We’ve done this in year’s past, so get ready for it again!
Stock Going Up
Anthony DeAngelo — I think DeAngelo had about as good of a first game as he could have wanted. He played over 18 minutes, spent five minutes on the man advantage, and made some very savvy pinches. There were issues, too, but for the most part DeAngelo looked like a guy who should be cracking the lineup. I was impressed with him, specifically in overtime where there were a few times he took the puck and just drove with it. Small sample note, of course.
Pavel Buchnevich — As someone who is going to make the team out of camp regardless, it’s hard to say his stock is “going up” but I do want to put him here since this is going to be a huge year for him and he had a monster game. He looked really comfortable on the man advantage, and his goal was straight out of snipe city.
On the game winning goal he employed a beautiful head fake, took the attention from the goalie, and put a perfect feed on the tape of Neal Pionk for the game winner. He already looks like he’s playing with more confidence. He also led the forwards in hits, so toughness something toughness.
Neal Pionk — I said this after the game:
One game sample alert but: DeAngelo played 18 minutes. Pionk 23. DA got 5+ on PP and 0:36 on PK. Pionk got 2:22 on PP and 7+ on PK. Seems like the advantage in this battle went to Pionk goal aside— Joe Fortunato (@JoeFortunatoBSB) September 18, 2018
A few people responded that they thought DeAngelo had the better game, and I would agree with that. Pionk got the winner, and I do think he played well, but DeAngelo was far more noticeable. That said, Pionk is obviously the more “two way defenseman” of the two, and he played an enormous role on the penalty kill, leading the entire team with his 7:19 TOI on the kill.
The Rangers 6th defensive spot battle — It feels like an “or” situation with DeAngelo and Pionk — meaning I think it’s one or the other to make the team after the Adam McQuaid trade. It’s possible both of them earn a spot, but I don’t think the logistics work for that. Even so, if both of them keep playing like that it’s going to be an impressive battle for that spot.
Lias Andersson — Talk about a statement game. Again, small sample size, but Andersson was a damn monster. Two goals, including a beautiful shorty, and a great game on both sides of the ice. He played the third most of all forwards, got a slew of PP and PK time, and proved that it might be better for him to make the team on the third line as a C/W rather than a 4C role or spending time in Hartford. Again, small sample size alert.
Jesper Fast — As beautiful as the overtime pass was from Buchnevich, it doesn’t happen without Fast’s positively brilliant defensive hustle along the boards, stealing the puck, and feeding it back to Buchnevich. He made that play happen, and continued to prove he can be pushed up and down the lineup as needed.
Kevin Hayes — Hayes had two assists, a 53% FO percentage, and saw time on the power play and the penalty kill. He looked every bit the guy who is looking for that next big contract because ... well ... he is.
Ville Meskanen — Coming off what was a fantastic Traverse City Tournament, Meskanen followed it up with a great showing Monday night. He looked active on both ends of the ice, had two shots on goal, and looked really solid on the power play. He only played 13 minutes, but he made the most of them.
David Quinn — Ah the coach. What a breath of fresh air to see him behind the bench. Here’s some quick positives:
1) Distributed the ice time appropriately.
2) Actually played skilled players at the right times, including overtime.
3) Didn’t chew gum.
4) Kept giving guys chances despite mistakes when trying to create offense.
Keep it coming, David!
Stock Staying The Same
Cody McLeod — He played seven and a half minutes of uneventful hockey and is going to do that in the games he plays in the NHL.
Boo Nieves — Took an ugly hit to the head that took him out of the game. We’re still awaiting an update on his health, but I thought he looked fine. Not sure he did enough to show he deserves that 4C spot, but I also think we need to wait and see what’s happening with Andersson first.
Alexandar Georgiev — I thought he was fine, and the two goals he did give up would have been tough to stop. He saw almost half his shots on the penalty kill, and stopped six of the seven, so hard to really fault him for anything. I think he’s locked into the backup role either way.
Chris Kreider — Maybe I’m being harsh to not put him above tier, but Kreider was the least noticeable of the locks. Thought he missed a few chances, but did have an assist, and played a few monster shifts. He is, of course, making the team so this is more a “I have to put a veteran in this category” than anything else.
Tim Gettinger — The problem with a guy like Gettinger is that for what he projects to be at the NHL level, it’s hard for him to stand out when he does his job. I forgot he was playing for a fair portion of his shifts, which is honestly a compliment. He’s solid in his own zone, had a few moments of flash in the offensive zone, and played well on the PK. He was never going to make the team out of camp, but he’s showing that won’t be far away.
Stock Going Down
Michael Lindqvist — He’s had a rough three weeks in North America. His Traverse City showing was less than ideal, and last night he played less than even McLeod; and I’m not sure I can get on Quinn for that. He looked out of place, uncomfortable, and didn’t involve himself at all. It might be some butterflies, but for a guy who I thought was going to force a long look at camp because of his scoring ability, I think Meskanen has taken two or three huge steps in front of him.