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Old
08-01-2012, 02:21 PM
  #1
Beacon
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Rangers Long-Term Depth and Needs

Obviously teams change a lot over the course of 3-4 years, but it's still worth it to look at where the team stands going forward to know what the needs are. This is what I came up with as far as where we are projected to be in 3-4 years.


CENTERS

Established: Derek Stepan, Brad Richards, Brian Boyle.
Need: A single 3rd liner.
Prospects: St. Croix, Lindberg, Nieves, Fogarty.
Outlook: We should be in good shape. At least one of our prospects should give us that top-9 center we need.


LEFT WINGS

Established: Rick Nash
Rookies: Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider
Needs: A 4th liner.
Prospects: Andrew Yogan, Marek Hrivik.
Outlook: No problem here if our rookies continue to improve instead of going bust. If Hagelin and Kreider perform, we are in great shape.


RIGHT WINGS

Established: Callahan
Needs: A 1st liner and two guys in the bottom-6.
Prospects: J.T. Miller, Thomas, Fast, MColgan.
Outlook: Not great. We might produce one top-6 and one bottom-6 player from this bunch, though even that is a risk when dealing with prospects. When/if Gabby leaves, we will be in trouble on the RW. And we don't even have a first rounder next year to get a good RW prospect (not complaining about the Nash trade, just stating a fact).


DEFENSE

Established: McDonagh, Staal, Del Zotto, Girardi.
Risk: Sauer due to injury
Need: At least one, maybe 2 blueliners.
Prospects: McIlrath, Skjei plus lesser prospects Noreau, Andersson and Ceresnak.
Outlook: McIlrath will make it, just depends on whether he'll be a #6 or a #2 defenseman. I think one of Skjei, Noreau, Anderson or Ceresnak makes it as well, though there is no guarantee of this. (A guy drafted in Skjei's position statistically has only about a 1/3 chance of playing in the NHL. Let's see his improvement before we proclaim him to be a sure-fire NHLer. There must be a reason 27 teams passed on him.)

Our blueline depth isn't nearly what we thought it would be. There's a reason they say that you can never have too many defensemen. Many of the blueliners that we pumped up here turned into nothing: Sanguinetti, Gilroy, Valentenko, Kundratek, Heineken, Pashnin, Parlett, Niemi, Nigel Williams. Other prospects like Maggio, Klassen, Baldwin also went into the black hole of memory. Corey Potter left. Tim Erixon was traded. Mike Sauer is an injury question mark.

Considering how many blueline prospects are needed to produce just one top-4 defenseman, we should keep drafting them at an increased pace, maybe 3-4 kids per draft.

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08-01-2012, 02:33 PM
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I actually think the RW depth is fine. I am high on that whole group of players you have listed though.

Skjei I think people are underrating.

Also, this factors in no trades/signings. Rupp, Pyatt, Asham, Haley are all year for at least another 2 years (or so says their contracts). A lot can change in terms of depth in 2 years.

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08-01-2012, 02:41 PM
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Great summary and analysis, though you might want to mention Gaborik as a possibility to still be here in a few years. I know it's unlikely and it certainly won't happen at his current salary, but I wouldn't rule out a shorter deal at a lower cap hit between $5.5-6 million per year IF he can come back healthy from this shoulder injury and produce for the next two years.

Either way, it's amazing how long RW has been a weakness on this team. Remember when Evgeny Grachev was viewed as a potential savior at that spot?

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08-01-2012, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by clmetsfan View Post
Great summary and analysis, though you might want to mention Gaborik as a possibility to still be here in a few years. I know it's unlikely and it certainly won't happen at his current salary, but I wouldn't rule out a shorter deal at a lower cap hit between $5.5-6 million per year IF he can come back healthy from this shoulder injury and produce for the next two years.

