Author Archives: pokechecknj

Summer Plans

Sorry that I haven’t been posting as much, this summer is busy for me and I am still looking for people interested in helping me and writing articles. Thepokecheck@gmail.com if your interested. But with going on vacation, moving, starting a new job and I just got engaged this past weekend, I’m really busy. Will have everything sorted by preseason for sure and I’ll be posting randomly till then.

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Runner Up is the Big Loser

While many blogs and sites have posted who they think their biggest loser is in the off season dealing, I can’t help but think they got it all wrong. The Rangers are the biggest losers of the off season due to the lack of moves and signings.

Let’s start with the loses, Brad Richards was bought out by the Rangers due to his high price tag and slowing production. Richards was no longer a first line center but in the right situation he still has the potential to be a second line player. The loss here for the Rangers is of leadership after the Callahan trade and that they haven’t head a first line center in years and have been making due with over working 2nd or 3rd line players. Richards went on to sign a 1 year 2 million dollar deal with Chicago.

Brian Boyle – He couldn’t hit the side of a barn with his shot but his penalty killing was second to none and he always seemed to come up big in the post season. He logged minutes between lines 3-4 when not killing penalties and aside from a random 19 goal season has been useless on offense for his tenure in NY. Boyle wants an increase in playing time and bigger role on a team (probably a raise too) as Sather made sure to say that he wasn’t going to get either. Boyle to Tampa for 3 years at 2 million a year.

Anton Strahlman – Great second line dman who could possibly have an offensive upside and has been very consistent and came up big in the playoffs. Wanted years and a raise and got it in Tampa to join Boyle and Callahan. 5 years 22.5 million or 4.5 a year.

Benoit Pouliot – Provided secondary scoring and grit to the Rangers during the season and stepped up in the Playoffs as his line clicked. He outscored Nash which should show something. He wanted a raise (which he got) and wanted years in one place as he has been moving around a lot in his career. Signed with Oilers 5 years 4 mill a year.

The Rangers also traded Dorsett.

 

The Rangers gained a puck moving dman well past his prime in Dan Boyle for 4.5 for 2 years who can hopefully get a scoring touch and maybe show Staal to shoot the puck. Hopefully this turned into an upside as the Rangers haven’t head a shooting dman since Leetch and Poti but also hoping McD steps up.

Tanner Glass…. Who?

Mike Kosta, prone to injury, gets passed around a lot, may be a decent stay at home guy but need to hope he doesn’t get his head rung again.

Matt Hunwick – I like this move but is there room for all these dmen?

 

The Sharks and Their Captain

All the news has been about lately is the Sharks and how they continue to fail in the post season. There are talks of taking away his captaincy as well as trading the Thornton (which would be a pretty good return) as well. Their GM wants players who want to play for the Sharks and not just live in the area and Thornton has continued to say that he wants to play there.

This is a lot of talk for a player who is still a 70-80+ point player. The Sharks also just signed him for another 3 seasons midway through this past season at a cost of 6.75 per.

That’s a big cost for a team that states it is starting a rebuild and with what they would fetch in return for the Thornton could be a great help towards the future, we are still talking about a player who is still playing at a high production level.

The Sharks are contenders now, they just have a mental lapse when it gets to the post season. Secondary scoring may be more of a need then trading Thornton.

You always want your big players to stand tall in the post season and hate when they can’t carry the load but to be successful in the NHL you need to be scoring down the line.

The Penguins are a high scoring team but only on their top 2 lines and that cost them again the Rangers in the second round, where the Rangers made it to the finals while having no players in the top 14 points but got additional scoring from lower in the lines when needed.

Flyers and Blue Jackets Make Swap

So the Flyers have required R.J. Umberger along with a 4th round draft pick in exchange for Scott Hartnell. Umberger is by all means a draft bust. He’s not as bad as many other busts but for a player taken 16th overall in the 2001 draft, he has never made it past 57 points in a season and has only topped the 50 point mark twice.

It comes as more of a shock because his better years were after he left the Flyers in 2008 and has been on quite a decline in recent years. This is also to mention that he costs 4.6 million a year against the cap until the end of the 2016-2017 season. That’s a lot of coin for a player who is 4 years removed from topping 40 points in his career high of 57 points.

I was under the impression that the Flyers big issue was finding defensemen who could stay healthy. They had gotten better as the season went into the post season and they seem to have reliable goaltending for the first time since Hextall, but not sure what this does to fix their issues. Unless he can regain a touch from 4 years ago (he is 32 so not too likely but hey, look at Jagr) he is going to end up as an expensive 3rd line player. Maybe they have plans for the 4th round pick.

Hartnell on the other hand is the same age as Umberger but has keep most of his production above the 50 point mark with exception to a few years ago and is usually good for 20+ goals a season and plays a more solid all around game.

Some may say that this is for cap room and the Flyers wanted to make some room for other deals, but the problem is that they only save 250,000 on their cap. The value isn’t there in what they Flyers did but it is a hell of a deal for the Blue Jackets. He would play well along Dubinsky and others on their lineup and add a little extra scoring.

I give the Blue Jackets the advantage in this trade with the extra production value that they are getting for about the same price and the cost of a 4th round pick.

Usually the team with the player requesting a trade is the team that loses in the end but they came out on top this time and have been making smart deals since they traded Nash to the Rangers.

Richards Bought Out by Rangers

Brad Richards came to the Rangers as a free agent for the 2011-2012 and prior to that season was close to being a point a game performer. Then the NY Crush came in, that is the name I am going to give it. The Crush is when a great player comes to the Rangers and fails to perform under the bright lights of MSG and becomes a shadow of his former self. 

After a 51 point performance this past season and barely being noticed in the playoffs, it was only time until the Rangers pulled the trigger and used their secon complaince buyout on Richards. Was he the best person to buyout when Nash also sucked in the post season? Yes he was! 

Richards is 34 years old making 6.6 million a season until he is 40 years old where at this rate he would be lucky to be seen on the 4th line. The deal he signed after playing for the Stars was so in his favor that he was set for life. Even in buyout he will be making over 20 million over 12 years. 

Nash is still 29 and a few years younger then Richards but offers other upsides that Richards can’t. Nash can play physical and join the penalty kill. The Rangers just need to hope that Nash finds his scoring touch along with Martin St. Louis

The Season is Over

Yeah I know that I am late to the party, but as stated, I was on vacation!

So.. The Kings won the cup and if you know anything about hockey you would have seen that even before the first puck dropped in game. It’s not that the Rangers couldn’t have done it, but it just seemed that their trend of having calls not going their way and the hockey gods rooting against was eventually going to catch up to them. 

It only took 5 games to beat the Rangers and of those games they only lost one of them clean, one game they won and the other three were lost in overtime. The part that is harder to see is that the Rangers gave up a massive amount of shots and Henrik had to be at the top of his game to keep them even close to winning. 

It just so happens that even Henriks best isn’t enough to defeat the Kings who out shot, out hit and out played the Rangers at every chance. 

I wanted to get into this series and enjoy it but it was so one way that it made it difficult to enjoy when one team just keeps peppering the other net.

Was interesting to see how Gaborik would play back in NY after being traded last year. Quick wasn’t amazing and nor did he really have to be, he had some fantastic saves when they were needed but his team backed him up enough where he idn’t have to face that many shots.

As of today Brad Richards has been bought out by the Rangers as they try to move forward and improve upon their issues. Nash is rumored to be on the trade market as well and where we got him for a steal it may be harder to be rid of a player whose regular season stats have dropped since joining the Rangers and has shown that he can’t perform in the post season. Maybe a trade of Nash for the Sharks Thornton is in order? Something to think about.