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Old
04-29-2009, 09:05 AM
  #1
Fletch
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Season recap

I'm sure there will be tons of these, but I wanted to hear some thoughts. We entered the season with some enthusiasm, some pessimism, some optimism. It all depended on who you were and what you thought about the makeup. Some thought moving on from Jagr was a good thing; some thought it would actually improve the team today, others thought it was an inevitable move that will help shape tomorrow. Others didn't see Jagr's replacement on the team in the near or distant future and that his departure would be detrimentl, if not catastrophic, to the team. Then there were interesting moves to bring in players to round out the team. So, did the team meet or exceed expectations this season, and what does this mean for the future?

I'll start: this team met my preseason expectations. Actually, they may've exceeded them. I thought they were a bubble team to begin the season. My expectations changed during the course of the season because I realized there were many bubble teams and the Rangers, with playoff experience and one of the better goalies in the league, should be more than a bubble. I had fears this season about depth and the leadership, particularly scoring leadership, on this team. I also had skepticisms regarding this team's defense, which I think took its toll on Lundqvist over the course of the season. I thought Renney did a great job with the team (and I've been critical of Renney), but lost the team and failed to find the winning combo to make this team better; of course, perhaps there was not a winning combo. This team struggled all season long to find consistent scoring, consistent play from the defense, and a consistent effort.

What does it look like for next season? Man, I am worried. I didn't see a heck of a lot of progression from much of the team's youth.

Dubi, I think, was forced too much to produce, and he didn't. I expected 35-40 points from him this season, but expected a lot less ice time. Will he improve next season, or is he really a 35-40 point centerman on a third line who can occasionally step it up?

Zherdev - do you even sign this guy? Erratic regular season, as expected, and disastrous playoffs with zero points in seven games. He's looking for a raise - not sure how he deserves one, but what are the options at the price range?

Antropov - would be a good second line winger if the team had a top line winger (and centerman). What will be the cost? He's UFA and there won't be a home team discount.

Gomez - his play was erratic, as it has been throughout his career. He doesn't make his players better, but can play to the level of his linemates. Perhaps not playing him with Zherdev much of the season was a mistake, but it likely wouldn't have mattered in the playoffs.

Drury - he needs to play behind a 70-80 point centerman, otherwise his lack of consistent offensive plays sticks out. Would be more effective with less minutes.

Cally - Break-out year. But did he also hit his limit and is he really the guy you want to be your top scoring winger?

Naslund - had rough stretches. Actually thought he came through in the playoffs with decent play. At $4MM, he's not expensive, but he's also not a top liner.

Avery - let's see what a clean slate and a full season does. He's a third liner and should be with Dubi and Korps.

Korps - did he progress? Thought the experiment at center was idiotic (as was Dubi at wing). He's a right winger, play him as such. Should be penciled in at third line right wing to begin the season and that should be his spot to lose, and if he's not getting it done, he will lose it quickly.

Voros - shame, an absolute shame.

Orr-Betts-Sjo - can't say enough when this line played together for 5-7 minutes per night. Sjo as a second or third liner simply didn't work. At neraly $900k, I'm not sure I'd take Sjo back as there has to be a $500k PKer out there who can score 3-5 goals on a fourth line.

Rozy - struggled for much of the season. I don't worry about him. I think he will be mostly steady. At $5MM per, I don't think he's wildy expensive.

Redden - bit mistake at $6.5MM. Didn't get it done during the season. Wasn't good enough to be a top 4 defenseman, but then again, who would replace him? Played better in some playoff games. Can he improve? I think the only way to go is up as this guy is with this team for a while.

Staal-Girardi - love having a young duo. Saw glimpses of Staal being a stud. Also saw glimpses of a young kid trying to do too much. Next season is a defining year for him - either he's a top pair defenseman, or just a guy who can log 20 minutes and play good one night and OK the other. Girardi had too many nights off and he needs to be a bit more productive offensively. I honestly don't know what to make of him.

Mara-Morris - liked Mara all season long. Was a leader and played mostly well, especially for a third pair defenseman. Morris played well in the regular season, but I can't say that for the playoffs. I think both will be gone and replaced by scrubs making less than $1MM per season to sign the RFAs and maybe acquire a top six forward, or retain a UFA-to-be.

Lundqvist - started out the season as the guy mainly responsible for this team getting off to a great start. Went into his annual funk, came back, had some bad games, then good games. For lundvist, it was an OK year. For a goalie, it was still a good to very good season.

