gabbyscores

Offensive Offense

There were obviously numerous reasons the Rangers didn’t advance to the Stanley Cup Finals this season, but to me the most glaring was their lack of offense, which Dave Lozo at NHL.com agrees with…

“During the postseason, when every inch of ice around the net becomes prime real estate teams are willing to defend with their lives, the offense dried up. The Rangers averaged 2.15 goals per game in 20 contests and allowed 2.05 per game. At 5-on-5, the Rangers were simply dreadful, scoring only 27 goals (1.35 per game) after scoring 150 (1.83) in the regular season.”

…the Rangers were never an offensive juggernaut during the regular season, but they were much better than the pop gun offense they displayed in the playoffs. It’s easy to score during the regular season when not every team is dedicated to playing defense every night. Not so much in the playoffs when defense wins championships.

…the playoffs exposed certain Rangers players as not being able to handle stiffling defense and less ice to work with. Cough, cough, Gaborik. Cough, cough.

…expect a big move to upgrade the offense this offseason.

Or maybe don’t expect one, as Larry Brooks at the New York Post feels the Rangers could have a tough time luring top talent to Broadway because of their shot blocking ways.

…as I mentioned the other day, with the addition skill that will be on the Rangers roster next year and beyond I’m hopeful that Torts gets away from his current defensive system and moves back towards what worked from him in Tampa. Remember “safe is death”?

Mats Zuccarello might have been in the Blueshirts’ plans but he’s half way to Siberia by now. Or maybe not (via Zuccarello’s Twitter account)…

“Its alot of (rumours) right now. I dont know yet were im going to play next year.”

…you’re a nice kid Zucc, but don’t let the door hit you in the ass. Injury prone and too small for the NHL.

Meanwhile, Jim Matheson at the Edmonton Journal says the Rangers could be looking to build their offense in the draft as they’re interested in picking Henrik Samuelsson of the Edmonton Oil Kings (Michael St. Croix’s teammate) who had 7g, 16a in 28 regular season games and 4g, 10 in 17 playoff games.

…the Rangers seem to be set on defense for the next decade, so stock piling offensive players sounds like a plan to me.

Although, Adam Kimelman at NHL.com thinks Rangers are going goaltender in the first round of the draft this season, so who knows.

…never too early to pick Lundqvist’s heir apparent.

For more Rangers news including Marty Biron possibly leaving the Rangers and Michael Sauer’s status for next season, click the “Read More” tab below.

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Speaking of goaltending, Dave Feschuk at the Toronto Star says the Maple Leafs are looking to bring in a veteran netminder this offseason and Marty Biron could be on their list.

…while the Rangers will make it a priority to bring back Biron this offseason, if the Maple Leafs, or anyone else for that matter, offer him a chance to win a starting job I could definitely see him bolting. Why wouldn’t he?

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The big free agent news the other day was that stud Wisconsin defenseman Justin Schultz, the 43rd pick in the 2008 NHL draft by the Anaheim Ducks, reportedly has left Wisconsin, where he just completed his junior season and the Ducks now have 30-days to sign him or he becomes a unrestricted free agent.

Bob McKenzie at TSN feels the Ducks won’t be able to sign him and they could look to trade his rights to a team Schultz would be interested in signing with.

James O’Brien at Pro Hockey Talk reports that Schultz wants to sign with the Maple Leafs.

…i figured with former Badger teammates Stepan and McDonagh on the Rangers, that the Blueshirts could have the inside edge. I guess not.

…if Sather thinks he has a chance to get Schultz to sign with the Rangers, maybe he goes for it and offers Del Zotto or Anisimov for his rights. Got to think Ducks would be ecstatic to get something for him, plus because of his Badger roots I really think he’d sign despite his fondness of Toronto.

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Another big factor in whether the Ranger decide to go after Schultz could be the health of Michael Sauer, who Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record says the Rangers cannont count on to return for the 2012-13 season.

Gross adds that the career of Sauer’s older brother, Kurt, a former defenseman with the Ducks, Avalanche and Coyotes, was cut short by post-concussion symptoms.

…you know Sauer’s concussion is bad when the Rangers haven’t given an update on his status probably since right after he was hit by Phaneuf in December. Career threatening for sure.

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With the way Rangers 2011 first round pick JT Miller performed during Blueshirts camp last season and then for the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers (25g, 37a) during the regular season, I assumed he had a great chance of winning a roster spot this year, but Jess Rubenstein at The Prospect Park foresees Miller back in junior hockey with the Whalers next season.

…Miller had a great first season in junior hockey and then played on the CT Whale’s best offensive line after signing an ATO with them after his OHL season was over this spring. So I still think he makes a big push to win a roster spot next season.

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And for you John Tortorella fans, here’s a hilarious compilation of his greatest press conference moments this season courtesy of Ryan Dadoun at Pro Hockey Talk

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…let me hear your thoughts on any or all of this in the comments section.

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Kevin

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