Rangers concerned about today but already looking towards tomorrow with Duclair and MSL
You know for a team that had a great run to the Stanley Cup final last season and is sitting 3rd in the Metro with an 11-9-4 record, there seems to be a lot of drama surrounding them. Maybe it’s just the price of being THE TEAM in NY (yes Islanders, your record doesn’t change that).
When you stop and analyze the 9 regulation losses the Blueshirts have suffered, 5 of them come at the hands of 3 of the best teams in the Eastern Conference (TB 3x, NYI 1, MTL 1). Take into account what the Rangers have been contending with all year – and a rational person should be pretty happy.
The Rangers have dealt with a number of injuries early to key players. Derek Stepan, Dan Boyle and Ryan McDonagh each missed weeks of action. Alain Vigneault has been forced to play musical lineup as he tries to find the right line combinations after nearly two months of not having his best roster.
Now, Tanner Glass has the mumps -which has allowed Jesper Fast an increased role. JT Miller made a solid return to the lineup to replace Chris Kreider for 1 game (bereavement) and Stempniak’s back is ok. Unfortunately, Dan Boyle is out with what we hope is only the flu. Still, these good things also mean AV has to make some critical roster decisions going forward.
Anthony Duclair Drama Continues
Anthony Duclair was scratched on Monday night and is becoming a frustrating situation. Either he plays here or he needs to play for Canada and then in the QMJHL.
“I’m happy here,” Duclair recently said as the Rangers are faced with the decision of letting him go play for Team Canada at the WJC. The tournament takes place after Christmas Day and runs to January 5th. Alain Vigneault and assistant GM, Jeff Gorton need to meet soon to decide if they will let Duclair report to Canada’s tryout by December 11th.
Although he has dressed in 18 of the Rangers first 24 games, he has found himself the odd man out more often than not lately. Now that JT Miller has shown some ability to play at the NHL level again, it could just be the insurance the Rangers need to allow Duclair to go.
Age Is Just A Number
Marty St. Louis is heading to 40 but is still playing like he’s 30. Recently he told Pat Leonard of the NYDN that he felt really good physically. “When I physically don’t feel like I can do the things I want to do, I think then will be the time,” St. Louis said, “but I don’t know when that time’s gonna be. It’s definitely not now.”
At this time, he and the Rangers have not talked about an extension, but he was pretty clear that this is the place he wants to be. He also feels like a Ranger even in this short amount of time here. “I feel like I’ve been here way longer than the time I’ve been here. I’ve been through a deep playoff run, and with everything that happened personally, I feel like I got really close to my teammates. And I feel like I’ve been here much longer than 40-some games.”
Whatever the Rangers decide, the time will need to come soon, especially in the case of Anthony Duclair. As for the ageless wonder in the #26 jersey, a deal should be done at some point. Marty would probably be very amicable to a series of 1 year deals loaded with incentives. Considering his burning desire to win one more Cup, money should not be an object.