Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com.
Off puck drop tonight, I started this blog during Game 5 of the New York Islanders vs Tampa Bay Lightning Eastern Conference series. As I was watching the game, during the commercials and intermissions, I’d hammer out a few paragraphs at a time. It was my goal, that come the conclusion of the game, I would be talking about the Stanley Cup Final and would be giving you my Tampa Bay vs Dallas Stanley Cup Final preview blog. Instead, the Islanders, like that little nugget of doo-doo that won’t flush down a toilet, are still grasping for life. There will be a Game 6, much to my dismay!
While we do know that that Dallas Stars will be competing for the Stanley Cup, we won’t know who will face the Stars, until hopefully at 11PM this coming Thursday night. Of course, if the Islanders have their way, we won’t know who will be representing the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final until Saturday night. That said, on Thursday night, I’m crossing my fingers that I can give you my Conference Finals reviews and my Stanley Cup Final preview and prediction! That said, FTI! Let’s Go Bolts!
When it comes to New York Rangers news tonight, I have a bevy of minor news items to talk about, as there hasn’t been anything truly big to occur since I last left you. The two main Rangers topics discussed in tonight’s blog is a recent article from Larry Brooks & a segment on the now 94 year old Emile Francis.
Away from the Rangers, there are a few items to talk about, news items that both indirectly and directly effect the Rangers in the future.
With this little intro now completed, let’s get to the PLUGS segment and then into the meat and potatoes of tonight’s manifesto.
As usual, here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
BCBS For 9/10: Tony DeAngelo’s “Watch Your Tone” Podcast In-Depth Recap, TDA Talks To His Former Sarnia Coach Trevor Letowski & Struggles with the Sting; Omits What Everyone Wants To Hear About, Lafreniere Will Be A NYR Sooner Than Expected, Rangers On The Move, PK Subban & Henrik Lundqvist Get Defeated By Matt Dumba, The NHL’s Wokeness & A Newly Changed-For-Convenience Voting System, Torts Screwed/Jack Adams Award & More
BCBS For 9/6: Complete NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round Recaps & Thoughts; Cream of the Crop Continues to Rise to the Top, In-Depth Conference Finals Previews & Predictions, Islanders vs Bolts Shaping Up To Be a Series For the Ages, The Wild Woke West & Why Vegas Should Cash Out on Dallas, NYR Finds Out Their Fate of the 2020 NHL Draft, Bloggers Going Beyond Their Britches, Jesper Fast EXCLUSIVE & More
BCBS For 9/4: Henrik Lundqvist to Depart Sweden and Return to NYC This Weekend; A Complete Look At What’s Next & The Options For the Once Face of the Franchise, DQ Comments, Three Game 7’s On The NHL Docket; Jones/Flyers, Phil Esposito Remains The Best Interview Ever; Brad Richards Not Shabby Either, How To Watch Kravtsov & the KHL in America, The Dallas Stars Comment On Fans Walking Away Over The Stars Bad Decision & More
BCBS For 9/2: The Rangers Complete Their French Connection For Lafreniere; Add Jacques Martin To David Quinn’s Staff & DQ’s Reaction, NYR’s Decision on Henrik Lundqvist Likely Coming Up Soon; Lundqvist/Frolunda Rumors Heat Up, Drury Rightfully Staying Put, The Never-Ending Saga of Kravtsov, It’s Up To Tampa To Prevent The Islanders from Reaching the SCF, Likes on Twitter, HDA’s Crazy Demands, TV Ratings & More
As it seems to be the case every week, Tony DeAngelo’s name was back in the news this week and this time, it wasn’t over a social media interaction!
On Saturday, September 12th, Larry Brooks, of the NY Post, wrote an article where he suggested that the Rangers may and should trade Tony DeAngelo. You can read Larry’s article here: https://nypost.com/2020/09/12/nils-lundkvist-dilemma-pushing-rangers-to-trade-tony-deangelo/
While Larry Brooks has pushed the idea of trading Tony DeAngelo before, using the potential of Nils Lundkvist as the major factor of a potential DeAngelo trade, this article was different than previous articles from Brooks, where he’s pushed this narrative. The biggest difference between this article and previous Brooks articles on this subject, was Brooks talking about Lundkvist’s future and when the Rangers rights to Lundkvist expire. As has been the case in the past, and as outlined below, this felt like Brooks regurgitating information fed to him by someone in the Rangers front office. (And for the record, I don’t blame Brooks for doing this, he has to fill white space on a monitor too.)
