Artemi Panarin

The New York Rangers Ink Panarin, They Are A Contender Again

featured image photo credit – Dinur Blum

Per Elliotte Friedman of Rogers Sportsnet, the New York Rangers have signed Artemi Panarin to a seven year deal worth 81.5 million. 

The New York Rangers made a splash on Day 1 of Free Agency and are now no longer in a rebuild mode. Over the course of the last few weeks, the Rangers had drafted Kaapo Kakko, acquired Adam Fox in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes, traded with the Winnipeg Jets for Jacob Trouba, dealt Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres to add cap space and have now signed the top unrestricted free agent, Artemi Panarin. The Rangers are determined to chase for the Stanley Cup and their front office has done a great job in assembling a contender.

Panarin is coming off of a great campaign with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The 27 year old Korkino, Russia native mustered up 28 goals and 59 assists in 79 games with the Blue Jackets last season. In addition, he posted a 54.8 corsi-for percentage and a 54.8 fenwick-for percentage. Plus, his expected goals for was considerably higher than his expected goals against. 

The Russian forward was also incredible during the Blue Jackets playoff run. He appeared in 10 games for the Blue Jackets and managed to tally 5 goals and 6 assists. Without Panarin, the Blue Jackets might not have swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in round one. 

With Panarin coming to the Rangers, he’ll more than likely play on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and fellow countryman, Pavel Buchnevich. Panarin will likely force new teammate, Chris Kreider to move to the second forward line to play alongside Ryan Strome and Kaapo Kakko. 

In terms of Panarin’s playing style, let’s take a look at Sean Tierney’s playing style visual. Panarin is play-maker and does whatever he can to create scoring chances. He’s primary assist machine, Panarin is highly effective in high danger situations, he can be trusted to get the puck safely into the offensive zone from the neutral zone on the regular and he’s proven to be one of the best shot contributors on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

visual from Sean Tierney, data from Corey Sznajder

With Panarin’s skill-set, he’ll make Zibanejad and Buchnevich more effective. Zibanejad is coming off of a solid season, in which he posted 74 points, but Buchnevich needs a strong bounce back season. Last season, Buchnevich played in 64 games, while posting 21 goals and 17 assists. His offensive production hasn’t been great since his debut in the 2016-17 regular season, but last season wasn’t as productive as his 2017-18 campaign. With Panarin firing lasers cross-ice to Buchnevich, perhaps he can help Buchnevich post a career high in goals next season. 

In addition, adding Panarin will likely boost the Rangers’ power-play. The Rangers power-play had a success rate of 19.4 percent (17th in the NHL). New York really needed to add a threat to their power-play rotation if they planned on making the jump from rebuilder to contender and they did just that.

All-in-all, Panarin makes the Rangers a lot stronger and will be in New York for the long haul.

stats from hockey-reference.com and Corey Sznajder

Follow Josh Tessler, the author of this post on Twitter (@JoshTessler_)

Jimmy Vesey

The New York Rangers Trade Jimmy Vesey To The Buffalo Sabres

featured image photo credit – Dinur Blum

Per Darren Dreger of TSN, the New York Rangers trade forward Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 3rd round pick in 2021.

Vesey, 26, has been rumoured to be on the move for quite a while and is already an interesting story as it is. Some may remember back in 2016, Buffalo acquired Jimmy Vesey’s rights from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 3rd round pick in 2016. However, due to the fact that a deal was not made, Vesey was ruled an unrestricted free agent and eventually signed in New York with the Rangers for a 2 year deal worth $2.275 million dollars per season.

New York’s focus for this deal was to shed another contract as the team looks to improve the roster by either means of the draft or via free agency. As of writing this post, the Rangers now have approximately $20 million dollars in cap space which could make them, big players in the free agent market to accelerate their rebuild. The Rangers are rumoured to be targeting Artemi Panarin, who is the best unrestricted free agent forward on the market. Panarin will command roughly 9-11 million and the Rangers needed to move some cap space, which meant that Vesey needed to go.

