Here is the Feb. 10 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday in the Over the Boards blog during the 2015-16 NHL season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.
Let's get to it:
Do you think the New York Rangers are finally hitting their stride after a rough midseason slide? -- @Anfernandez73
I think the Rangers are playing much better and they're getting backed up by excellent goaltending. Does that mean they're hitting their stride? I guess it could, but I'm still not sure if this is a real Stanley Cup contender. I'm leaning toward "no" on that because they struggle to score and their defense has a lot of miles on it. That being said, the Rangers have been consistent in how they attack of late, and that's a big reason why they're 7-3-0 in their past 10 games. Their forecheck has been aggressive, so they've been pushing up and pushing the pace. They're at their best when they play fast and get excellent goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, who is delivering now after being average for most of the second quarter of the season. If you're a Rangers fan, you have to like what you've seen of late. But ask yourself this: Can they win a series against the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs? I know they always do, but I wouldn't pick them to do it this season.
Video: NJD@NYR: Miller beats Schneider for a 2-0 lead
Do you expect any significant moves from the Chicago Blackhawks prior to the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline? Chances of Andrew Ladd returning? -- @RichBooth1
I always expect Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman to be active and to pull off something to make his team better. Getting Ladd would definitely qualify. Bowman has been building to a deadline deal with the moves he's made already this season, such as getting Rob Scuderi for Trevor Daley and Jiri Sekac for Ryan Garbutt. He's given himself some flexibility, but there isn't a lot of wiggle room, so fitting Ladd in might prove to be difficult. And you have to weigh the cost too, because Ladd would be a rental player for the Blackhawks seeing that he's in the final year of his contract and Chicago can't be in the market to add a big-ticket free agent. Ladd could get between $5-6 million per season in his next contract. He's making $4.4 million now.
Any chance Shane Doan gets moved as a rental? -- @lateinthegoldie
For starters, the Arizona Coyotes believe they have a chance at making the playoffs, so they're not going to trade their leading goal-scorer even if he's in the final year of his contract.
But most importantly, Doan is entrenched with the Coyotes, and I can't see them getting rid of him just to get a draft pick or two.
Video: CHI@ARI: Doan tallies on great wrap-around move
Do you see Mikkel Boedker signing an extension with Arizona? Which teams do you see targeting him prior to the deadline, if not? -- @k_corpstein
You guys all seem to have the Coyotes as being sellers at this point. I'm not suggesting they're a legit contender, and maybe they will become sellers by Feb. 29, especially considering they are 2-6-2 in their past 10 games, but don't be so quick to judge. Beyond that, Boedker is a player GM Don Maloney has always talked about as being a core member of the Coyotes. The core is getting younger, but Boedker still fits because he's 26 years old. The question is how much do the Coyotes value him? I can't answer that. What I do know is that Maloney likes him. We'll find out how much he likes him very soon. Boedker is on a 20-goal, 55-point pace this season. Those would be career highs for him. He'll want a raise from the $3.75 million he's making this season. A team will give it to him. If Maloney thinks that team should be the Coyotes, he won't trade Boedker. If he is hesitant, it's time to move him.
If you're the Washington Capitals, who do you LEAST want to face in the playoffs? -- @rangersofny
I wouldn't care because my confidence would be so high that I would think I could defeat any team that gets in my way. That's how the Capitals should be thinking. That's probably how they are thinking, if they're thinking about the playoffs at all at this point. The Rangers have given them major problems in the past, but I think this season's team can get over that hump, as I mentioned above. The Penguins would scare me because of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang and the firepower they have, but I'd still think I could toast their defense while mine holds up. The New York Islanders wouldn't scare me because their goaltending is questionable. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers would definitely raise my eyebrows, but I likely wouldn't face them until the Eastern Conference Final, so I wouldn't be concerned about them.
Video: ANA@PIT: Crosby lights the lamp on a breakaway
Will the Anaheim Ducks trade one of their RFA defensemen (most likely Sami Vatanen) before the trade deadline? -- @marcpgl
Maybe a month ago I could see this happening. Not now. The Ducks are playing better of late (yes, I know they got waxed by the Penguins on Monday) and they need Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm if they want to make a run this season. They have the salary-cap space to pay each of them, and that's what they should do considering how young and good these two are. They should never have given defenseman Kevin Bieksa a two-year contract extension at $4 million per. That might hamstring them in signing both if they also want to work within an internal budget. But they could trade either one of these players at the draft too. I don't think they move either of them now.
You laughed at my (mostly joking) Shayne Gostisbehere to the All-Star Game tweet, but do you think he's in Calder Trophy contention? -- @mwcampbell92
He has to be in contention. He's been terrific as an offensive defenseman for the Philadelphia Flyers. He entered play Tuesday fifth among rookies with 27 points in 33 games. The four rookies ahead of him (Artemi Panarin, Jack Eichel, Dylan Larkin and Max Domi) had played in at least 19 more games than Gostisbehere. He absolutely has to be in contention. But, then again, Connor McDavid is coming on, so look out.