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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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Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Florida Panthers, who traded for Keith Yandle’s rights just this week, have signed their man to a seven-year deal worth $6.35 million annually. The deal has a no-move through the first six years, and a limited no-trade in the seventh year. To put things in perspective, Yandle makes $635k more than Marc Staal.

Seven years is a lot for a 29 year old defenseman, but Yandle isn’t showing signs of decline yet. The Panthers might have issues with the deal in a few years, but as long as Jaromir Jagr continues to defy the laws of science and aging while signing cheap one-year deals, they might be fine.

With the signing, the Rangers get Florida’s fourth round pick in the 2017 draft, in addition to the sixth rounder they received in this year’s draft.

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The worst kept secret has been confirmed, as the NHL will expand to 31 teams in the 2017-2018 season. Las Vegas is the destination, as has been rumored/basically confirmed for the past few months. The team will play in the Pacific Division. The team paid a record $500 million in expansion fees to the 30 NHL owners, none of which needs to be shared with the players.

More importantly, the expansion draft rules have been finalized. The major points we know: The Rangers can protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie, or 8 skaters and 1 goalie. They can only lose one player to the draft as well. As rumored, any player with a no-move clause must be protected and counts towards the protection list. Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, and Henrik Lundqvist are the players with no-moves. First and second year pros (Brady Skjei, Pavel Buchnevich) are exempt, as are unsigned draft picks.

NHL expansion to Quebec City has been deferred as the city works things out.

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Why Las Vegas expansion is a mistake

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With the NHL formally announcing its decision to expand into Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2017-2018 season, there has rightfully been much discussion of the direction the league is taking. Opinions have varied greatly on the viability or lack thereof of an NHL franchise in Sin City, so I thought I’d weigh in. After doing some research on the matter, I’ve decided that an NHL team in Las Vegas is a bad idea.

Now, to be clear, I’m not saying this is going to be an abject failure. I’m certainly not saying it would be on par with putting a hockey team in Atlanta (twice!). I’m just saying that if we were to re-examine this decision a decade from now, it’s probably one the league wishes they did not make. Here are my reasons Las Vegas expansion is a mistake…

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BSB Round Two Playoff Predictions

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Well the Rangers’ season is over, but there’s still plenty of good hockey to be viewed. Most eyes will be on that Washington/Pittsburgh series, as that may produce your eventual Cup winner, but don’t discount either series in the West. There’s a reason why that conference has won the majority of the recent Stanley Cups.

Here on the blog, we’ve previewed each of the four upcoming series, broken down by series and by each writer. Share yours in the comments and let us know how spot on / awful our predictions are.

Just a note: We wrote these after Wednesday night’s games because of the weird schedule. So, don’t think that the predictions are skewed by prior results.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals

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andrew shaw

Photo: Getty

Yesterday the NHL suspended Andrew Shaw one game, fined him $5,000, and mandated sensitivity training for his use of a homophobic slur during Game 4 of the Chicago Blackhawks/St. Louis Blues first round playoff matchup. With regards to the suspension, NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said, “While Mr. Shaw was apologetic and remorseful for both the offensive comments and the inappropriate gesture directed at the on-ice officials, he must be held accountable for his actions. The emotion of the moment cannot and will not be a mitigating factor for the conduct that is expected of an NHL player.”

I wanted to address this incident because I did not want to remain silent and have that silence misconstrued as any kind of ambivalence or apathy. What Shaw said was unacceptable on a basic societal level, and more specifically within the context of our beloved game. Shaw’s transgression concerns all of us because the hockey community is something shared that we are all stewards of, and if anyone in our community is made to feel unsafe or unwelcome we are all in some way responsible. I’ve always found joy, meaning, and at times refuge in the great game of hockey, and it pains me to think that a love of hockey might be foreclosed for some because of the words or actions of another.

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Per The Hockey Writers

Per The Hockey Writers

With Gary Bettman announcing that he hopes to have a decision on the league’s long-rumored expansion by June, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly commenting on the number of players existing teams could potentially lose in an expansion draft (one player if the league expands by one team, two players if the league expands by two), the NHL’s GMs spent the last day of their Florida meetings discussing the conditions and parameters of a potential expansion draft. The stated intent of the meeting was to make any potential expansion draft one of the deeper ones in league history, so as to make any expansion team competitive from the get-go.

The league’s rules for the expansion draft are as follows: first or second year pros would be exempt, and unsigned or drafted players would be exempt for two years after they were drafted. From there teams would be allowed to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender or simply eight skaters and one goaltender. Additionally, the combined salary for protected players would be required to be at least 25 percent of a team’s total payroll.

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The Ducks were a popular Cup pick but sit three points out of last place

The Ducks were a popular Cup pick but sit three points out of last place

The Rangers aren’t alone in their battle to remain relevant as contenders – all around the league many of the clubs we’re used to seeing play deep into the spring are having major issues just like the Blueshirts.

Perhaps the most disappointing team of all this year is the Ducks, who thought they had attained an unstoppable mix of size and speed to go with a mobile young defense and multiple stellar options in goal. Instead, Ryan Getzlaf has two goals in 30 games and Anaheim sits just three points out of the cellar.

In the Eastern Conference, the Penguins’ blockbuster trade for Phil Kessel did nothing to help and the club fired coach Mike Johnston earlier this month. Pittsburgh’s decline has continued over several seasons and it’s at the point that there’s a reasonable case to be made for the Penguins to – gasp – trade one of Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. Read More→

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Early season trade rumors

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Trade Bait out west

Trade Bait out west

Ahh November, the second full month of hockey when everyone’s beginning to shake the dust off and come into their true 2015-16 form. It’s when teams are beginning to either warm up or fizzle out, when the teams you expect to be in first are and those that have started hot can really prove themselves. it’s when your Saturday fantasy teams are so packed that you definitely have to bench a guy who’s playing tonight — and flip out when they score some goals.

Apparently, it’s also the time that the rumor mill gets started and hot takes heat up. Last week, trade rumors came about for two forwards from the West, one of whom made Rangers twitter a complete nut house and pretty unbearable in general. Yes, more unbearable than usual. Read More→

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With hockey returning in only three (!!!) days, fans have a lot to rejoice about. If you follow teams outside of Rangerstown, you know that there is a lot to look for this upcoming season that will make things interesting. Let’s check out what to watch for outside of the Garden.

Rookie Mania: ever heard of this guy Connor McDavid? Of course you have! There is a lot of hype surrounding the 18 year old center, and with good reason. With 120 points in 47 games played last year with the Erie Otters, plus another 49 in 20 playoff games, there’s a lot of hype to live up to. Will he or won’t he? NHL players expect that he will.

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