A few thoughts about the Rangers, free agency, and Joe McGrath

July 2nd, 2014 at 10:13 am by Bill

There is no sugar coating this, day one of free agency for the Rangers was a total disaster. My worst case scenario happened; Dan Boyle replaced Anton Stralman, JT Miller appears likely to be the third line center going into training camp, and Benoit Pouliot got all the money. Okay, what actually happened was worse than my ‘worst’ case scenario. Because in addition to everything that happened, the Rangers gave possession anvil Tanner frickin’ Glass a three year contract.

Before we eviscerate Glen Sather for devolving back to ‘Drunk Sather’ (more on this later), let’s try to think of some solutions to make the Rangers current self-inflicted predicament suck less.

Let’s start with a Slap Shot quote, because everything is made better by that:

“Every piece of garbage that comes on the market and you gotta buy it”

The Rangers need to go garbage picking. They need to find the new Benoit Pouliot in hopes of rebuilding some depth in the bottom six. What made the Rangers so successful last year was their ability to effectively roll four lines, they were a very deep team.

Luckily, there are some options that don’t entirely suck (though some sort of do):

third line options

My first preference is probably Mike Ribeiro. Attitude problems be damned, the Rangers still need to replace Brad Richards 2.0 P/60. The additions of Boyle and Glass coupled with the loss of Stralman and Boyle severely hurts the Rangers ability to compete 5 on 5, so they mine as well load up on the power play. If there is one thing Ribeiro can most certainly do, it’s help a power play. The market for him will never be lower, Don Maloney publically threw his reputation into a dumpster. But on a one year, prove it deal, he will be motivated and hopefully reeled in by the Rangers strong leadership group. Though if Ribeiro couldn’t control himself in Arizona, I have no idea what will happen to him in New York City.

If not Ribeiro, Mike Santorelli is intriguing. Largely because of his age, puck possession skills, and even strength production. Despite a high percentage of defensive zone starts, Santorelli was a positive possession player and managed 1.9 P/60 at even strength. That’s pretty damn impressive. As Dave pointed out on twitter, if Vigneault gives him more favorable zone starts, Santorelli may produce at an ever higher rate.  On the flipside, the Rangers don’t have a single line capable of getting most of the defensive zone draws while not getting their teeth kicked in. Adding Santorelli would be a step in the right direction in that regard. Which is the reason I really like Santorelli, he has the ability to benefit the team in more ways than one; both of which fill critical needs.

There are arguments to be made for the rest of the players on the board. I’m sure Sather has or will kick the punctured tires of Dany Heatley, who by all accounts was the consummate professional in Minnesota despite not being very good at hockey anymore. Jordan Schroeder never really found himself with the Canucks organization, but he’s American (yay xenophobic tendencies!), still young, and a former first round pick, no risk in trying. The other guys, well I wouldn’t worry about the other guys.

There is also Peter Mueller, who couldn’t get an NHL job last year and played for Koten in the Swiss League. He was tied for second in the league in goal scoring. He’s only 26 years old and possesses decent speed and size. An added bonus is he’s known to sport some pretty solid flow. I wouldn’t be opposed to him either.

All of the mentioned players are one year contract candidates that fit the Rangers salary cap budget of less than $2 million. This situation could have been avoided if the Rangers made some smarter, more strategic moves, but this is where the organization stands right now.

9 thoughts on “A few thoughts about the Rangers, free agency, and Joe McGrath

  1. paulronty

    Ribeiro & Santorelli–a BIG NO NO NO!!! Rather have JT Miller than either of those guys. Why is it that Ranger fans flat out panic when the thought of a rookie playing on the big team enters their consciousness. Lindberg might also prove to be a pleasant surprise. I really like the signing of Hunwick who will be a better 7th than anyone we had last year. Johnny Moore will have to step up his game or he might be surpassed by Diesel, Allen or Bodie. But the real gem coming is Skjei who will be a top 4 D.

    1. bill goldthorpe

      why is that Rangers fans always point to rookies, regardless of pedigree, ability, production, or readiness to fill key roles sooner than they are ready?
      you do understand that the Rangers window to win is right now, right? there are situations where leaving Miller in thought role heading into camp is okay. this is not one of them. they need insurance.

      1. paulronty

        Don’t agree that the window to win right now requires hacks like Ribiero. Why do Ranger bloggers always think some overrated guys from other teams are better than our own prospects. Kreider & Zucc were unproven last year but they made the team infinitely better. So will Miller & Fast, not to mention Duclair, Skjei & Buchnevich who will contribute big time in 2 years.

        1. bill goldthorpe

          I think the misunderstanding here is that kreider and zuccarello are being compared to miller, fast, and lindberg. that’s not realistic. a distinction needs to be made there. nobody said a lick about duclair, skjei, and buchnevich. they all most likely need another year.

        2. Forever1994

          paulronty: agree on all counts regarding Miller & Lindberg. Miller has been a force every place he has played. He is big, strong and fast. After Sather basically said he will be on the team next year I hope that AV just lets him play his game. As for Lindberg he has played on the big stage at the Worlds last year and he was moved up to the 1st line to play with the vets. Again, big, strong 2-way player who can plant a few goals and very good faceoff guy. NYR fans we need these kind of players to be moved up!

  2. 071189

    The main problem is the Rangers “core players”. Sather said he wouldn’t trade our core players ie. Callahan, Dubinsky, Anisimov, Staal, Brassard. Now there is talk that Sather is considering trading Brassard & Staal for a guy who’s career has been in decline for 5 years Thorton. Thorton scored 11 goals last season and makes like $6.5 mil. Brassard on his worst year could score 11 goals and cost less.
    In Nash, St Louis & out Callahan, Dubinsky, Anisimov, and THREE #1 picks.
    GMS, with the exception of Montreal SALIVATE at the prospect of doing business with Sather.

      1. 071189

        I hope you are serious Bill. 11 goals in a season for $6.5 mil is ridiculous. Even “no defense” Richards was better than that on our 3rd line.
        If Thorton had been on the Rangers last season instead of Richards, Sather would have bought out Thorton

  3. 071189

    Carolina’s newly signed Tim Gleason and a 2015 #1 for Marc Staal & Danny Kristo?
    Rangers save $ on salary cap, reduce one of their RFAs, and get tougher
    You heard it hear 1st.


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