New York Rangers: A decision on Ryan Strome is fast approaching

The New York Rangers have been exceeding expectations all season, but the business side of hockey is about to show its ugly self regarding the status of Ryan Strome.

Center Ryan Strome has been a stud for the New York Rangers since his arrival to the club following a trade with the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Ryan Spooner in November of 2018.

Strome has done everything asked of him and more since he stepped on the ice for the Rangers. In his first year in New York, he appeared in 63 games scoring 18 goals and 15 helpers for 33 points.

Then the Rangers signed superstar Artemi Panarin in July of 2019 and a beautiful partnership was created.  In the 2019-202 season Strome played in 70 games (the season was shortened due to the pandemic).  Strome had 41 assists that season with 59 points.

He had proven himself as a bonafide playmaker, but not without some criticism. Many believed his numbers were based more on the hands of Panarin than the skill of Strome himself. This is an unfounded and unjust rumor in the hockey world.

Contract Extension in 2020

Former General Manager Jeff Gorton and Strome’s management team negotiated a two-year $9 million contract. The ending term would make Strome an unrestricted free agent. The 28-year-old will be able to walk away without any compensation to the team if the two sides don’t work out another deal.

Another scenario would be to make a trade before the deadline in March.  This is the last thing the Blueshirts would need with the team and its close bond is so strong currently.

The question is what is the value for the 10-year veteran and are the Rangers willing to pay that price?

Salary Cap Issues

With the new contracts signed by Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Adam Fox along with Artemi Panarin’s large deal, the team will have to be selective about how much they offer Strome if they offer anything at all.

Chris Drury also has to look at future contracts for this team.  Kappo Kakko will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season along with Julien Gauthier, Libor Hajek, and Alexandar Georgiev.  The latter two are arbitration-eligible which adds more drama to the contract issue next season.

Yet it’s hard to believe the Rangers would trade Strome, never mind let him walk away. Since this is considered to be his best year to sign a long, lucrative contract, He will probably be looking for a 6-7 year deal between $6.3-7.3 million per.

This would be in line with what Kevin Hayes of the Philadelphia Flyers, signed in June 2018. That was a seven-year $50 million contract. New York Islanders Brock Nelson signed a similar contract to Hayes in 2019.  The difference with Strome is his value to the team is much higher than is Hayes and Nelson to their clubs.

Leadership On and Off the Ice

Strome is not just a playmaker on the ice, over the course of this season he has become the face of the Rangers.  There have been plenty of nights when Strome is on the podium talking to the media regardless of wins or losses. The enthusiasm and respect he has earned from the media make him the logical person to speak on behave of the Blueshirts.

His support for the team, the way he speaks to the media, displays the pride he has in wearing the Rangers sweater.

Sometimes signing a player is more than the money, it is sometimes about a player’s personality, passion, and what he brings to the rink every day. Strome has an infectious smile and enthusiasm that makes everyone a better player around him.

He does this without effort. The love of the game is part of the price the team will pay to keep him in New York. This former firsts round draft pick of the New York Islanders (5th overall selection in the 2011 NHL Draft) has done everything to earn himself a big contract.

Would he be willing to take a “home town discount”?  Time will answer that question, but just seeing how he handles himself this writer wouldn’t be surprised. Either way, the Rangers have to find a way to keep him on this team.

It would be devastating to lose Strome right before the playoffs began due to a trade.

Conversations are probably underway, numbers and years being thrown around by both sides in the hope that he will be skating with Panarin and the rest of his teammates for several years to come.

 

Rangers drop 2nd consecutive game with 4-2 loss to Colorado

The New York Rangers were defeated by the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Tuesday night, their second loss in a row.

The New York Rangers are a good hockey club, yet they were no match for the complete game the Colorado Avalanche put on display Tuesday night in their 4-2 win.

Colorado’s Valeri Nichushkin scored two goals and Nazim Kadri recorded three assists in the victory. The Avalanche has beaten the Rangers two times in the last six days.

