Lavoie: Pouliot generating interest, wants long-term deal

Per Renaud Lavoie, winger Benoit Pouliot is looking for a long-term deal and will likely get it. Ten teams have already contacted the winger. One of those teams is obviously the Rangers, as they are looking to keep Pouliot in New York. Pouliot was one of the best bargains in the NHL last year, finding chemistry with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello to the tune of 13-19-32 in the season’s final 53 games.

Should the Rangers trade negotiating rights of Boyle / Stralman?

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

Based on the comments made by both Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman, it looks like both will be playing in different uniforms next season. Boyle has said he is looking for a bigger role –likely a third line role with less defensive zone starts– and won’t get that in New York. Stralman is looking for “security” for his family, which is code for “money and term.”

We haven’t heard much about the ongoing negotiations with Boyle’s camp, but the Stralman negotiations aren’t going so well. Stralman wants more money and –likely– years than the Rangers are willing to offer. Considering Nikita Nikitin’s absurd deal ($4.5 million for a marginal defenseman is indeed absurd), Stralman is likely getting at least that, and probably more, over a longer term. That’s too expensive for the Rangers.

With the draft just one day away, it makes you wonder if the Rangers should pursue trading their negotiating rights to recoup draft picks.

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2014 Draft preview: Michael Bunting, Travis Sanheim, Spencer Watson

The draft is almost upon us, and the Rangers could land in the second round with the 59th overall pick in the draft. The Rangers traded their first rounder this year in the Martin St. Louis trade, so this will mark the second straight year without a pick in the first round.

Bunting (Photo: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Bunting (Photo: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Michael Bunting

Position: LW Height: 5-11 Weight: 175

Bunting is a bit of a late bloomer, but put up solid numbers (15-27-42 in 48 GP) in his rookie year in the OHL with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. His strong rookie campaign moved him up to #37 North American in the ISS rankings. He seems to be a mid-round pick for the Rangers, but his stock is rising. Bunting is a solid forechecker, and uses his physical to force turnovers and begin a transition rush. The odd weakness he has, considering his size, is that he needs to work on his skating, specifically his speed. He could turn into a solid depth player, one who would probably be loved in New York for his work ethic.

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Lavoie: Talks with Stralman not going well

Per Renaud Lavoie, talks between the Rangers and UFA defenseman Anton Stralman are not going as planned. The Rangers are allotting $4 million to Stralman, but it definitely seems that Stralman will get north of $4.5 million, probably closer to the $5 million that Andrew MacDonald got from Philadelphia. If AMac’s contract wasn’t enough proof, Nikita Nikitin got $4.5 million from Edmonton after trading for his rights. Nikitin, mind you, is nowhere near a $4.5 million defenseman, but that’s the market.

All signs point to Stralman getting an enormous contract elsewhere.

Dater: Rangers have called about Paul Stastny

Per Adrian Dater, the Rangers have called about center Paul Stastny, who is set to be a UFA. We covered Stastny and his fit in New York, but the biggest issue here will be money. Some crazy team might give him a truckload of money, and the Rangers don’t really have the space to handle more than $6 million. It’s doable at his current salary of $6.6 million, but it would leave the Rangers with very little wiggle room.

Since this is the first year with the “negotiating” period, expect to see a lot of snippets like this. Glen Sather is doing his homework and his job, but just because he calls about someone doesn’t mean he will sign that guy.

Strang: Rangers interested in Dan Boyle

Per Katie Strang, the Rangers are one of multiple teams who have shown interest in defenseman Dan Boyle. Boyle –a right-handed shot– is coming off a 12-goal, 36-point season with the Sharks, where he spent the last six seasons. What we know about Boyle is that he is an offensive defenseman that excels on the powerplay, and could probably serve as a powerplay QB for the Rangers on the short term. What we also know is that he is 38 years old and would be a risk on a multi-year deal. It’s why the Isles passed after acquiring his negotiating rights from San Jose.

Boyle would certainly slot it nicely if Anton Stralman leaves, but the questions around his foot speed and his ability to keep up with faster forwards would need to be addressed. He’s not a tire fire in his own zone or from a possession standpoint, but speed is the game now, and speed is Alain Vigneault’s system. Plus, he might cost a pretty penny.

2014 draft preview: Connor Chatham, Richard Nejezchleb, Gavin Bayreuther

The draft is almost upon us, and we must apologize for the lack of draftee reviews this year. The run to the Stanley Cup Final threw off our offseason plans, and we have a lot of topics to cover in a short amount of time. This will be the first of three posts previewing some prospects the Rangers could land in the second round with the 59th overall pick in the draft. The Rangers traded their first rounder this year in the Martin St. Louis trade, so this will mark the second straight year without a pick in the first round.

Connor Chatham

Connor Chatham

Connor Chatham

Position: RW Height: 6-1 Weight: 225

Chatham is an interesting prospect, as he dropped from #30 in the midterm rankings to #46 by the time these rankings came out. It’s possible he might drop even further to the Rangers at #59, Chatham is currently with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL, where he just finished his rookie year with a line of 13-18-31 in 54 games. Chatham’s fall in the rankings has to do with his lack of production in the first half of the season, putting up just five goals in 33 games. He’s a big kid that knows how to use his body, as his physical game was still there during the slump. It’s worth noting that his skating ability is pretty good for a kid his size, but his quickness needs to be worked on. He has a decent head on his shoulders, making safe passes instead of homerun passes. He’s also not really a “sniper” per-say, but he will go to the net and look for garbage goals.

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Ryan Callahan re-ups in Tampa, Rangers get 2015 2nd rounder

Ryan Callahan has re-upped in Tampa Bay on a deal that is 6 years and $5.8 million per year (basically a Dustin Brown contract, shocking). As a part of the trade with Tampa Bay for Martin St. Louis, the Rangers will receive TB’s 2nd round pick in 2015, and the Rangers will send a 2015 7th rounder to Tampa Bay. To summarize the now completed trade:

  • To New York: Martin St. Louis, 2015 2nd round pick
  • To Tampa Bay: Ryan Callahan, 2014 1st round pick, 2015 1st round pick, 2015 7th round pick

Dominic Moore wins the Masterton

In what should be no surprise, forward Dominic Moore was the winner of the Bill Masterton trophy. The Masterton is awarded to “the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” Moore took a year off from the game following the death of his wife, and returned to help the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final this season.

Projecting Mats Zuccarello’s next contract

Due a hefty raise.

Due a hefty raise.

Mats Zuccarello is the second of two must-sign RFAs for the Rangers this summer. Zuccarello, who was probably the best non-ELC bargain in the entire league last summer, is coming off his one-year, $1.15 million deal signed last summer. This will be Zuccarello’s fourth contract, and he is arbitration eligible.

Before this year, Zuccarello and John Tortorella never seemed to click, even though Zucc was about a 40 point per season kind of player. But Zucc found his spot with Alain Vigneault, to the tune of 59 points (19-40-59) in 77 games. But with Zucc it was more than point production, it was his ability to maintain puck possession and his strength on the puck. His vision on the ice has become his greatest weapon as well.

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