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Per Arthur Staple, the plans are being finalized for the Rangers to host the Sabres in the 2018 Winter Classic, to be held at Citi Field. This will be the first time the Rangers are in the Winter Classic since 2012, when they beat the Flyers in Philadelphia. The Rangers also had a pair of outdoor games at Yankee Stadium in 2014.

This is the first time the Winter Classic has been held in New York, as the Stadium Series games were technically not the Winter Classic. The initial rumor was that the Rangers would host a Winter Classic at West Point, but it appears that Citi Field will be the venue.

For Buffalo, this is their first time since the very first Winter Classic in 2008, when they lost to the Penguins.

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kevin shattenkirk

Photo credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Update: St. Louis gets 1 1st rounder this year, a 2nd rounder next year, and prospect Zach Sanford.

The Rangers did not get their man. The Washington Capitals have swooped in and given St. Louis a better offer for the highly sought after defenseman. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the trade call is happening as this post is being written. The kicker is that the Caps play the Rangers tomorrow, so he will be coming to MSG, just not in the way we had hoped.

With Shattenkirk off the table, the Rangers will need to take a look back at their plans and reassess. They need a pair of trades to really compete, the first for a stud, the second for an improvement on Kevin Klein. Unless someone of value from Anaheim becomes available, then they will be in the rental market for Brendan Smith, and perhaps more playing time for Adam Clendening.

I’m not a fan of selling assets when they are a top-five team in points in the league. However they are not beating Pittsburgh or Washington in a seven game series. They need two RHD. It’s a tough call to make. I can see great arguments for all three approaches (big move, small rental, selling Nick Holden and Michael Grabner). I do not envy Jeff Gorton right now.

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Welcome to the league, kid

Welcome to the league, kid

We’re a short week into the 2016-17 NHL season already and have seen some high scoring hockey in our hometown at the Garden. With the excitement of new faces like Jimmy Vesey, Pavel Buchnevich, Mika Zibanejad, etc., it’s been easy to forget that other hockey teams exist around the league.

Don’t be sad, dear reader. Our job here at BSB is to keep you clued in on not only all things New York Rangers, but all things hockey. It’s been an entertaining week in hockey-land, so let’s break it down systematically.

Goals, Goals, Goals

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Free Agency Losses: How will they fare?

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Acquiring fresh faces for your team usually results in endless discussion about the players ceiling of impact. A fan learns all they can about the player and their ideal fit in with the team. In the case of a trade, one may notice what left the team for the new player. Otherwise, it’s mostly focus on the new, out with the old.

The Rangers lost some players this offseason to free agency (or basically free agency, in the case of Keith Yandle), who were considered peripheral players that were, well, replaceable. So, what about these players futures?

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So where does Jeff Gorton rank amongst NHL GM's? Photo: Bruce Bennett (Getty Images)

So where does Jeff Gorton rank amongst NHL GM’s? Photo: Bruce Bennett (Getty Images)

I was thinking the other day just how solid an offseason Jeff Gorton had been having (despite not being able to significantly improve the blueline) and it got me thinking about where Gorton ranked amongst his peers. Taking that one step further it got me thinking about General Manager’s around the league, who’s doing well and who’s not. All this made me spitball about a power ranking of the NHL General Managers.

Everyone loves a pecking order, no? There’s been some significant change throughout the NHL recently and some GM’s will be hard to judge given their shallow bodies of work but it doesn’t mean we can’t try. Split into three posts over the couple weeks (starting at 30 and working our way up), here’s a brief insight into how I think the NHL’s key decision makers stack up against each other and where I think Jeff Gorton fits as he enters his second season in charge of the Rangers.

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Carolina's shrewd acquisition of Teuvo Teravainen bolstered an improving young roster

Carolina’s shrewd acquisition of Teuvo Teravainen bolstered an improving young roster

New Jersey Devils

GM Ray Shero pulled off the coup of the offseason when he landed Taylor Hall from the Oilers in exchange for Adam Larsson. Hall gives New Jersey the top offensive talent to build around its been lacking for years – and with Kyle Palmieri and Adam Henrique’s continued emergence, plus 2015 first-rounder Pavel Zacha and 2016 top pick Michael McLeod on the way, there are finally some pieces up front. The Devils are set in goal with Cory Schneider firmly entrenched among the league’s best netminders, but New Jersey’s defense was weakened with the departure of Larsson. The Devils signed Ben Lovejoy – who should play major minutes – but they are still waiting for some of their other blueline prospects to emerge. New Jersey won’t be easy to play against, but the Devils are still likely a couple years away from being serious contenders in the division.

