New York Rangers Henrik Lundqvist Showing Eli Manning-Like Class in Backup Role

New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

The New York Rangers and the New York Giants have something in common: their long-time face of the franchise has handled their demotion to backups with class and dignity. The soon to be retired Eli Manning handled his demotion this year behind rookie Daniel Jones without any public complaining or dramatics. Blueshirt goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has done quite the same as he has been backing up youngsters Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev.

The New York Ranger Goalie did not see much action in January

Since Shesterkin was promoted on Jan 3, Lundqvist has been the backup for six of the past seven games. His only start was the most difficult match of the month, a road trip to the defending Stanley Cup Champions St. Louis Blues. For the other six contests, Lundqvist has been the backup in all of these contests. Head Coach David Quinn has done this to provide a safety blanket in case either of the youngsters falters.  Quinn also indicated that he wants Lundqvist around the team by stating that “He’s a guy who carries a lot of weight in that locker room. I want him around, and I want him to be part of the game.” The best part of this is that he has accepted and at least publically embraced the role. Not only has he done this, but he has also been seen working after practice with the “third” goaltender, the player who will not dress for the next game and get less practice time than the other two goalies. He has also been one of the first players off the bench to congratulate his fellow goaltender when they have won.

Like Eli Manning, The New York Ranger Veteran is handling the situation with class and dignity

Especially during the last month, the Ranger goalie has dealt with the difficult three goaltender situation quite well. Unintentionally, Coach David Quinn praised Lundqvist for accepting the role in a manner consistent with Eli Manning when he said: “It’s about players adapting in their careers, and as their careers evolve.” Quinn also went on to say that “Henrik is in a situation where he’s obviously not playing the amount he’s played in the past. That doesn’t mean he’s not a really good goalie. We have faith in him. But our organization feels that we’re gonna have three goalies here as of right now, and that is the situation we are in.” And like Eli Manning, he has not made any public statements condemning the situation, this in spite of some rumblings on social media that he waive his no-movement clause and make way for his younger counterparts. New York sports fans have to be quite happy to have such stalwart cornerstones of their teams for almost two decades.

New York Rangers Keeping Shesterkin on Roster May Signal Georgiev Trade is Imminent

New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

When the AHL announced that New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin was unavailable for it’s All-Star Game, it signaled to everyone that a trade involving Alexandar Georgiev might be near. The thought was that Shesterkin may be sent down for a game or two, thus allowing him to play in the AHL classic and therefore buying time for the Blueshirts to sort out their three goalie situation. Keeping Shesterkin indicates a trade will be coming sooner rather than later, something that may have an added sense of urgency after a disappointing loss Tuesday night to the New York Islanders.

Who Could the New York Rangers Trade Georgiev to?

The biggest trade partner seems to be the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, various reports seem to indicate that there is not a firm idea of who the Leafs would give up for Georgiev. Some reports have suggested that the Rangers would not give him up for a draft pick or prospect.

This led to speculation that the main target might be Kaspari Kapernan, who is a potential 20-goal-scorer with elite speed and penalty-killing abilities. However, many feel that this is too much to offer for the Rangers goaltender, who is very much needed but projected as a backup in Toronto. The most likely scenario is for Toronto to offer prospect Jeremy Bracco. The 22-year-old is currently playing in the AHL and has been reported as a player who has excellent vision and is an excellent passer. He is also a creative skater who uses his edgework to deceive defenders and create space to make plays.

A darkhorse for Georgiev’s services are the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they have struggled to find a reliable backup for Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning signed Curtis McElhinney as a free-agent, but he has played all that well. Tampa Bay also has tried a myriad of netminders at their AHL affiliate in Syracuse N.Y., but that has not turned out very well. At the halfway point, no goaltender in Syracuse has a save percentage above .900 or a goals-against average below 3.00. Georgiev would fit in nicely in Tampa Bay.

Another possibility could be the Colorado Avalanche, where the sighting of New York Ranger scouts has been a regular occurrence at Avs games. The thought was it was concerning a possible Chris Kreider trade, but the Avalanche could also use a solid backup in goal as they make a playoff run.