As for the Sabres, they get a solid forward to help bolster their scoring depth on a cheap one year deal. They completed a similar trade last off-season with the Pittsburgh Penguins when they acquired left-winger Connor Sheary. Again, general manager Jason Botterill is working the phones and adds another depth winger in Vesey.

Vesey will likely slot in on the Buffalo Sabres’ third line alongside Evan Rodrigues and Tage Thompson. If Vesey gets off to a hot start, Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger could decide to move him up to the second line to play with Casey Mittelstadt and Kyle Okposo. 

In the visual below (from Sean Tierney), you’ll see Vesey’s playing style mapped out. You’ll see that Vesey is great at primary assists and shot creation, but isn’t reliable in high danger situations. Plus, he’s not going to create many zone entries nor is he going to light up the score sheet. He’s just a plain depth top 9 forward, but in the right spot, he could be a top 6 forward.

visual from Sean Tierney, data from Corey Sznajder

If Vesey pans out for Buffalo, he could be a huge part of their team going forward. If not, I am sure that Jason Botterill and company could look to trading him as a rental to another team for some future assets. 

stats from hockey-reference.com and Corey Sznajder

visual from Sean Tierney

 

NHL Draft Profile: Spencer Knight

Spencer Knight is the top goalie among most draft aficionados. He was the unheralded backbone of one of the best USNTDP of all-time. His ability to stay calm, cool and collected paired with maybe the best athleticism for any player in the draft combine to make Knight a top prospect in the 2019 NHL Draft.

Embed from Getty Images

Name: Spencer Knight

Date of Birth: April 19, 2001

Nationality (Place of Birth): American (Darien, CT, USA)

Hieght: 6’3″

Weight: 198lbs

Catches: Left

Position: G

Rankings

Ranked #12 by TSN/McKenzie

Scouting Report

The top goaltender in the draft has been outstanding all year. He has shown all the tools that talent evaluators look for in a young goaltender. His mental make-up is strong and he does an excellent job staying poised. He doesn’t panic or get flustered after allowing a weak goal. He stays focused and is able to see around screens because he shows great awareness of the play. The American goaltender does an excellent job at keeping his back upright and keeping a solid base to ensure that he’s using his entire 6’3″ frame in the net. In the video below, you can see Knight hold his ground despite the Finnish players best attempt at poking the puck free.  

Throughput the year, Knight showed that his maturity was well beyond his years. Often times with young goalies, sustained pressure from the opposition can lead to a break down in positioning and cause the young netminder to allow a goal that he would normally save. This isn’t often the case for Knight. He is able to harness his poise and focus in on tracking the puck while staying in good position. His eyes stay locked in on the puck and he is able to make multiple saves by kicking his pads out and closing down on the puck despite good movement from the opposing team. The video below if a perfect example of Knights ability to keep focused and dialed in on the puck. 

 

At the draft combine, many came away with the realization that Knight was among the best athletes in the draft. Knight shows his impressive athleticism with his ability to move laterally with precision and recover on plays that become a scramble in front of him. His lateral movement is extremely crisp and he rarely overshoots his positioning. He comes across the crease with a strong push. His ability to keep his upper body high while sliding over helps him stay big and cover the net as he transitions. Below you can see Knight unable to corral the loose puck in front of him but quickly recovers and uses his athleticism to make an outstanding save. 

Lower body strength and stability is an asset that goalies need and Spencer Knight has both. The future franchise netminder has the strength to keep his pad down and pinned to either post while still being able to stay upright and actively following the puck. The lower body strength aids in his push off from post-to-post and allows him to kick out his pads during a slide. As you can see below, Knight is able to use the aforementioned lower body strength to push off the right post and explode towards the recipient of the pass. His strong core allows him to stay upright long enough to make the marvelous save. 

