McKenzie: New York Rangers have interest in Tyler Bozak

February 26, 2015, by

In the “oh FFS please don’t do this” department, Bob McKenzie has reported that the Rangers are very interested in Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak. Before I go into why this is makes absolutely zero logical sense, let’s look at Bozak the player, independent of his fit in New York. And let me tell you, it’s not pretty.

Everyone is going to look at his close-to-50-points-but-never-got-to-50-points lines from the last three seasons and think this guy is a steal at that price. Here’s the major problem: He doesn’t produce outside of Phil Kessel. Period. End of story. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Oh boy is this ugly.

Oh boy is this ugly.

Just a reminder that CF/CA is now SATF/SATA.

So, basically, Bozak has been riding the coattails of Kessel for a while. But he wins 51.2% of his faceoffs, which is probably the most overblown aspect of the game nowadays. The Rangers would be wasting assets on a guy that, for all intents and purposes, is useless. It also doesn’t help that Bozak has a line of just 3-4-7 since Randy Carlyle and his all offense/no defense philosophy was let go. That’s over 19 games. His even strength P/60 has been trending down for a while now after a huge swing up last year. It’s barely at 1.0 right now on his rolling 25-game average.

Bozak's P/60

Bozak’s P/60

But when he was scoring, he didn’t score without Kessel and hasn’t scored in a system where defense is actually expected. However it’s not all bad, Bozak has actually put up better SAT/CF numbers since Peter Horachek took over. The improvement, greater than 15%, is very impressive as well. This likely is due to Horachek’s style of play, stressing possession instead of run-and-gun.

Bozak's SAT%/CF%

Bozak’s SAT%/CF%

That’s a nice spike at the end. However, as noted above, Bozak isn’t scoring. If he’s going to play a top-six role, he needs to score. And it’s not like his linemates stink, he’s still playing with Kessel and James van Riemsdyk.

I honestly have no idea why the Rangers need Bozak. He’s a center, a position the Rangers are actually pretty set at with Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, and Kevin Hayes manning the top three spots.

Second, he carries a $4.2 million cap hit for the next three seasons. The Rangers can’t acquire him without dumping significant salary this season. And that means more than just Tanner Glass. I’m talking Mats Zuccarello as well. I say Zucc here and not MSL because Toronto isn’t going to trade Bozak to get older. So, basically the Rangers would be dealing roster players and blowing up a team that is currently fighting for a division title.

Since we are talking about how Bozak would essentially replace Zucc, let’s compare the two players using the HERO charts that have become an invaluable resource. As a refresher, this takes the stats listed –adjusted for usage/deployment– and compares them to the rest of the league and ranks the players. First Bozak:

Decent production, terrible possession. Like, awful.

Decent production, terrible possession. Like, awful.

First, how is that Shots/60 even possible as a first line player? Second, that usage adjusted SAT/Corsi against portion is just atrocious. Now Zucc:

Basically a first liner through and through.

Basically a first liner through and through.

It’s not even remotely close. Zucc is far and away the better player. And Zucc is a year younger.

Another thing: Bozak’s signed for the next three seasons. The Rangers are already dealing with dead weight at $1.65 million in Tanner Glass, a rapidly declining Dan Girardi at $5.5 million, and a –for lack of a better phrase– giant question-mark in Marc Staal at $5.7 million. That’s $12.85 million in three guys that are either bad, declining, or not what they used to be. Do they need to add $4.2 million to that?

This is something that makes legitimately no sense, but it is something that has legs to it due to its source. McKenzie doesn’t make stuff up for hits and comments and page views. If he reported this, then it’s real. Couple this with Elliotte Friedman rumbling that the Rangers might be listening in on offers for Zucc, then this becomes very real.

I’m going to close this with a quick note about potential trades: The Leafs won’t do a Bozak for Zucc swap. The Leafs want young roster players or picks/prospects. They also can’t retain salary since they’ve done so twice already (Gunnarsson, Winnik). (oops, can retain salary in 3 deals, not 2) The Rangers would need to clear cap space before trading for Bozak.

"McKenzie: New York Rangers have interest in Tyler Bozak", 3 out of 5 based on 9 ratings.


  1. Mark says:

    Unless it changed I’m pretty sure a team can have three contracts with retained salary. Number 11 on this document.


  2. ranger17 says:

    What about trying to bring Lombardi back . What did he do in Europe this year he was a good F/O man and he can skate . Just a thought

  3. Walt says:

    No thinking person would consider a trade for this dude. Your argument against is solid, but the most important part is the fact that he is signed for another 3 years, at over $4 mil per, you have got to be smoking some really good stuff to want this deal!!!!!!

    We can go with this current line up, but add another veteran d-man, and we would be good to go. Sit Glass, nail him to the pine, use Lindberg as the 3-4 center, along with Moore, Hayes on the wing, and things could really happen.