Are the New York Rangers Scouting the Colorado Avalanche with a Trade in Mind?

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

Various media outlets in Colorado have reported an increased presence by New York Rangers scouts during recent Avalanche games. With just over 30 days left until the trade deadline, the Avs seem more and more like a trade partner if something can be worked out. The question will be what players will the Rangers trade and who or what will they get in return

Will the New York Rangers Trade Chris Kreider?

The speculation for a while has been the Chris Kreider is the most likely Ranger to be traded, most likely because he will be a free agent at the end of the season, and they may not want to pay what he is expected to ask for. Colorado has frequently been mentioned as a trade destination as they would covet his experience.

The Avs are one playoff-bound team that values Kreider, who could provide valuable scoring depth for a contending team on a second or third line. He also could feature on the power play, either as a primary shooter or as a big body in front of the net screening the goalie. He would also provide the Avs with a power forward skill set that makes him an ideal addition for the playoffs as that is when the game slows down and the overall physicality ramps up significantly. A role Kreider can fill nicely.

The Boston Bruins have also been interested, and Kreider, a Massachusetts native, would fit in nicely for the Bruins who are currently in first place in the Atlantic Division and have a legitimate shot at winning it all this year. Tampa Bay, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh have also shown interest, but for now, the Rangers scouting department seems focused on Colorado.

Could the Avs be interested in a New York Ranger Goalie?

One of the darkhorse possibilities for trades could be for a goaltender. The Avalanche needs an experienced backup, and Henrik Lundqvist would fit the bill. However, Lundqvist has a no-movement clause, but after being on the bench for the last bunch of games while Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev have manned the net. It may come to a point where Lundqvist sees the writing on the wall and recognizes that the Avalanche are one of the teams that give him a chance to win a Stanley Cup. The next 30 or more days will be quite interesting for the Blueshirts as they make a playoff push and possibly become active on the trade market.

New York Rangers High Scoring Defense Following NHL Trend

Brady Skjei, New York Rangers

There are many, rightly so, who believe that the New York Rangers defenseman should be playing a little harder on… that’s right, defense.  However, the Rangers are just following a trend in the NHL that is seeing an increase in actual vs. expected scoring this season, and it is paying off for their defenseman. Rangers defensemen have 133 points (38 goals, 95 assists) this season, the most goals and points by defensemen on any team.

How the New York Rangers Defense Have Excelled on Offense

The first and most obvious choice for this is that the Blueshirts tend to play a more wide-open style of hockey than many other teams. Not only is this going to create opportunities for your forwards, but it will also lead to increase chances for a defenseman who join that rush up ice.

This has paid off big for their defense. For example, when Tony DeAngelo tallied his 12th goal of the season a few nights ago, he became one of only a handful of Ranger defensemen who have recorded at least 12 goals in the team’s first 46 games of a season within the past 40 years. The others on the list include Leetch (three times), Greschner (twice), and Ruotsalainen (twice). Remember that hat trick D’Angelo netted a little more than a week ago? That hat trick is the ninth instance of a Rangers defenseman recording a hat trick in franchise history. His five-point game is the third by a defenseman in franchise history and the first by a defenseman other than Brian Leetch. He is not the only d-man scoring.

When Adam Fox picked up a point on Jan 15, he has registered nine points (one goal, eight assists) over the last seven games. Since Dec. 31, Fox’s eight assists and nine points are both the second-most among NHL defensemen.

The New York Rangers are following a trend

So we don’t bore you too much and send Tony DeAngelo into an analytic style frenzy, the upward trend is scoring has been well analyzed and documented. If you like this stuff, check out Larry Yost’s column at TSN.com, where he goes into much more detail. The best takeaway from this was that there are several on-ice theories as to why scoring rates have increased, and/or why expected goal rates are underwhelming relative to those numbers. The goaltenders did experience a downsizing in equipment.