Ryan Strome and Julien Gauthier scored for the Blueshirts with Alexandar Georgiev making 27 saves in the loss.  The Rangers have now lost their last three out of four games following their seven-game winning streak.

Adam Fox played a massive 27:22 with 30 shifts. Jacob Trouba was second in ice time with 23:29.

Strome found some positive things coming from the loss.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for growth,” Strome told Mollie Walker of the New York Post. “When things are going well, sometimes you get a little bit complacent, and sometimes it’s a little bit of a reality check. Although it’s a loss, I think that the effort was there. Teams that are good go through adversity no matter where it is in the season, and maybe we’re facing a little bit of it now before Christmas.”

Recap Rangers Scoring

Ryan Strome scored to cut the Avalanche lead in half at 10:31 of the 2nd period with his sixth goal of the year.

In the third period, with the Rangers down by a score of 3-1, Gauthier scored his second of the season, with Geogiev pulled for an extra attacker.

Post Game Notes

Adam Fox reached the 25-assist mark and 30-point mark when he got the helper on Ryan Strome’s second-period goal. Fox’s 25 assists are the second in the NHL behind Connor McDavid (29) and lead all NHL defensemen. Fox joins Brian Leetch as the only defenseman in team history to reach the feat. Leetch did it in 1990-91, 1991-92, and 2000-01. With 30 points, Fox required the fewest games (28) to reach the mark among Rangers defensemen since Brian Leetch (24 GP in 2000-01).

Ryan Strome scored his sixth goal of the season and fourth in his last nine games. Strome has five points (3G-2A) in his last seven games and 16 points (5G-11A) in his last 18 games.

Artemi Panarin notched his team-leading 33rd point of the season with an assist, his 24th of the year. Panarin has recorded 10 points (3G-7A) in his last six games and has points in seven of his last nine games (5G-9A), four of them being multi-point games.

Julien Gauthier scored his first goal since November 16.

The Rangers visit the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night with a 9 p.m. Eastern time faceoff.

New York Rangers: Igor believes he can play better, a tough start for the Breadman & Foco Holiday gear

The New York Rangers have not played a game since Monday’s nights win over the Florida Panthers, but there has been action in Rangerstown on and off the ice.

THeir 7-3-3 record can be misleading. The New New York Rangers might be the most underrated team in the National Hockey League, sitting in third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Winning games can sometimes hide the deficiencies in the team’s game plan, but for the Rangers, this has not been the case. Head coach Gerard Gallant knows his team needs to play better despite the team’s record.

He was visibly irate following the team’s 4-3 win over the 10-0-1 Florida Panthers are Monday night at the Garden. The team built a 4-0 lead entering the third period, and then watched as the Panthers clawed back to within one goal with 40 seconds left in the contest.

The team’s recent three-game road trip last week saw the Blueshirts build multi-goal leads only to see them evaporate in each contest and eventually losing all three games.

Igor Can Be Better

It’s hard to believe that Igor Shesterkin can play better hockey than he has played this season. He holds a 6-2-2 record in 10 appearances with one shutout. He holds a 2.72 GAA along with a .931 save percentage.

Shesterkin spoke about his game and the shots he has faced to the New York Post’s Mollie Walker after practice on Thursday.

“I can play better” was his answer to the question asked if he feels he’s playing the best hockey of his career.

Breadman Struggles

Artemi Panarin has not had the start he was hoping for this year. Has 13 points but only two goals in 13 games this season.

Now that is pretty good for most players in the NHL, but for a superstar, it is sub-par. Panarin recognizes his struggle but knows he will play better as long as he stays in a good mood.

“Not really, tough start. But, right now, better. Most importantly, I’m in a good mood. That [gives] me more motivation,” when asked if his game is where he wants it to be right now.

Regarding his mood, Panarin has to deal with the ups and downs of a professional hockey player like every other athlete,

“Sometimes, but not really. Sometimes when everything is going right and [you’re like], ‘Okay, that’s normal.’ Sometimes you need to [feel] down to appreciate what you have, usually.”

