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Category: Irresponsible Rumormongering

Potential trade target: Riley Nash

Nash, of the Riley variety.

Nash, of the Riley variety.

In my daily perusing of pending free agents on bad teams, I came across Riley Nash of the Carolina Hurricanes. The 25-year-old center is in the final year of his second contract, one that pays him at a $575,000 cap hit. Basically peanuts. This year is, for all intents and purposes, Nash’s second full pro season. On paper, Nash is a 52% faceoff guy who put up 10-14-24 in 73 games last year. He has 4-6-10 in 13 games this year.

A few things jump out at me about Nash. He’s a right-handed shot (hooray!) who is putting up solid numbers thus far on an awful Hurricanes squad (and he wins faceoffs). His 18% shooting rate won’t last, but he’s been an 11% shooter over his NHL career. That’s actually pretty good. The uptick in goals this year is a combination of the unsustainable SH% and his willingness to shoot the puck more. Regression is expected (he’s not going to be a 75 point guy), but he will certainly eclipse his career highs this year.

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LeBrun: Tomas Kaberle to skate/practice with Rangers

Per Pierre LeBrun, UFA defenseman Tomas Kaberle will skate and practice with the New York Rangers. The Rangers are not signing him immediately, but will see how he does and make a decision from that point. This is basically a PTO without any games being played. Kaberle last played in the NHL in the 2012-2013 season, playing 10 games with the Montreal Canadiens.

This is a desperation move at best. Kaberle hasn’t been relevant at the NHL level since the 2011-2012 season.

Friedman: Rangers have interest in Andrej Sekera

Per Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers have expressed interest in Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera. Sekera, a left-handed shot, had a career year last season, putting up 11-33-44 with a poor Hurricanes squad. This season, Sekera has four assists in nine games, but is still on pace for about 40 points. At $2.75 million this season, the Rangers can actually fit him under the cap without moving salary (which is not what I expected, but Capgeek is never wrong), but his cost is limited somewhat since he is a UFA at the end of the year.

Sekera would certainly be a boost to a decimated blue line in the immediate term. He’d also be a considerable boost over John Moore on the third pairing, if it comes down to that.

Report: Kevin Hayes makes the Rangers

Per BC Hockey Blog, the same blog that broke the news about Chris Kreider signing his ELC (hey, one for one so far), Kevin Hayes has been informed that he has made the opening night roster for the Rangers. Hayes had a strong preseason, and it appears that the injury to Derek Stepan cleared his path to the opening night roster. There was nothing flashy about his game, he was just very solid.

Hayes likely only made the roster because of Stepan’s injury, but the seasoning he would have needed in Hartford was minimal. It’s still likely the Rangers send him to the AHL once Stepan is ready to go.

Report: Anthony Duclair makes opening night roster

Per Blueshirt Banter, citing Jeremy Filosa, Anthony Duclair has made the opening night roster for the Rangers, and it will be confirmed tomorrow. Duclair played in five of the six Ranger preseason games, putting up three goals and two assists while holding his own without the puck. Duclair shot 30% during these five games, so that scoring rate will likely come down some, but the kid is more than just goals. His speed gave all three of his opponents (Chicago twice, Philly twice, New Jersey) fits.

If the report is true, the Rangers will need to get rid of a contract before opening night. If none of the three on waivers are claimed, a trade will need to be made.

Friedman: Rangers trying to move a contract

Per Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers are trying to dump a contract via trade to make room for Anthony Duclair, should he make the club out of camp. Duclair is playing incredibly well, and the Rangers have nothing to lose by keeping him around as long as he earns it (his ELC clock starts this year regardless). However, since they are at 50 contracts, they need to dump one before Duclair can play an NHL game.

Even if Duclair doesn’t stick with the club, dumping a contract would give the Rangers trade flexibility in the future.

Brooks: Marc Staal contract rumors

Per Larry Brooks, the initial negotiations for a Marc Staal contract have begun. Per Brooks, Staal is looking for around $6 million on a 6-7 year deal, while the Rangers are looking to give Staal a Dan Girardi-esque deal:

Staal, who will turn 28 in January, is believed to be seeking a six- or seven-year deal in the neighborhood of $6 million per — perhaps somewhat more. The Rangers are believed to be offering the same deal to which they signed Girardi, six years at $5.5 million per — perhaps somewhat less.

The wording of this is somewhat suspect, since Brooks says Staal’s demands could be somewhat more, and the Rangers offer could be somewhat less. The general consensus has  been that Staal will get the same deal Girardi received, so that’s not really a surprise. If Staal’s demands are indeed in the range that Brooks states, than this deal shouldn’t take too long to get done.

It’s worth noting that a few different outlets have said nothing is imminent with Staal.

Rangers “pretty sure” they will have John Moore signed

The lone item remaining on the Rangers to-do list this summer is getting RFA defenseman John Moore under contract for the season. Jeff Gorton, via USA Today, said he is “pretty sure” the Rangers will get him under contract before the season starts:

“We like John a lot, just trying to get him signed,” Gorton said. “I’m pretty sure we’ll get him signed, and get him ready to go. He’s a good player for us; he’s been a good fit for us, he’s a great kid, and we like his upside.”

Moore, 23, is coming off the best season of his young professional career, putting up 4-11-15 while playing half the year on his weak side with Michael Del Zotto. There was a noticeable improvement in his play when he moved back to the left side after the Del Zotto/Kevin Klein swap, but Moore has a long way to go. The club likely wants to get him on a bridge deal, and we have him pegged around $1.2 million.

Conflicting reports on NHL expansion adds fuel to fire

Yesterday, Howard Bloom noted that the NHL was looking to expand to four cities: Las Vegas, Seattle, Quebec City, and Toronto (second team). This was not the NHL looking to move a franchise or two, but full-blown expansion to 34 teams by 2017. Las Vegas was actually confirmed by multiple sources, and it makes sense if you read between the lines of recent NHL moves (award ceremony).  However, Renaud Lavoie quickly refuted that, citing Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. But what else is Daly supposed to say?

Adding four teams is a bit much, but I’ve been of the belief that expansion is coming sooner rather than later. If the NHL is really looking at these four cities, then it would make sense to move a struggling franchise or two (Florida comes to mind) and expanding to 32 teams instead of 34. No professional league has 34 teams, and while expansion would create a lot of jobs, it would severely water down the talent pool.

These are just rumors and conflicting reports for now, but we are going to see a change in the landscape relatively soon. Nothing is done yet, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Quickly addressing these Ryan Malone rumors

In case you missed it, the Rangers blog-o-sphere picked up a story from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune saying the Rangers had been speaking to Ryan Malone. Usually this is something we would post here, but the problem is that the article is from August 21, one day after the Rangers landed Kevin Hayes. The article also explicitly talks in the past tense:

Malone looked good and with his legal issues soon behind him from Tampa, one would think somebody signs him (Rangers have talked to him) or he attends a training camp on a tryout.

All it says is that they’ve spoken to him at some point, likely as a backup if they couldn’t land Hayes. The Rangers now have no use for Malone, especially with Hayes and Lee Stempniak under contract. Plus, Hayes puts them at 50 contracts, so even on a PTO, the club would need to make a trade in order to sign him. I’ll chalk this to outdated