Coaching - thought the firing of Renney was necessary if not late. Thought the hiring of Torts was necessary, since there was a void. Wanted Torts to coach this team when Sather joined, but he went to Tampa. I'm undecided as of today. Seems as though he panicked a bit. The question is, could anything more have been done. That's a tough question to answer.

Outlook - unfortunately, this team's makeup is not suited to play an entire season. The depth isn't that great, and unlike many teams, it was not tested because games lost to injuries were a riduculously low amount. There isn't a heck of a lot of help in HFD on the top-end. We hope Anisimov turns into something, and of course we may begin the season debating which center goes to wing to accomodate the big man, barring a trade. And which defensema(e)n will be worthy of a promotion and what will their impact be. Are Sauer and/or Sangs ready to take over for Morris/Mara, and will they be as effective? And what's there on the trade horizon? Did Del Zotto have a season that makes Sangs expendable. Did Sangs have a season that makes DZ expendable? I dunno, but I see the same questions going into next season than the prior season while other teams seemed to have improved.

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04-29-2009, 09:15 AM
  #2
broadwayblue
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Originally Posted by Fletch View Post
I'm sure there will be tons of these, but I wanted to hear some thoughts. We entered the season with some enthusiasm, some pessimism, some optimism. It all depended on who you were and what you thought about the makeup. Some thought moving on from Jagr was a good thing; some thought it would actually improve the team today, others thought it was an inevitable move that will help shape tomorrow. Others didn't see Jagr's replacement on the team in the near or distant future and that his departure would be detrimentl, if not catastrophic, to the team. Then there were interesting moves to bring in players to round out the team. So, did the team meet or exceed expectations this season, and what does this mean for the future?

I'll start: this team met my preseason expectations. Actually, they may've exceeded them. I thought they were a bubble team to begin the season. My expectations changed during the course of the season because I realized there were many bubble teams and the Rangers, with playoff experience and one of the better goalies in the league, should be more than a bubble. I had fears this season about depth and the leadership, particularly scoring leadership, on this team. I also had skepticisms regarding this team's defense, which I think took its toll on Lundqvist over the course of the season. I thought Renney did a great job with the team (and I've been critical of Renney), but lost the team and failed to find the winning combo to make this team better; of course, perhaps there was not a winning combo. This team struggled all season long to find consistent scoring, consistent play from the defense, and a consistent effort.

I agree. I thought we could very well miss the playoffs but we found a way to make it. I was afraid after losing Jagr, Shanny and Straka (about 1/3 of our previously anemic 25th ranked offense of 2.50 GFA) we would be even harder pressed to score goals this season. Turns out that was a valid fear as we dropped to 28th overall with a paltry 2.44 GFA. Bottom line is we need offense if we're going to compete in the new NHL. I mean not a single 30 goal scorer=FAIL. Not sure if we'll be able to add it this summer with our cap constraints, but perhaps Sather will be able to work some magic...hopefully without killing us down the road.

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Old
04-29-2009, 09:21 AM
  #3
I Am Chariot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch View Post
I'm sure there will be tons of these, but I wanted to hear some thoughts. We entered the season with some enthusiasm, some pessimism, some optimism. It all depended on who you were and what you thought about the makeup. Some thought moving on from Jagr was a good thing; some thought it would actually improve the team today, others thought it was an inevitable move that will help shape tomorrow. Others didn't see Jagr's replacement on the team in the near or distant future and that his departure would be detrimentl, if not catastrophic, to the team. Then there were interesting moves to bring in players to round out the team. So, did the team meet or exceed expectations this season, and what does this mean for the future?

I'll start: this team met my preseason expectations. Actually, they may've exceeded them. I thought they were a bubble team to begin the season. My expectations changed during the course of the season because I realized there were many bubble teams and the Rangers, with playoff experience and one of the better goalies in the league, should be more than a bubble. I had fears this season about depth and the leadership, particularly scoring leadership, on this team. I also had skepticisms regarding this team's defense, which I think took its toll on Lundqvist over the course of the season. I thought Renney did a great job with the team (and I've been critical of Renney), but lost the team and failed to find the winning combo to make this team better; of course, perhaps there was not a winning combo. This team struggled all season long to find consistent scoring, consistent play from the defense, and a consistent effort.

What does it look like for next season? Man, I am worried. I didn't see a heck of a lot of progression from much of the team's youth.

