Category: Around the League

Checking in on the Columbus Blue Jackets

Scott Hartnell should set the tone for the Blue Jackets

Last year: 43-32-7, fourth in the Metro Division. Eliminated by the Penguins in the first round.

Key additions: Scott Hartnell, Brian Gibbons

Key subtractions: R.J. Umberger, Jack Skille, Derek MacKenzie, Blake Comeau, Nikita Nikitin

Franchise direction: The Jackets are happy as clams with the way things are going after they made a surprise postseason appearance and gave Pittsburgh all it could handle in the first round of the playoffs. Columbus had to let go of a few spare parts to provide flexibility and allow the team to lock up key long-term pillars like Ryan Johansen and Brandon Dubinsky, but the team has quality reinforcements. Read more »

Checking in on the New Jersey Devils

The Devils’ major offseason acquisition: 32-year-old Mike Cammalleri

Last year: 35-29-18, sixth in the Metro Division

Key additions: Mike Cammalleri, Martin Havlat, Scott Clemmensen

Key subtractions: Martin Brodeur, Mark Fayne, Anton Volchenkov, Ryan Carter (likely)

Franchise direction: The Devils have finally turned the page on the Brodeur era, but that doesn’t mean the team is any younger. New Jersey added the 32-year-old Cammalleri and 33-year-old Havlat to a group that already includes 34-year-old Michael Ryder, 36-year-old Dainius Zubrus, 37-year-old Marek Zidlicky, 38-year-old Bryce Salvador, 38-year-old Patrik Elias and 42-year-old Jaromir Jagr.  The Devils are certainly not rebuilding, but their plan is a little puzzling. Read more »

Checking in on the Philadelphia Flyers

R.J. Umberger was the lone major addition for the unusually inactive Flyers this offseason

Last year: 42-30-10, third in the division. Lost to the Rangers in the first round

Key additions:  R.J. Umberger, Nick Schultz

Key subtractions: Scott Hartnell, Adam Hall (likely)

Franchise direction: I didn’t quite know what to think when Ron Hextall replaced Paul Holmgren, but so far the new general manager has demonstrated restraint uncharacteristic of this organization. Yes, the Hartnell/Umberger trade was a little bit of a head-scratcher and the rampant rumors that Philadelphia tried to move up to grab the No. 1 draft pick were interesting, but all in all this has been an unusually quiet offseason for the Flyers. Read more »

Free agency open thread

Free agency is upon us, and teams that were not allowed to talk specific contract details will find a way to work out extremely complicated contracts within minutes of free agency opening. The Rangers have four key guys headed to free agency, with three likely on their way out. We summarized those here. We will be live-blogging the free agency signings, with moves made by the Rangers in bold. Discuss anything you want, keep it civil.

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Free agent frenzy: Rumor roundup before it all begins

Free agency is upon us, and the Rangers will see four key players test out the market. Brian Boyle, Anton Stralman, and Benoit Pouliot all seem destined to cash in big elsewhere, while Dominic Moore is still hoping (along with the rest of us) to remain in New York. There are a lot of rumors out there, so let’s go through all of them before the click strikes twelve.

Considering the $69 million cap, I think Carter, Fayne or Tom Gilbert, and Mikhail Grabovski are the realistic targets that can fill holes, improve the team, and leave competition for kids.

Ryan Kesler traded to Anaheim

The first shoe has dropped in the 2014 NHL offseason, as Ryan Kesler has been traded to the Anaheim Ducks. The Canucks will get Luca Sbisa, Nick Bonino, and 1st (#24) and 3rd (#84) round picks from Anaheim in exchange for Kesler and a 3rd round pick.

For those wanting the Rangers to trade for Kesler, the Rangers didn’t really have equal pieces there. They didn’t have the first rounder, and for players, it would be close to the equivalent of Carl Hagelin and John Moore.

Update: The Canucks have also dumped defenseman Jason Garrison’s contract, sending him to Tampa Bay with a 7th round pick and the rights to Jeff Costello in exchange for Tampa’s 2nd rounder (#50).

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

2014-2015 Schedule released

Yesterday the NHL released the schedules for the 2014-2015 season. As noted on Saturday, the Rangers will open the season in St. Louis, and have their home opener three days later against Toronto. In between that, the Rangers will face Columbus, and then face the Islanders two days after their home opener, giving them a three-in-four and four-in-seven to start the season. If you’re going to have a five-in-seven, it’s best to do it in the beginning of the year when the legs are fresh.

The Rangers have their next three-in-four and four-in-seven in November (Leafs, Oilers, Penguins, Avalanche) and then another three-in-four to close out November into December (Flyers, Flyers, Lightning). All together, if I counted correctly, the Rangers will play 10 three-in-fours. The Rangers also play the majority of their home games (10) on Sundays.

The preseason schedule is here.  The Rangers will play six games, three at MSG. Oh hey, look at that, September and October games at MSG. It’s been a while.

Rangers open season in St. Louis; Play Toronto in home opener

The NHL has announced the openers and home openers for the 2014-2015 season, and the Rangers will open the season on Thursday, October 9 in St. Louis. They will face the Leafs on Sunday, October 12 at MSG, marking their home opener. The full schedule will be released tomorrow.

What the Rangers could learn from the Minnesota Wild

This game is humaaangous big

This game is humaaangous big

The first round of eliminations typically brings some surprises and, regardless of your team making the playoffs, a few disappointments. Fans who watched the Minnesota Wild edge out the Colorado Avalanche certainly found a new bandwagon to hop on. With the Rangers still in it, fans in the metro area may not have taken notice, but there is good reason why some glory coming to the state of hockey should be celebrated.

The Wild, well.. some have speculated (ahem, Kevin and myself) they would be swept straight out of the second round. And who knows, maybe they do go down in five games, but until then the bandwagon seems to be going strong. It’s hard to deny that watching Spurgeon in round 1 tie the game with 2:27 to go to take Game 7 into OT (heart palpitations, anyone?) and then having former Islander Nino Niederreiter win the series 5 minutes later wasn’t exciting. I was jumping around and I have zero feelings for either squad. So why should anyone be on this bandwagon aside from their obvious perseverance?

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