Philadelphia Flyers

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Analyzing the PK Subban trade

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Credit: Montreal Gazette

Credit: Montreal Gazette

There have been plenty of moves around the league since Friday to keep us chattering for the next few weeks, but the real craziness occurred on Wednesday with trades after trade. It started with Seth Jones signing an extension, then the Hall-Larsson trade, then the PK SubbanShea Weber trade, finalized with the Steven Stamkos extension.

While any of these transactions could be the topic of a blog post, let’s focus on the state of Montreal here. The trade was shocking; after hearing that he’s on the market at the draft, it was assumed that Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin was simply making waves. We’ve discussed here how a GM’s role is to hear out all possibilities coming from anywhere, for anyone. So for Bergevin to say it is one thing, but to act on it was shocking. Read More→

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NHL Free Agency Open Thread/Live Blog

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NHL free agency is upon us. Players are free to sign wherever they want as of noon today. The trade madness went down on Wednesday, with a few moves affecting the Rangers. Bob McKenzie is predicting that Milan Lucic goes to Edmonton, Andrew Ladd to the Islanders, Frans Nielsen to Detroit, Loui Eriksson to Vancouver, and Troy Brouwer to Calgary. Let’s see how much of that he gets right. Personally, I think all that sounds right, plus I think Eric Staal goes to the Isles. They are getting gutted right now and need to replace them.

I’d like to see the Rangers target Brandon Pirri and Michael Latta. Both are going to come cheap as unqualified RFAs. Latta would be a great fit for the fourth line, and is tremendous in his own zone. Pirri can be a low budget 20-30 point guy in the right situation/deployment. I’d also like to see Viktor Stalberg back. Of course, this is on the right deal.

I will be live blogging the frenzy. So check back early and often. Expect GMs to lose their minds, and all of us to laugh at a few deals. It’s inevitable, as Justin said this morning.

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The storm before the calm? It’s fair to say that the free agency ‘frenzy’ that opens on Friday will be a lot less exciting following the handful of moves that shook the league on Wednesday. However, did PK Subban going west affect the Rangers? What does Taylor Hall in Jersey mean to the Rangers? Let’s take a look at some of Wednesday’s goings on.

PK Subban traded to Nashville for Shea Weber

One Norris trophy winner traded for a perennial Norris trophy contender. Everyone knew PK Subban was on borrowed time in Montreal. However most people assumed that if the Habs would move their (by far) best skater, it would be for young players, blue chip prospects and/or quality draft picks. In Shea Weber the Habs appear to have made change for changes sake. While Weber is slightly less mobile, not quite as dynamic but a monster with a monster shot and no doubt a quality defender, like Subban he too brings with him an onerous price tag for the long term.

So how does this influence the Rangers? It doesn’t really. The Habs still own an elite goaltender in Carey Price and they still have a bonafide number one defenseman patrolling their blueline. It will be other changes that the Habs make that will tell us how they measure up in relation to the Rangers. It will be interesting however to see how Weber acclimatises to the East.

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rangers lightning playoffs 2015

The 4pm hour was one of the most active hours in the NHL I’ve ever seen on a non-major day (draft, free agency, trade deadline). The first hammer fell when Taylor Hall was shipped to New Jersey for Adam Larsson. Larsson is a solid defenseman, but worth Taylor Hall, straight up? Not a chance. Edmonton got fleeced in this deal, and now the Rangers get to see him in the division. Lovely.

Then P.K. Subban went to Nashville for Shea Weber. Weber carries the big shot and goal totals, but Subban is easily the better defenseman. Subban drive possession and suppresses shots infinitely better than Weber. If you’re looking for your purely offensive defensemen, then Weber is your man. Subban plays a more complete game and still puts up the same point (not goal) totals as Weber. Also, David Poile turned Seth Jones and Shea Weber into Ryan Johansen and P.K. Subban. Wow.

Then Steven Stamkos re-upped in Tampa Bay for eight years at an $8.5 million cap hit. That is a big time home town discount for Stamkos. And luckily for the Rangers, it takes him off the market, meaning they won’t make bad trades to fit him in. Phew.

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