The Rangers entered the offseason with a few questions: Who will be the second line center? Who will be backing up Igor? What moves will be made to solidify the bottom lines?
While names like Kadri, Miller, and Kane were thrown around, none of that ever really made any sense. With Miller and Laf looking for contracts after this coming season, the Rangers needed to be smart about their money, all while adding players that made their team better. Think about it – The Rangers were just two wins from the Eastern Conference finals. So what did Chris Drury do?
Ryan Strome walked so Vinny Trocheck could run. Trocheck will give the second line an entirely new look, an engaged look, one that should get Panarin more involved and one in which they won’t be walked over. How do I figure? Trocheck loves to forecheck. He loves to get in deep, bang bodies, piss people off, and put the puck in the back of the net.
For all of you mathematicians out there, that’s an additional 144 hits.
Putting Trocheck on a line with Kaapo, a player who loves to protect and explode out of the corners, and with Panarin, a player who is a magician, should equal some decent success for the second line. Trocheck isn’t afraid to crash the net or pull up to find the late guy.
While in Florida, Gerard Gallant coached Trocheck, who said that was a reason he wanted to come to NY. While in Florida, Trocheck played his best hockey, putting up 31 goals, 44 assists for 75 points in 2017-18. Last year he scored 21 goals and added 30 helpers, on a line that didn’t include Artemi Panarin. One more interesting tidbit: Trocheck was 54% at the dot last year, a statistic the Rangers desperately needed help in.
While playing Carolina in the playoffs, I would argue he was one of their best players. He never missed a shift, was always engaged, and was a player most Rangers fans thought, “Damn, I wish he was on our team.” Well, now he is.
*notes* I know the blue checkmarks hate the years, but the Rangers window to win a cup, IMO are the next 4-5 years. You now have a second line center locked up for under 6 million, all while the cap is going up. Eat a snickers.
One of the more important things the Rangers had to do this offseason was hire a reliable back up goalie.
Now, I know there are a ton of Rangers fans that have a hard on for Alex Georgiev, and while he would steal a game once every 2 years, he was horrendous. I wouldn’t have him start the third game of the year for our beer league game. He had this cocky smirk on his face, complained about playing time, and never looked really all that engaged. It got to the point where if Igor wasn’t starting, you’d have to pray to the hockey gods that the Rangers picked up a point.
Having said all of this, we got our guy in Jaro Halak. In 14 games started, on a pretty half way decently dogshit team in Vancouver, Halak went 4-7-2 with a 2.94 GAA (compared to 2.92 with Georgiev) and a .903 SV (compared to a .898 SV). Playing on a better team in general should help Halaks numbers along with not having the pressure to be absolutely lights out to give his team a chance. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago when he was a staple on the Boston Bruins with a tandem of himself and Tuukka.
One more note:
Thank god we don’t have to see this guy anymore. Also, those are some decent numbers against the teams in the Metro.
When asked about Tyler Motte yesterday, Drury said the money would be right and that the Rangers would be looking for a Rooney-type player that could help solidify the 4th line.
Enter Ryan Carpenter.
Something the Rangers lacked big time last year was a line that could shut down other lines. It wasn’t that long ago when the Rangers 4th line was getting eaten alive by Patty Maroon and company. You can’t have your fourth line be a giant liability in the playoffs so Drury went out and got a guy who can penalty kill, who has decent defensive metrics, can win a face-off, and has some familiarity with Gerard Gallant. Thats right, Carpenter played for Vegas when Gallant was behind the bench and put up some of the best numbers of his career.
While being solid defensively, and having the ability to win draws, Carpenter also doesn’t shy away from physicality.
Sure, Drury has to resign Kaapo, which he should be able to get done. How so? We sent Nemeth to ASU, told McKegg to get lost and unfortunately couldn’t bring back Tyler Motte. Having said that, this was a successful off season. The Rangers upgraded their team down the middle, got rid of an absolute liability in net, and added face-off help. Add in the likes of Kravstov, a full season of Sammy Blais and Kaapo, and a full summer of training for the kids, the Rangers got a lot deeper and a lot harder to play against. The future is bright and I can’t wait for October.