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Stamkos vs. Stepan. Who wins?

Stamkos vs. Stepan. Who wins?

One of the more prominent rumors to come out of the weekend is that the Rangers are clearing salary in an attempt to go after Steven Stamkos. Since the source of the rumor hasn’t necessarily been right on much –Malkin to the Kings?– it’s something worth discussing, as the Rangers would need to create a spot at center for Stamkos. That means moving Derek Stepan.

When you hear the names, you think that these two aren’t even in the same ballpark. And if this were five years ago, you’d be right. That was when Stamkos put up three straight years of at least 45 goals (51, 45, 60) from 2009-2012. Since then, his goal totals have been 29, 25, 43, 36. Point totals 57, 40, 72, 64. Solid numbers, but not “blown away” numbers.

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Ahti Oksanen signs with Wolf Pack

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Ahti Oksanen

Ahti Oksanen (Photo: SBN)

In a roughly translated article, s/t to HockeyStatMiner for the link, the Hartford Wolf Pack appear to have signed defenseman/winger Ahti Oksanen to a one-year deal. Since this is an AHL deal, Oksanen will not compete for a spot with the Rangers, and this is more of a year-long tryout with the big club. His contract does not count towards the 50 contract limit.

Josh has been all over Oksanen lately, and this appears to be him getting his wish. Oksanen has been linked to the Rangers for a while, and it’s good to see they are giving him a shot.

Oksanen put up 15-21-36 in his senior year at BU, a year after putting up 25-13-38. If he develops, he could be a sleeper for the Rangers and a big win.

Categories : Prospects, Signings
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Per The Score, the Rangers have not had any contract talks with UFA defenseman Keith Yandle. Yandle was acquired from Arizona in a trade that cost the Rangers Anthony Duclair and a first round pick this year. Yandle was easily the Rangers best puck mover last season, which is critical as the league moves more towards mobile puck movers on the blue line. Yandle was also the only player that could be paired with a one-legged Dan Girardi and still function somewhat normally.

This likely means that Yandle is a goner, something we’ve been expecting for some time now.

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The Rangers have re-signed defenseman Chris Summers to a one-year, two-way contract. Summers has been a depth defensemen for the Rangers since being acquired from Arizona in the Keith Yandle deal, playing a total of six games for the Rangers in that season and a half.

Summers carries a cap hit of $600,000 at the NHL level. His salary will be $300,000 at the AHL level.

Categories : Signings
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Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Jeff Gorton is entering his first full offseason as the GM of the New York Rangers, and he couldn’t be tasked with a more difficult offseason. The Rangers have toxic contracts, a system that doesn’t fit some of the players, and the worst of them all, a combination of the two. But with rumors abound that they are taking offers on pretty much everyone, the big concern is making splashes for splashes sake.

It’s pretty clear where the issues are on this team. For those that need a refresher, it’s summed up in one tweet:

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Categories : Offseason
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Gordie Howe dies

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A true hockey icon and legend has passed, as Gordie Howe has died, according to several reports. Howe was a legend and a true iron man, playing professional hockey into his 50s. His 801 goals and 1,850 points were league records until a kid named Gretzky came along.

The Rangers infamously had Howe in their grasp, but let the then 15-year-old go back home after a rough experience at a pro training camp in 1943. The rest, as they say, is history.

RIP, Mr. Hockey.

Categories : Uncategorized
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Rangers preseason schedule released

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The Rangers have released their six game preseason schedule. Preseason is delayed this year due to the World Cup, starting on September 27 this year, and continuing through the first week of October.

  • 9/27 vs NYI
  • 9/29 vs NJD
  • 10/1 @ NJD
  • 10/3 @ PHI
  • 10/4 @ NYI
  • 10/6 vs PHI
Categories : Preseason
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Smith. (Photo: Getty)

Smith. (Photo: Getty)

For those who follow me on Twitter, I’ve been ranting about two players for a long, long time. Mostly because it is starting to look like an absolute necessity to add them to our system, as there is a huge issue on the right side of the blue line. This extends from the NHL through the system. With the club allowing Ryan Mantha to re-enter the draft ,you have to think they will be looking to add a body or two soon.

The first player is Jerret Smith, a 6’2, 207 lbs defenseman. He attended the Rangers training camp and is the captain of fellow Rangers’ prospect Ryan Gropp’s team (Seattle Thunderbirds). He discussed in October how much he enjoyed the training camp, and this season worked on improving his skating, something the Rangers asked him to do.

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Categories : Offseason
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derick brassard

Photo: Michael Ivins, USA TODAY Sports

Ever since the ball dropped that the Rangers are fielding offers on everyone not named Brady Skjei, Pavel Buchnevich, or Henrik Lundqvist, the focus has been on trading names like Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, and Ryan McDonagh (Marc Staal/Dan Girardi notwithstanding). But when it comes to Stepan, very few bring up Derick Brassard, who may actually be the best chip for the Rangers.

When comparing Stepan to Brassard, most Rangers fans think this is either a toss up or lean Brassard. It’s a valid argument, as Brassard is putting up comparable offensive numbers to Stepan and is on a cheaper deal. With the Rangers crunched for cap space, trading Stepan seems like the way to lean if they decide to trade one of their top two centers.

But is that truly the smartest approach?

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Categories : Offseason
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derek stepan

Stepan (Photo: AP)

One of the more interesting viewpoints this offseason is that the Rangers need to trade Derek Stepan. The thought process here is that he “is not a true 1C”, “he doesn’t make anyone around him better”, and “he is overpaid.” Add on the apparent interest from the Minnesota Wild, and you have a lot of smoke around this.

While I am not opposed to trading Stepan in the right deal, I take issue with the above three statements. Stepan is not in the elite class of centers like Sidney Crosby or Anze Kopitar, but those are generational/elite talents, and few teams are privileged to have them. Stepan is in the class below that, as a solid center who can be any team’s 1C.

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Categories : Players
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