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marc staal dan girardi

Photo: Andrew Theodorakis/NY Daily News

Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers did not ask defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi to waive their no-move clauses by the 5pm deadline today. That means both will be automatically protected in the coming expansion draft next week. Ryan McDonagh will be the third defenseman protected.

This comes as little surprise to me. There weren’t any other defensemen worth protecting. Kevin Klein isn’t a regular. Nick Holden also isn’t worth a protection spot. Even with his 11 goals and 34 points, dangling him in the draft takes attention away from Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, and Michael Grabner.

No need to panic. The true test will be following expansion, to see what Jeff Gorton has up his sleeve.

Categories : Offseason
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Jun
12

Potential trade partner: Calgary Flames

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jets antti raanta

John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP

As the expansion draft nears, we are going to begin hearing rumors of trades with Vegas to protect players and/or bribe Vegas into taking a contract. We’ve seen one such rumor publicized already, and it’s likely we will see more. But we will also begin seeing trades made by clubs who are in a bad position with protected players. Anaheim is one such team, as is Minnesota.

But not all trades are about protecting players. Enter the Calgary Flames. Both of their goaltenders –Chad Johnson, Brian Elliott– are UFAs, and neither played well last season. Elliott was supposed to stabilize their goaltending situation, but that did not work out as planned. As such, they definitely need a goaltender. Enter Antti Raanta.

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Categories : Offseason
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dan girardi marc staal

With the deadline to ask players to waive no move clauses coming up at 5pm tomorrow, and the expansion draft coming just one week later, the rumors are coming in from every direction. Some have a lot of information, others do not. Let’s see if we can summarize some of the tidbits flying around.

  • Per Elliotte Friedman, Scott Arniel interviewed with Buffalo and Florida. I’m assuming it was for their head coaching gigs. Doesn’t look like he got the job at either team though.
  • Also per Friedman, there’s a lot of smoke/connections between Lindy Ruff and New York. Apparently he was contacted to join Alain Vigneault’s staff, presumably as an assistant, and not as a future replacement. Just what the Rangers need – another coach who refused to adapt to the changing NHL.

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Jun
08

Report: Hellberg signs with KHL

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Magnus Hellberg

Interesting bit of news here, as Fan Rag Sports is reporting that goalie Magnus Hellberg has signed with the KHL’s HC Kunlun Red Star. The former second round pick by Nashville was acquired by the Rangers in July of 2015 for a 2017 6th round pick (this year’s pick). Hellberg spent two years with the Rangers organization, serving primarily as a starter in Hartford and playing just three games in New York.

This leaves the Rangers with three goalies in the minors: Mackenzie Skapski, Brandon Halverson, and Chris Nell. Even if the Rangers do trade Antti Raanta, it’s unlikely any of this trio will be a full time backup. Expect the Rangers to sign a free agent AHL goalie to bounce between Hartford and Greenville.

Categories : Transactions
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Jun
08

Potential trade partner: Minnesota Wild

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matt dumba jared spurgeon

Pioneer Press: John Autey

As the expansion draft nears, we are going to begin hearing rumors of trades with Vegas to protect players and/or bribe Vegas into taking a contract. We’ve seen one such rumor publicized already, and it’s likely we will see more. But we will also begin seeing trades made by clubs who are in a bad position with protected players. Anaheim is one such team, covered already last week. Another team in a precarious situation: Minnesota.

Minnesota is a little stuck right now with no-move clauses. Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Jason Pominville all have no moves up front, with Ryan Suter having a no move on the back end. If you assume that the Wild will go the 7-3-1 route, then they have a serious problem.

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jesper fast

(Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

Jesper Fast had successful hip surgery today, the Rangers announced. The recovery time for Fast is five months, which puts him on target to return in November. Fast is a versatile piece to the Rangers, so we will see how they navigate the injury when the season starts.

As for the expansion draft, I don’t think this changes the club’s approach. Fast wasn’t going to be protected, so any decisions regarding who to expose likely remain the same. As for Vegas selecting him, I don’t think one month of rehab is going to deter them from taking a young, versatile forward.

Categories : Injuries
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Jun
05

Is Kevin Klein heading towards a buyout?

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kevin klein

Photo: Jim McIsaac (Newsday)

The focus of the Rangers offseason has rightly been about the futures of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal. Those are major pieces to the offseason. However there is still some work to do beyond Girardi and Staal. Nick Holden will likely be around next year, despite what most want. But the future of Kevin Klein seems to be up in the air.

Klein wasn’t a regular in the lineup in the second half of the season, playing in just six games down the stretch and appearing in just one playoff game. When he was in the lineup, Klein was a third pairing defenseman who struggled to keep up with the ever increasing speed of the young guns in the NHL. With one year and $2.9 million left on his contract, the cash-strapped Rangers don’t have many options with Klein.

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Categories : Players
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Kevin Klein

As May has become June, the expansion draft draws closer and closer. Now is when we are likely to hear Vegas making expansion draft trades, as teams jockey to find creative ways to keep the players they want. While trades to account for protection spots are expected, we are also expecting to see bribes to Vegas. One aspect that has been covered deeply is sending picks to Vegas to not select certain players. For example, sending Vegas a 3rd rounder to not select Oscar Lindberg.

However that is not the only type of bribe we might see. There are many different ways to skin a cat. Vegas will need to get to the 2016-2017 salary cap floor by the expansion draft, and then to the 2017-2018 floor by the start of the season. That won’t happen via expansion and free agency. They are going to have to be creative. Perhaps striking deals with teams to take on a contract. While we’ve all thought about sending a pick/prospect to Vegas with a bad contract, perhaps we’ve been looking at this from entirely the wrong angle.

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Categories : Offseason
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May
28

Musings on a holiday weekend

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rangers canadiens

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Minas Panagiotakis

We have officially entered the calm before the storm of the 2017 offseason. The Rangers have been active, signing Neal Pionk and Alexei Bereglazov as undrafted free agents, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The expansion draft, buyout period, and NHL draft are all places where many expect the Rangers to make moves to retool the team before free agency. As always, I have some thoughts.

1. As always, the main focus will be how the Rangers position themselves for the expansion draft. There are a ton of chances for the Rangers to add a quality defenseman from teams that need to deal to protect their assets. But in order for the Rangers to make such a move, they will need to dump one or both of Marc Staal and/or Dan Girardi. After all, what’s the point of acquiring a defenseman before the expansion draft, just to be forced to expose him?

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Categories : Musings
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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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