    I can’t believe how active the Pens have been. They are serious about making a run this year, and with the additional help through the trades already made, they may be tough. It will, as always, come down to the flower, and get into the space cadet’s head, you win the series!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • joe719 says:

      In the end Walt, it comes down to Cindy. Doesn’t matter how many moves they make. If he gets smothered again in the Playoffs, like Staal and Girardi did to him last year; doesn’t matter who they trade for.

      • Walt says:

        True, my point is that they are making moves at a rapid rate, and are serious about a long run. I still contend that if anyone gets into Fleury’s head, it’s all over!!!!!

  4. joe719 says:

    Interesting that the stories about Zuke wanting more to stay than the Rangers are willing to pay, started to pop up right before the deadline. Seems to becoming Sather’s favorite tactic. Would be a really dumb thing to do, if true. If it happens, smacks of desperation for a guy trying to get one last Cup before he fades away. And he thinks Bozak might be the final piece?—that’s the scary part!!!

  5. SalMerc says:

    Could also be a negotiating tactic to get Zucc to drop his asking price. Let’ just say it is Zucc and Stempy for Bozak and a pick. Ok, you all hate it, I get it.

    Move Hayes to the 2nd line wing. Bozak to third line center and Fast gets a permanent spot on the 4th line. While Zucc for Bozak is ugly, I do like the possible new line combos.

    I didn’t include Glass in the imaginary trade because would anyone realistically want him back in a trade?

    • joe719 says:

      It gets to a point where it becomes nothing more than a rotisserie League. Zuke wants to be here, the fans seem to want him here, the coach says he wants him here. If they deal him now, and risk team chemistry going into the Playoffs, they can keep they’re little fantasy team……. Bozak?????? Really?????

  6. Snake says:

    Even Sather is retarded enough to do Zucc for Bozak, even if AV was begging for him.

  7. BrooklynVic says:

    please please pleassssse dont mix it up like this… Sather pleaseeee…

  8. Kevin says:

    Everyone is being so quick to imply that this “rumor” is based on dumping Zucc… but what nobody seems to be focused on is the fact that Stepan needs to be signed. I understand he’s RFA not UFA, but if they have an idea that it will take $5.5m + to lock him up, then maybe this would be a cheaper option to either Stepan or Brassard.

    I would hate the deal either way but it is almost a certain with the cap not going to $73m… and now maybe not even reaching $71m, there could be more than just one CAP casualty this off-season.

    Before capgeek went down I threw out an estimate of next years roster… at the time using $73m, and it was tight and realistically Hagelin was be the odd man out. When the expected CAP dropped to $71… the best case scenario would have Zucc taking ~5m, Step 5.5m, and MSL taking ~3-5m (mostly bonuses to keep his cap hit down to 1-2m)… that of course still leaves no room for Hagelin.

    Again I don’t like the move on its own… however if there is a strong feeling inside the organization that this could be the only way to avoid losing too many pieces… it does make you at least think longer about it…

  9. SalMerc says:

    Did you guys see that Andej Sekera is now an LA King

  10. Leatherneckinlv says:

    If Vermette fetches a 1st and a prospect then Zuke should haul us in a 1st, a Roster player and a prospect. As always we under value our own players. Why is that? Zuke is not going anywhere this year.Give Sather some credit, he has been good lately.

  11. ranger17 says:

    Zucc and TG to TO for JVR and 4th

  12. joe719 says:

    Why keep linking NY with that disaster in Toronto? I’d stay away from any of them, from up there

  13. Ray says:

    In support of your faceoff comments, we forget that it isn’t that some players win their faceoffs all of the time and others lose them. The best centers just win more of them. To put things in perspective, if Joe Thornton (who is very good) had taken every single one of Kevin Hayes’s faceoffs this year, the improvement in the number of faceoff victories would have been less than two per game. That just isn’t very much.

  14. Ray says:

    I think Sather views this edition of the Rangers differently than last year’s and I don’t believe the reporters take this into account. I don’t think he saw the Rangers (pre Callahan trade) as true Cup contenders. I think he sees this team as contenders.

    The difference is that you don’t trade an integral part of a contending team just because he might walk at the end of the season. Yes, Sather may make a move to make the Rangers better. He might even trade Zucc if he really thought it would help the club NOW. But as you note Dave, this trade doesn’t do that.

  15. kevshockey says:

    If they did make this move, which I don’t like at all you’d have to think that it’s a move for the future. And gets some cap certainty in the process like they did with Klein.

    It goes against what the philosophy for the team should (or has been stated as “win now”) but it does look to the offseason ahead which really doesn’t have much that could improve the team. This could be a move knowing that it’s impossible to resign Zucc and they view the team as still having a chance to win with Bozak this year, and next season opposed to just Zucc this season. It’s a thought, I’m not saying I love the deal but it looks more to the next season, as well as right now.

  16. Original 6 says:

    I still believe Sather has a big move in him before the deadline and any trade must help improve their chances to win this year. This is the Rangers window to win. Depth on defense or a 4th line wing doesn’t get this team over the top. It helps their chances, for sure, but they should be all in.

  17. Walt says:

    I still hate this cap arrangement, it just stinks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!