As the calendar turns to August, we’re starting to see some actual hockey being played as a number of Ranger prospects are participating in the World Junior Summer Showcase. Meanwhile, back home management is still fine tuning the roster while the players are showing the first signs of getting their minds back in hockey mode. Rangers hockey is right around the corner folks! Let’s take a look at this week’s “20 Thoughts”:
1. The Rangers second 48-hour buyout window came and went with Marc Staal remaining a Blueshirt.
2. You know what though, I’ve got a good feeling Staal is going to thrive as McDonagh’s new partner on the top pairing.
3. Meanwhile, the second half of the “Blown Lead Brigade” (aka Nick Holden) is apparently expected to be dangled by the Rangers in an attempt to upgrade at the center position.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9ZD3_ppcPE&w=560&h=315&start=14&end=16]
4. Unfortunately, with Staal’s salary still on the books, even if Gorton was able to flip Holden for a pivot, names such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Tyler Bozak are likely off the table as the Rangers wouldn’t have the room under the salary cap. If the Rangers do indeed acquire a center iceman, expect a low cost UFA option such as a Daniel Winnick.
5. However, as training camp draws nearer and nearer, it’s becoming an almost certainty that the Rangers will be looking to fill the final center position with an in-house option. Notably the #7 overall pick in this year’s draft, Lias Andersson. If you’re not familiar with Andersson’s handy work, here’s a nice little highlight video of all his goals last season:
6. As far as the current day Mr. Andersson…
…he’s not really doing much of anything other than Captaining Team Sweden and dominating the World Junior Summer Showcase…
Lias Andersson tallied an assist, tied for team lead with 4 SOG, & posted a +1 rating while helping Sweden win, 4-3, at the 2017 WJSS today.
— NYR Stats & Info (@NYRStatsInfo) July 29, 2017
Leadership qualities, defensively responsible, physical AND can win faceoffs? Crap, maybe the Rangers will be fine at center this season.
7. I know there’s been some fanfare behind the Rangers other 1st round pick Philip Chytil deciding whether he wants to play in North America or remain in the Czech Republic next season, but this is ridiculous…
8. In other news at the World Junior Summer Showcase, Sean Day showed us some of the reasons why the Rangers may have gotten a 3rd round steal in last year’s draft…
Unfortunately, the smooth skating Day also reminded us why he fell so far on draft day…
9. Finally, a lesser known prospect Tim Gettinger (2016, 5th round), who stands at 6′ 6″, 220lbs, showed off some quick hands for a big man as he scored for Team USA against Finland…
— x – New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 30, 2017
10. Rangers prospects weren’t the only ones on the ice recently…
— Da Beauty League (@DaBeautyLeague) July 26, 2017
Jesus, it’s not even the regular season yet and McDonagh already looks like a Norris Trophy candidate without Girardi.
11. But it really does sounds like McDonagh is going to miss Girardi (via NHL.com)…
“(Shattenkirk’s) skill set, his experience and just his all-around ability as a player is a huge asset to any team he’s on,” McDonagh said. “I think everybody was pretty excited when we heard the news [he was joining the Rangers], and we’re looking forward to seeing him at camp and having him contribute to the success of this team.
“Being able to play with him in past tournaments and teams, I know the type of guy he is and he’s going to fit right in with our room perfectly,” McDonagh said. “We were drafted the same year  and we’ve been in the League together the same amount of years, so I’m just excited to have this chance to play together.
“[He’s] a guy that just wants to go out there and play well for his team and play [to] his strengths. Everyone knows the kind of player he is, and the things he can do with the puck are pretty impressive so it’s going to be fun to see.”
Yep, McD’s going to miss Girardi the same way I miss my hemorrhoids.
12. Want to get excited?
13. And how about those new Lundqvist pads for the upcoming season?
14. Lundqvist may have the hot new pads, but apparently there’s a new stud in Rangerstown…
You’re welcome ladies….and gentlemen who like that sort of thing.
15. Is anyone else as shocked as I am that Rick Nash is still a Ranger? It’s not that I was hoping he’d be traded, but after his exit interview I thought for sure he was done. And I think he did too.[protected-iframe id=”054cc4abd8a04a47ed71d103ac184fb1-114320562-46273279″ info=”https://www.nhl.com/rangers/video/embed/breakup-day-rick-nash/t-277437422/c-51919903?autostart=false” width=”540″ height=”360″]
16. Apparently our old friend Chris Neil is hoping for a one-way NHL deal and he’s received some interest. Hey, the Rangers are looking for a replacement for Tanner Glass. I mean, who’s going to fight Ryan Reaves when the Rangers play Pittsburgh?
17. Although, the Hartford Wolf Pack just signed Eric Selleck, so maybe the Rangers already have their heir apparent to Tanner Glass…
18. I hope you like Pierre McGuire because the NHL announced that the Rangers will be featured on three of the nine regular-season games to be shown on NBC next season, including the Jan. 1 Winter Classic against the Sabres at Citi Field and appear on a total of 14 games on NBC or NBCSN.
19. Here’s video of Jimmy Vesey looking like my kids at dinner time as he tries sushi for the very first time…
— x – New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 28, 2017
You know what Vesey was missing with his sushi?
20. After eating their sushi it looks like Hayes and Vesey began training to compete in this year’s Kumite Tournament.[protected-iframe id=”4539732c4854368531aa56d726bbb4e1-114320562-46273279″ info=”https://www.nhl.com/rangers/video/embed/hayes-and-vesey-summer-training/t-277437422/c-52441503?autostart=false” width=”540″ height=”360″]