In the article, Brooks said the following:
Here is another reason, perhaps the most significant one, that the Rangers won’t be signing impending restricted free agent Tony DeAngelo to a multi-year contract and instead are seeking to trade the 24-year-old righty defenseman:
That is because a contract of longer than one year for DeAngelo would all but ensure losing 20-year-old righty defenseman Nils Lundkvist to unrestricted free agency on June 2, 2022, without ever getting the Swede to Broadway.
Let’s now look at the facts, facts that often are ignored whenever Brooks plays the role of General Manager in his writings.
What made this latest “TRADE DeANGELO” article from Brooks different than the others, is that in the article, Brooks brought up the contract situation of Nils Lundkvist. In previous articles, Brooks had not brought up Lundkvist’s contract information. This is why I feel that Brooks was “tipped off” here, when writing this article.
Here’s a fact that everyone should be aware of – in the past, even as recent as over a year ago, when the Rangers were deciding what to do with both Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes; Larry Brooks wrote several articles, articles that came off as written from a Rangers general manager point-of-view. It’s no secret – Larry Brooks is the most important NY Rangers reporter out there today (and has been for some time) and sometimes, the Rangers, whether it was Glen Sather in the past, or perhaps Jeff Gorton today, will give Brooks information to use in his writings. This current situation with Tony DeAngelo is no different.
Seriously, if you want to fact-check me here, go look at past Larry articles, whenever he’s discussing a player that’s about to become a free agent, whether it’s as an unrestricted free agent or as a restricted free agent. You’ll always read Larry coming from a Rangers front-office point-of-view. Why is this the case? It is my opinion and belief, that the Rangers use Larry Brooks, and his medium, to help lessen salaries that the Rangers have to dole out to their free agents. It’s a smart move by the Rangers. For Brooks, it keeps his already high profile up. After all, of all the Rangers scribes out there, no one else breaks news like Brooks. (And to be fair, Brooks long tenure with the NY Post is the main reason for this.)
In a perfect world, there would be no NHL salary cap and teams could spend whatever they want, without being constricted and having their future restricted. Obviously, today, and as it’s been for some time, that’s not the case ever since the institution of the NHL salary cap.
As I’ve been saying for years on this site, salary cap hits are now a stat that belongs on the back of each player’s trading card. (Especially now, here in 2020, with the salary cap remaining flat next season, as a result of this pandemic.) When it comes to assessing talent or roster construction, you can argue that the salary cap hit of a player is more important than whatever analytic you can come up with or even a traditional stat, such as the plus/minus stat.
In the case of Tony DeAngelo, he had such a tremendous season during the 2019-2020 regular season, a season where he finished fourth overall of all NHL defenseman in points. DeAngelo easily outplayed and out-valued his salary cap hit, which was a paltry sum of $925,000.
(Again, for the full breakdown of Tony DeAngelo’s 2019-2020 season, and his worth when compared across the league, check out this blog that I originally wrote on March 17th of this year: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/31720/)
I’m sure that by now, you’re well aware of the amazing season Tony DeAngelo just had. (And forget about the 2020 playoffs – he was playing injured and it’s not like any Ranger had a great playoffs either.)
Similar to Kevin Hayes in his contract year with the Rangers, Tony DeAngelo exceeded all expectations. If Tony DeAngelo had a so-so or even an average season, it would’ve been easier for the Rangers to make their decision on DeAngelo’s future with the club. If DeAngelo had a season that wasn’t as impressive as the season he just had, the Rangers could’ve retained him for $2M-$3M, or decide with confidence, that it was time to move on. However, due to the season that DeAngelo just had, the Rangers must decide to either pay and invest in DeAngelo, or take the risk of DeAngelo continuing his peak elsewhere.
Of course, another fact to keep in the back of your mind here, is that when it comes to defensemen, in both the Sather & Gorton eras, the Rangers, when it comes to contracts, have had more misses than hits here. The Rangers did OVERPAY and/or gave too many years to guys like Dan Girardi and Kevin Shattenkirk, two defensemen that the Rangers would ultimately go on to buy out. (And I’m a fan of both of these players, with an extreme bias for all things Dan Girardi. However, the fact is the the Rangers did buy Girardi out.)
