Looking at the Rangers Defense Next Season

Credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

With the offseason almost coming to a close, and the Rangers and the other thirty NHL teams getting ready for training camp, its time to talk about the construction of the roster. 

We had a well written post from Christopher a few weeks ago where he gave an honest evaluation of the roster. Christopher gave his insight and opinion about what to expect on how the roster would be constructed.

I wanted to go a step further. I wanted to take a look at the three Ranger defensive pairs as I see it being right now, while also looking at some dark horses who could easily take a one of the third pairings spots.

First Pairing – Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk

This is a pairing that I am easily excited about, and hearing comments from both McDonagh and Shattenkirk, they are easily excited about the aspect of playing with one another by stating such in various interviews.

Here’s where we will see the Ryan McDonagh of 2014-2015. While Dan Girardi was still a capable 82 game defenseman, and McDonagh felt comfortable with him as his partner. We will see McDonagh I feel more defensive minded, to compliment Shattenkirk’s offensive style game. That doesn’t mean that Ryan McDonagh won’t be able to start a rush, and bury a goal or two here and there, but you’ll see him compliment Shattenkirk who has the ability to start a rush, and open the ice base on his passing.

McDonagh should also be able to open the ice a bit as well, but we will see some positive play from both Shattenkirk and McDonagh, something that coach Alain Vigneault will have no problem using in an 82 game season.

Second Pairing – Brady Skjei and Brendan Smith

Now, with the second pairing, we should see Skjei and Smith get upgraded. These two played exceptionally well during the second half of the season after the trade deadline, and the two, especially Skjei raised their level of play during the playoffs.

What we should see here, is defensemen, who are both capable of playing both ends of the ice. We should see more of an offensive side of Skjei, something we did see during the playoffs for him, and we should see a defenseman in Smith doing his best to protect his netminder. All in all, we have another defensive pairing that compliments one another quite well.

Third Pairing – Marc Staal and Nick Holden

Looking at this third pair, is a cause of concern. We know what these two did during the playoffs, especially against Ottawa. We know what they were also like when paired during the second half of the season.

We knew going into the offseason that Marc Staal was NOT going to get bought out, even though most of us (well mainly me), wanted it during the second buyout window. With that buyout window past us now, and Nick Holden still being on the New York Rangers roster, the chances of this pairing happening again, is all but certain.

Yet, if their minutes are minimal, and we shelter Staal and/or Holden, could it really be that bad?


Who Else?

Besides the six I just mentioned, we also have the chance of seeing Alexei Bereglazov, who has a KHL out clause if he desires to exercise it, if not on the Rangers roster. We could also see the player they received in the Stepan/Raanta to Arizona trade in Anthony DeAngelo. With Neil Poink, and Ryan Graves, and potentially Sean Day all wanting some time with the Rangers, we have a very big logjam for the Rangers defensive corps.

Moving Nick Holden, is still something to be considered to get one of the young guys some time here this season.

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