June 10, 2014

Rick Roos

2014-06-10

 

 

I'll be handling Tuesday Ramblings for the next three weeks, so mark your calendars for all the must read hockey analysis you can find…………..in June. Wait; don't stop reading! I'll make these worth your while – trust me!

 

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Monday night saw the Stanley Cup Final shift to the Big Apple, and the Kings move one game away from matching the Blackhawks – who they eliminated last round – in winning two Cups in the past five seasons. How strange would it be to go from the Kings being stretched to the full seven games in every previous round, to a sweep in the Final?!

 

The reality is the Rangers had what I felt was an insurmountable task in trying to win four games before the Kings did so. Really – that's all the Cup Final is, a race to four wins. And although the Kings have faced elimination in every series this far and have to be exhausted (more on that below), it seems like no matter what teams throw at them they pick themselves up and find a way to win that race to four. And although in the last of my USA Today predictions I gave a coaching edge to Alain Vigneault (hey – I still like my reasoning), my other predictions (Kings winning the series and Doughty for Conn Smythe) look to be in pretty solid shape, although Jeff Carter is certainly making a run at the Conn Smythe.

 

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In terms of the Rangers, it was a pretty decent game for John Moore, who managed four shots and one hit in 16:24 of ice time, including 2:18 of PP time (10th best on the team) to go along with 1:46 of shorthanded duty.  Oh wait – my mistake; that was the stat line for Rick Nash!!

 

I just can't see how Nash will be in a Rangers sweater come 2014-15.  Perhaps he's bought out instead of the long-rumored Brad Richards.  But maybe – and this this just pure speculation by me – he gets moved to another team for their baggage.  Can I start (or if already started, fan the flames of) a Rick Nash for Kris Letang trade rumor?  Nash is owed $7.8M over the next four seasons, while Letang gets a bit less per season ($7.2M) but is signed through 2021-22.  I get that each has a NMC or NTC, and there are lots of other factors involved; but hey, stranger things have happened….

 

An especially forgettable game also from Carl Hagelin, who skated just 10:24, saw only 19 seconds of PP time, was -2, and took a pretty poor penalty.  He might not even crack the 40 point mark next season, and could find himself elsewhere (maybe even overseas) after his current deal expires following the 2014-15 campaign.

 

And although Ryan McDonagh's future role with the Rangers was never in doubt, it's worth noting that after starting with zero points in his first ten playoff games and with pressure mounting with every contest since then, he now has 16 points in his last 13 playoff games. We're witnessing McDonagh make the leap to uber-elite fantasy defenseman (assuming he wasn't there already).

 

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Following up on what I teased above, by my count – and as I noted when making my pick in the Expert's Panel – the Kings entered the Cup final having played 169 games since January 2013 (not counting preseason contests or Sochi).

 

While LA should still coast into the playoffs in 2014-15, I worry about how this'll affect their fantasy stats, particularly for guys north of 30 (Justin Williams and rumored buyout candidate Mike Richards) as well as workhorse Drew Doughty, who's scored only a handful fewer points in these playoffs than he did in double the games during the 2012-13 regular season.

 

In the end, although most poolies know enough not to count on Kings players for big scoring, things might be worse next season than usual for at least some of their core players given all their mileage over the past two seasons. But at the same time, that should prompt the team to be ev