Archive for Irresponsible Rumormongering
The Rangers landed Jimmy Vesey on Friday, which bolsters their forward depth at a bare minimum cost. Vesey isn’t a savior and likely isn’t even going to crack 40 points this season, but he certainly opens up some options for the Rangers. Vesey likely slides into a third line role with Kevin Hayes and possibly Pavel Buchnevich. That pushes Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast to permanent spots on the fourth line.
This, of course, is if no other moves are made. The blue line has gone suspiciously unaddressed this offseason, and a change there is needed. Moving Dan Girardi and/or Marc Staal likely isn’t happening, but there are still other ways to upgrade the blue line if Jeff Gorton goes that route. The forward position is a major strength for the Rangers. They have arguably ten forwards that could feasibly play a top-nine role on this team, plus another three that slot in well on the fourth line.
A lot has been made all over the internet about Jimmy Vesey’s free agency. Vesey became a free agent on Tuesday, and has met with several teams, including the Rangers. Celebrities were tweeting at Vesey to sign in New York. That’s how ridiculous this has become. It’s kind of humorous, but it may actually wind up shooting Vesey in the foot with ridiculous expectations.
Here’s the thing with Vesey: He’s not Gretzky. He’s not Crosby. He’s not Ovechkin. He’s likely a middle-six forward who at his peak could be a consistent 20-goal, 50-point player. That’s a solid NHL player, but not a top line, can’t miss guy.
Per the Boston Herald, the Rangers will likely be one of the finalists for soon-to-be free agent Jimmy Vesey. The former third round pick by the Predators is the most highly sought after NCAA free agent since Justin Schultz, and has made it clear he will be going to free agency. Vesey put up 24-22-46 in his senior year at Harvard, which was actually down from his 32-26-58 line his junior year.
Vesey would likely jump to the NHL right away on a team’s top-nine forwards at a bare minimum of cost. Vesey can only sign for a max $925,000 base salary with roughly $3.5 million in max bonuses. Since the Rangers don’t have many players that qualify for bonuses, it’s likely that all of Vesey’s bonuses would hit the bonus cushion with no impact on next year’s cap. This is unlike the situation in Chicago, where bonuses are becoming a problem as they spill over into future seasons.
For the Rangers, landing him would mean tremendous flexibility to deal a forward to address some of the blue line issues. I’m of the belief that most of the league is waiting for Vesey to make a decision before more moves are made. If the Rangers can land him, it may open up that long rumored Rick Nash trade for a defenseman. Vesey becomes a free agent on Monday.
With the signing of Marek Hrivik, the Rangers have cleared up most of their to-dos for this summer. They locked up their restricted free agents. They got younger, cheaper, and faster with a big trade that also brought back a high draft pick. They retooled their bottom-six with quicker, more skilled, better defensive, and better penalty killing players. But the one major move that has been oddly absent is the big change to the blue line.
Many expected –hoped– that the big change on the blue line would come at the expense of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal. That was fueled by some draft day rumors that the Rangers were looking to move the pair. However that was shot down eventually by the public statement that Jeff Gorton expects Girardi to have a bounce back season. Considering the contracts, trading just one of them has always been a long shot. But perhaps the upgrade on the blue line will come from a relatively unexpected place – Kevin Klein.
Chris Kreider is set for arbitration on Friday, and the details of his case and the ongoing negotiations have hit the interwebs:
- The arbitration numbers have the Rangers coming in with a $3.2 million offer, and Kreider looking for $4.75 million, both on one-year deals (that’s how arbitration works). Naturally, the Rangers are low and Kreider is high –negotiation 101– and the middle ground is about $4 million.
- Apparently both sides are negotiating to a long-term deal. Kreider is looking for $5.25 million over five years, the Rangers offering $4.75 million over that time frame. I’m with Melissa here, and say just get it done. Five years, $5 million. That’s the logical contract.
Heading into the offseason, the Rangers were rumored to be heavily invested in a roster shake up, one that saw them fielding offers on everyone on the roster except for Henrik Lundqvist. They were rumored to be going after the fourth overall pick (Edmonton) and/or the 15th overall pick (Minnesota) in an attempt to re-stock the farm system.
Instead, we are left with two bargain bin free agent signings in Michael Grabner and Nathan Gerbe, and one minor trade for Nick Holden. The club has the exact same blue line, just with Holden/Brady Skjei replacing Keith Yandle/Dan Boyle. Grabner and Gerbe replace Viktor Stalberg and Dominic Moore.
So what happened?
Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers are currently not actively shopping Kevin Hayes, a move that will probably disappoint more than a few people. Hayes has seen his name in the same category as Dan Girardi and Marc Staal as players fans want to see traded. There is a narrative among some writers and fans that is being pushed, and it has painted Hayes in a negative light.
Objectively, Hayes did not match his rookie campaign, there’s no denying that. But some reviews that he’s been a downright disappointment are, bluntly put, wrong. It’s sad that the linked article states that the Rangers’ hopes of signing Jimmy Vesey is the primary reason why the Rangers haven’t traded him. There is legitimately zero proof that the Rangers are indeed going in this direction or that they are holding on to Hayes simply as a negotiating ploy.
Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers are trying to keep winger Viktor Stalberg, although the current asking price is too high for the cap strapped club. They are trying to get the price down, but it remains to be seen if they can actually retain one of their better free agent signings.
The Rangers signed Stalberg to a one-year, $1.1 million contract last summer as a “show me” deal, and Stalberg delivered. As one of the fastest and most consistent Rangers, Stalberg put up 9-11-20 in 75 games while playing predominately on the bottom-six.
Stalberg was one of the better possession forwards for the club as well, doing a solid job of both helping to generate shots and suppress shots against. He’s a typical Swede: A solid hockey player in subtle ways that helps his team win. At the right price, he’s a major asset to the Rangers depth at forward.
The Rangers seem to be one of a few teams inquiring about free agent winger Matt Martin, per Arthur Staple. Martin is set to walk away from the Islanders, as they have given way too much money to Casey Cizikas to keep one of their other fourth liners in the fold.
As for Martin, the price tag is uncertain at the moment, but assuming it’s a decent price –under $1.2 million for the cap-strapped Rangers– then he’d be a viable replacement for Tanner Glass.
Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers intend on touching base with Thomas Vanek, recently bought out by the Minnesota Wild, on a one-year deal. The Wild bought out the final year of Vanek’s deal that would have paid him $6.5 million. It wasn’t that Vanek wasn’t productive, 18-23-41 last season, it’s that Minnesota needed the space.
Vanek on a one-year deal is something I can see the Rangers doing if they are indeed clearing room for Steven Stamkos. In this scenario, Rick Nash likely needs to be traded to clear the room, and Vanek is someone who could –at least in the extremely short term– try to fill that gap.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for this scenario, as Nash is still the superior player to Vanek. But in this scenario where Stamkos appears to be the target, looking at Vanek would be the next logical step on offense.