Other defensemen contracts that the Rangers erred on include Brady Skjei and Brendan Smith. The Rangers found a fortunate trading partner in Carolina, when they dumped Brady Skjei’s horrific contract on them. When it comes to Smith, the Rangers converted him into a forward for the bulk of the season, as the Rangers had better defensemen alternatives. Again, without a salary cap, the Rangers would’ve said toodles to Brendan Smith long ago.
As far as Marc Staal goes, because I know people will also include his name here, I’m unabashedly a Marc Staal apologist. While I admit his contract isn’t ideal, I don’t think he’s as terrible as some make him out to be. He’s a true stay at home defenseman. That said, injuries and his style of play have added up over the years.
Lastly, when talking about recent contracts handed out to the rear guards of the Rangers, you must talk about Jacob Trouba, despite his one year sample size with the Rangers.
One could argue, that in Year One with the Rangers, Jacob Trouba is extremely overpaid. I mean, how can anyone argue otherwise, especially when you compare Trouba’s $8M annual salary and his production, to the the $925,000 annual salaries that his peers from the blue line, in both Adam Fox & Tony DeAngelo, received?
In a fact that Larry Brooks ignored in his article, an article where Brooks put his General Manger cap on while writing it, was the contract status of Jacob Trouba.
Here’s a fact (yes, facts are the theme here) Jacob Trouba currently has a contract with the Rangers, where a No Move Clause will go into effect, starting with the 2020-2021 season. The no move clause begins whenever the 2020-2021 season starts and concludes whenever the 2023-2024 season ends. After the 2023-2024 season is completed, Trouba’s no move clause modifies, where the Rangers can trade Trouba to a list of 15 teams of Trouba’s choosing. In Trouba’s last year of his contract, the seventh year of the deal, the Rangers can deal Trouba to a list of 12 teams, a list of teams provided by Trouba himself.
The two main themes in Larry’s article were how the Rangers need to create cap room and how the Rangers need to hold onto Nils Lundkvist. (More on Lundkvist shortly.) Trouba currently earns $8M a season, a number that despite his great season, is a salary cap hit that DeAngelo won’t attain with his next contract. DeAngelo outproduced Trouba all season long, despite DeAngelo earning $7M less than Trouba. Also worth mentioning here? DeAngelo is also nearly two years younger than Trouba. (Defensemen, due to the position, tend to decline faster with age, than forwards do.)
Right now, and again, another FACT here, is that DeAngelo is in line for a major pay raise. In addition, if things work out according to plan, come the 2022-2023 season, Adam Fox will be in store for a huge raise too. With the way things are now, it’s hard to imagine Fox or DeAngelo getting a multi-year deal, which awards them $8M a season. Also, with the way things stand right now, paying Trouba $8M a season doesn’t seem wise either.
If one of Larry’s talking points is how the Rangers need to free up cap room, why did Brooks ignore Trouba’s current contract status and this upcoming NMC that’s about to go into effect? Is it because Larry disagrees with DeAngelo politically? (Brooks has mentioned DeAngelo’s political beliefs in his writings, which is why I bring it up here.) Or is it, that as usual, that during a time where a player is having contract talks with the Rangers, that Brooks is once again the messenger pigeon of Rangers management? Hmm.
I do want to be clear here. I’m not saying that the Rangers need to trade Trouba. I’m just reacting to Larry’s article. With the information I presented to you, if getting Nils Lundkvist to sign with the Rangers is your goal, wouldn’t it make more sense to trade Trouba than DeAngelo? At the very best, DeAngelo will make $6M next season. That means the Rangers would save at least $2M a season, if the Rangers decided to retain DeAngelo and move on from Trouba. And like I need to say this again – the Rangers have to stop giving out all these NMC deals, as if they are Oprah Winfrey giving out prizes.
Let’s now talk about Nils Lundkvist.
I don’t know what Larry Brooks does with his free time. However, I’m pretty sure that he’s never seen Nils Lundkvist play in person. I’d also venture to guess that Brooks hasn’t spent much of his free time watching Nils Lundkvist play for Lulea of the SHL either. And for what it’s worth, and in the effort of full disclosure here, I have never seen Lundkvist play in person, nor do I watch SHL games either. (I do watch SHL highlights of Rangers prospects, clips that just circulate on social media.)