Dubi, I think, was forced too much to produce, and he didn't. I expected 35-40 points from him this season, but expected a lot less ice time. Will he improve next season, or is he really a 35-40 point centerman on a third line who can occasionally step it up?

Zherdev - do you even sign this guy? Erratic regular season, as expected, and disastrous playoffs with zero points in seven games. He's looking for a raise - not sure how he deserves one, but what are the options at the price range?

Antropov - would be a good second line winger if the team had a top line winger (and centerman). What will be the cost? He's UFA and there won't be a home team discount.

Gomez - his play was erratic, as it has been throughout his career. He doesn't make his players better, but can play to the level of his linemates. Perhaps not playing him with Zherdev much of the season was a mistake, but it likely wouldn't have mattered in the playoffs.

Drury - he needs to play behind a 70-80 point centerman, otherwise his lack of consistent offensive plays sticks out. Would be more effective with less minutes.

Cally - Break-out year. But did he also hit his limit and is he really the guy you want to be your top scoring winger?

Naslund - had rough stretches. Actually thought he came through in the playoffs with decent play. At $4MM, he's not expensive, but he's also not a top liner.

Avery - let's see what a clean slate and a full season does. He's a third liner and should be with Dubi and Korps.

Korps - did he progress? Thought the experiment at center was idiotic (as was Dubi at wing). He's a right winger, play him as such. Should be penciled in at third line right wing to begin the season and that should be his spot to lose, and if he's not getting it done, he will lose it quickly.

Voros - shame, an absolute shame.

Orr-Betts-Sjo - can't say enough when this line played together for 5-7 minutes per night. Sjo as a second or third liner simply didn't work. At neraly $900k, I'm not sure I'd take Sjo back as there has to be a $500k PKer out there who can score 3-5 goals on a fourth line.

Rozy - struggled for much of the season. I don't worry about him. I think he will be mostly steady. At $5MM per, I don't think he's wildy expensive.

Redden - bit mistake at $6.5MM. Didn't get it done during the season. Wasn't good enough to be a top 4 defenseman, but then again, who would replace him? Played better in some playoff games. Can he improve? I think the only way to go is up as this guy is with this team for a while.

Staal-Girardi - love having a young duo. Saw glimpses of Staal being a stud. Also saw glimpses of a young kid trying to do too much. Next season is a defining year for him - either he's a top pair defenseman, or just a guy who can log 20 minutes and play good one night and OK the other. Girardi had too many nights off and he needs to be a bit more productive offensively. I honestly don't know what to make of him.

Mara-Morris - liked Mara all season long. Was a leader and played mostly well, especially for a third pair defenseman. Morris played well in the regular season, but I can't say that for the playoffs. I think both will be gone and replaced by scrubs making less than $1MM per season to sign the RFAs and maybe acquire a top six forward, or retain a UFA-to-be.

Lundqvist - started out the season as the guy mainly responsible for this team getting off to a great start. Went into his annual funk, came back, had some bad games, then good games. For lundvist, it was an OK year. For a goalie, it was still a good to very good season.

Coaching - thought the firing of Renney was necessary if not late. Thought the hiring of Torts was necessary, since there was a void. Wanted Torts to coach this team when Sather joined, but he went to Tampa. I'm undecided as of today. Seems as though he panicked a bit. The question is, could anything more have been done. That's a tough question to answer.

Outlook - unfortunately, this team's makeup is not suited to play an entire season. The depth isn't that great, and unlike many teams, it was not tested because games lost to injuries were a riduculously low amount. There isn't a heck of a lot of help in HFD on the top-end. We hope Anisimov turns into something, and of course we may begin the season debating which center goes to wing to accomodate the big man, barring a trade. And which defensema(e)n will be worthy of a promotion and what will their impact be. Are Sauer and/or Sangs ready to take over for Morris/Mara, and will they be as effective? And what's there on the trade horizon? Did Del Zotto have a season that makes Sangs expendable. Did Sangs have a season that makes DZ expendable? I dunno, but I see the same questions going into next season than the prior season while other teams seemed to have improved.
Great recap Fletch

Ultimately a decent defensive team with next to no offense.

They did show some heart down the stretch and series 1

Build on the core

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Old
04-29-2009, 09:46 AM
  #4
Bluenote13
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Great recap Fletch

Ultimately a decent defensive team with next to no offense.