Toughness Questioned Once Again

Shesterkin was bumped, hit, and flat-out ran into throughout the game on Monday which brought up the toughness of the current Rangers squad. Ryan Strome addressed the situation.

“I think a few guys had some words for — I think it was Duclair — when he went by the bench,” Ryan Strome said. “But, I mean, I thought our response — I thought our bottom six was really physical. You can’t just chase around a skill guy to fight, he’s not gonna fight anyone. [Ryan Reaves] was yelling at him and a few guys, so there’s only so much you can do. I think we’ve taken matters into our own hands and been physical. I’ve heard from a few people around the league that they think we’re harder to play against, and they’ve felt that. That’s a good sign. “I don’t mind our response. It’s not always about going on and fighting a guy, especially a guy like Duclair, I don’t think he’s going to drop the gloves. But I don’t think he meant to hurt anybody. We obviously got to watch out for our goalie, for sure.”

Holiday Time In NYC

A schedule change for the day after Thanksgiving now as the Rangers game at Boston is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. on ABC television.

Foco has come out with their Rangers Holiday Collection and they have something for every Blueshirt fan.

Foco offers several different items fans may be interested in from a five-pack of shatterproof glass ball ornaments and other thematic pieces including an ornament depicting a New York Ranger’s recliner.

Other ideas include;

-Mittens and gloves.

-Rangers Nutcracker.

-Rangers slippers.


Rangers’ will need to rely on depth with Strome and Kakko out of the lineup

The New York Rangers find themselves down two top-six forwards and will need to rely on their depth in Hartford to continue winning games.

The New York Rangers have played three games (1-1-1) and have three games remaining on this road trip in which the lineup has dramatically changed.

The team will have to rely on their depth with both Ryan Strome and Kaapo Kakko post of the lineup.

In Saturday night’s win over the Montreal Canadiens, the Blueshirts played without center Ryan Strome. He is currently in Covid protocol with no timetable of when he will return to the lineup.

Kaapo Kakko was injured in that game during the first period. He didn’t return to the game and on Sunday was placed on injured reserve with what the team has listed as an upper-body injury. Per the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, Kakko will be out at least for the next seven days. He is eligible to return this Saturday when the Rangers visit the Ottawa Senators.

Stepping Up

The Blueshirts, who are unable to recall Vitali Kravtsov as he has opted to go back to Russia, recalled Greg McKegg for the Montreal game and then recalled Morgan Barron following the Kakko IR designation.

These are the times where the team’s depth will be tested. During the Rangers media session after their win Saturday night, forward Sammy Blais mentioned the challenge of having two layers out of the lineup,

“Obviously we have two good players out of the lineup, everyone is going to have to chip in more”

The Rangers will play four games in the next seven days beginning with their game in Toronto on Monday.

Head coach Gerard Gallant will have top layer his lines with both Strome and Kakko normally playing on the second line along with Artemi Panarin.

The team held an optional practice Sunday and in Gallant’s media session he was not ready to commit to who would be in the lineup for Monday’s game.

New York Rangers host the Dallas Stars in their home opener Thursday

The New York Rangers will face the Dallas Stars as they take to the Garden ice for their 95th home opener.

New York Rangers- 0-1-0
Dallas Stars-            0-0-0
Venue: Madison Square Garden
TV: MSG Network

 

The New York Rangers play their second game of the season on Thursday night when the team celebrates their home opening game against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

The Blueshirt are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in a game that saw the Rangers take nine penalties. They allowed four power-play goals in the nine times they were shorthanded.

New York connected on their first goal of the season on a power-play opportunity in the third period. The Rangers finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play. Last season, the Rangers ranked 14th in the NHL in power-play efficiency (20.7%) and ranked tied for eighth in the NHL in power-play goals (37) last season. (NYRPR)

Projected Lines

Lafreniere-Zibanejad-Kreider
Panarin-Strome-Kakko
Blais-Chytil-Goodrow
Reaves-Rooney-Gauthier

Fox-Lindgren
Trouba-Miller
Nemeth-Lundkvist

Shesterkin

Notes From Wednesday’s Loss To Washington

– Chris Kreider put the Rangers on the board for the first time in 2021-22 with his 59th career power-play goal and 347th career point. His 59 power-play goals tie Andy Bathgate for the 12th most PPG’s in franchise history. Kreider’s 347 points are four away from tying Petr Nedved (351) for the 27th most in franchise history.