Either way, it's amazing how long RW has been a weakness on this team. Remember when Evgeny Grachev was viewed as a potential savior at that spot?
Gaborik will only be 32 when his contract expires and I could easily see him sign here again, especially if this team produces over the next two seasons and he finds some more ice with other top line players either having been brought in or developed around him. But, if his contract expires and and nobody within the Rangers system looks likely to replace Gabby, NYR must use that freed up salary for a free agent replacement. I don't see it as a weakness. The only system weakness is NHL ready goaltending (though they have a pretty good guy starting between the pipes right now) and depth defenseman (though they have anywhere from four - six very young defenseman who should maintain a high level of play for a while right now). THe future looks bright.

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08-01-2012, 03:10 PM
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I also think goaltending has to be taken into view too. Henrik is 30 now, so realistically we can expect top performances for another 5-8 years.

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08-01-2012, 03:11 PM
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I don't see Gabby being here after next season.

Callahan, Boyle, Lundquist, Girardi are all unrestricted that year and Kreider will be an RFA.
Barring significant Cap/CBA changes, Gaborik is going to get a minimum of 4 yrs $30m on the open market. if he can continue with good production.
We cannot afford that.

I also laugh when people assume he will take a big discount to play in NY.
a. Almost no player ever does that
B. He was treated like garbage in the playoffs by the fans getting unmercifully booed off a 41 goal season. He was also booed pretty bad the season before. For the record, he was playing hurt both years. I don't exactly see Gaborik viewing his relationship with NY fans as a love affair.

Long term, the organazation could use an elite forward and a goalie.

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08-01-2012, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogans View Post
Gaborik will only be 32 when his contract expires and I could easily see him sign here again
Let's hope he'll be healthy. I'm much more confident about Nash being a top player at 32 than Gaborik.


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Originally Posted by bogans View Post
But, if his contract expires and and nobody within the Rangers system looks likely to replace Gabby, NYR must use that freed up salary for a free agent replacement. I don't see it as a weakness.
Unless the UFA age is raised, which is likely. Prior to the last lockout, the UFA age was 32-33.


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Originally Posted by bogans View Post
The only system weakness is NHL ready goaltending (though they have a pretty good guy starting between the pipes right now)
Lundqvist has another 8-10 years to go. Lundqvist's replacement is probably still in high school right now, barely even hoping to play in the NHL.

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Originally Posted by bogans View Post
and depth defenseman (though they have anywhere from four - six very young defenseman who should maintain a high level of play for a while right now).
It depends on Sauer, though I would spend our last 3 picks in the next draft on guys like Noreau.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bogans View Post
THe future looks bright.
The near-future (the next 3-4 years) is very bright, but our prospect pool is about to start withering, which long-term will matter.

At one point guys like Nash and Brad (and Gabby if he's still here) will start to go down, and even if they aren't retired, they will not be first liners. Considering that it takes a prospect 5-7 years to go from his draft to being fully developed, our next first rounder in 2014 will not be ready for many years.

This is why it's so important to try to swing for the fences in the upcoming drafts.

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08-01-2012, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Beacon View Post
Obviously teams change a lot over the course of 3-4 years, but it's still worth it to look at where the team stands going forward to know what the needs are. This is what I came up with as far as where we are projected to be in 3-4 years.


CENTERS

Established: Derek Stepan, Brad Richards, Brian Boyle.
Need: A single 3rd liner.
Prospects: St. Croix, Lindberg, Nieves, Fogarty.
Outlook: We should be in good shape. At least one of our prospects should give us that top-9 center we need.


LEFT WINGS

Established: Rick Nash
Rookies: Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider
Needs: A 4th liner.
Prospects: Andrew Yogan, Marek Hrivik.
Outlook: No problem here if our rookies continue to improve instead of going bust. If Hagelin and Kreider perform, we are in great shape.


RIGHT WINGS

Established: Callahan
Needs: A 1st liner and two guys in the bottom-6.
Prospects: J.T. Miller, Thomas, Fast, MColgan.
Outlook: Not great. We might produce one top-6 and one bottom-6 player from this bunch, though even that is a risk when dealing with prospects. When/if Gabby leaves, we will be in trouble on the RW. And we don't even have a first rounder next year to get a good RW prospect (not complaining about the Nash trade, just stating a fact).