Teams did get more sophisticated with matters like power play deployment (and the associated four forward approach on those power plays), or when to pull the goalie when trailing late, or the emphasis of hockey skill over toughness and physicality in the bottom-six of Forwards and to some extent, defensive groups. All are contributing factors, and all have led to an increase not only all across the league but certainly a factor in the offensive prowess of the Blueshirt defenseman.

The New York Rangers Need to Keep Chris Kreider

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

One of the puzzles that the New York Rangers need to figure out for their future is whether to trade or keep forward Chris Kreider. The dilemma is that the 28-year-old forward is in the final year of his 4-year, 18.5 million dollar contract. With the February 24 trade deadline a month away, the Rangers are in a tough situation as to whether to pay up and keep him or move him to another team. Unless the Rangers really hit a big losing streak in the next month, they should not trade the veteran and do everything possible to keep him for the future

The New York Rangers need a tough, veteran presence

While it is true that Kreider would bring a lot on the trade market, it might be wise to hang on to him to see if he will resign either before the trade deadline or after the season when he hits the free-agent market.

One of the negatives to signing him is that his people will ask too much for a player who will ask for a much of money but has yet to garner more than 53 points in a season.  But Kreider will bring more to the Ranger team than just points. He has blazing speed and an ability to finish that makes him difficult to contain.

In the most recent Ranger win, when the big 6-foot-3 wing camped out in the low slot and shoveled in the rebound chance to give the Blueshirts the victory. This dominant net-front presence and success at winning puck battles mean that opponents really have their hands full. This is not something that grows on trees in the NHL.

Could the New York Rangers Pull an Aroldis Chapman like Move?

If you remember back to 2016, the New York Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs, and in return picked up a player named Gleyber Torres. Then the following winter, the Yankees resigned Chapman as a free agent, while also picking up what looks like a future MVP candidate. Would it be possible for the Rangers to trade Kreider, then make a strong push to re-sign him in the off-season?  It would be a bit of a dice roll, but it would be a scenario that should really benefit the team if they picked up another key player and kept Kreider for this young rebuilding team. It will be an interesting month for general manager Jeff Gorton and President John Davidson indeed.

Should the New York Rangers Keep Georgiev and Trade Shesterkin?

New York Rangers, Alexandar Georgiev

The New York Rangers are now in an interesting situation. After their 3-2 victory over the Islanders on Thursday, the trade value for Alexandar Georgiev just went up. The young goaltender made 38 saves and Chris Kreider pounded in a rebound with 24 seconds left to lift the Blueshirts to the dramatic win over their arch-rival. Rumors continue to swirl about trades for Georgiev, including a pre-game report from Toronto stating the Maple Leafs are very interested. But the new question coming off Georgiev’s performance is why trade him?

Why Georgiev should stay with the New York Rangers

The rationale for this is somewhat simplistic. Georgiev already has a track record in the NHL. Igor Shesterkin may very well be a better NHL goalie, but he has only two NHL games under his belt.

Georgiev’s stats so far have been very good, especially against the rival Islanders. In five career starts against the Isles over the past two seasons, Georgiev is 4-1-0 with a 1.40 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage, having stopped 128 of 134 shots. You have to love a guy who can put up great numbers against one of your biggest rivals. Against the Metropolitan division, Georgiev has posted a 4-1 record with a 2.01 GAA and a .945 save percentage prior to last night’s game. In the three seasons with the Rangers, he has a 2.99 GAA and a .914 save percentage. While all of these stats make his trade value high, it is also a reason to consider hanging on to the 23 three-year-old who will not hurt you against future cap numbers.

What does the trade market look like for Georgiev?

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Toronto Maple Leafs are among teams that interested in Georgiev. His report did mention a specific player, his sources have told him that the Rangers are asking for an NHL ready forward in return. Dreger also tweeted out after the Rangers beat the Isles, that as the Blueshirts keep winning and making a playoff push, they may keep key players instead of trading them. The good news is that the Rangers are in a really good position to be well compensated for any of the goaltenders they may end up trading.

