With an exciting weekend ahead of ourselves, Mr. Calamia and I decided to have a chat to get pumped for the Draft and the ups and downs that come with any trade rumor...
Paul: Nice start to draft weekend already.
Matthew: It's great. Next season is officially underway...kind of
Paul: Certainly starting to heat up. It should be a good next two weeks at least…the storm before the calm.
Matthew: Absolutely. So we're a few hours away from the draft. I think we both agree this team should take a forward, and I think we both like Stefan Matteau
Paul: Absolutely. While you can never have enough defensive depth and it wouldn't be crazy to look for a goalie, Matteau is the guy I'm eyeing in the first round. Since he's projected to go anywhere between 25 and 30, it's very realistic. Certainly fits into the mold of what the Rangers like in a forward.
Matthew: Absolutely. He plays a hard-nosed, in your face game, something I think this team still lacks, despite its shot-blocking style
Paul: Very much agreed. Despite the grit that this team has on the whole, Prust is really the only in your face player (except for Dubinsky when he's on his game), and Prust isn't exactly a skilled forward.
Matthew: You can't ignore the lineage either.
Paul: And after the Erixon trade, it doesn't seem like the Rangers are afraid of putting any added pressure on these kids.
Matthew: Exactly. Not to mention Bourque and Thomas in the system. Obviously their fathers did not play for the Rangers, but still have plenty to live up to
Paul: Spot on. It'll certainly be interesting what the Rangers do with their pick...if they even keep it at this point.
Matthew: Yeah, you have to think it included in any trade they make.
Paul: Especially if the Rangers being linked to Yandle is true.
Matthew: That's interesting. I don't really think this team needs more defense. The goat is always Michael Del Zotto, but I'm not ready to give up on this kid.
Paul: See that's the thing, I don't think the Rangers need more defense but Yandle certainly fits a need.
As I think I've mentioned before, the Rangers offense is not nearly as bad as one might think. They finished 11th, but with the 23rd ranked power play (and the 6th best 5 on 5 goals for/against ratio). If the Rangers have a top 5 or even top 10 powerplay to go along with a top 5 penalty kill, they are hands down an elite team. And I think Yandle could almost be an instant fix. Plus he's young and American, pretty much the Rangers MO right now.
Matthew: Good points. I guess it come down to price. I wonder if the Coyotes would have any interest in Artem Anisimov. Coyotes GM Don Maloney was around when AA was drafted.
Paul: If the Rangers can pull off a Yandle trade while keeping Step and Dubinsky, I would be incredibly happy. And I'm still pretty high on Anisimov.
Matthew: As am I, but he too, is terribly inconsistent. There are nights when he's the best player for the Rangers, and others when you forget he's on the team.
Paul: I feel like biggest problem with the fans relationship with Anisimov, Stepan and Dubinsky is they forget how young they all are. Stepan obviously the youngest, but Anisimov just turned 24 in May and Dubinsky just turned 26 in April. The good thing is other GM realizes this, which is why, even with mediocre/inconsistent seasons; Dubsinky and Anisimov are still great trade chips.
Matthew: I agree. That's the problem when kids come up so quickly. Dubinsky is a veteran now. He's been around for what, five years?
Paul: Been a full time Rangers since the 2007-08 Rangers, yup.
Matthew: Another NYR blogger posed the question of if the Rangers should inquire about Jaromir Jagr returning to Broadway. What are your thoughts?
Paul: I see zero chance of Jags and Torts meshing and I would bet anything that he doesn't maybe a Ranger comeback.
Matthew: I have to agree. I just don't see these two working together. Torts has an ego, as does Jagr. It isn't worth re-visiting
Paul: Jagr already doesn't want to come back to Philly because of ice time issues in the playoffs (apparently). If Jags takes one look at how Gaborik is treated, there's no way he has any interest.
Matthew: Great point, and I couldn't agree more. I still remember, what, 2005-06 when he scored 23 PPG. That was some year. Still shocks me Joe Thorton walked away with the Hart.
Paul: I hated that and still do. At least Jags won the Lindsey (the Pearson at the time?). On that note, I actually thought Lundqvist or Stamkos had a shot this year. But I guess Malkin is more respected by his peers than I thought.
Matthew: I thought so too. Hank wasn't given much chance even by the media. I think some even soured on him for the Vezina due to Quick's performance in the playoffs. Obviously by then the votes were submitted, but still.
Paul: I almost wish the awards were given out before the playoffs this season so there wasn't anything taken away from Lundqvist's regular season. The voting showed that it wasn't even close. 17-6 first place votes I believe it was between Lundqvist and Quick.
Quick is up 3-1 on the F-Bomb count though.
Matthew: Ha! I was shocked when Hank dropped one. Shows he's human.
Paul: That's exactly what I said afterwards. And it didn't seem like a drunk curse either, just pure emotion. Pure Hank.
Matthew: Yeah it was pure joy. You could tell how bad he wanted to win this award and get the recognition he deserved.
Paul: Here's to hoping it's the first of at least 2 or 3.
Matthew: I sure hope so. I'm biased, but I think he's the best in the game.
Paul: If I'm starting a team, I take him over anyone. I'm a huge Quick fan, but he's a streaky goalie. When he's cold, like he was mid season, he's extremely human. Lundqvist, in my opinion, is the most consistent goalie in the game and has been since the lockout. I think the stats back that up.
Matthew: I think so too, especially this season. He really didn't have a poor game, save for the final game of the season against the Washington capitals
Paul: I think he was a little weak in March, but there was also very little for the Rangers to play for and it almost seemed like there he was mentally conserving himself for the playoffs, where he was spectacular. I think the Zajac goal off the wing was the one weak goal he let in and it was still a damn good shot.
Matthew: Yeah, and that was a big goal. So what do you think of the Blue Jackets acquiring Sergei Bobrovsky from the Flyers?
Paul: In a word: interesting. It shows they have faith in Bryz but it also confirms that they're going to look for a vet to back him up. Which makes Paul a little nervous that Homer and co are going to try to bring Biron back.
Matthew: It seems that way. Reports are coming out that the Flyers are hot for Marty. I think it would be a big loss for the Rangers.
Paul: I would hope that his love for the team and keeping his family in Westchester, where his son plays hockey, would be a factor. Although it's not like Philly is that that far from New York. Not really sure where the Rangers would go as a plan B if Biron leaves.
Matthew: Yeah it would be interest. I do think he loves the situation he's in, but money talks.
Paul: Money certainly does talk, just ask Max Talbot.
Matthew: Yeah seriously. Before we close, is Keith Yandle, Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan a Ranger by the end of the draft?
Paul: My gut says no. But if it's any of those three, it will be Yandle.
Matthew: I think so too. Obviously all three won't be moved, but I don't see any being in New York...at least not tonight
Paul: It'll be an exciting night of hockey news one way or another. No better way to kick off the weekend.
Matthew: I agree. Plenty of blogging, tweeting and reading for us.
Paul: Absolutely. Enjoy the weekend everybody.