When it comes to positioning, Knight is consistently stable. He plays a mature game which makes him far ahead of the curve for draft eligible goaltenders. The goalkeeper does a good job at absorbing the puck into his chest and not allowing egregious rebound more often than not. His reflexes have developed further throughout the year and he’s been able to track and catch shots quite well. When the puck is shot to his blocker side, he often deflects the puck into the corner or up into the net depending on the situation. Knight is able to track a pass through the middle of the ice and not over commit on a slide. He stops in perfect position and is able to make the save with ease as you can see in the video below.  

What the Detractors Say

While no 18-year-old goaltender is perfect, Spencer Knight does everything you’d like a goaltender to do. One of the few aspects of Knight’s game that scouts have picked on is his tendency to play fairly deep in his net at times. While he comes out to challenge shooters in one-on-one scenarios, he has sunken into his net at times during sustained pressure. While this hasn’t been an issue at junior level, it could become an issue at the next level as the athletic goalie moves forward. His athleticism helps him make up for the depth in which he plays at but he could stand to play a little higher in his crease.

Preseason Outlook

Having played in 14 games with the USNTDP U18 team a year early, many expected Knight to put on a show for the 2018-19 season. His positioning and athleticism allowed him to play up a level with success. Coming into the year, the young goaltender was considered the top goalie and he did nothing to change that fact.

Video courtesy of Justy Power YouTube

USNTDP Success

The top-tier prospect in net was outstanding this year on a stacked USNTDP team. With the high-powered offence, Knight certainly received his fair share of goal support but there was a number of times where Knight would put on a goaltending clinic. Early in the season Knight put together a masterful performance against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, ranked third in the NCAA at the time. Showing off all of his tools, this game signified his dominance and showed that he can read a play and play good positional hockey at a young age. In the video below, Knight makes an outstanding save on a slap shot from the circle. He shows excellent reflexes with the glove stage. 

Knight continued to put together good performances against both USHL and NCAA competition. He finished the year with a save percentage of .903 against USHL opponents but a .913 overall if you include the tougher NCAA schedule as well. This showed that he was able to play up to the competition and he benefitted from facing more steady work rather than the games in the USHL where his team often outshot the opposition by a wide margin.

Strong U18 World Championships

The world stage was where Knight shone brightest this year. At the U18 World Championships this year, Knight was able to dominate his peers. In his six games at the tournament, he allowed just 1.51 goals against average and had a sparkling .936 save percentage. However it was the save that he made that showed he would be an NHL goaltender sooner than many thought coming into the year.

Spencer Knight will be taken…

Somewhere in the 15-25 range most likely but there’s a chance he goes slightly earlier. Goalies are seldom drafted in the first round anymore but Knight is destined to be the exception. He’s one of the best American goaltending prospects in years and projects extremely well. His athleticism and mental fortitude will serve him well as he hopes to take the next step at Boston College next year. He is likely to step into a prominent role in the program despite being a freshman. His first task will be taking full control of the net and continuing to develop with the help of his Boston College athletic staff. The future franchise goaltender should, and likely will, be selected in the middle of the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

For more on the NHL, prospects and the NHL Draft, follow me here at @TheTonyFerrari on twitter!

All stats and information provided by Elite ProspectsDobber Prospects and NHL.com

New York Rangers

New York Rangers: Jacob Trouba Moving To Broadway

The New York Rangers have made a trade with the Winnipeg Jets for defenseman Jacob Trouba.

Cheveldayoff Making Another Move With NYR

Trouba will be a restricted free agent on July 1st and he hasn’t been open to signing a long-term deal in the past with Winnipeg. With Trouba’s interest levels of remaining in Winnipeg being very low, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff called his friends in Manhattan to work out a trade.

It wasn’t very long ago that the Jets made a trade with the Rangers. Prior to trade deadline, Cheveldayoff acquired Kevin Hayes from the Rangers. Hayes was added at the deadline to help provide the Jets with some centre depth, but he’s now in Philadelphia. Just to note, Hayes isn’t technically a Philadelphia Flyer just yet. He’ll be a free agent like Trouba and the Flyers had acquired his signing rights.