New York Ranger Prospect Tylor Wall Could Ease Goaltending Situation

New York Rangers, Alexandar Georgiev

As Alexander Georgiev prepares to make his second consecutive start for the New York Rangers, the media and the internet keep wondering how long the Blueshirts will carry three goaltenders. The likely scenario is that one of the three will get traded, with Georgiev the likely candidate. The thought of losing any of them can be eased by the fact that the Rangers have a very solid goaltending prospect in UMass-Lowell netminder Tyler Wall.

Not Just Another Brick in the Wall for the New York Rangers

Wall was selected by the Rangers in the sixth round with the 174th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. After a nice freshman season, Wall struggled a bit in his sophomore campaign. He turned things around when he started 21 games for the River Hawks in his junior campaign, posting an 11-7-3 record. He amassed a 2.09 GAA and a .921 save percentage with four shutouts. In his senior year so far, Wall has posted a stellar 1.80 GAA while compiling a 12-3-4 record, not to mention an outstanding .941 save percentage.

UMass-Lowell has been known for turning out NHL quality goaltenders which include alumni such as Carter Hutton (Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis, Buffalo), Kevin Boyle (Anaheim) and Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg). Back in November, Wall was tabbed as Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week for the third consecutive week, also receiving that honor for four of those previous six weeks. He was also named the  Hockey East Goaltender of the month for November. The UML senior is a candidate to win the Mike Richter Award, which is given to honor the outstanding goaltender in NCAA men’s hockey. Yes, that Mike Richter, who has his number 35 retired by the Rangers.

Wall has attended multiple Rangers Prospects Development camps. It was there he witnessed first-hand that hard work is what separates those who climb the hockey ladder from those who do not. Between these camps and his performance at UML, the conventional wisdom has the Rangers signing Wall to a contract and letting him begin his career in the AHL. Steady progress could mean that Wall would be ready around the time Henrik Lundqvist’s contract expires and/or when he decides to retire. The Rangers would be very happy to have a solid Wall in the net for the foreseeable future.

 

The New York Rangers Will Face an Agitated Islanders Team Thursday Night and Sparks Should Fly

New York Rangers, Brad Skjei

The New York Rangers realize that their task will not be as easy Thursday night as it was during their last game against the Islanders. After the Islanders quickly scored the first goal, the Rangers responded hard and often, finishing the night with a resounding 6-2 victory that left a bad taste with the Isles.

Captain Calls Out His Islander Teammates

After the game, the Islander captain was angry, mainly upset with the lack of effort in a rivalry game. They got the message, and the following night they crushed the lowly Detroit Red Wings 8-2. Even if it was against a last-place team, the Isles skated with much more purpose then they did in their loss against the Rangers. They also vow to bring that effort into Thursday night’ rematch.  “Any time you get beat like that, you want another crack at them,” said Jordan Eberle. This should mean a much more physical match in Long Island, which may or may not include a couple of fisticuffs like was witnessed Monday night.

What the New York Rangers Will Bring to the Table Against the Isles

One of the more significant issues that have dogged the Rangers for a bit is the question on what to do with the three goaltenders.  During the Wednesday morning skating session, Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev spend most of the time in net. This generally means that those two will dress for the game, with the prevailing notion that Georgiev will get the start due to his excellent record against the Islanders. Regardless of who starts in net, the Rangers still expect to unleash their potent offense.

The offense that has allowed ten Rangers to 20 or more points this season. They are one of six NHL teams that have ten or more players who have recorded at least 20 points this season.  This includes Adam Fox, who has registered a goal and eight assists over the last seven games. Since Dec. 31, Fox’s eight assists and nine points are both the second-most among NHL defensemen. As a team, the Rangers have registered 44 goals over the last 11 games, and those 44 goals are tied for the most in the NHL over the span (tied with Tampa Bay).

New York Rangers’ Three Goalie Rotation Still Working in Thumping of Isles, But For How Long?

