30 Thoughts, part 3

The final installment of my first 30 Thoughts on the Rangers this offseason. Part 1. Part 2.

21. Size and skillset comparisons to Chris Kreider in the league, and their respective rookie year production (points per game, prorated 82 game point total. Corey Perry (0.45ppg; 37pts); James Neal (0.48ppg; 39pts); Max Pacioretty (0.32ppg; 26 pts). Any evidence of players with similar styles outperforming any of those guys? I remain cautiously optimistic, and I don't expect Kreider to break out (55+ points) until his third season. Granted his production may be higher since at any given time he'll be playing with at least one of three first liners in Gaborik, Richards, and Nash. Then again but Neal also had pretty good linemates (Richards and Loui Eriksson), and Perry had Ryan Getlaf (beast) and two Hall of Fame defenseman (Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger) who ran the show.

22. Carl Hagelin has a great forechecking technique. He never stops skating, and when he takes the body, he rubs the player's exposed shoulder out while maintaining forward momentum, which he uses to retrieve the puck. It's wonderful to watch. Chris Kreider should really take notes. That technique alone will add points to his stats, as he's sure to earn more assists than he would if he doesn't aggressively forecheck.

23. Just because JT Miller wants to play in the NHL, doesn't mean he should. I expect the majority of first round picks say the same. His draft year issue was consistency. That he found some consistency in his draft+1 season doesn't mean he doesn't have work still to do against other junior age players. Current top-50 point scorers drafted in the first round that played junior/college in their draft+2 season: Claude Giroux, Jordan Eberle, Logan Couture. Both Giroux and Couture began their professional careers in the AHL. I whole-heartedly agree with the Detroit development model, where projected top-6 players are allowed to play top-6 roles in the AHL for up to a full season before being called up. I actually wouldn't be surprised if Miller was in Plymouth next season. As for potential rookie call-ups to play 4th line minutes next season? My money's on Andrew Yogan... raw offensively, and is rumored to learn how to use his teammates better, but with good size and skating ability that would fit the fourth line in a manner similar to John Mitchell.

24. Speaking of 4th liners with puck skill, why did the Rangers trade Casey Wellman? It seems like a waste to have brought him in and then immediately ship him out. The Rangers have a bunch of first years coming up to play the pros this season, and it may be better to have the option of calling up a guy who's already had a few years as a pro. Speaking of 4th liners in general, why didn't the Rangers keep Dale Weise? He'd be a far younger and cheaper option over Aaron Asham.

25. The Rangers should have drafted Nick Bjugstad in 2010. Eight-plus years of Kreider- Bjustad- Miller? SIgn me up.

26. If the Rangers had drafted Bjustad, theoretically, they could have convinced him to leave college for the upcoming season, made the trade for Nash, and sent Stepan-plus for Bobby Ryan. The Rangers could then ice something to the effect of Kreider- Richards- Gaborik, Nash- Boyle- Ryan. Is Brian Boyle a top-6 centerman? No. But he would fill a role and create space for two bona fide first line wingers. Quick, name Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya's center when they played in Anaheim (without using online search). Exactly.

27. I predict Jonathan Huberdeau, Nail Yakupov, and Sven Baertschi having the edge over Kreider in the Calder race.

28. With a number of undersized forward prospects in the Rangers organization, including Christian Thomas, Shane McColgan, and Michael St. Croix, I think Ryan Bourque is the odd man out.

29. I really like the Brady Skjei pick. Actually, I like all the picks this year, though I still have no idea who Thomas Spelling is. Still, I was hoping the Rangers would have tried to move up somehow to get Jacob Trouba. That kid is going to be a beast. I'm just glad the Penguins passed on him... I was holding my breath during that 8th pick.

30. If either Marek Hrivik or Christian Thomas puts up Zuccarello-like numbers in the AHL, does one of them push Callahan out of the top-6? That would give the Rangers crazy depth if they are, in fact, ready.... I remain cautiously optimistic though. Most 19-20 year olds aren't ready for the responsibility of scoring line roles in the NHL.

**Correction- Hrivik will be 21 years old when the season starts**

Bonus thoughts

31. Seriously, why isn't Prospal still a Ranger?

32. I want Gaborik to retire a Ranger. He's really ****ing good. His elite skating and shooting should allow him to continue to be a top-6 scoring threat past 35 years old. He could probably command more, but a 4-5 year extension at $6.5 million would be fine with me. That would allow the Rangers to stagger his contract expiration with Richards' and Nash's contracts, and give them the flexibility to go after the best UFAs in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

33. Can't leave without line combos!

Kreider- Richards- Gaborik

Nash- Stepan- Callahan

Hagelin- Boyle- Pyatt

Rupp- Halpern- Asham

That's it. Love them or hate them, let me know what you think about my thoughts. Thanks.

-- Hoggo.

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