DEFENSE

Established: McDonagh, Staal, Del Zotto, Girardi.
Risk: Sauer due to injury
Need: At least one, maybe 2 blueliners.
Prospects: McIlrath, Skjei plus lesser prospects Noreau, Andersson and Ceresnak.
Outlook: McIlrath will make it, just depends on whether he'll be a #6 or a #2 defenseman. I think one of Skjei, Noreau, Anderson or Ceresnak makes it as well, though there is no guarantee of this. (A guy drafted in Skjei's position statistically has only about a 1/3 chance of playing in the NHL. Let's see his improvement before we proclaim him to be a sure-fire NHLer. There must be a reason 27 teams passed on him.)

Our blueline depth isn't nearly what we thought it would be. There's a reason they say that you can never have too many defensemen. Many of the blueliners that we pumped up here turned into nothing: Sanguinetti, Gilroy, Valentenko, Kundratek, Heineken, Pashnin, Parlett, Niemi, Nigel Williams. Other prospects like Maggio, Klassen, Baldwin also went into the black hole of memory. Corey Potter left. Tim Erixon was traded. Mike Sauer is an injury question mark.

Considering how many blueline prospects are needed to produce just one top-4 defenseman, we should keep drafting them at an increased pace, maybe 3-4 kids per draft.
As well I think not doing anything on the goaltenders is shortsighted. Lundqvist hits 30 and Biron is pretty much an old man at this point. At best any of Stajcer, Talbot and Missiaen might become a backup NHL goaltender and there's no guarantees in that group. It's a weak area IMO.

A defenseman with size who can skate and who can play a positionally sound game--not overly aggressive now but if the will is there that can be improved upon--that is what Skjei is and to be honest with you--my opinion anyway--you've painted yourself into a corner on this and now don't think you can back down without looking bad--you've got a couple years of playing the skeptic card and being gradually won over I suppose. It reminds me of Bluenote13's stance on McIlrath but to be honest Bluenote at least had several logical reasons to pan that pick and I just don't see yours. The just drafted Skjei is ahead of where McIlrath was as a player after he was drafted. He doesn't have to work very much on his skating or positional play which are things that Dylan is still struggling with.

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08-01-2012, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by eco's bones View Post
that is what Skjei is and to be honest with you--my opinion anyway--you've painted yourself into a corner on this and now don't think you can back down without looking bad--you've got a couple years of playing the skeptic card and being gradually won over I suppose. It reminds me of Bluenote13's stance on McIlrath but to be honest Bluenote at least had several logical reasons to pan that pick and I just don't see yours. The just drafted Skjei is ahead of where McIlrath was as a player after he was drafted. He doesn't have to work very much on his skating or positional play which are things that Dylan is still struggling with.

I have no particular problem with Skjei. I like the pick. My problem is with people in general overrating draftees.

If you go to any team's forum and ask them for their projection of their just-drafted second rounder, the majority opinion will be that the kid has a 50-75% chance of cracking the NHL, and he'll most likely be a 2-3 line tweener (a.k.a. average NHLer) or better.

In reality, only 20% of second rounders make it and only about 10% of them become tweeners or better.

Same with first rounders. A kid drafted around #15-20 has a 50-50 chance of cracking the NHL, and has only about a 20% shot of becoming a top-6 forward. Yet, 90% of fans expect these kids to become very good second liners.

Even 3-4 rounders who have a 5-10% chance of making it as low-end players (Stu Bickel types) are somehow penciled in as having a decent shots at being solid players. The last 3rd rounder of ours who made it was Dom Moore in 2000. Prior to him, it was Eric Cairs in 1992. Neither of them were earth-shakers.

The one argument for our draft picks is that our scouting staff seems to be doing a great job. Between 2004 and 2009, we had 4 of our 10 second round picks make the NHL, which is double the usual 20% rate. Nevertheless, the average 2nd rounder of ours failed to make it.

In the previous 10 years from 1993 to 2003, we had 11 second round picks and only 1 of them (Tyutin) made it. Yet, even as we kept striking out, our fans still would write that our second rounder will make the NHL in 2 years and become at least a tweener. Each time it was explained with a very confident statement of, "I don't care what happened in the past. I saw Copley or Inman or Baranka, and I am telling you that this kid is for real."

