Enough about the Rangers. Let’s talk about how Columbus-Tampa Bay would affect the Rangers if the Blue Jackets pull off what would become the most shocking first-round upset since 1981, when the 111-point Oilers were taken down by the 63-point Kings.
The Lightning became unhinged in Friday’s 5-1 rout by the Blue Jackets in which a shockingly selfish Nikita Kucherov played the part of Draymond Green of the 2016 Warriors, the ultimate of prematurely ordained greatest-of-all-time teams. Tampa Bay, down 2-0, outscored 8-1 over the last 72:04 and with the presumptive Hart Trophy winner serving his suspension in Sunday’s Game 3 in Columbus for his cowardly attack on Markus Nutivaara, is on the verge of ignominy.
If the Lightning do go down, the 31st-overall pick goes with them, meaning that instead of the Rangers getting that third first-round selection that might — might — be used as part of a deal to acquire Adam Fox’s rights from Carolina, they’d obtain the 58th overall as final payment for Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller.
And, perhaps not as critically but certainly of note, Columbus’ advancement would postpone the Blueshirts’ ability to talk to John Davidson about leaving the Blue Jackets’ presidency to assume the same role in New York. Though Steve Yzerman remains a person of interest in the hunt to succeed Glen Sather, Davidson is the prime candidate. The Rangers will wait for him.
But with organizational meetings in advance of a high-stakes summer just three weeks away, the sooner the better. It is possible, too, that contractual obligations might prevent Davidson from taking over before July 1 if he indeed is offered and accepts the job, but the organization would live with that.
There are still 120 minutes or more to go. It is all but impossible to believe the Lightning won’t respond. But it might be too late. Neither game represented a fluke. Nothing about either game was random. And here we are, two losses away from another spring in which McDonagh, Miller and Dan Girardi come up short for the Rangers.
So, Fox, 16 months away from unrestricted free agency if the defenseman returns to Harvard for his senior season. You should know that even with four first-rounders (including one hypothetical from Tampa Bay and one from Dallas in addition to Winnipeg’s and their own second-overall), the Rangers would be loathe to send one to Carolina for the righty defenseman who was a Hobey Baker finalist.
But they might have been tempted at No. 31. Now, the Blueshirts will have to consider whether to sacrifice one of what could be as many as three second-rounders (their own at No. 33, Tampa Bay’s at what would be 58, and Dallas’ at what would be 49) in order to acquire the 21-year-old.
The Rangers could wait out a Carolina team that has very little leverage. They could wait until August 2020 and sign Fox without yielding an asset in return. Just about everyone in the industry thinks it’s a done deal. But there are no sure things. Accidents happen. And the Rangers, energized by their lottery success, don’t necessarily want to wait a year.
Fifty-eight sounds about right.
APB out for Kevin Hayes, who played merely 8:32 in the Jets’ Game 2 defeat to the Blues including 1:50 in the third period of the 4-3 match. Hayes has not taken a shot attempt in 23:51 through the opening two games of the series that St. Louis leads 2-0 heading home. If Winnipeg loses the series, the pick going to the Rangers would be 22nd overall or better.
Yes, the matchups theoretically are now in the Penguins’ favor with their series against the Islanders resuming in Pittsburgh, and though Mike Sullivan will surely attempt to keep Sidney Crosby away from the emerging Adam Pelech-Ryan Pulock shutdown pair, Barry Trotz has done this often enough to all but negate the impact.
The Ottawa organization has been swallowed by the dysfunction that emanates from the owner’s suite, but, surprise, surprise, it seems as if the Senators did get it right last June when they chose to keep their own fourth-overall pick and send this year’s first-rounder to Colorado instead of the other way around.
Because Brady Tkachuk at four last June is likely a superior pick to the player the Senators would have been able to grab fourth-overall this time following the slide in the lottery.
Blind squirrel, broken clock, Eugene Melnyk/Pierre Dorion.
By the way, if Artemi Panarin cares about such things, tax implications as calculated on GavinGroup.ca seem to indicate the Rangers would have to play the impending free agent Columbus winger just above $12.374 million per to equal an $11 million per offer from Joel Quenneville’s Panthers.
Finally, Alain Vigneault, who will be behind the Team Canada bench for the World Championships, is a good coach who certainly merits another crack at it. The Flyers, who have received permission from the Rangers to talk to Vigneault, are serious about it. But there will be no greater evidence of the evolution of our society if “Whistle to Whistle” hockey comes to Philly.
Published at Sat, 13 Apr 2019 23:58:11 +0000