New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

One of the thoughts, when the New York Rangers decided to start Alexandar Georgiev on Monday night, was that it was an audition for other teams who might be interested in trading for the young Russian netminder. If that was the case, he passed his screen test with flying colors as Artemi Panarin tallied five points as the Rangers throttled their rivals from Long Island 6-2. In addition to Panarin’s excellent work, Jesper Fast had a goal and two assists while Adam Fox added a goal and an assist.

The New York Rangers Can Make the Three Goalie Carousel Work for a While

The notion of the Georgiev audition comes after some media reports indicated that the Rangers are willing to “listen” to offers for the young netminder. Reports have suggested that the asking price is high, and nothing that happened in Monday night’s game will change that. If anything, the price just went up. However, the Rangers may want to re-think this situation and keep three goalies for a while.

There are a couple of different scenarios that could allow them to hang on to all three to see if the situation can work itself out naturally. One of the takeaways from Monday night’s game is that Georgiev can still be useful after not seeing the ice in a while. Georgiev did not play the last three games as Igor Shesterkin, and Henrik Lundqvist got the start in those matches.

However, the veteran Lundqvist is the player who has been used to regular work, and he is the one that truly needs it. So, in that case, the Rangers could approach him and let him know that if he wants to stay in New York, and hamper the progress of young talented goalies, and cause a significant hit on their cap, then he will have to play the “difficult” games.

That would mean like last Saturday in St. Louis, he will have to face top teams on the road, thus proving he deserves time in the net while allowing the youngsters to ease into their roles. For example, Lundqvist could get the start on Thursday night against the Isles, using his experience to deal with the hostile Long Island environment.

You could then follow that by giving Shesterkin the home start on Sunday against Columbus and then have Georgiev face the Islanders at home two days later. This will take them up to the All-Star break, giving the Blueshirts 10 days before their next tilt to figure things out. It could also allow them to send Shesterkin down to Hartford, under the guise of letting him have the honor of playing in the AHL All-Star Game, which is held the same weekend as the NHL affair.

This will give you at least until the end of the month to consider options, and have a plan in case an injury should occur. A workable situation in making sure your two young prized goaltenders’ values are optimized.

New York Rangers Get a Little Playoff Atmosphere as They Face the Isles in Their Next Three of Four

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

The New York Rangers will get a small taste of what a playoff round is like when they are scheduled to play three games in the next eight days against their rival New York Islanders. On top of that, these next stretch of games will go a long way in determining whether the Blueshirts remain serious playoff contenders. The Rangers will also face an Isles team that currently sits in the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan division. Expect some playoff intensity during this stretch. Maybe that’s why the NHL schedule makers decided to throw the Carolina Hurricanes in the middle in a feeble attempt to defuse any of the extracurriculars that occur in these matchups.

The New York Have Played Well Against Their Metro Opponents

Including the three games with the Isles, 18 of the Rangers’ final 40 regular-season games this season are against teams in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers have won eight of their last nine against division opponents. Home has been good the Rangers, having won all five games against Metropolitan Division opponents at MSG this season, outscoring opponents, 21-11. However, none of those games have been against their old friends. Two of the three games are at MSG, starting with the Monday night matchup.

What the New York Rangers Can Expect From the Isles

Even though the Rangers are just .500 in their last 10 games, the Islanders have not been better. In their previous 10, they have gone 4-4-2. This includes their most recent game, a 3-2 Overtime loss to the Boston Bruins. The Rangers play a little more wide-open style than the Islanders.

The Isles have not seen a lot of power-play opportunities in recent games.  They have seen on 13 power-play chances in their last nine games. That may change a bit as one can expect some physical play in a series in which Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz has said is “The Battle of New York.”  The Isles have been on a bit of a scoring drought, tallying only eight goals in their last five games.

Part of the issue is that the Islanders still sit last in the league in shots on goal with 1,259 in 43 games, which averages out to just a little over 29 per game. They have been a bit better of late, averaging just over 34 shots in their last five games.  Their success this season has been due to the fact that they have allowed only 110 goals on the season, the second-fewest in the league. So buckle up and get ready for what might be the two most interesting, if not essential weeks of the Rangers season.