In Larry’s recent writings regarding Lundkvist, you would think that Lundkvist was the second coming of Bobby Orr. I mean, the whole angle Larry is trying to push here, is that if the Rangers do retain DeAngelo, the Rangers run the risk of missing out on Nils Lundkvist, the same Lundkvist who they will one day rename the Norris Trophy for!
As mentioned on this blog already, Larry Brooks has never shied away from playing the role of the Pony Express for the Rangers. When it comes to the Rangers vs the players & their contracts, Brooks will always give you opinions from the Rangers front-office side of things. After all, players come and go – the Rangers front-office will always be there.
(And as mentioned on past blogs, reporters are now a dime a dozen these days. While Brooks is in his own class and will have his job as long as he wants it for, when it comes to teams vs reporters these days, the teams hold all the power. That’s why you don’t see challenging reporting anymore. Usually in these days, the reporters just tell you whatever the team tells them, rather than trying to dig or put any pressure on management. After all, if a reporter is to lose their contacts, there will be a 100 or so other kids out of college ready to replace these reporters.)
When you read Larry talking about Lundkvist, Larry paints a picture of Nils Lundkvist being the greatest thing since sliced bread. Of course, not mentioned in any of Larry’s writings, is what happened the last time the Rangers thought they had a Swedish stud from the SHL, in Lias Andersson.
As noted on a previous blog on this site, Nils Lundkvist will play in the SHL during the 2020-2021 season. Obviously, the current pandemic heavily weighed into this decision. I agree with Lundkvist’s decision to remain in the SHL. As I’ve been saying recently on this site, when it comes to these young Europeans & Russians playing overseas, I’m for it. These leagues are currently in session, or are about to begin, while no one knows when the NHL season will start. It makes all the sense in the world for these young players to get playing time.
That said, here’s another FACT – no one knows how Lundkvist will take to the NHL. While I understand Larry playing things from the Rangers front office side of things, I’ve seen some idiotic Ranger fans say how Lundkvist IS BETTER than DeAngelo! How can anyone be that strong about such an opinion? Lundkvist isn’t even signed by the Rangers! More importantly, Lundkvist has never played in the NHL either! (Lundkvist hasn’t signed an entry level contract yet with NYR, and it remains to be seen if he ever does.)
Here’s a FACT – DeAngelo has proven he can play at the NHL level and that he can play at the NHL level successfully. Whether or not Lundkvist can make the transition to the North American game remains to be seen. In addition, who knows if the NHL is even Lundkvist’s goal? Maybe Lundkvist would rather stay in his native Sweden. Maybe Lundkvist finds a nice girl (or a man, for you cancel culture “there is no such thing as a gender” liberals) and decides to start a family in Sweden too. The GIVEN here, is that DeAngelo wants to play in the NHL and is a good NHL player. The UNKNOWN here, is if Lundkvist wants to even play in the NHL, and in the case that he does, if he’ll be successful at this level.
The bottom line here is this – for any fan or media member, when talking about DeAngelo, to suggest that the Rangers must consider Lundkvist’s future with the Rangers is asinine to me, considering the fact that Lundkvist hasn’t even signed a contract with the Rangers! DeAngelo should be a key piece of this Rangers rebuild – after all, it won’t be Lias Andersson.
I mean think about it – did the Rangers really trade away a second center and team leader in Derek Stepan and a serviceable goalie in Antti Raanta, for Tony DeAngelo & Lias Andersson, only to move on from both Andersson & DeAngelo three years later? And what’s the return for DeAngelo? At best, the return would be a second center, a second center the Rangers could’ve retained with Derek Stepan three years ago or by re-signing Kevin Hayes at last year’s trade deadline!
One last FACT here, a fact that was omitted from Larry’s article. Teams must submit their qualifying offers to their respective restricted free agents on October 7th, with a 5PM deadline. From there, restricted free agents can sign their qualifying offers, starting at 12PM on October 9th. All unsigned qualifying offers will expire on October 18th, at 5PM.
When it comes to Tony DeAngelo, you know how I feel. The Rangers should re-sign him. It makes no sense to punt on DeAngelo. It really makes no sense to worry about Nils Lundkvist either. DeAngelo is the proven commodity. Lundkvist is just a question mark.
And worth mentioning, as I close out this segment. Guess who Larry Brooks suggested that the Rangers should sign, in the event that they move on from Tony DeAngelo. I shit you not – Larry Brooks suggested a reunion with Michael Del Zotto. That should tell you everything you need to know about Larry Brooks.