The spot where Skjei was drafted is somewhere between our old second rounders and our old first rounders because we used to either fail to make the playoffs or barely made it, so we drafted much earlier.


So yeah, do I like the Skjei pick? Yes. Do I hope he makes it? Definitely. Should we go around saying that a #28 (much less Nieves at #57) are any kind of a guarantee to make it? Absolutely not.

Let's have him, as you said, win us over first. Let's hope he'll become as good as Sauer or even Stepan (in terms of value, not style) and not the next Olver, Graham, Byers, Lafleur, etc.

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08-01-2012, 04:08 PM
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The near-future (the next 3-4 years) is very bright, but our prospect pool is about to start withering, which long-term will matter.
It's about to "wither" because so many of them made it to the big squad...which in turn has resulted in us having one of the youngest teams in the league. We won't have nearly as many spots to fill in the next several years, so we won't need to count on calling up as many guys from CT. And the fact is we don't know that we'll have a thin prospect pool a couple years down the road. For all we know we'll have great success next June, even without a 1st round pick. Perhaps Gordie can pull a few rabbits out of a hat with the three third round picks we've got. The reality is if his crew keeps doing what they've been doing there's every reason to believe that depth will remain in our prospect pool going forward.

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This is why it's so important to try to swing for the fences in the upcoming drafts.
I would argue that if our prospect pool was drying up it would be more sensible to draft players that are more of a sure thing...even if that means they are only likely to have 2nd or 3rd line potential. Swinging for the fences is a liberty you can afford when you are flush with prospects and not nearly as worried about individual guys going bust.

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08-01-2012, 04:13 PM
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It's about to "wither" because so many of them made it to the big squad.

Not just that, though it part of it. We had only 4 picks this year. Next year we won't have a first, and our second likely will be almost a third. We also traded away Erixon and I bet we'll trade away more picks/prospects this upcoming season for playoff help.

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I would argue that if our prospect pool was drying up it would be more sensible to draft players that are more of a sure thing...even if that means they are only likely to have 2nd or 3rd line potential. Swinging for the fences is a liberty you can afford when you are flush with prospects and not nearly as worried about individual guys going bust.
That depends on the quality of your overall system. When you already have Nash, Stepan, Callahan, Kreider, Hagelin, Richards, etc. on your squad, you don't need to be overly safe. What the team needs is a couple top-6 players to be added in the next few years. If you draft enough guys like St. Croix, Thomas and Fast, eventually you will strike gold.

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08-01-2012, 04:20 PM
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Goaltending is our one area of weakness. Sure, Hank is only 30, but if (god forbid) he goes down with a serious injury, we are screwed. We need to address this asap. It would be nice to find another Lundqvist in the late rounds.

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08-01-2012, 04:21 PM
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Goaltending is our one area of weakness. Sure, Hank is only 30, but if (god forbid) he goes down with a serious injury, we are screwed. We need to address this asap. It would be nice to find another Lundqvist in the late rounds.
If he goes down we're screwed regardless.

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08-01-2012, 04:34 PM
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I agree we need to address goaltending. Man it felt like yesterday Hank was 24. We need to start drafting young goalies.

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08-01-2012, 04:55 PM
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Goaltending is our one area of weakness. Sure, Hank is only 30, but if (god forbid) he goes down with a serious injury, we are screwed. We need to address this asap. It would be nice to find another Lundqvist in the late rounds.
Any team would be pretty screwed if their starting goaltender went down.

If management is spending more than a little bit of time worrying about that, then its mismanagement of resources.

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08-01-2012, 05:08 PM
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I have no particular problem with Skjei. I like the pick. My problem is with people in general overrating draftees.

If you go to any team's forum and ask them for their projection of their just-drafted second rounder, the majority opinion will be that the kid has a 50-75% chance of cracking the NHL, and he'll most likely be a 2-3 line tweener (a.k.a. average NHLer) or better.

In reality, only 20% of second rounders make it and only about 10% of them become tweeners or better.

