Archive for Irresponsible Rumormongering

ryan mcdonagh

Photo: Winslow Townson/AP

It’s amazing what one summer can do. Last summer, the Rangers transformed their forwards into one of the most potent offenses in the league. This summer, they transformed their blue line from one of the worst in the league to perhaps one of the best top-four in the league. It’s amazing what Jeff Gorton has done.

Ryan McDonagh has been the rock on the Rangers blue line since he joined the team. He’s not quite elite, but he is in the tier right below elite. After dragging around an anchor for a few seasons, he finally has a chance to be free with Kevin Shattenkirk on his right side. Ryan McDonagh is a free elf.

But for how long?

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Aug
01

Let’s talk about John Tavares

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John Tavares is 11th among active players in points per game

As the summer drags on, the attention of the hockey world is beginning to shift to the coming season and beyond.

One storyline that is already generating buzz and will only continue to build momentum is the pending free agency of John Tavares.

For his part, Tavares has repeatedly expressed his desire to remain an Islander. That said – the reasons he might start seriously thinking about leaving the Islanders are obvious.

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Jul
12

Exploring the trade market for centers

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Over the last four seasons Tyler Bozak averaged .68 points per game. During that time, Derek Stepan averaged .73.

Tyler Bozak

The Leafs backed themselves into a corner with the signing of Patrick Marleau and now exceed the summer salary cap threshold, leading to speculation they may have to trade a veteran for some relief. But with both Joffrey Lupul and Nathan Horton on the roster in name only and headed straight for LTIR, Toronto isn’t in nearly as bad of shape as it might seem. Still, the Leafs have a glut of forwards so pending UFAs James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak continue to circulate through the rumor mill. With the players carrying nearly identical $4.2 million cap hits and not part of the Leafs’ future plans, there’s reason to believe Toronto might move one of them before the season.

New York would likely be interested in acquiring either player. A move for JVR would cement J.T. Miller’s move back to the middle, but give the Blueshirts impressive depth down the wings. Bozak, 31, would slot in as the second center behind Mika Zibanejad and be capable of matching Derek Stepan’s offensive production while also representing a huge upgrade at the faceoff dots. The Rangers would surely try to build a trade package for either player around Nick Holden, an expiring contract himself. But while Toronto might view Holden as a useful addition to a patchwork defense, Holden’s own $1.65 million cap hit reduces the allure somewhat.

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Jul
04

Rangers to sign David Desharnais?

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david desharnais

Per Tour Sur Le Hockey (French), the Rangers are looking to bring in David Desharnais to bolster their center depth. No details have been confirmed yet, but it per the report, it should be finalized soon. The 30-year-old center put up 60 points in 2011-2012, but has had his point totals decrease in every season since.

Desharnais has been hampered by injuries over the past few seasons, which has certainly impacted his point totals. His underlying numbers are in line with a good 4C and a bottom-tier 3C, which sounds about right. This would certainly fill the void left by Oscar Lindberg.

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Jun
30

Dreger: Rangers targeting Ondrej Pavelec

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ondrej pavelec

Per Darren Dreger, the Rangers are targeting Ondrej Pavelec to fill their backup goaltending void. The former Jet has a pretty bad rep, but has pretty solid numbers at even strength. That leads us to believe there were special teams issues in Winnipeg. That said, the Rangers also had PK issues, and it’s not like the Rangers have a strong blue line.

This is a classic eye test vs. numbers debate with Pavelec. Justin noted solid talent, but inconsistent technique/conditioning. Bad conditioning can be fixed, and Benoit Allaire can fix anyone’s technique. Pavelec will likely need to start 20 games for the Blueshirts, so let’s hope he just needs a change of scenery and some time with a solid goalie coach.

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kevin shattenkirk

Free agency begins tomorrow, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I have no idea what direction the Rangers are leaning towards. They’ve dealt Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta and bought out Dan Girardi, all in an effort to “rebuild on the fly.” But now there are rumblings that they are interested in Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. They don’t want to spend big, but have a ton of cap space.

It’s almost impossible to try to figure out what Jeff Gorton is thinking. However a bunch of rumors have at least been made public by the likes of Bob McKenzie, Elliotte Friedman, Larry Brooks, etc. So let’s consolidate them all.

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Per Darren Dreger, the Rangers are not done yet. They are going to try to move up even further in the draft, up from the #7 spot acquired earlier this afternoon. They clearly have someone in mind that they don’t think will last to the seventh spot.

Jeff Gorton is making moves, and if he moves up, we are getting into “NHL ready” territory right out of the draft. It may be a weak draft, but the top picks are still top picks.

Considering the needs of the team, I’m intrigued to see what Gorton does. The #7 and #21 picks could be enough to move up.

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Jun
23

Trading Antti Raanta

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New York Post

After months of speculation, debate and general hand-wringing, we now know that it was Oscar Lindberg who ended up being poached off the Rangers’ roster by the Vegas Golden Knights.  Various options had been “sure things” since the off-season began.  Michael Grabner, Jesper Fast and of course Antti Raanta have been speculated to be joining a newest team in the desert.

It’s Raanta I want to discuss this morning.  The 28-year old Finn had a tremendous year as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup and many feel that he is an interesting trade chip, given the low cost options on the market and Benoit Allaire’s seeming ability to turn your average midtown commuter into a quality NHL backup.  Let’s dive a little deeper into market and trade comparables and see if Raanta is worth moving.

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Jun
21

Brooks: Antti Raanta remains a Ranger

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antti raanta henrik lundqvist

Per Larry Brooks, goalie Antti Raanta remains a Ranger for the time being. Brooks tweeted out that Raanta was not Vegas’ selection off the Rangers roster for expansion. It’s also widely believed that the Rangers did not strike a deal with Vegas either.

I believe the Rangers will lose a forward in the expansion draft, and I also firmly believe it will be Oscar Lindberg. However a thought did occur to me. I wonder if a young prospect goalie like Mackenzie Skapski intrigues Vegas. He can develop and take over for Marc-Andre Fleury. Could be a dark horse

But still, my money is on Lindberg (there are rumblings of this already).

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Brendan smith

Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

One of the under publicized storylines of the offseason is what the Rangers plan on doing with Brendan Smith. Smith, acquired at the trade deadline last season, was a solid if unspectacular player for the Rangers down the stretch. He was certainly one of the top three defensemen on the team, and was a rock in the playoffs.

Smith is an interesting player. As a UFA defenseman capable of playing the right side, he’s in high demand. But without a solid scoring line or a reputation as a “shut down defender,” his contributions are tough to measure using traditional methods. What we do know is that Smith is a solid skater who is good in his own end. He has good positioning and doesn’t leave people open in front to deliver a hit. He also doesn’t snow angel often.

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