And for those who don’t believe me, here’s the final paragraph from Larry’s article:
On September 13th of 2020, the legendary Emile “The Cat” Francis turned 94 years old. In other words, he’s two months older than the Rangers franchise themselves.
I know, I know, I know – I’ve talked about this topic so many times in the past. That topic is how the Rangers ignore a huge chunk of their history.
I won’t bore you by doing my “greatest hits” here, but when it comes to the rafters of Madison Square Garden, Frank Boucher, Bill Cook, Bun Cook, Lester Patrick and Bryan Hextall, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, deserve to have a banner hung from the M$G ceiling. In addition, you can also make strong cases for guys like Ron Greschner, Dave Kerr, Chuck Rayner, Brad Park and Ivan Johnson.
However, in another NO DOUBT ABOUT IT case and using the precedents the Rangers have already set, Emile Francis deserves a banner, which would cement his New York Rangers immortality and legacy.
I don’t know what it is with the Rangers and their refusal to honor all of their greats, greats that have gone into the Hall of Fame as a member of the NY Rangers. Again, I know I’ve said all of this stuff in the past, so refer to the archives of this site. In short, when it comes to the other Original Six teams in the NHL, by far and hands down, the Rangers do the worst job in promoting, celebrating and explaining their history.
In recent years, the Rangers have put Hadfield’s #11 and Ratelle’s #19 in their rafters, completing the Goal-A-Game Line banner trifecta. (Previously, as in forty years prior, the Rangers retired Gilbert’s #7 in 1979, when they made Gilbert the first Ranger to receive this honor. You know how I feel about that! Frank Boucher’s #7 should’ve been up there long before 1979!) Later on, in March of 1989, the Rangers gave the GAG’s line goalie, in Eddie Giacomin, the banner treatment. The architect and the man who presided over these Rangers and their glory days, in Emile Francis, remains ignored by the team.
While I understand that the Emile Francis era of Rangers are remembered as “we did everything but win”, if you’re going to honor the GAG line & Giacomin, where’s the love for Francis? Without question, when it comes to franchise history, Francis is a Top 3 coach & general manager. (Lester Patrick & Frank Boucher had more regular success in their roles. You can also argue for the Neil Smith/Mike Keenan combination, but Emile Francis had a lengthy tenure of success, in an era where the GM role was much tougher than it is today. After all, it’s not like any other GM in Rangers history, had to claim and sit with the dead body of the greatest goaltender of all-time, as Francis once did with Terry Sawchuk.)
If it hasn’t happened yet, it seems very unlikely that the Rangers will honor Emile Francis while he’s still alive. While the jury is out if the Rangers will ever honor Francis, even if it’s posthumously, it’s just a shame that whenever Francis passes, you know the Rangers will have all of these flowery and crocodile tear tributes for Francis. Rather than honoring Francis when he’s alive and giving Francis & his family a memory to last a lifetime, it seems like the Rangers will save all the tributes until after Francis passes. Why this is, I don’t know why. It’s just example #7896786696 of the Rangers ignoring their history. SAD!
While obviously, I want to see Frank Boucher become the next ex-Ranger to get a banner into the rafters of M$G, it would be nice if the Rangers bestowed this honor on Francis, while he’s still here with us. This is something that I hope to see happen next season, because as callous as this may sound, this also comes from a realist perspective – time IS an issue here.
Even if the Rangers have to do this ceremony via a ZOOM call, something is better than nothing. This is an agenda that the NYR alumni should push to NYR management and to John Davidson. You know, the same John Davidson who Emile Francis made a tough decision on, when Francis waived Eddie Giacomin for free, in order to make JD the next face of the franchise in net.
Happy birthday to the man forever known as “The Cat”.
In the latest from the world of the KHL, there’s this information, which was tweeted out by one of the Rangers twitter accounts:
Kravtsov has recorded a goal to give Traktor a 1-0 lead in the first period. He has registered three goals/points in five games this season, and he has been on the ice for five of Traktor’s eight goals thus far in 2020-21. #NYR
— NYR Stats & Info (@NYRStatsInfo) September 15, 2020
Following today’s game, Kravtsov has been on the ice for six of Traktor’s nine goals this season, including each of the team’s last six goals. #NYR
— NYR Stats & Info (@NYRStatsInfo) September 15, 2020
For Kravtsov, he now has three goals in five KHL games played. Those results are promising and encouraging! While production in KHL games doesn’t necessarily equate future NHL success, this news is obviously very good to hear. He certainly looks much better in the KHL this season, than he did last season.