Same with first rounders. A kid drafted around #15-20 has a 50-50 chance of cracking the NHL, and has only about a 20% shot of becoming a top-6 forward. Yet, 90% of fans expect these kids to become very good second liners.

Even 3-4 rounders who have a 5-10% chance of making it as low-end players (Stu Bickel types) are somehow penciled in as having a decent shots at being solid players. The last 3rd rounder of ours who made it was Dom Moore in 2000. Prior to him, it was Eric Cairs in 1992. Neither of them were earth-shakers.

The one argument for our draft picks is that our scouting staff seems to be doing a great job. Between 2004 and 2009, we had 4 of our 10 second round picks make the NHL, which is double the usual 20% rate. Nevertheless, the average 2nd rounder of ours failed to make it.

In the previous 10 years from 1993 to 2003, we had 11 second round picks and only 1 of them (Tyutin) made it. Yet, even as we kept striking out, our fans still would write that our second rounder will make the NHL in 2 years and become at least a tweener. Each time it was explained with a very confident statement of, "I don't care what happened in the past. I saw Copley or Inman or Baranka, and I am telling you that this kid is for real."

The spot where Skjei was drafted is somewhere between our old second rounders and our old first rounders because we used to either fail to make the playoffs or barely made it, so we drafted much earlier.


So yeah, do I like the Skjei pick? Yes. Do I hope he makes it? Definitely. Should we go around saying that a #28 (much less Nieves at #57) are any kind of a guarantee to make it? Absolutely not.

Let's have him, as you said, win us over first. Let's hope he'll become as good as Sauer or even Stepan (in terms of value, not style) and not the next Olver, Graham, Byers, Lafleur, etc.
You also have to look at what teams do with the players they draft. I mean why is it that the Islanders, Bluejackets etc. get high end draft picks every year and fail to improve. In part it's development--in part it's the quick fix moves trading them off, in part it's the veteran leadership they surround them with, in part it's rushing players who are not ready--yada, yada, yada.

The Rangers develop their picks fairly well. They're bringing in a kid or two just about every year. They fit them into slots where they can succeed.

I don't worry about Skjei--a defenseman with size and wheels who bases his game on his position might not turn into a real exciting player but it's a safe pick. A similar pick for us out of the second round of 2005 is Mike Sauer. Skjei's not as physical as Sauer but he's a better and faster skater. Both of them are stay at homes--make the smart play types.

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08-01-2012, 05:12 PM
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Drafting a future #1 isn't going to help us if Hank gets injured. At least not for 4-5 years.

I think the Rangers will target a blue-chip netminder at some point in the next 18 months. Whether that's at the draft table next June or via trade remains to be seen. Goalie prospects don't hold a ton of value, so the Rangers may very well wait a few years and try and poach a young up-and-comer as Hank starts to get older. Similar to what Tampa Bay did this season with Lindback.

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08-01-2012, 05:20 PM
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Drafting a future #1 isn't going to help us if Hank gets injured. At least not for 4-5 years.

I think the Rangers will target a blue-chip netminder at some point in the next 18 months. Whether that's at the draft table next June or via trade remains to be seen. Goalie prospects don't hold a ton of value, so the Rangers may very well wait a few years and try and poach a young up-and-comer as Hank starts to get older. Similar to what Tampa Bay did this season with Lindback.
I agree, but its nowhere near a high priority in my mind. In fact, I doubt they waste a high draft pick on a netminder.

Goalie development works in funny ways. Henrik Lundqvist wasnt even in the Rangers plans as late as 2004. If he was, they wouldnt have drafted Montoya 6th overall. A year later, Lundqvist was taking Broadway by storm.

We got lucky there - and if/when we dont get lucky again when Lundqvist is out of the picture, theres going to be a riot on these boards.

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08-01-2012, 05:29 PM
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I agree, but its nowhere near a high priority in my mind. In fact, I doubt they waste a high draft pick on a netminder.

Goalie development works in funny ways. Henrik Lundqvist wasnt even in the Rangers plans as late as 2004. If he was, they wouldnt have drafted Montoya 6th overall. A year later, Lundqvist was taking Broadway by storm.

