As the summer days become shorter than Adam Clendening’s leash last season, the trade rumors seem to dwindle as well. However, the center ice market is heating up and the Rangers might be in perfect position to take advantage.
1. While nothing is imminent in Colorado, GM Joe Sakic still seems interested in moving C Matt Duchene (via Denver Post):
“I will be listening to offers. Right now it’s quiet on all fronts,” Sakic said. “But I’ll listen to offers on how we can get better. I’ll never name names but I’ll sit there and if something makes sense for the way we want to go, with our team, we’ll really look at that.”
Denver has just three NHL defensemen under contract, so maybe they’d be willing to take back Holden, but I still think Kreider or Miller would have to be included before Sakic would be willing to pull the trigger.
2. If Rangers GM Jeff Gorton feels Sakic is asking too much for Duchene, there is another center who’s value seems to be decreasing as Justin Cuthbert of Yahoo Canada Sport thinks that both the Lucic and Draisaitl contracts could force the Oilers to move Nugent-Hopkins “well below market price.”
Here’s exclusive video of the Rangers front office upon hearing this news:
Holden alone won’t get it done, but add in a prospect or a pick and maybe, just maybe…
3. Having said all that, are the Rangers even interested in bringing on board an outside option to fill their final center ice vacancy? You bet your sweet ass they are (via NHL.com)…
“I would say it could be in the cards,” Alain Vigneault recently said. “Definitely a possibility.”
So let me ask you this Rangers fans, what scenario makes the Blueshirts the better team:
A. Stepan, Kreider, Holden and Raanta
B. Duchene, Andersson, DeAngelo, Smith and Pavlec
C. Nugent-Hopkins, Kreider, Andersson, DeAngelo, Smith and Pavlec
4. If you’re having a bad day, here’s Mats Zuccarello scoring during his Right to Play charity game to cheer you up…
5. During the charity game, Zuccarello spoke about losing some teammates this offseason (via VG)…
“It’s sad to lose players who have been good for us for many years. And become good friends for me. But this is a business. So we get hope that the club has control, so we get others meet up and do the best we can.”
After losing close friends Hagelin and Brassard the last two seasons, I can only assume that Zuccarello was anticipating Lundqvist being traded this summer, so this had to be his reaction to the Rangers moving on from Girardi, Step and Raanta instead:
6. While Henrik Lundqvist is always on his fashion game off the ice…
He’ll be replicating his fashion sense on the ice as well this season…
7. And for those worried about that Lundqvist knee injury…
8. Lundqvist better be getting his practice on because his heir apparent will be pushing him for playing time before he knows it as Igor Shestyorkin produced a shutout against Team Canada at Nikolai Puchkov Memorial Tournament …
9. In his ever increasing attempts to prove he’s not the next Hugh Jessiman, Rangers 21st overall pick Filip Chytil was named to the Czech Republic roster for the U20 Four Nations tournament later this month. Chytil also scored his second goal of the preseason for Zlin.
10. Meanwhile, the club’s other first round pick Lias Andersson was held out of his first preseason game with Frolunda as the Rangers would like to keep him fresh (and I assume injury free) for the beginning of training camp in September.
11. If you have the ability to stream games online to watch the Rangers top European prospects, here’s their upcoming schedules…
12. In even more positive news, the Rangers recently acquired defenseman and noted Trump supporter Anthony DeAngelo was thankfully not spotted at the recent KKK/Nazi rally in Charlottesville…
…and was instead working on his defense (via NHL.com)…
“I’ve got to continue to improve defensively,” DeAngelo said. “Even last year there were some things I’ve got to do a lot better. Sometimes the offense makes up for it, but through an 82-game schedule you’ve got to be able to defend as well. … It’s just being in the right place at the right time and moving guys and staying in front of guys’ lanes. Gap control is a big thing.”
While it’s going to be hard enough for DeAngelo to overcome AV’s veteran crush on Staal and Holden, there’s literally no chance of him cracking the line-up if he struggles defensively.
13. But it does sound like AV is willing to give DeAngelo a chance (NHL.com):
“I only saw him once last year but everything that I’m hearing, whether it be from our scouts, from [general manager Jeff Gorton], from people who I talked to that know him more like Newell Brown [Canucks assistant coach who was with Coyotes last season], who I’m real tight with, everybody seems to think this guy is legit and he’s ready to take the next step,” Vigneault said. “I have not talked to anyone who has told me differently. Everybody I speak to says the same thing, that he’s going to help us as far as our quick north/south transition game, and that he’s going to help on the power play. He knows this is his third team in a real quick span so he’s got to make a name for himself. Everybody thinks he’ll be able to get it done.”
Hey Buchnevich, what do think about AV saying he’s going to give DeAngelo a legit chance to overtake Staal/Holden this season?
“I’ve been working out here in Minnesota five days a week with Mac…The first month or so we did a lot of heavy weights. Now, we’re doing more speed stuff. Just trying to get that conditioning going and quick muscle movements for the year. We’re five times a week, usually about an hour and a half workout and you’re good. It’s a good spot.”
I’m just going to assume they’ve been working out in Batman and Robin outfits all summer.
15. If anyone’s going to Vegas, put $10 on the Rangers for me.
16. If you like forechecking then you’ll love 2017 6th round pick Dominik Lakatoš:
17. While I’ve already touched on the subject once this offseason, AV recently spoke about his approach to filling the two vacant alternate captain spots left open by the departures of Girardi and Stepan (via NHL.com)…
“I’m going to look and my staff is going to look and find out who wants to do more, not just on the ice but in the room,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “Who wants to expand his role as far as leadership and example and influence?”
The Rangers have gone with the rarely used three alternate captain format the last few years, so it’ll be interesting to see if AV sticks with that setup or goes back to the traditional two “A” scenario. Either way, my vote is in:
18. Unfortunately, I only had time for 18 thoughts as I’m headed down to Hilton Head, SC this week, so I’ll be off the grid for a little while. No worries though, when I get back training camp will be right around the corner and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to blog about. Thanks for reading & LGR!!!!