They did show some heart down the stretch and series 1

Build on the core
Thats pretty much how i feel. You have a core of young players with Lundqvist still not at his prime. Names like Drury, Gomez, Rosy, Redden - these guys are all just setting the table for the kids who will run the show eventually.

Great recap Fletch, seems like you covered all bases. I still think letting Nicky Z go for nothing seems farfetched unless Sather can somehow deal for or sign a scorer(Gaborik?). You're right about Big Nicky though, he'll take the money from whoever wants to pay him, if its too high no way he's back in Blue(Toronto Blue maybe).

I think if we're all honest with ourselves we'd admit this is exactly the type of season we were in for post Jagr.

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04-29-2009, 10:25 AM
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Fletch
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I agree on Zherdev. I'm not suggesting letting him go for nada. Not sure what I'm actually suggesting and would bet Sather too doesn't know what he will do there. The question is, what is the price? Will he jump to Russia because he can get more? He tied for the team lead in points and was one goal behind the leader. He and his agent can easily be unreasonable in their request, and is he worth what they may ask for? And if not, can he be traded if his request is unreasonable and would he jump to Russia. I see this playing out in a few ways, none very attractive. One is he's qualified and plays a year on the relatively cheap and then becomes UFA, and he's gone. Another is he goes to Russia. And the other is they have a hard time coming to terms with him and can't move him as a result.

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04-29-2009, 12:41 PM
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Nice recap Fletch.

I feel this team is just treading water. We are hopelessly mediocre. With the bad contracts we are saddled with I don't really see anything changing in the foreseeable future either. It is actually quite depressing.

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04-29-2009, 12:48 PM
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Nice recap Fletch.

I feel this team is just treading water. We are hopelessly mediocre. With the bad contracts we are saddled with I don't really see anything changing in the foreseeable future either. It is actually quite depressing.
I don't see it that way. The young guys, though not setting the world on fire, are improving, getting more experience under their belt. Lundqvist is hitting his prime.

In contrast, my Devils friends at work look like they're about to jump off a bridge, my Isles friends don't even talk about hockey.

I don't know, maybe you're right, but I'm getting older, feel much more patient in regards to this teams success after those god awful 7 years of no playoffs whatsoever. Theirs hope in the future, winning now is kinda overrated - isn't that what the mantra on these boards is all about

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04-29-2009, 01:24 PM
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I don't see it that way. The young guys, though not setting the world on fire, are improving, getting more experience under their belt. Lundqvist is hitting his prime.

In contrast, my Devils friends at work look like they're about to jump off a bridge, my Isles friends don't even talk about hockey.

I don't know, maybe you're right, but I'm getting older, feel much more patient in regards to this teams success after those god awful 7 years of no playoffs whatsoever. Theirs hope in the future, winning now is kinda overrated - isn't that what the mantra on these boards is all about
You know what I think it is Bluenote, I just can't figure out how to improve this team with our current cap situation. That is frustrating because I kinda feel like we really can't do much this off season. Last season there was a little more sense of optimism because we had so many expiring contracts..Jagr, Straka, Shanny, Rozy, Malik, etc.

I'd love to convince myself into believing we could unload some of our bad contracts for picks/spects and build the team around Henrik, Staal, Dubinsky and Cally. Re-sign a guy like Betts who never cheats you with his effort and fill out the roster with good character guys on short term contracts or with young players and see what happens. The problem is that 1)I know Slats wouldn't do that because in his mind we are one or two pieces away from being a cup contender. 2)No one is taking on our unwanted contracts outside of maybe Rozy's.

So I look at our team and don't see any realistic ways to improve ourselves this off season. I have almost become numb to our situation. I talked myself out during the season trying to figure out how to get this team out of cap hell.

The other thing is that I have lost all confidence in Sather as a GM. I just don't have a sense that he knows how to get this team over the hump and turn them into a legitimate contender. I am just waiting for him to figure out a clever way to straddle this team with another bad contract.

Then I look at our defense core and see a group of guys who are all incapable of playing the style our coach wants. Specifically our two high priced guys. Torts realized this and publicly admitted he had to pull things back. They just aren't mobile enough. So I see a coach who wants to play a certain way but can't because of the players he has. Players who are signed for the foreseeable future.

Realistically the only way this team was gonna make a serious cup run was if Henrik played at an inhuman/mutant like level for two months. It is unrealistic to ask one guy to do that.

Jesus, I am starting to depress myself I better stop.

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