We got lucky there - and if/when we dont get lucky again when Lundqvist is out of the picture, theres going to be a riot on these boards.
It's tough when you consider that goalies can often take 5-6 years to reach the NHL as capable backups, let alone #1's. You look at some of the guys who are about to take the reigns of top teams, and they've been in the system for 6+ years. Schneider and Rask are both 26 and are just now getting a chance to run the show for their teams.

It never hurts to have a good goalie waiting in the wings. You just never know what's going to happen.

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08-01-2012, 06:23 PM
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I agree, but its nowhere near a high priority in my mind. In fact, I doubt they waste a high draft pick on a netminder.

Goalie development works in funny ways. Henrik Lundqvist wasnt even in the Rangers plans as late as 2004. If he was, they wouldnt have drafted Montoya 6th overall. A year later, Lundqvist was taking Broadway by storm.

We got lucky there - and if/when we dont get lucky again when Lundqvist is out of the picture, theres going to be a riot on these boards.
Can't depend on that kind of lightning striking twice. We have Benoit Allaire--supposedly one of the premier goalie coaches in the world. We have Henrik---a 36 year old Biron and three somewhat underwhelming prospects. Rangers should be giving Allaire something better to work with.

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08-01-2012, 06:25 PM
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J.T. Miller is a center. His future in the NHL is a center.

It doesn't matter what Plymouth did with him, it matters what the Rangers organization does with him. Clark and Gorton see him as a center.

Nieves' future is on the wing.

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08-01-2012, 06:33 PM
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People don't want to hear it but the devils never aggressively filled the goalie void. Marty is still going and we can point and laugh if he finally bombs but nj proved you can use those picks elsewhere. I'd hold off a few more years and gamble that henrik holds down the fort a while longer. Its imperative to replace gaborik according to some, and henrik according to others. That's a full spectrum. Just keep drafting the same, trust the scouts.

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08-01-2012, 06:48 PM
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JeffMangum
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Sjkei went as late as he did because the draft was teeming with great defensive prospects. Last year, I bet he goes more in the 18-20 range.

He's 6'3 and an excellent skater. At worst, he'll probably be a 5 or 6 D. He has the potential to be more. Very good physical skillset.

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08-01-2012, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DutchShamrock View Post
People don't want to hear it but the devils never aggressively filled the goalie void. Marty is still going and we can point and laugh if he finally bombs but nj proved you can use those picks elsewhere. I'd hold off a few more years and gamble that henrik holds down the fort a while longer. Its imperative to replace gaborik according to some, and henrik according to others. That's a full spectrum. Just keep drafting the same, trust the scouts.
There's obviously plenty of time before Hank turns 40. If it were up to me I'd start grooming who I would hope to be Hank's replacement in 2 or 3 years. Hank would still only be 32 or 33 at that time, and even if it took 4 years for the guy to be ready to be our backup and another 2 to be ready to take the starting spot, Henrik would still be a couple years south of 40. I'd be fine with spending a 1st rounder on a goalie in 2014 or 2015 if a highly rated prospect was available.

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08-01-2012, 07:15 PM
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I'm pretty comfortable with our forward depth, hopefully one more top level offensive talent emerges from St. Croix, Fogarty, Thomas. The other guys tend to be more support types.

Defensive depth is still solid, even with the departure of Erixon.

Goaltending is the one area we could really use a legit prospect - which we don't really have at the moment. Lundqvist, at least in my opinion, may fall into the forever young category that some athletes find themselves with fans. In other words, we forever remember them as 23 or 24 and tend to resist the idea of them getting older as they enter their 30s.

If the Rangers take a player in 2012, with a second or third round pick, they will be 13 years younger than Lundqvist. So assuming they pan out, which isn't a guarantee with goalies, and are ready to apprentice at the NHL level by the age of 22, that still makes Lundqvist 35 years old. Even if we assume it takes them one or two years before they can challenge for a number one goalie spot, that now puts Lundqvist at 36 or 37. Long story short, at some point soon, we are going to have to start at least thinking about the future.

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