as for Miller, Hayes & Kreider, they’ll need to step up or find themselves out the door 2018. Stepan to Winnipeg will work, Trouba wants out and his big Righthanded shot works. Stepan and Staal and we eat 1/2 Staals contract. I don’t care STEPAN NEEDS TO GOOOOO!!!!! Nash to Ducks for one of their Yound D-men. maybe a 2nd rnd. pick and Nash will work. He’s and UFA at the end of the year so he’ll be trade chip for the Ducks if they don’t keep him either. AV? nice knowing and take Scott Arniel with you! I’d like to see a version of John Cooper, who can change and adapt on the fly. We don’t need Roy or Sutter. Thats old Old school crap that wears out a dressing room. Oh yeah, To Al Hirschen. Evander Kane is a Cancer and we want no part of his spoiled brat bull shit. He can stay in the armpit of New York called Buffalo! Theres some beef in Hartford, Marek Hrivk, who replace Glass, has talent size and can fly. Need to find a way to keep Fast and maybe Grabner. Need to find a #1 center who can win a face off. Yes, Im pissed off! This second rnd. should have been over a week ago. We should be playing the winner tonight and finding our way back to the finals! So much went wrong this series that made a great start look lucky. Theres a lot of talent here but the payers need to hold each other accountable. There are no more Mark Messier to stare his lazy teammates to the floor, but I sure wish someone on this team will!

    • I’m still one of the old-timers that still thinks that you need one heavyweight ( I know this is 2017 NHL) that can play the game and take a regular shift on this team . This team plays fast and plays small compared to say the Montréal Canadiens which were just as fast but more physical than the Rangers.that’s what I would like to have from next years team a fast bigger and a more physicality.

  • Don from Florida

    I think I couldn’t have said it better. I love Stepan but his inability taking face offs and lack of scoring has hurt us. The new coaching staff must put the emphasis back on defense and let the O take care of itself. Good article

  • We didn’t lose this series because we didn’t score enough. This series was lost because our pp sucked and the players he had out when the games should have been closed out were Stepan, Staal & Holden besides Stepan playing no defense and shying away from contact he could not win a draw. Staal & Holden looked lost in the d-zone and Staal was taken off the puck by everyone and Holden had no idea what to do with the puck in the d-zone. The reason we lost was A.V. put the wrong players on the ice at end of game. This series is all on the coaching staff period.

  • No Shatt,he sucked for years in St Louie

  • No one’s mentioning the King, I think he’s done he’s got to go ( lot of soft goals) we got some young goalies in minors that are good.

  • I’m with you except Glass. I think his energy and spunk earn him another year

  • I’ve been saying it for quite some time, send AV packing just like Vancouver did. Hire Messier as coach. Behind the bench or on the bench he’s the guy who knows how to win. He would never let the team play the way they did yesterday. Worst game I ever saw the Blueshirts play. The time is now!

  • How come no one has mentioned Kreider? At times he’s lazy, clueless, and makes some of the dumbest passes which kills any momentum. Send Kreider packing!!

    • Send Kreider who’s 7th all time in playoff goals for this team but keep Miller and Hayes? Makes zero sense.

  • Great analysis. Not sure who is available that’s better behind the bench than AV, however. And you’ll never get equal value for Nash at his age. Probably played hurt vs Ottawa. BeSt two-way forward all year. Need him just to get to the playoffs. Young guys need to take bigger roles.

  • Couldn’t have said it better myself. You really touched on most of the basic points that are necessary moving forward. I am and have always been a Lundqvist supporter,but i think we need to start looking past his tenure as a Ranger.
    He’s 35, and coming off his worst year ever. We cannot…I repeat, cannot let another Cam Talbot slip away, possibly in Raanta. I’m not an expert on goalies by any means so if not Raanta then look down the line to who is making progress coming up or look across the league. If we’re still looking to developing young goalies in the minors and need to keep Hank then so be it but we need a 1/3/5 year plan.

  • With all our problems at least we aren’t the Washington Capitals. With all that talent and a top 5 goalie and they still can’t get passed the 2nd round. They have advanced past the 2nd round only twice in 43 years, almost the same success rate as JT Miller in the playoffs 1 for 40. There will be a lot of movement and changes going on in DC.

    Would hate to wake up in DC and listen to sports radio tomorrow morning, it’s deja vou all over again.

  • GM Gorton has his hands full. He has a core leadership group , which has made it to the second round of the NHL playoffs 5 out of 6 years and who are now overpaid with No Trade Clauses ( including Lundqvist, Gerardi , Staal & Nash ) and if the Rangers don’t trade Stepan this off season , he too will fall into this category next year.

    He must efficiently handle the Rangers current salary cap situation , while improving their shortcomings.
    – It’s obvious that the Rangers need to add a first pair defenseman to play with McDonagh & must sign UFA Smith
    – It’s also important that they trade for a first line center ( who is a leader & wins face offs ) as well as sign Zibanejad , Fast and Lindberg.
    – The Vegas draft may cause them to lose one of the players above . If Stepan is not traded by the draft he might try to make a win / win deal with Vegas making Stepan and possibly unloading an aged defensemen ( Klein )
    -Lastly , it’s important to improve their power play as well as penalty kill . Here is where I expect GM Gorton will send a message to Coach Vignault , by firing Scott Arniel and possibly Jeff Beukeboom and bringing in some new coaching blood…. it’s possible that if Vignault resists , he could get fired too ?

    Gorton has his hands full…. but he also has a very respectable hockey team , which is in need of change to win the Stanley cup . Wishing him well trying to find personnel solutions and improvements.

  • No mention of Kreider??? He did nothing in the playoffs. 4 points in 12 playoff games???? He had 28 goals during the regular season!!!!

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