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What John Davidson said about Kreider, Lundqvist Lias Andersson and more

Rangers President John Davidson spoke with the media on Thursday and said (NYR & MSG)

On Tony DeAngelo, “Jeff Gorton is talking to his group, Pat Brisson, daily. It’s up to Tony, he’s welcome to join us any time he wants, he has every right in the world to not come to camp, so far he’s not coming to camp. We are worried about who we have in camp and that is the way we are gonna go.”

On having a young and veteran group, “I’ve been here for a number of weeks in and out and gotten to know some of the guys and you kind of want to take the temperature and when you talk to people like Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Chris came into my office this morning, to have these guys, there is a tremendous air of excitement here. I think the veteran players like the fact that there are some good young players coming in, that we went out and got two experienced real good players in Trouba and Panarin, just sense that with everybody. I talked to Hank a couple of times this summer on the phone and tried to get his temperature and it’s perfect. I talked to him when he got here, he’s in great shape and, again, there is an air of excitement. From the new facility to the talented players that are coming, to the veteran players we added, everybody is optimistic.”



Are there too many new players coming in, “one thing, with the air of optimism, it’s the coach. Coach Quinn is quite a character. First thing is that he’s a very good coach, I saw what he did last year from afar. I’ve watched him have meetings with the other coaches late in the summer and he’s a great communicator, he knows how to get the best out of players and he will find a way with his staff to get the combinations and things going quickly. There is a full training camp ahead of us, so I don’t anticipate any of that being a problem.”

What are Ranger fans going to get to know about Panarin, “competitive, really competitive and in big spots in games he likes to find a way. He’s what I would term a no maintenance guy, he’s going to show up and work every day, you don’t have to worry about him showing up, he’s not very tall but he’s very strong on the puck, strong in puck battles. Most really good players in this game have high hockey IQs and his IQ is very high. I think that is something the players will enjoy, whether watching or playing, he’s very competitive. People can take a run at him, do whatever they want, he doesn’t take a backseat to anybody.”

How close did the game plan match the actual offseason, “my feeling is that Trouba is a young player with a lot of experience, right handed defenseman, big, skates well, can play against the other team’s best players, can give you PP time, PK, you don’t find those players very often. With Panarin, he hasn’t played a lot of NHL games. He played in Russia and when you look at his body of work for what his age is, he’s never had injuries, touch wood, so I think he is a young 27. He’s going to fit and be good for quite some time. When you have a chance to get a Trouba or Panarin you have to step up and try to make it all work and have it make sure it’s still part of the plan long-term and both of them are for sure.”

On buying out Kevin Shattenkirk, “I’ve known him a long time, we had him in St. Louis when we made the Erik Johnson trade, so I know Shatty. He is a good person but it’s the business of hockey and salary cap and we decided to make that decision and we stand by it. He’ll do well, there is no question. I had an opportunity to talk to him and he was very good about everything. When you are in certain situations you have to deal with it and that is what we thought was the best thing to do.”

Are there certain strengths or areas to improve, “our center ice position is something we are going to look and try to improve and see who will step in and give us some games there. When you build a team and go through a process like this it takes time to fill the spots that you know are going to need to be improved up and having a young team, we will see how the young players develop and progress. Some will do very well and others might not do quite as well so we have to deal with those situations. This is exciting and when you see these young players come in and do well and you see the experienced players embrace it and they work together, it’s a fun watch. However, there are always things that need to be improved upon but that takes time and whether it’s through drafting or deals, it’s just how it works. It’s a time consuming process, we are hoping that with Trouba and Panarin it can help expedite the process and players like Kakko or Kravtsov or Fox, that they will step in and start their NHL careers and do our best as an organization to enhance their development and to become better players quicker and it’s not a complicated equation but it will test patience and we have to deal with it.”

On naming a captain, “I’m getting to know everybody, I’ve certainly talked to Jeff Gorton and Chris Drury and coach Quinn and we are having on-going discussions about it. Being around the guys here, they are a pretty outgoing, confident group so I’m not really worried about it but if something fits and you find one, it’s always a good thing but it’s gotta be the right person and we have to make that decision in a very professional way.”

On expectations, “when you go into a year like this, you want improvement for sure. I’d love to make the playoffs, this is a very close and young league. We aren’t going into a league of 15 years ago where the average age is way up there. Playoffs is a goal for sure but there has to be improvement the right way, that you can count on long-term to get something with gratification for the season.”

