Re-Tooling the Rangers in one Off-Season

Note: The more I wrote in this blog, the more I hated it. It’s not that I necessarily dislike the team that I’ve built, it’s more of the hesitation that I know basically everything I wrote up isn’t going to happen. There is no doubt that the New York Rangers need change. There is no doubt that the FO needs to give AV the players he needs to succeed. There is no doubt that a few players, for lack of a better term, need to be forced off of this team for the Rangers to succeed. At the end of writing this up, I didn’t even want to post it, but I think that’s sort of the opposite reason that blogs even exist. So. Enjoy. 

For the first time in my life, I don’t envy the General Manager of the New York Rangers. Jeff Gorton, though being in the Rangers organization since 2007, inherited a team from Glen Sather prior to the 15-16 season that was broken. Even within the Rangers, it didn’t sound like there was much confidence in the team this season. How many times to Alain Vigneault go on the record saying that this team deserves “one more kick at the can”? And that’s all well and good. Having loyalty to a core of players that has given you everything they can doesn’t go unnoticed among player circles.

But at what cost?

The 2015-2016 season for the New York Rangers was a failure. From top to bottom. Front office to coaching to the players on the ice. It’s easy to say it just wasn’t their year, but it is more than that. The core went rotten. The Rangers need a re-tool.

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Let’s Talk About Jakub Nakladal

Because for some reason, no one else is.

Stats and visualizations for this post from corsica.hockey, RK_Stimp, and hockyviz.com

It’s at this moment that I’ve realized that some people reading this post might not even know who Jakub Nakladal is. On the one hand, that’s good, he’ll be a huge bargain as an unrestricted free agent this season to a wise team. On the other hand, it can’t be fun for Nakladal himself or his agent.

Nakladal is a 28 year old defenseman who shoots right handed, has size (6’2″, 212lbs), and hails from the Czech Republic. Place of citizenship is important because Nakladal has been selected to represent the Czech Republic at this summer’s World Cup of Hockey where he will undoubtedly prove right the team that signs him in July.

The 2015-2016 season was Nakladal’s first in North America splitting time between the Calgary Flames and their AHL affiliate Stockton Heat. On the surface, Nakladal’s numbers aren’t that sexy. 5 points in 27 NHL games, 14 points in 35 AHL games.

My argument is that there is Anton Stralman levels of untapped potential in Nakladal.

Nakladal ended the season in Calgary, and his overview chart is as follows:

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