(And as mentioned last blog, expect daily “KRAVSWATCH” updates all across the NYR social media channels, or at least, until the draft and free agency periods start.)
With all of this Rangers news now discussed, let’s get into the other news, news that indirectly effects the Rangers.
In news coming from a Rangers rival, in the Washington Capitals, the Capitals announced on Tuesday that they have come to terms with head coach Peter Laviolette. Laviolette replaces Todd Rierden, who was fired after the Capitals first round loss to the Isles of these 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
To me, it was my opinion that Laviolette was the biggest fish, of all the current head coaches, without a team right now. It was originally reported, that prior to hiring Lindy Ruff of the Rangers, that the Devils were interested in Laviolette, but Laviolette commanded a high price tag. It was also reported that Laviolette didn’t have much interest in a rebuilding franchise either.
To read the full story of Laviolette to the Caps, check out this story from NHL.com: https://www.nhl.com/news/washington-capitals-hire-peter-laviolette-as-coach/c-319033352
In what wasn’t mentioned in the NHL.com article, is the irony of the Capitals and team owner Ted Leonsis.
As talked about previously on this site, the Capitals let Barry Trotz walk after winning the Stanley Cup in 2018. Leonsis didn’t want to pay big bucks for a head coach, prior to the Capitals winning the Cup that year. Then, when the Capitals did win the Cup, the relationship between Trotz and Leonsis had soured. Despite the Cup victory, the two sides couldn’t ride the feel-good moment and come to terms.
As a result, following the Stanley Cup Final of 2018, Barry Trotz signed a five-year deal with the Islanders, where he will earn $20M overall, or $4M per season. Now this is where the irony kicks in and where things get interesting.
When Trotz departed the Capitals, the Capitals replaced Trotz with Trotz’s assistant, in Todd Rierden. For the Capitals, they were able to pay Rierden significantly less than what Trotz wanted, especially considering that this was the first time where Rierden would become a head coach in the NHL.
In Rierden’s two years as head coach of the Capitals, the Capitals were bounced out in the first round of the playoffs each time. If there’s any consoling thing to take out of this for Rierden, the two teams that knocked the Caps out of the playoffs, in both the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders; well both of those teams would go on to play in the Eastern Conference Final, of those two respective seasons.
On August 23rd, after wasting two years of Ovechkin’s prime and failing to defend their Stanley Cup victory, Ted Leonsis and his Capitals front office bid adieu to Todd Rierden. In the time since Rierden’s firing, he has reconnected with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he will be one of the team’s assistant coaches.
In a lesson that the Capitals and Leonsis learned the hard way, a great head coach makes a difference. Great coaching led the Capitals to a Stanley Cup. Great coaching, ironically with Barry Trotz, was a huge factor in the Islanders quick ousting of the Capitals in the first round of these playoffs.
Two years after moving on from Barry Trotz, the Capitals spent the big bucks on Laviolette, signing Laviolette to a three year contract worth $14.7M overall, for an AAV of $4.9M a year. In addition, the Capitals will also have to pay the final two years of Rierden’s contract.
In other words, instead of giving Barry Trotz anywhere from $4M-$5M, per year, after winning the Cup, the Capitals are now paying over $6.5M annually to the head coach position. Even worse, especially for Ovi and the core of that 2018 Cup team, two prime years were wasted.
Oh, and for those looking for more irony, and in something out of the “isn’t that amazing Suzyn” files, Trotz & Laviolette have now both been behind the bench for the Nashville Predators, New York Islanders and now the Washington Capitals.
When it comes to the Rangers and the 2020-2021 season, the division rival Capitals, at least from a head coaching position, will be much improved. What remains to be seen from now to the start of the season, is who will be the Caps starting goaltender, as Braden Holtby is one of many goalies, that may change locales next season. We’ll see.
On Tuesday, September 15th, the Wild announced that they signed defenseman Jonas Brodin to a seven-year contract, worth $42M overall or at $6M per season. This has to be great news for Tony DeAngelo and his agent.
For comparison, Tony DeAngelo will turn 25 years old next season. Last season, DeAngelo finished with 15 goals and 38 assists, for 53 points overall, good for fourth overall in the league of all NHL defensemen.
