NY Rangers Sign Shatty For a Song and Make Smart Draft Decisions

NEW YORK, NY – While I was off on holiday in Italy, the Rangers were busy making free agency splashes. Fresh off of trading Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to our new favorite trading partner, the Rangers made a splash in the free agent market by signing local lad Kevin Shattenkirk to a four-year deal worth $26.6 million.

hot babe as ny rangers fanShatty definitely gave the Blueshirts a hometown discount, taking four years when he could have gotten almost twice that many years somewhere else. But the New Rochelle native decided to come home. And in doing so, he’s solidified a Rangers blueline that has been somewhere between suspect and awful over the last couple of seasons. Shattenkirk joins captain Ryan McDonagh, Brendan Smith, Brady Skjei, and youngster Antony DeAngelo, who joined in the Stepan/Raanta trade, on the blue line.

@CheesyBruin pees on the NY Rangers

The Rangers also made a change in the coaching staff this week by bringing in Lindy Ruff to replace Jeff Beukeboom on the bench. Beukeboom may have gotten the axe as a scapegoat for AV’s shortcomings in decision making over the past year, but I like the move to bring in Ruff. I thought the Rangers should have pursued “The Lindy” when they parted ways with John Tortorella. But Ruff has a similar style to Torts and the brass was looking to go in the opposite direction. So, Vigneault was brought on to lead the team.

The edge has been missing the last few seasons, as the last vestiges of the Tortorella era disappeared. Now Ruff joins AV on the bench. Hopefully they’ll be able to sort out some of the Rangers’ penalty kill and defensive issues. A beefed up defensive core should help matters.

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Photo: Devaney/GC Images

The Broadway Blues are still short through the middle, with the departures of Derek Stepan and Oscar Lindburg (Vegas) and no suitable replacement brought in. Mika Zibanejad will probably be moved up to the top line. He’s not quite a top-line centre (Canadian spelling), but then again neither was Derek Stepan. Kevin Hayes and JT Miller could see more time at centre this coming season. Miller was a revelation last year but he still has some maturing to do. Hayes is a frustrating player to watch, appearing lazy and sloppy at times. But he could also be a 40-goal scorer if he sorts things out. The hope is that first round picks Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil develop quickly and can join the NHL over the next year.

It’s an optimistic ploy and  we’ll see if it can pay dividends… maybe not this coming season, but next.

I like the Rangers’ first round picks. They played it safe and got two players that may not be perennial all-stars, but will definitely be solid NHL players pretty soon. The picks also give the Rangers some bargaining chips if they need to make a deadline deal for a marquis centre. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that, as they have traded away too many prospects and draft picks over the last decade. This time they made smart draft decisions and I hope they can keep both of these kids in the organization for awhile.

That’s all I’ve got today. Enjoy your summer. Hockey will be back before you know it.

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About Different Matt 269 Articles
Different Matt is our cunning Cornell grad/rugby player. "Diff" joined us just after the switch from being "Mets only" to an all-sports stop. He's a Yankee fan; thus he was "different." Aside from the Yanks, he's a diehard NY Giants, NY Rangers and NY Knicks fan. He also likes long walks on the beach and cappuccinos and nearly died in Las Vegas.