– Adam Fox notched his first point of the season with an assist on Kreider’s goal. Over the last two seasons (2020-21 – 2021-22), Fox has 22 power-play assists, the third-most in the NHL and second among defensemen (Hedman – 23).

– Ryan Strome also earned an assist on Kreider’s goal, earning him points in eight of his last nine games (3G-7A) against Washington. In 33 career games against the Capitals, Strome has eight goals and 18 assists for 36 points.

– Six players (Jarred Tinordi, Patrik Nemeth, Barclay Goodrow, Dryden Hunt, Ryan Reaves, Sammy Blais) made their Rangers debut tonight. Out of that pack, Goodrow led the way with two shots and Reaves had five hits.

– Gerard Gallant coached his first game with the Rangers, the fourth team (CBJ, FLA, VGK, NYR) he has manned the bench for in his career. Gallant is the 36th head coach in franchise history. Gallant now carries a 270-217-4-51 (W-L-T-OT) record over his head coaching career.

– Alexandar Georgiev made his 90th career start for the Rangers, making 22 saves in the loss. Georgiev is the 19th goaltender in team history to start in 90 or more games.

Did the Owner Derail the New York Rangers’ Rebuilding Efforts?

The New York Rangers and their fanbase have always been pleased that the owner had generally kept his hands off the operations of the hockey team. That all changed last week when the owner not only decided to call for the firing of a top NHL official publically, he fired the President and General Manager.

Why? Because the rebuild was not going fast enough.

This impatient person has now interfered in a way that has had him widely panned across the NBA for the way he handles the Knicks. The impatient owner fired John Davidson and Jeff Gorton because a team with the second-youngest roster in the NHL did not make the playoffs. In a pandemic shortened season, no less. Almost all pre-season pundits genuinely believe that this would not be the year that the young Blueshirts make the playoffs.

The good news is that at least the owner had the sense to hire Chris Drury as the replacement, who will also get a helping hand from Glen Sather.

But at this point, that might be good news/bad news as it now seems likely that this owner will know run constant interference as the Rangers strive toward the goal of making the playoffs next season.

As the Rangers talk with the media for a final time today, Ryan Strome mentioned this in his Zoom conference. “That’s the goal. I think that message has been sent and received,” Strome said.

It will also be determined soon what the team’s makeup will look like next season, including whether or not head coach David Quinn will be allowed to continue with the rebuilding process.

The New York Rangers owner did not help with the public relations of the organization.

While many around the league rallied around the Rangers after the Tom Wilson incident, that was not the case for the organization’s public message on the NHL and the alleged Department of Player Safety.

It was very nice to read our own Fireside Rangers Twitter page and see all of the supporting comments concerning what happened to Pavel Buchnevich and Artemi Panarin at the hands of Wilson. It also somewhat validated what Ranger fans believed should happen when many Devils and Islander fans also called for a suspension.

Realistically, an overwhelming number of knowledgable hockey people outside of the Nation’s capital knew that Wilson should have been suspended.

The owner did not need to make that statement. He already had so much support around the league from the NHL community and the media.

Now the Rangers have to hope that any player they want to bring him to help this young and talented team will not look past them due to the past and possible future actions of this owner.

Yes, the Rangers rebuild effort has been temporarily derailed. It is now up to Chris Drury to get the rebuild back on track and keep it there.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers lose to the Washington Capitals in a penalty filled game

The secondary story of Wednesday night is that the New York Rangers fell to the Washington Capitals by a score of 4-2.

The main story is the aftermath of the Tom Wilson incident from Monday night. If the NHL was hoping that nothing would happen after just fining Wilson for his actions Monday night, they were sadly mistaken.

