Patrick Kane’s business is all it’s cracked up to be.
Another round of salary capping has put the New York Rangers to close the deal as early as Wednesday, a day fans circle on their calendars. (As far as we can tell, K’Andre Miller’s suspension for Sunday’s spitting incident shouldn’t change those plans.)
A few unknowns remain – like exactly what they will send to the Chicago Blackhawks in return who the third team needs to retain 25% of Kane’s cap will be – but many people who People with knowledge of the matter told lohud.com, Part of the USA TODAY Network, that Kane’s insistence on the Blueshirts has caused the price to drop significantly from a few weeks ago.
The main point is: No. 88 is coming to Broadway.
Once he arrives, which could be during Wednesday’s 7 p.m. game in Philadelphia against the Flyers, the Rangers will have about six weeks to add him to their roster.
Their star power cannot be questioned. Kane is a future Hall of Famer, while Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, Vladimir Tarasenko and Mika Zibanejad are legitimate forwards. Add a Norris Trophy in Adam Fox and a Vezina Trophy in Igor Shesterkin, then sprinkle in a string of recent first-round picks, and the talent level is off the charts.
The Rangers will look like a great NHL team.
But how do all the elements fit together so well?
“I’ll leave it up to you,” Zibanejad said with a smile after Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
In an attempt to answer that question in a nutshell, we reached out to a few competition sources to get their perspective. This leads us to the following set list, with some of the less well-known quotes and general thoughts explored below:
The main line ⊳ Chris Kreider (LW) ⋄ Mika Zibanejad (C) ⋄ Vladimir Tarasenko (RW)
The second line ⊳ Artemi Panarin (LW) ⋄ Vincent Trocheck (C) ⋄ Patrick Kane (RW)
The third line ⊳ Alexis Lafrenière (LW) ⋄ Filip Chytil (C) ⋄ Kaapo Kakko (RW)
The fourth line Jimmy Vesey (LW) ⋄ Barclay Goodrow (C) ⋄ Tyler Motte (RW)
The big two Ryan Lindgren (L) ⋄ Adam Fox (R)
The second pair ⊳ K’Andre Miller (L) ⋄ Jacob Trouba (R)
Two thirds ⊳ Niko Mikkola (L) ⋄ Braden Schneider (R)
The starter Igor Shesterkin
Backup Jaroslav Halák
The biggest roster question concerns what head coach Gerard Gallant will do with his new upper hand.
Tarasenko has not yet established himself in one place. Through his first nine games with the Rangers, the 31-year-old has posted four points (two goals and two assists) with just 15 shots.
He played four straight games with Panarin and Trocheck, but moved back to the lead with Kreider and Zibanejad for Sunday’s contest.
That seemed to be the beginning of what was to come. The consensus among the nominees is that Gallant intends to see if Kane and Panarin’s chemistry in their two seasons in Chicago will carry over to New York. In more than 2,000 minutes with the ‘Hawks, they have outscored opponents 102-80, according to Natural Stat Trick.
They’ve each talked to one of their teammates that they’ve played with before, so you know they’ll want to try it out.
“Broadie would love that,” said a source.
If these two can rekindle their magic, perhaps Tarasenko will benefit from his opening left hand shot on a feed from Zibanejad as Kreider hunts for tips and cycles around the net. It worked for Frank Vatrano last season, so there’s little reason to believe an established pitcher like Tarasenko won’t thrive with a similar system.
The initial returns, however, were not many. That line was in their own zone for most of Sunday’s game against the Kings and was limited to 46:07 of combined ice time. They were outscored, 19-10, while being penalized with just one dangerous strikeout chance and allowing 11. Their 28.71% xGF isn’t bad, albeit in a very small sample size.
Given that Gallant gives them more time to work out the kinks, it would really lock Lafrenière, Chytil and Kakko’s “They’re Not Children” lines in place.
Their role will be to provide energy and create nightmares on the opposing team’s third line. But the recent intervention from this trio has started to attract attention. After a hot month, they have gone cold in the last nine games. During that time, opponents have been outscored, 7-4, while posting a poor 41.1% xGF.
According to the two researchers, what should be looked at is how children look in front of the eyes. The main belief is that they are having a good night when you see them buzzing with “lust,” which causes changes that lead to faster access and more wealth.
The overall skill in the top nine can match any in the league. Everyone expects them to put up lopsided numbers on some nights. However, another concern expressed by some sources is how the Rangers will be when the games are tough and the offense is not clicking.
Zibanejad is a great two-way center, but how many of the top nine players are left on defense?
That’s a legitimate question, marking a change from Drury’s initial goal of being “the toughest team to play against.” The Kane-and-Tarasenko version of Rangers will be light, instead focusing on top opponents with their star talent.
“They will live and die smartly,” said a source. “You can make a big mistake or go home and try.”
Rangers have had a tendency to offer expensive freebies all season, but it has come under the microscope recently.
Strong goaltending and effective D-zone coverage covered some of those flaws in the first half of the season, with the team ranking third in the NHL with a 2.59 goals against average entering the All-Star. But in the 11 games since then, they are surrendering an average of 3.55 goals per game.
Most of those came out in a hurry, with a tendency to take unnecessary risks to develop a bad head. This could be an issue in a series of games against an advantage team like the New Jersey Devils, who just strengthened their lineup with the addition of Timo Meier and are currently in line to play the Rangers in the first round.
“Feeding Jersey’s transition game with a turn at the blue line could be a problem,” said one source. “From what I can see, (Gllant) would prefer a north-south game, but they have a lot of good east-west players.”
Will Gallant fit in with his crew? Or does he have to convince them to buy it to play an easier game?
This will be interesting in the coming weeks.
Having a safe fourth line will help. Gallant has been reluctant to use this unit much this season, but being able to put Vesey, Goodrow and Motte together should change that. These are three of the team’s most talented forwards, which gives the coach the option to play when needed.
At the risk of sounding obvious, it will also be important for Shesterkin to be at the top of his game, with Sunday’s 26-save performance his most encouraging in weeks.
And what about fireworks? Look for Kane to replace Tarasenko at the top of the unit. He has the best record of PP success while bringing a lefty shot to provide balance between the righty and the righty. rights?
Kane’s suspected hip issue did not arise as a concern, but his recent surgery has put that to rest. It also helps that the Rangers are expected to get him without needing to sacrifice the rest of their 2023 first-round pick or one of their top players. Lowering the price tag undoubtedly makes the risk more bearable.
The 34-year-old has been on fire with 10 points (seven goals and three assists) in his last four games with Chicago, which a source said speaks directly to his reputation as the best player yet. he can turn it on when he moves. .
“It’s hard to say no when a player like that chooses you as his team of choice,” a source said. “But how Gallant fits into it all will be interesting to see.”
Vincent Z. Mercogliano is the New York Rangers beat reporter for USA TODAY. Read more about his career at lohud.com/sports/rangers/ and follow him on Twitter @vzmercogliano.
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