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May
26

Potential trade partner: Anaheim Ducks

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sami vatanen josh manson

Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG

Update: The injuries to Vatanen/Lindholm have minimal impact on the expansion draft. They will still need to be protected by Anaheim, and Vegas would still jump at the opportunity to get either of them. It may impact Vatanen’s trade value. albeit minimally because he is only 25.

The biggest task of the offseason for Jeff Gorton is to retool the Rangers’ blue line. While we’ve covered the futures of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal extensively, there is still a giant hold at 1RD. It’s a position Girardi has filled for the past decade, but simply cannot do so going forward. While Kevin Shattenkirk is certainly intriguing, the price tag may make him unrealistic. In that regard, Gorton must turn to the trade market.

Identifying trade partners takes an unusual twist this summer, as teams are going to look to make trades to position themselves favorably for the expansion draft. For some teams, that may mean trading a defenseman that may be lost during the draft. That is exactly the case in Anaheim.

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jt miller jesper fast nick holden oscar lindberg

The most exciting part of this offseason is clearly the expansion draft. We spent a good amount of space going over the rules of the draft and the shenanigans that will lead up to it, but not much space has been spent really analyzing which players Vegas may select. Everyone seems to have a different opinion of who the Rangers will lose, and all are credible.

Before we can dive into who the Rangers might lose, we first need to figure out who they are going to protect. For the sake of the post, we are going to assume one more RFA forward gets extended so the Rangers meet the exposure requirements. We are also going to assume –again, for the sake of the post– that the Rangers stand pat before the draft. I don’t think they are going to, but it’s too tough to predict any move they make. One last assumption: No UFAs are going to be signed before the draft. That’s a safe assumption.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (67)
May
24

Gauging Brendan Smith’s next contract

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Brendan smith

Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

As Jeff Gorton, Glen Sather, and Alain Vigneault meet to discuss the offseason plans, one of their major talking points will surely be the blue line. The futures of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal will certainly be the focal point, but there is still a need retool the defense to something that resembles a Stanley Cup blue line.

A good portion of that discussion will be centered around retaining Brendan Smith. As Pat pointed out earlier this month, retaining him is critical. While the cost was steep (2018 2nd and a 2017 3rd), that is sunk cost at this point. The main reason, at least to me, why he needs to be retained is because he is a solid top-four option on the right side, something the Rangers sorely need.

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Categories : Offseason, Playoffs
Comments (58)
May
22

Preparing for the expansion draft

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This offseason is expected to be a busy one across the league, as Vegas expansion looms large. Every team will lose one player to Vegas in the expansion draft, and with the rules set, teams are going to be making moves to ensure they are able to keep the guys they want. Expect a flurry of trades with Vegas and across the league. But the big question remains: Who will the Rangers expose and lose?

Before getting into that, it’s important to understand the rules of the draft. The rules are somewhat simple, but have some delicate intricacies that could make things more interesting. In addition to the rules of the draft, Vegas is allowed to make trades that could impact who they select in the draft.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (63)

dan girardi marc staal

One of the major topics this year is the futures of Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. It’s a necessary evil to discuss, as it’s become abundantly clear that neither can compete in the top-four, which is what they are paid to do. They both have flashes and both have good games here and there, but on the whole, neither are top-four anymore. It’s painful to say, as they have a whopping 21 years with the Rangers combined and have been the backbone of the Rangers’ resurgence to relevance since Lockout 2.0 (2005).

But here we are, discussing what the future holds for them. With a combined $11.2 million in cap space and three (Girardi) or four (Staal) years remaining, neither contract is desired across the league. The Wade Redden rule –and their no-move clauses– make it impossible to bury them in the minors. So the Rangers are left with two choices. The first is to buy them out. The second is to trade viable assets with their toxic contracts to rid themselves of the pair.

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Categories : Players
Comments (37)
May
18

Breaking down the Ilya Kovalchuk rumors

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ilya kovalchuk

Ever since the news broke that Ilya Kovalchuk wants to come back to the NHL, preferring to play in New York or Florida, the Rangers have been linked to them. Elliotte Friedman added fuel to that fire during this week’s 30 Thoughts, mentioning that the Rangers also appear to have interest.

It would be silly for Jeff Gorton to simply ignore Kovalchuk’s return. After all, he’s been a point-per-game player in the KHL. At 34 years old and at that elite talent level, he’s still got gas left in the tank. However the major question isn’t whether he has gas left, it’s how much. Is he going to be another Jaromir Jagr, putting up 40 points until he turns 900 years old? Or will he fizzle out after half a season?

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ken gernander

Some Hartford Wolf Pack news, and some surprising news at that. Ken Gernander, who has been coaching the Hartford Wolf Pack for the past ten seasons, posting a 388-304-84 record with five playoff appearances, has been relieved of his coaching duties. A new coach has not been named yet.

Gernander is also a career Ranger/Binghamton/Hartford player, with 11 seasons as a player before his 10 as a coach. That is 21 seasons with the Rangers organization. He has been here since the 1994-1995 season.

Chris Drury has been named GM of the Pack, replacing Jim Schoenfeld in that role. Schoenfeld was not relieved of his duties, but relinquished them voluntarily to focus on his Assistant GM role with the Rangers.

Categories : AHL
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May
16

Gauging Mika Zibanejad’s next contract

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mika zibanejad

The offseason focus this year is naturally going to be on the expansion draft, and rightfully so. It’s the first time in the Twitter era that we will be able to watch it unfold on TV and on social media. While that is certainly going to be a focus, one of the key items on the Jeff Gorton’s To Do List is getting his RFA’s signed. The biggest RFA to get locked up is Mika Zibanejad.

Zibanejad was acquired last summer, along with a 2018 second round pick, in exchange for Derick Brassard and a 2018 seventh round pick. Zibanejad lit the world on fire in his first month with the Ranges, almost scoring at will before breaking his leg and missing 25 games. Zibanejad was slow to get his legs under him, and finished the season with a line of 14-23-37 in 56 games.

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Categories : Offseason, Players
Comments (128)
derek stepan

Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire

One of the major talking points to come out of the disappointing playoff exit has been Derek Stepan. Stepan, the team’s top center and will be 27 years old in June, had a rough postseason. He had just two goals and six points in 12 games, and was one of the many key offensive threats that disappeared in the postseason.

It’s worth noting that before this postseason, Stepan put up lines of 5-10-15 in 24 games (2014 postseason), 5-7-12 in 19 games (2015 postseason), and 2-0-2 in 5 games (2016 postseason). I’m using the last three postseasons, as those were the ones where he was the top line center. So he’s producing about 0.5 points per game on average in the postseason. That’s not exactly terrible.

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Categories : Players
Comments (334)

oscar lindberg

Three questions for the mailbag this week. One was received during the playoffs, but I decided to hold off on answering that one until after the playoffs.

Anthony asks: If it was my call, I’d be letting AV go if they don’t get past Ottawa. Supposing it does happen, who would be the most sensible/realistic replacement? Do they go with Ruff or Paul MacLean? Or does Arniel get a shot? Anyone in the AHL worth taking a chance on?

Sorry for not answering this when you sent it, Anthony. But it made more sense to cover it after the playoffs. Suit covered a part of this yesterday, so you should definitely read that post. I would personally let AV go. He’s a good coach, but that’s not always what a team needs. A team needs the right coach, as Suit aptly pointed out. I don’t believe AV is the right coach. But I’ve been wrong before.

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Categories : Musings
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