The action started right from the face-off as Colin Blackwell, Phil Di Guiseppe, and Kevin Rooney all square off with the Capital’s starting forwards. Brendan Smith later took on Wilson when skated for his first shift. The sides combined for six fights and 72 penalty minutes just over four minutes into the heated contest.

Wilson did not return after the first period. The Capitals reported that Wilson had suffered an upper-body injury.

After all was said and done, both teams racked up 141 penalty minutes.

The New York Rangers fall in a penalty-filled game

Lost in all of the Wilson business is that the Capitals T.J. Oshie returned to play after the passing of his father. Oshie responded by getting a hat-trick in the contest.

Morgan Barron scored his first NHL goal to close the gap to 4-2 after Oshie’s empty netter. Alexis Lafreniere scored the Ranger’s first goal.

Probably due to the high level of emotions that came with this game, the Rangers took quite a few non-fighting penalties.

Pavel Buchnevich received a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct for a cross-check to the head of Anthony Mantha. This came in the second period after Buchnevich took a slashing penalty against Wilson and a high-sticking call against Zdeno Chara late in the first period.

Ryan Strome received a 10-minute misconduct penalty after taking a tripping call.

The Rangers go right back into action on Thursday night when they travel to Boston to take on the Bruins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers to lose Panarin after Wilson melee

After Wednesday’s practice, it was confirmed that the New York Rangers would be without Artemi Panarin for the final three games of the season.

Ryan Strome mentioned the news after Wednesday’s practice, as reported by the New York Post’s Mollie Walker. Head coach David Quinn later confirmed the news, stating that the injury did occur due to the actions done by Tom Wilson in Monday night’s game.

Walker reported that Strome made a point to say Wilson is a skilled player that can produce in this league but added, “I know it’s not my responsibility, but I just can’t believe that. It sends a bad message, in my opinion. I just think that the league missed one big time.” Strome also added that “I think it’s a joke, to be honest with you,” about the fine the NHL levied against Wilson.

Strome finished his statements about the NHL: “As players, you want the league to have your back in those situations. I just feel like they didn’t.”

Quinn echoed Strome’s sentiments, based on Walker’s reports of the press conference. “To me, anybody in hockey, certainly in our organization, is very disappointed. I certainly thought it warranted a suspension, which is really disappointing. A line was crossed. [Panarin] didn’t have his helmet on, vulnerable, he got hurt. You know, to me, there was an awful lot there to suspend him.”

Wilson only received the maximum $5000 fine from the NHL’s Department of Safety.

How will the New York Rangers respond?

Strome and Quinn were also asked how the Rangers would respond as the two teams meet again on Wednesday night.

According to Walker, Strome responded to the question of how the Rangers would respond by saying, “Just go and play hard. They have a big, strong team. They’re heavy. We know who we are. We know who they are. I don’t think there’s going to be anything crazy. It’s not the type of team we have.”

Some of the Ranger’s more physical players are out with injuries, including Chris Kreider and Ryan Lindgren. Quinn also stated that Lindgren and Jacob Trouba would miss the last three games of the season.

Quinn told the media that “We’ve talked about it as a team this morning. The fact is, we’ve got to protect each other. We’ve got to stick by each other, which is what we did last night. There are different ways to do it. The way we’re built, it’s not going to be a brawling situation.”

Walker asked Quinn about calling up Mason Geertson, a 6-foot-4, 216-pound defenseman with 43 penalty minutes in 18 games this season in Hartford. Quinn did confirm any scenarios but did say that “We’ve talked about a lot of different scenarios.”

The game between the two teams will be nationally televised on the MSNBC network.

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers use a Buchnevich Hat Trick to Defeat the Devils

After dominating the New Jersey Devils for almost two and a half games, the New York Rangers almost lost a four-goal lead on Saturday afternoon. Pavel Buchnevich had his first career hat trick and the Rangers held off a Devil’s rally to win by the score of 6-3.