Who The Jets Are Getting

Per the New York Rangers twitter handle, the Rangers dealt Neal Pionk and the 20th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Oddly enough, the Jets previously owned the pick, but coughed it up in the deadline trade for Hayes. With the trade, the Jets now have a first round pick and have five picks in total for the draft.

They also inked Pionk. Pionk has been a serviceable defenseman for the Rangers. He’s a solid 4th/5th defenseman. In the past, he’s shown to fans that he’s capable of putting up solid power-play numbers. But, he’s not spectacular in his own zone nor the neutral zone. His defensive corsi-for and his expected goals against aren’t great. 

In the visual below from Sean Tierney, you’ll see just how awful Pionk was on the Rangers’ blueline. Pionk’s break-up percentage and possession exit percentage were both quite low. He’s not a puck mover and can’t be trusted in critical situations.

visual created by Sean Tierney, data from Corey Sznajder

Jacob Trouba

Embed from Getty Images

On the flip side, Trouba is a stellar two-way defenseman. But, he’s much better in the offensive zone.

In the chart below (created by CJ Turtoro), you’ll see that Trouba was more efficient at shot contributions/60, shot assists/60 and shots/60 than Pionk. He’s also a lot better in the defensive zone as well. But, the only area where Pionk has him slightly beat is zone entries.

visual created by CJ Turtoro, data from Corey Sznajder

All-In-All

At the end of the day, this was a great trade for both sides. It’s been rumoured for a while that Trouba has no interest in playing in Winnipeg and it’s evident that Cheveldayoff gave up on his mission of making Trouba feel more at home. He was able to net his first round draft pick back and a solid depth defenseman.

For the New York Rangers, they’ve been adding young defensemen left and right. Earlier this year, they acquired Adam Fox from the Carolina Hurricanes and they are back at it again. With Trouba and Fox moving to Broadway, the Rangers defensive unit has quickly become a pretty good unit. Their opponents in the Metropolitan Division won’t have a lot of fun next season.

data from Corey Sznajder, hockey-reference.com

visuals from CJ Turtoro and Sean Tierney

featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals

 

 

 

Puck 77 NHL Draft Scouting Reports

We’ve compiled all of the scouting reports done by the various members of the Puck77 team for the NHL Draft here in one easy location so you can jump right to the player you want!

Our Top-12

1. 🇺🇸 Jack Hughes, C, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Jack Hughes by Tony Ferrari

2. 🇫🇮 Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Liiga): Deep Dive Scouting Report of Kaapo Kakko by Tony Ferrari

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3. 🇺🇸 Alex Turcotte, C, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Alex Turcotte by Tony Ferrari

4. 🇨🇦 Bowen Byram, LHD, Vancouver Giants (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Bowen Byram by Tony Ferrari

5. 🇺🇸 Trevor Zegras, C/LW, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Trevor Zegras by Tony Ferrari

6. 🇨🇦 Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Dylan Cozens by Tony Ferrari

7. 🇺🇸 Cole Caufield, LW, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Cole Caufield by Tony Ferrari

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8. 🇨🇦 Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon Blades (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Kirby Dach by Tony Ferrari

9. 🇨🇦 Alex Newhook, C, Vancouver Grizzlies (BCHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Alex Newhook by Tony Ferrari

10. 🇨🇦 Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay/Winnipeg Ice (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Peyton Krebs by Tony Ferrari

11. 🇺🇸 Matthew Boldy, RW, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Matthew Boldy by Tony Ferrari

12. 🇷🇺 Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Vasili Podkolzin by Tony Ferrari

Other Intriguing Prospects

2019 NHL Draft: What makes Philip Tomasino such an intriguing prospect? by Spencer Loane

2019 NHL Draft Deep Dive: Arthur Kaliyev by Spencer Teixeira

NHL Draft Profile: Nolan Foote by Spencer Teixeira

Come back for more profiles as they are updated and added! Thanks for stopping by!