So New Yorker Ranger fans are getting their wish and there
will be a game 7 on Sunday for the Western Conference Championship between the
Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings. Honestly the only thing that
Ranger fans should be rooting for is that both teams set the new record for the
longest overtime game in NHL playoff history.
The current record is 116:30 of overtime so Blackhawks and
Kings go for the record and the Rangers will meet the survivor on Wednesday.
Remember it is not like I am trying to root for either team.
In other news the Ranger’s 2013 6th round pick
goalie Mackenzie Skapski pretty much announced his own signing by the Rangers
via twitter on Friday. Skapski who played for the Kootenay Ice of the WHL last
season is a 6’3 195 goalie who had a mixture of a season for the Ice.
In the beginning of the season Skapski was pretty
inconsistent and then missed a couple of weeks with a “lower body” injury
during November. His first half numbers were a mixed bag as he was 10-11-2-1
with a 2.91 goals against and a 0.910 save percentage.
Skapski struggled until the middle of January as he turn
really hot winning 10 straight starts and going 15-2 until the end of February
while lowering his goals against to 2.65 and raising his save percentage to
0.916. However as hot as Skapski was during those 2 months when March rolled
along, Skapski started struggling again going 2-5-0-1 in 8 starts with a 3.06
goals against and a 0.898 save percentage.
It did not help Skapski that he was pulled in his last 2
starts of the regular season as they were against the team that the Ice would
face in the first round of the WHL playoffs the Calgary Hitmen. In the first
round Skapski once again struggled and eventually the Ice would use their
backup goalie to upset the Hitmen in the first round.
Still in the second round Skapski returned as the starter
against the Medicine Hat Tigers and played well for the first 3 games of the
series but in the 4th game Skapski would get pulled again even
though the Ice had built a 3-1 lead in the series. Once again the Ice would
turn to their backup only he got blown out and Skapski was back in net for
games 6 and 7 which the Ice would lose and end their season there.
I thought Skapski had played well enough to give the Ice a
chance to win those final 2 games but they didn’t. Skapski has played 4 seasons
in the WHL which combined with him turning 20 on June 15th makes him
eligible to play in the minors.
Skapski will also have the option to return to the WHL for
an overage season but I don’t believe the Rangers would have signed him if they
weren’t wanting to use him. Cam Talbot cemented himself as the backup to Henrik
Lundqvist but after that the Rangers have some serious questions to answer.
The Rangers started last season with Talbot and 3 other
goalies but those 3 goalies (Jeff Malcolm, Jason Missiaen, and Scott Stajcer)
could not get the job done at the AHL level and were demoted to the ECHL.
Stajcer wound up playing for other teams in the ECHL besides the Greenville
Road Warriors until his hip gave out and ended his season.
That hip injury has basically cost Stajcer two full years of
development so his future is really hazy but he should have one season left on
his Entry Level Contract (ELC). Jeff Malcolm in his first season settled down
with Greenville to have a decent rookie year and he has one season left on his
That leaves Jason Missiaen who will be a restricted free
agent, and two journeymen AHL goalies who are both unrestricted free agents.
Missiaen had good ECHL numbers but was 2-11-1 for Hartford so one has to think
the Rangers might not want to qualify him.
If it was up to me then I would look to sign a veteran
goalie with some NHL experience and give Jeff Malcolm the first shot at
Hartford’s backup job. That would leave Stajcer to prove he can remain healthy
in one spot in Greenville with Skapski unless he just messes up his prospect
and training camps in the other.
And yes I would use a draft pick on another goalie as right
now long term if anything happens to Henrik Lundqvist the Rangers are in deep