Buchnevich is the first player in franchise history to score a hat trick on his birthday. He is the 14th
NHL player with a birthday hat trick and only Wayne Gretzky did it twice.

After scoring the first four goals of the game, the Devils rallied back with three goals to narrow the margin. The Rangers then added two empty-net goals to seal the victory.

Artemi Panarin added four points in the effort, scoring a goal with three assists while Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome also added three assists.

Igor Shesterkin finally gave up a goal to the Devils after going over 199 minutes of holding them scoreless.

Per the NHL Public Relations, Shesterkin has established a Ranger franchise record for the longest shutout streak against one opponent. He broke the record held by Dave Kerr, who went 198:07 against the Montreal Canadiens during the 1939-40 season.

The Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period as Buchnevich scored twice. Strome scored the other goal in the first period. Panarin scored in the second period while Buchnevich and Chris Kreider added the empty netters.

The New York Rangers were not pleased with their third-period effort

In his post-game Zoom conference, Mika Zibanejad addressed the issues that led to the Devils almost coming back from a four-goal deficit. “We stopped playing a little bit. We just made it way too easy for them. They were good enough to take advantage of their chances. That obviously was not good but I like how we stuck it out and got the win.”

“They were winning way too many one-on-one battles,” head coach David Quinn said in his post-game conference. It really was a reflection of where we were mentally. Once we got up 4-0 we disrespected the game and our opponent. I wasn’t surprised by the pushback we got from New Jersey. We got outplayed in the second half of that game and we have a very, very difficult game tomorrow.”

The two teams will for the final game of their four-game series on Sunday afternoon in New Jersey.

 

 

 

 

 

Jacob Trouba Takes on a Leadership role for the New York Rangers

During the second intermission of Tuesday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, something interesting happened in the New York Rangers locker room. The Blueshirts had just come off a lackluster second period, holding a slim lead of 1-0. At that point, a voice outside of the regular leadership group spoke up and provided some “words of inspiration” that rallied the team. It was 27-year-old Jacob Trouba who provided that extra spark that led the Rangers to one of their better periods of the season and the 3-0 victory over the Devils.

Teammate Ryan Strome talked about Trouba’s role in his pre-game Zoom conference on Thursday.  “Usually the older guys speak up in the intermission anyway, and Trouba took that initiative,” Strome said, “but I think just for him to take the reins a little bit and have the players control the dressing room for a period, you know, sometimes you can get caught up a little bit in the X’s and O’s and I thought in the second period we were kind of just off our game. I was really proud of the guys who stepped up.”

While Trouba acknowledged his role, he was less forthcoming about what happened. “I thought we needed to play better in the third,” Trouba said Thursday in his Zoom conference. “What happens in the room kind of stays in the room.”

By following an old adage that has been adopted by a certain city in Nevada, we will just have to speculate as to what was said during that time.

Nevertheless, since that time, the Rangers have played quite well in shutting out the Devils on two consecutive nights.

Trouba taking on a senior leadership role for the New York Rangers

While not exactly eligible for an AARP card yet, Trouba is one of the senior members of the team and has started to embrace that role. Something that has not been lost on his head coach.

“He plays hard. He creates a mentality in our locker room and he means an awful lot to us on and off the ice, Quinn said in his pre-game Zoom conference. “People have touched on the leadership aspect that he’s kind of embraced here this year, but I certainly like what’s going on on the ice as well.”

On the ice, Trouba started things going on Thursday night by scoring the first goal inside of one minute into the game.

The deal that the Rangers made on June 17, 2019, is looking really good. On that date, Trouba was traded by the Winnepeg Jets to the Rangers in exchange for Neal Pionk and Winnipeg’s own first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. That pick had been previously acquired by the Rangers in exchange for the Jets receiving Kevin Hayes.

The Rochester, Michigan native also finds himself in the role of mentor to rookie K’Andre Miller and now to the newly added Zac Jones.

Trouba will also continue to be a leader as the team looks to add some new faces on the blue line in the coming seasons.