Jonas Brodin, who just turned 27 years old, finished with 2 goals and 26 assists, for 28 points overall. Brodin wasn’t even ranked in the Top 50 for point production, among NHL defensemen last season.
Of course, while offense isn’t the only factor when deciding what to pay a defenseman, when you look at the highest paid defensemen, most of them are offensive defensemen. In addition, when it comes to Norris Trophy voting, usually only offensive defensemen are considered.
For what it’s worth, Brodin led the Wild in shot blocks last season, blocking 112 shots.
While I’m mind-blown about the Wild continuing to give out big contracts (Zuccarello for one, although under a different GM) this news is a win for Tony DeAngelo & his agent.
We started off this blog talking about DeAngelo and we’re talking about DeAngelo again. When it comes to the Rangers and what they will do in the off-season, TDA’s status is one of the biggest stories, along with whatever the Rangers decide to do with Henrik Lundqvist.
Some quick playoff thoughts and I’m out of here.
As has been the case with these blogs since these playoffs started, I am going to wait until each round is over, before giving my detailed thoughts on each series. Once the Bolts & Islanders wrap-up (and it should’ve wrapped up on Tuesday night!) I’ll have my Stanley Cup Final preview blog for you on this site.
Very quickly, when it comes to the Stars vs Golden Knights series, it just seems that VGK was never the same after running into Thatcher Demko in the second round. For whatever reason, VGK had a major power outage and made Anton Khudobin’s case for the Conn Smythe as strong as ever.
Speaking of the future Conn Smythe winner, and of course, with my assumption that despite this setback tonight, that the Bolts will close out the Isles, I think we got a real shot of seeing a goaltender win the trophy this year. Both Khudobin and Andrei Vasilevskiy have been amazing. And in the event that the Islanders do pull off an epic comeback here, Seymon Varlamov would have the strongest case of any Islander at the current moment.
Of course, while goalies are well represented in the 55 year history of the Conn Smythe Trophy, for the most part, more times than not, skaters usually win this award. In 2020, Brayden Point may be the favorite skater to win the trophy right now, providing the Bolts advance. After all, look at his stats after every Tampa win. Now look at how Tampa has fared in the two games they have now lost to the Islanders, during this 2020 Eastern Conference Final. In both of those Tampa losses to the Islanders, Point didn’t play due to injury. It’s apparent that the Bolts miss Point right now, more than they do Steven Stamkos, the captain of the Bolts who hasn’t played a lick of these playoffs.
When it comes to the Islanders 2-1 double overtime Game 5 victory from Tuesday night, all I have to say is this – I’ve seen many fans blame Kevin Shattenkirk for the loss. Yes, Shattenkirk erred on a slapshot, which led to the Isles game winning goal in Game 5, but it should be noted that during four different Shattenkirk slapshots of these playoffs, the Bolts got a deflection goal off of them. (And let’s not forget Shattenkirk’s three assists from Game 1 either.)
If anything, not having Brayden Point in Game 5 hurt the Bolts. Compounding matters even more, is the fact that the Bolts power-play was dreadful again. The Bolts had plenty of chances to put the Islanders away in Game 5, including during a double minor power-play which started at the end of the third period and carried over into the first overtime.
While Game 5 was more than just special teams, the Islanders scored their first goal of the game off a power-play goal, a PPG that kept them alive in this game. Tampa went 0-3 on their power-play. One power-play goal would’ve won the game for the Bolts. Instead, the Bolts will have to sweat out a Game 6, a Game 6 where they hope that Point will return in. If not, the Isles could make things really interesting.
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Moving forward here, I know Tony DeAngelo is promising a new podcast this week, with guest Ryan Strome. If anything really newsworthy comes out of it, I’ll come back with a blog tomorrow night. However, it’s more likely that I’ll just recap that podcast on Thursday night, and couple it with my Stanley Cup preview, all willing!
As always here, thanks for reading and…
LET’S GO RANGERS!
LET’S GO BOLTS!
LET’S GO MCDONAGH!
NYR WILL DRAFT LAFRENIERE!
KEEP POLITICS OUT OF SPORTS!
HI TRAVIS, I STILL HAVE TO DO A BLOG ABOUT THE STUFF YOU GAVE ME!
@NYCTHEMIC on Tweeter and on Parler