On Chris Kreider, “Coach Quinn had a great discussion with him, that was probably two weeks ago. They had lunch, coach said it was great. I didn’t ask Chris about it because that is their business. Chris came into my office this morning, he is just a positive give right now and that is what you want coming into camp. We will see where it all goes. He’s a very good hockey player and I hope he has a tremendous year and then everything’s going to go in the right direction for everybody.”

On the salary cap, “I’m comfortable with where we are. We have a cap to deal with, nothing is ever perfect. When you are building a hockey club sometimes you have to make tough decisions to get there. As long as we make the right decisions it will be very helpful for us. They are hard, these things aren’t easy. It’s a salary cap world, it’s a little lower this season than we expected but with signing the two players that we feel are good players, you have to deal with it.”

On Kakko, “When you go to Traverse City, I think I’ve been going there like 15-years and you see some players, Erik Johnson, Jamie Benn, a number of players that you can just see. With Kaapo, he had a virus so he didn’t play in the first two games, he really wanted to and then we played him in Game 3 and you could tell he was a little rusty and then you could see that he just took over. It was really special to watch, not just the 360 twice goal, more what he did, you could see his mind, he has poise at a high speed, play fast with the puck in small areas yet reading where everybody is and making the plays. It’s fun to watch, it’s great. We didn’t play him in Game 4, we ended up 3-1 in the tournament but we just felt that since we weren’t playing for first place, we rested four guys and we didn’t want anybody to pull a groin or whatever. It’s going to be fun watching him play. He’s a good kid, very humble and he’s been impressive to this pint but it’s still a long road, it’s hard. His next adjustment is the NHL and it’s going to be a good test.”

Do you have to manage expectations for him, “you won’t hear us talking about him being the next coming of whomever but he’s going to be a really good player. He has a chance to be a great player but it all takes time. We will do our best to help him get accustomed to North America, his English is pretty darn good, his nature is real good. He’s a humble kid, as most Finns are. He’s got something, it’s going to be fun watching him develop but Kravtsov did some good stuff there, Fox was really good. We are not zeroing in one player, Panarin is here, Trouba is here, Kreider is going to play well. This should be fun watching these guys.”

Is center the most intriguing position, “Howden is coming along here, it looks like he had a great summer. Lias Andersson, they are telling me he has completely changed his whole body and that is what happens when…kids are kids and sometimes it takes them a little bit but he’s giving himself a chance with the condition he is in.”

On the goalie situation, “I had a couple of real good conversations with Hank during the summer time and met with him here. He’s in tremendous shape, you could just tell from his handshake. He is in a great mood, he’s excited, loves the moves we made. I expect him to be Hank and when Hank’s Hank, he’s pretty good. Benoit Allaire, he speaks highly of Hank, Georgie, those guys will battle. The trend with starting goalies today is that they don’t play 75 games like they used to, they just don’t see it around the league. We will see where it all goes and it’s going to be a battle.”

Are you saying that Hank will play less, “I don’t think you are going to see him play 75 games, we will see how it all goes. This league is so close that the first week means something regarding the standings so we’ll see where it all goes and Benoit feels comfortable with everything as is and these guys will battle it out. I don’t think you are going to see one of them play a huge amount of games unless injuries come into play or something along those lines, it’s not going to be a 75-game goalie.”

On Hartford, “Gorts and Chris Drury worked really hard. The new staff is everything, coaches, skills coaches, strength coaches, there are all kinds of coaches and it’s good because you want to give players every opportunity to b as good as they can become as quickly as possible. Our guys aren’t going to go to Hartford and get forgotten about. It’s down the road, we are going to watch a lot of games there ourselves, we are going to work very closely, our coaching staff and their coaching staff, on systems and players who are developing, who aren’t, the whole thing. I’m sure other teams are doing the same thing but we are going to do our best to be ahead of the curve and do well. We have a good balance of coaching staff with experience and everything they need.”

On the expanded player development group, “they were here for Traverse City and development camp, they have a hands on approach with all the players. Tanner is in Canada out West, Jed is in the East and Tuomo is in Europe. I want them to go to games where all of our prospects are playing, be hands on, work with their teams coaches and have great relationships with our players. Getting to know all three of them, quality guys, very much on the top end aspect of life and have honest conversations about where they are with their game and conditioning and they all know what it’s like to play in the NHL and they can pass that gospel on to these guys. Those guys are needed and very important. Guys just don’t show up and play for the New York Rangers, they have to do something to get here and those guys will be hands-on all the time, be at a lot of those games meet with them after and go out to lunch with them and the whole thing and be forthright with them and help them develop.”